Many of us are way too busy to do our share to help the environment — or at least, that's how it feels much of the time. We'd like to join the fight against global warming, but who has the time? Helping the environment isn't just good for the earth... it's good for your pocketbook too. You can do it in small ways, at home and when you drive, and those ways will add up to major changes worldwide, and big changes that you'll see in your budget. Continue reading for 10 tips on how to save money saving the planet.
1. CFLs. Replace regular light bulbs with compact fluorescent light blulbs (CFLs), which are slightly more expensive but will last much longer and burn less energy when they're on. This is a small change but it adds up to big savings over time.
2. Energy-efficient appliances. There are many new energy-efficient water heaters, washers, dryers — any electrical appliance in your house, in fact. This can save tons on your power bill. Other alternatives: don't use hot water for everything, and dry your clothes using a clothes line.
3. Buy used if possible. Before buying something new, ask friends or relatives, look at garage sales or thrift shops, look on eBay or other similar sites where used stuff is sold. You're helping a product live longer, thus reducing the impact on the environment, and at the same time getting it much cheaper (and sometimes just like new).
4. Make your own coffee. If you buy coffee from a trendy coffee shop, this can save you tons every year. At $4 a pop, Starbucks (or similar) coffee can add up to nearly $1,500 a year if purchased once a day. Twice a day, and you can double that figure. Making coffee at home costs only cents, and if you buy Fair Trade coffee, you're helping poor farmers and the environment. Buy in bulk to save more.
5. Eat in more. Instead of eating at fast food joints (which are horrible damagers of the environment) or expensive sit-down restaurants, save huge amounts of money by creating a simple menu, buying the groceries, and cooking at home. You can create very easy dinners in 15 minutes or less, and the cost will be a fraction of what it costs to eat out. You can avoid the excessive packaging of fast food (not to mention their ravaging of the rain forests) to help the environment.
6. Ride a bike, walk, carpool. Driving contributes to global warming and the depletion of our natural resources, not to mention pollution. So the less you drive, the better. Even if you only replace a few trips a week with a bike or walking or carpooling, you're doing your part to help stop global warming and save on gas money at the same time. Walk your kid to school, bike to the corner store, carpool or commute by bike to work.
7. Gas-saving driving. If you must drive, at least ensure that you're using less gas by doing so. Some common recommendations to do so: ease up on the gas pedal and brake pedal, be sure your tires are inflated and your engine is running smoothly, don't have your car on idle for too long, and get a fuel-efficient car.
8. Less waste. The excessive packaging of most products today, and the use of paper and plastic disposable products, is a huge contributor to the destruction of the environment. Look for products that use less packaging, or buy in bulk (or at co-ops where you bring your own containers), and use real plates and silverware instead of paper or plastic ones. Bring cloth grocery bags when you go shopping instead of using paper or plastic.
9. Insulation. Be sure your house is properly insulated to save on heating and cooling costs. Many people allow their house to lose a ton of energy a year by neglecting this important step.
10. Push mower. If you've got a relatively flat yard, and you keep your grass fairly short, today's motorless push mowers are easy to use and consume zero gas. They're not the old fashioned mowers of your grandpa's generation — they actually run very smoothly.
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To make Black Friday shopping a little easier, here is a collection of the most popular stores and their ads. Click on a store's name, then start planning your shopping tactic by making a list and sticking to it. And don't forget to wear comfortable shoes, chances are you'll be waiting in long lines! Keep checking back, we'll be adding more as we find them. Enjoy and be safe.
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