“Living green” has become a popular phrase, what it encompasses are a certain set of values that center around being environmentally conscious. The environment, and our impact on it, has been at the center of several news stories leaving scientists vehemently urging for change through green alternatives. Many people have taken it upon themselves to try and do what they can to minimize their carbon footprint on the earth. Being environmentally conscious can help save Americans money. There are many ways that sustainable living and saving money go hand in hand.
What Most Americans Budget For and its Connection to the Environment:
Most Americans have a few necessary expenses they have to deal with every week/month. These expenses include basic utilities like gas and water, groceries, and housing. Almost all of these expenses are directly connected to the environment. This is where the idea of living green comes from, realizing the direct connection that our everyday lives have on the state of the environment. By cutting down expenses, one may also be able to reduce their foot print on the earth. There are many ways that Americans can save money and be environmentally friendly both inside and outside of the home.
Green Living That Can Save Money Inside of a Home:
- Use Energy Efficient Lightbulbs– This is a really simple way to help the environment and cut down electricity bills at the same time.
- Install a Programmable Thermostat – These thermostats adjust the temperature based on pre-programmed settings, so when a person isn’t home they are cutting down the use of unnecessary power.
- Use less Water, Especially Hot Water– This can be done all over the home. From the kitchen to the bathroom, there are many ways that water can be saved. A few examples would be taking shorter showers, running the dishwasher only when it is completely full, and/or washing clothes in cold water. By reducing the amount of water used, hot or cold, can minimize both cost and energy considerably.
- Replace windows and doors or simply replace their weather-stripping– Make sure points of entry in a home are not letting energy out. The better sealed a home is, the less energy it will need to cool or heat itself.
- Shut or Unplug Electric Items When Not Using Them– This cuts down electricity bills and helps reduce unnecessary energy use.
- Look into Alternative Forms of Energy– Solar panels can be easily installed, and they are a clean alternative to natural gas. Although they can be pricey, in the long run they do save people a lot of money and are great for the environment.
- Eating Less Meat/Eating Healthier– Meat based diets can be more expensive than vegetarian ones. In addition, the meat industry has been shown to leave a lasting, negative environmental impact that trickles down to several different industries.
- Landscaping– Planting trees, plants, and vegetables around your home can decrease air pollution, save on cooling, and food costs.
Green Living That Can Save Money Outside of the Home:
- Using Alternatives Forms Of Transportation– Bicycling, taking the bus, or walking every day can save car maintenance and gas expenses all while keeping pollution low.
- Buying Recycled Products– Recycled products can often be cheaper, and they are always better for the environment. Recycled goods available for purchase can range from paper to the clothes on a person’s back.
- Avoiding Disposable Plastic – Plastic is one of the worst kinds of trash because it never goes away. There are much cheaper and environmentally safe alternatives, for example instead of buying plastic water bottles, use a reusable one.
- Driving an Electric or Fuel Efficient Vehicle– Nowadays fuel efficient vehicles, and even electric vehicles, have become affordable. By making the switch, money on gas is greatly reduced, along with the air pollution.
- Supporting Green Companies- Thanks to the demands of many Americans, more green companies are not only being founded, but they are thriving. Buying from green companies helps support a cleaner earth. And sometimes these places provide cheaper, if not equally costing, alternatives.
- Go Paperless– A lot of places nowadays give people a paperless option (banking, receipts, bills, etc). A lot of the time, when a person chooses the paperless route, they save some type of percentage from their bill.
Many people are realizing that green living is not just good for the environment, but also cost effective. There are many things a person can do, inside and outside of their home, to cut expenses and help the planet. Living green doesn’t have to mean giant changes, or a complete change in lifestyle. There are baby steps that can be taken to reduce the energy being used, water being wasted, amount of air pollution, and the amount of waste that is being sent to landfills. Extending the life of the planet could also mean opportunities for extending your budget.