America’s economic ills have caused many citizens to tighten their belts and think about their spending habits. While cutting back is always a challenge, there are many simple lifestyle changes that everyone can make to save money. Luckily, many of these debt-reducing adjustments will not only improve the shape of your wallet but the environment as well.
One of the easiest ways you can cut spending and go green is by altering your food and beverage routine. Start first thing in the morning by foregoing the popular coffee shop and making your own brew at home. Not only will a year of using your coffeemaker save you a small fortune, but the paper and plastic you’ll conserve by using a mug or thermos instead of disposable cups is a huge step towards a cleaner environment. In a similar vein, skipping bottled water frees up hundreds of dollars a year for the average consumer. Consider an inexpensive water filter if you’re concerned about the quality of your local water, and you’re good to go. Since up to 40 percent of the bottled water in stores is only filtered tap water, all you lose by filtering it yourself is the bottle – and the expense. And if you can drink smarter, why not eat smarter? Ditch Styrofoam containers and fast-food wrappers, and start bringing lunch to work and cooking more dinners at home. The cost savings here adds up quickly since you can make sandwiches and pasta for a fraction of the cost of your local deli.
Transportation can also be a huge monetary drain and an energy suck. Get active and walk or bike when running errands or heading to work. Using less gas will make your pockets fatter and the earth cleaner. If going on foot isn’t an option, try carpooling or using public transportation to reduce your carbon footprint. While most people can cut back, completely giving up your vehicle may not be possible. If you do drive, be sure to keep your car in good shape by taking it for regularly scheduled maintenance. Get your oil and air filter changed regularly to avoid spewing air pollution that ends up costing you about $0.15 per mile in gas.
One of the simplest things you can do around the house to save money is disconnect electronics that are not in use. “After a couple of really high electric bills, I started unplugging my TV, stereo, microwave, and computer when I wasn’t using them,” said Faith Rogers of Hyattsville, MD. She also began turning her air conditioner off as soon as her apartment got cool in the summer. “My bill went from $200 to between $100 and $130.” Rogers isn’t alone looking for ways to save on her utility bill. As the warm weather subsides, many people are hanging thermal drapes to keep the cold out and the heat in. Also, don’t waste energy heating rooms of your home that are rarely in use. Your electric bill will thank you.
Saving money while going green can be really easy to do. And these simple tips are a great place to start. With a little planning and effort, you can save thousands of dollars by 2012.