Guest Blog: 5 Tips to Save Money While Going Green

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Going Green - Nerd Wallet Guest Post

Today’s post comes from our friends at Nerd Wallet–a great piece about how going green can save you money! To learn more about going green with Peach State, visit our Web site!

How Going Green Can Save You Money

 

When most people think of earth-friendly life changes, kindness and self-sacrifice come to mind rather than personal gain. What if caring for the planet also could save you money? Get ready to make some green changes because the truth is that going green will save you a significant amount of cash.

1. Green Your Work Commute

 

Research shows that carbon dioxide emissions would be reduced by 150 million pounds annually if just 5% of New York City car and taxi commuters switched over to mass transit, walking, or cycling. Making the switch from a daily car commute pays off handsomely in the financial realm as well. When you take into account the cost of gas, tolls, maintenance and other related expenses, taking mass transit to work instead of driving and reducing a two-car household to a single car could save you upwards of $9,000 annually depending on the cost of public transportation in your city.

 

Not ready to give up driving to work altogether? Start with these smaller steps:

  • Explore ride-share apps, like Zimride and Avego Driver, to create carpools.
  • Telecommute a day or two per week.
  • Adjust your schedule so you aren’t driving during rush hours, when you’d waste the most gas and create the most pollution.

 

2. Develop Greener Driving Habits

 

Let’s face it, most of us can’t or would never be willing to give up our cars, no matter how much they pollute, and not everyone can afford a hybrid or electric vehicle. Luckily, by making a few changes to your driving habits you can reduce your carbon footprint by as much as a ton per year, and increase your gas mileage by up to 30 percent. To reap these benefits:

  • Observe speed limits.
  • Maintain a steady speed where possible.
  • Accelerate and decelerate smoothly.
  • Keep up with scheduled tune-ups, oil and filter changes, and other maintenance.
  • Keep tires inflated at proper pressure (this alone could reduce your carbon emissions by 400 to 700 pounds per year).

 

3. Use Less Water

 

When it comes to protecting our precious limited water resources, you don’t have to sacrifice personal hygiene to conserve and save cash. Keep the following information in mind as you consider minimizing your water usage:

  • According to Bruce Hauschild, Nebraska’s Energy Office Engineer, as much as 43% of your hot water bill may stem from the time you spend in the shower! Just switching your showerhead to a low-flow type could save you $32.50 per person annually.
  • The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency estimates that installing a new low-flow toilet may reduce your water consumption by 20-60 percent.

 

4. Green Your Eating Habits

 

Changing the way you eat, and literally adding more green to your plate helps the planet and your wallet. Globally, meat consumption is associated with an estimated 18 percent of all carbon emissions, and buying meat is expensive too! If you’re up to the challenge, becoming a vegetarian enables you to spend less and reduce your annual carbon emissions. Even just lowering your meat consumption or substituting poultry for beef helps reduce your carbon footprint and saves money.

 

5. Conserve at Home

 

Be kinder to the planet and save money without even leaving the house! Here are just a few ways to green up your household chores:

  • Wash clothes in cold water and reduce associated energy consumption by about 90 percent.
  • Line-dry your laundry to conserve electricity and save about $100 per year.
  • Use energy star appliances.
  • Turn down the thermostat a few degrees.
  • Unplug electronics when not in use since anything plugged in continues to draw energy.
  • Use compact fluorescent light bulbs. They’re more expensive upfront, but they’ll save more in the long run.
  • Get a home energy audit to find out where you’re missing out on energy conservation and savings.

 

6. Freecycle!

 

A whopping 42 percent of greenhouse gas emissions in the U.S. come from the energy it takes to produce, process, transport and manage waste from commercial goods and food. With so many people discarding perfectly good appliances, electronics and more, why spend cash and create additional carbon waste by purchasing everything new?

 

A number of “freecyling” websites, like freecycle.org and free-economy.org, are available throughout the U.S. One of them might have exactly what you’re looking for. Keep perfectly good items from going to the dump and spare your wallet from a shopping spree by checking out these sites before you head to the mall.

 

Adopting a green lifestyle is a gradual process, as involved or as simple as you choose. Take comfort in knowing that every small step you take makes a real difference for the planet and your financial health. Each step translates into a better future for us all.

 

Damaris Olaechea, NerdWallet

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