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You shouldn’t need an excuse not to go green. Our planet is in peril, and considering the environmental problems we and future generations are facing, it’s the responsibility of all of us to do our bit to care for the world. We would be foolish, and to be honest, quite selfish not to!
If you are still dragging your feet and haven’t yet begun a more eco-friendly lifestyle, know this.
Going green is good for your finances.
Seriously, it is. By doing your bit to save the world, you will also save money in the process. If you ever needed an excuse to be more environmentally friendly (though you really shouldn’t), let this be it. Consider the following examples, and then start to put into practice good habits that will serve you well, and create a more positive impact in the world we live in.
Money Saver 1: Use your Feet
Much of the pollution in our towns and cities is caused by the traffic on our roads. The toxic fumes from our cars are responsible for about 36,000 early deaths a year! Are you surprised by this fact? Here are some other shocking facts about air pollution to wake you up to the problem.
Therefore, don’t add to the statistics. If you don’t need to use your car to get around town, then don’t. If you are only travelling short distances, consider walking or cycling to get to where you need to be. Not only will you do your bit to reduce the carbon footprint, but you will also improve your health through exercise and save money.
Think of all the fuel you will be saving. Think of the reduced maintenance costs when you’re not using your car so often. Think about what you might do with the extra money in your pocket!
Money Saver 2: Embrace Minimalism
As a society, we are obsessed with ‘stuff.’ We are forever buying things to add to our homes, but let’s be honest, how much of the stuff we buy do we actually need?
A lot of it is just filler, and that creates problems. It creates issues for us, as we are then forced to find ways to declutter our homes when the mountain of things we buy overwhelm us. And it creates issues for the environment, partly because a lot of the things that become surplus to our requirements end up on landfills. So, here’s the thing.
The next time you are tempted to buy something, ask yourself: do I need it? If not, put your credit card away and save yourself some money for something you might actually need in the future. You will have a tidier home, you will have a healthier bank balance, and the world will have one less discarded item leaking toxic gases when part of a landfill. Read our tips on living a minimalist lifestyle if this is something that interests you.
Money Saver 3: Make your own
You can make your own anything! You could grow fruit and vegetables organically in your garden, for example. This will save you money at the supermarket, and is more environmentally friendly than purchasing something that has been sprayed with harmful pesticides.
You can decorate your home with things you have made yourself, as this will reduce the carbon footprints on the road through transport, and reduce the risk of buying something from unethical sources. However, if you do need to buy materials, such as framing for artwork, be sure to source from ethical and local suppliers to do your bit for both local business and the environment. You might even make your own clothes, or at the very least, transform your current outfits into something that looks new.
There are all kinds of things you can produce yourself and provided you do so in a sustainable way, you will both save money by not having to shop for certain items, and do your bit for the world by not supporting unethical practices, such as child labour which is prevalent within the fashion industry.
Money Saver 4: Reduce your Energy Usage
Are you sick and tired of the rise in energy prices? Do you fear the footsteps of the mailman coming down your drive, armed with those infernal utility bills? You’re not alone, but if you want to save money, you do need to reduce your energy usage.
By protecting your pocket, you are also protecting the environment, as when you consume less power, you are conserving the earth’s natural resources. You can learn more here. So, what does this mean for you at home? Well, there are all kinds of ways to reduce energy. You might set your thermostat at a lower temperature, or not have it on at all if your house isn’t cold. You should unplug any devices that aren’t in use.
You should turn lights off after leaving a room. And there are countless other ways to save more energy at home, and by doing so, you will also save yourself oodles of cash. What’s not to love?
Money Saver 5: Go Paperless
Again, another way to declutter your life is to live with less paper. This is good for the environment, as can be evidenced here, and is good for your bank balance in a number of ways. For starters, if you upload your files to the cloud, you will save yourself a fortune in printing costs.
You won’t need to buy new ink cartridges, and you won’t need to buy more paper. You don’t need to go out and buy a newspaper from the store every day, as you can download news apps on to your phone and tablet and stay in touch with the world that way instead.
You can cut down on the paper waste through bank statements and utility bills, by doing all of your business online. Your bank and energy bill companies may offer you financial incentives for doing so. You have nothing to lose; literally, as if you have what you need online, you won’t have to scour for a lost paper document again! Save money, save the trees, and save your sanity!
Money Saver 6: Reuse Plastic
Supermarkets and stores around the country now charge us for buying plastic carrier bags. It’s an irritation for many of us, but the practice is a sensible one. Plastic pollution is drowning our planet, killing our wildlife, and affecting us all through the toxic emissions emitted at local landfills. It stands to reason then that the less plastic we use, the better, so if you are annoyed at having to pay for a plastic bag, then don’t!
The government has put this into play so we have the incentive to reuse our existing bags instead. So, every time you make the trip to the store, dig out your carrier bags from the cupboards. And then think of the other ways you can reuse the plastic you use at home. You might reuse your water bottles for example, filling them up instead of buying another bottle of drink at the store. You could use your polythene bags for storage purposes. And there are some creative plastic upcycling ideas here which may be of interest to you.
In short, the less plastic you use, the safer the environment will be. You will save money as a result, not only on those supermarket carrier bags but on anything else you might needlessly buy, despite having what you need to hand at home.
Money Saver 7: Live a Frugal Lifestyle
There are all kinds of ways to live a frugal lifestyle and protect the environment. You could buy second-hand items, as this will ensure they don’t end up on landfills. You could make your own cleaning products, instead of buying something more expensive, and more damaging to the environment from your local store.
You could plan your dinner menu carefully, as this will cut down on food and plastic waste when you have bought too much at the supermarket. Alternatively, you might learn how to cook meals from scratch, preferably with foods you have grown yourself, as we suggested earlier. And you could use any of the ideas listed here. Living frugally is all about saving money, and by doing so, you are also doing your bit to save the world as well.
So, what are you waiting for? Going green makes perfect sense, not only for the longevity of the world we live in but for the longevity of your personal finances too.
We could all do with more money in our pockets, and by following the suggestions within this article, you should be able to make some considerable savings. Therefore, start to put into practice good habits today. Enlist your family into these good habits too, and share our suggestions with the people around you. The more you can do to encourage others into a better way of thinking, the better, and if they need incentive, remind them of the money they will save too!
Let me know what you think in the comments below, and if you have any other ideas that I haven’t covered, be sure to let me know that too.
About Gina Caro
Gina is a content creator and award-winning blogger. Her aim is to help you live a more sustainable & simple life. Her blog covers zero waste, minimalism, wellbeing & thrift. She currently lives in Cornwall with her partner, two kids and Charles the dog.