The movement to “go green” has been a hot topic the past few years. Sometimes though, the eco-friendly choice isn’t always the most frugal or financially-friendly choice. For instance, eco-friendly or sustainably produced building materials are generally more costly upfront and it might take years before you see some return on your initial investment other than feeling good about “going green”.
Luckily, by implementing the 3 R’s: reduce, reuse, and recycle, you can save money and “go green”. Here are just a few examples of how the eco-friendly choice can also be the frugal choice.
Saving energy by setting your thermostat lower in the winter and higher in the summer can save you quite a bit of money throughout the course of year. Instead of relying on your thermostat to keep you comfortable while you run around the house in a t-shirt and thin pants, you can layer on some extra clothes and turn your thermostat down in winter. During the summer months, use ceiling fans, windows, and oscillating fans as a way to save money on utility bills.
Reducing your water use is also a good move for the environment that will also save you money. Installing low-flow shower heads and parts on your toilets and faucets will cost a little money upfront, but they last for years and will pay for themselves many times over by the time you have to replace them. You can also set up a barrel to catch rain water the drains from your home’s gutters and use it water house plants or your garden.
Try to borrow things instead of always buying them. Whenever I’m working on a house project, I always ask my dad if I can borrow some of his tools so I don’t have to go out and buy a set myself. This saves me money and reduces clutter in my home since most of these tools aren’t needed on a regular basis.
I try not to indulge in take-out coffee very often, but when I do I always take my own reusable cup. My initial investment in this cup was $1 and I know I’ve saved way more money than that over the life of my cup. Plus I’ve saved a lot of resources from being used once and thrown away. At my local Starbucks you get a $.10 discount if you bring your own reusable coffee cup. This may not seem like much, but it does add up if you were going to spend money on their coffee anyway.
Save Money By Recycling
Find ways to recycle things you would normally throw away. For instance, I am able to salvage a lot of things that many households would throw away and my parents use them for compost in their garden. I commonly take a bag full of “garbage” out to my parent’s compost pile. This reduces the amount of waste going to the landfill and saves my parents from having to buy good garden soil from another source.
I have a set of trashcans in my garage that I use just for recycling. There’s one for aluminum, one for cardboard, and one for plastic. I also have a smaller container for glass and a box for magazines and paper. By making recycling these items a part of my routine, I’ve saved a lot of recyclable items from going to the landfill. Since my city charges based on the number of times they pick up your trash each month, I can save money by recycling as much as possible so I don’t have to put my trashcan out by the curb each week. Plus, the aluminum recycling plant pays a small amount each time you bring in your recycling.
What are some ways you reduce, reuse, recycle and save money? Do you use your trash as a way to supplement your gardening needs? What is one outside the box idea you use to save you money?
Photo courtesy of: EpSos.de