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A lot of people think that going green means investing in expensive solar panels and recycling machines.
That is absolutely not true.
I’ve tried out small things that did not cost me huge amounts of money and, in return, I’ve managed to save a lot more money.
Following are some simple things that I did around the house and some sensible decisions I made when it came to big purchases — like buying a car, for example.
I’ve decided to go green all my life.
There are many benefits to that decision, and a lot of them will help pad my checking account eventually.
Sure, there are run-of-the-mill “going-green” ideas like recycling and reusing grocery bags that you probably already know of, but these are some simple things that I did that not only saved me a lot of money, but also made Mother Earth happy.
#1 Compact Fluorescent Bulbs = Lower Electric Bills
The first thing I did when we renovated our home recently was to replace all bulbs with CFLs, and I noticed that our electricity bills dropped significantly over a period of 8 months.
This is because CFL bulbs are more energy-efficient, meaning you’ll see the result of using them in your electric bill.
It’s a good idea to replace regular bulbs with CFLs at regular intervals — or when you find them on sale — instead of bearing the expense of replacing all the light bulbs in your home at once.
I was lucky. There was a garage sale very close to my house around the time we were renovating it, and the missus had to just walk across the block to talk to the nice lady who sold her CFL bulbs and other light fixtures.
The investment you make in CFL bulbs will be worth the cost, and they last longer than traditional light bulbs. A bulb that lasts longer has to be replaced less often, so the math is really very simple.
#2 A Garden = Fewer Trips To The Grocery Store
Okay, the credit for this one goes to my wife and the kids. Around a year ago, we decided to start growing our own veggie garden.
At first, my wife was completely against this because she was very possessive about the flowers she had nurtured over the years. Eventually, she agreed that we were taking too many trips to the store, which did not make sense at the end of the day since there were definitely some veggies and herbs that we could grow in our own backyard.
By taking fewer trips to the grocery store, we were definitely saving money. (As an FYI, I own a Hybrid Nissan that is eco-friendly. But even then, the savings made by not taking frequent trips to the store was significant.)
So we researched what grows best in our region and checked whether we had enough space to grow everything.
We don’t have a huge garden, so we stuck to growing tomatoes and some greens. But I can tell you that I am saving at least $100 a month because of our decision to start a garden. Some of my neighbors have bigger gardens, and they even manage to sell their produce at the local farmer’s market.
In addition, my kids are always helping us with garden stuff, so saving money in this way is also a family activity.
#3 Buying A Hybrid Vehicle = Lower Auto Insurance Bills
I have a day job that requires me to commute long distances. Sometimes, I might need to fill in for the salesperson, which means that I have to travel out of town at times.
The problem is that my company doesn’t pay for my gas bills, since I’m not considered a ‘real’ salesperson.
Back when I was driving a diesel car, that brute was literally eating up everything I was saving elsewhere. I thought about this for a long time, researched a lot, and read somewhere that purchasing a hybrid vehicle could lower my gas costs. Mind you, at that time, I wasn’t really environment conscious; I just wanted to save some gas money. This probably was the best big decision I made in recent years.
I managed to sell my car at a decent price and bought a hybrid car that was a good fit for my budget (which was not much). And even better, my insurance company, AutoInsurance.us, offered me a policy discount for going green!
Not only did I manage to save money on buying a hybrid car, I am also saving money every single month.
Recently, my company also started footing my gas bills, so I am saving more than I imagined. I’m saving around $300 a month — which is awesome — compared to the $200 I was spending on company trips in my previous car.
#4 Skipping Bottled Water = More Money To Spend On Other Things
My wife and I are a bit health conscious, especially when it comes to the health of our two kids.
We never drank tap water, because for some weird reason, we thought the water was not good enough for us, especially the kids. Most of the neighbors in our community also bought bottled water, which made drinking bottled water the most natural thing to do for us.
This was until we found that we were spending too much money on the most basic and available resource: water.
We read up and realized that marketers spend big bucks on advertising bottled water for a reason. The average cost of bottled water is approximately $3.79 per gallon. City water, on the other hand, is less than 1 cent per gallon.
After a thorough study, we came to realize the fact that there’s no scientific evidence that bottled water is better for the human body, so we stopped buying bottled water and we now store tap water in reusable bottles in the fridge.
This is another $100 easily saved.
I am not saying that everyone has to switch to tap water. I’m aware that this might not be feasible in many locations, but this move certainly did save us a lot of money.
#5 Collecting Rainwater = Lower Water Bills
This was a fun DIY project for my family.
We set up storage tanks at vantage points around the house and on the roof. We collected all the water for our garden and houseplants, and to bathe our pets.
This is a project that turned out to be not only enjoyable, but also highly profitable in the end. You can easily find how to collect rainwater if you spend 10 minutes on the Internet, which is what it took me.
So while there were many advantages to our going green, perhaps the biggest one was improving our financial health. And while I might be helping save the planet, I am also cutting down on my family’s energy and grocery bills.
If you have any simple, money-saving, green ideas, please feel free to share them, too.
Shaun Chatman is a well published author on many authority sites. He lives in Dunedin, FL, and spends his free time playing with his kids or advising friends on tech, gadgets, finance and travel.
My experience with living green consists of taking baby steps (like making one big change each year as my New Year's resolution) — because I've seen too many people burn out on trying to 'Save the Planet'. I share a lot of Simple Ways To Go Green, as I find new and successful strategies that have worked for me. While I'm baby-stepping my ecofriendly habits in life, you will find me at the corner of Good News & Fun Times as publisher of The Fun Times Guide (32 fun & helpful websites).