23 Effortless Ways to Go Green (and Save Money, Too)


Believe it or not, going green and saving money often directly align, since consuming fewer resources results in less pollution and costs less, as well. Here are a few ways to help the earth by spending less — or even by spending nothing! (See also: 12 Green Living Habits That'll Save You Every Month)

1. Eat less meat

Eat less red meat and move down the food chain for cheaper food and less environmental impact. You could also incorporate a meat-free day of the week to scale back on meat consumption, while also helping the environment and spending less on groceries. (See also: 35 Slow Cooker Recipes for Busy (or Lazy) Vegetarians)

2. Fight food waste

The best way to spend less on food is to throw less food away. Shop carefully to avoid overbuying, and preserve excess food items to reduce food waste going to the landfill.

3. Drink tap water

Infrastructure is already in place to provide drinking water to your home, so why pay extra to have drinking water bottled and shipped hundreds of miles or more? (See also: 8 Things We Keep Buying That Are Killing the Planet)

4. Resist fast food

Cut down on fast food with its wrappers, bags, boxes, disposable cups, and plastic straws. You'll keep waste out of the landfill and save money, too.

5. Catch water with a rain barrel

Use a rain barrel to provide water for your plants with no chlorine or other added chemicals. This saves the energy of pumping water out of the ground, and you'll save on your water bill.

6. Create a no-mow zone

Consider creating a natural space in your yard that does not require mowing. This will save time and energy mowing, and provides a habitat for wildlife in your yard. (See also: Turn Your Backyard Into a Wildlife Refuge for Under $40)

7. Drive a gas-sipper, not a gas-guzzler

Get the most fuel-efficient car that meets your daily needs. If you occasionally need more capacity, you can borrow or even rent a vehicle and still come out ahead. You'll spend less on gas every day and add less pollution to the air.

8. Air up your car tires

Keeping your tires fully inflated is the easiest thing you can do to improve your fuel economy. Air up your tires for a couple quarters at the gas station to save money — and gas — every time you drive.

9. Walk whenever possible

Everyone knows you can save money and burn less gas by walking or riding a bike instead of driving. If this is not feasible, try to combine trips to reduce how much driving you need to do.

10. Use public transit or carpool

You may be able to have someone else drive you to work, freeing up some time to read and relax on the ride while saving gas, too. If you do not have convenient mass transit in your area, see if your employer has organized a carpool, or start your own.

11. Send email, not snail mail

Use email rather than snail mail for letters, paying bills, and sending greeting cards to reduce the carbon footprint from trucking mail around. Plus, you can also save money on postage.

12. Avoid gratuitous tech upgrades

It takes a lot of resources and energy to produce a technology device. Before you get rid of your current device and pay extra get the new model, consider whether the upgrade is really worthwhile.

13. Use rechargeable batteries

If you find yourself throwing away a lot of batteries, pick up some rechargeable batteries you'll save money and reduce waste from spent batteries going to the landfill.

14. Resist Ctrl+P

Work to reduce the amount of printouts and paper copies of documents you make. Save paper, ink, toner, space, and money but cutting back on printing.

15. Reduce A/C and heating

In summer, turn off the A/C and open the windows (and maybe turn on a fan). In the winter, turn down the heat and put on a sweater. You'll end up saving fossil fuel and money.

16. Replace furnace filters

Regularly replace your furnace filter with a clean one so your heating and cooling system runs at higher efficiency, saving money and energy.

17. Reduce wasted electricity

Turn off unused lights and unplug appliances when you're done using them to reduce your electric bill and your demand for electric energy production.

18. Dry clothes on a clothesline

Use free solar power in your yard to dry clothes on a clothesline. Save money, electricity, and wear-and-tear on your clothes dryer.

19. Use LED bulbs

An easy green upgrade is to replace your incandescent light bulbs with LED light bulbs. This will save you money on your electric bill and reduce your energy consumption to light your home.

20. Reduce disposable products

After realizing how many plastic spoons and forks I was throwing away at lunch, I took a set of silverware from home to work and use it every day. Try to identify disposable products you are using and replace them with reusable products instead.

21. Buy stuff that lasts longer

The initial cost of higher quality products may be higher, but the overall cost of ownership is lower over the life of the product. Longer-lasting products are greener than products that need to be replaced after a short life, as it requires less resources to meet a lower product demand.

22. Just say 'no' to excessive packaging

Choose products that minimize packaging, and therefore waste. For example, use refillable dispensers for items such as hand soap and laundry soap that you can replenish from an efficient bulk container. The bulk supply is often cheaper than buying a new dispenser each time, too.

23. Use reusable shopping bags

Paper or plastic? How about neither! Some stores offer a discount if you bring your own shopping bag. For example, a local store near me offers 10 cents per bag discount, or you can donate it to charity. Plus, I find that my reusable bags are sturdier and better protect my items than disposable plastic bags.

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