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Millionaire Money Habits

August 24th, 2009 at 11:00 am

Inexpensive Ways to Go Green

We all know that it’s important to protect our environment, but sometimes it might seem like a chore, not to mention expensive.  These tips will prove to you that there are inexpensive ways to go green.  You may have to shell out in the beginning, but the cost saved over time can be significant, and therefore, worth the investment.

  • Here’s an obvious one.  Recycle!  Nowadays, most cities and towns offer recycling service.  (If not, don’t be afraid to take action and get one started.)  It won’t take any extra time to toss that plastic bottle into a separate bin next to the garbage can.
  • Put your car on hiatus and walk, bike, or even rollerblade to work.  You’ll save money on gas, significantly reduce emissions (because you won’t be emitting any!), and get a great workout!
  • Maybe you’re like me; you’d love to walk or bike to work, but your commute is just too darn far.  You’d have to start an hour ago to get there by tomorrow morning.  Don’t forget about carpooling.  Many of us did it as kids as someone else’s mom picked us up for school; you can carpool to work, too.  Perhaps someone in your office lives near you.  Offer to drive together and split the cost of gas.  You can also search online—your area may offer a ride-share program.
  • This one is really simple, and it will actually save you money: unplug your appliances, computers, etc. after using them.  Believe it or not, simple household items like your toaster still draw electricity just by being plugged in.  So take that extra two seconds to pull the plug so you’re not paying for unused voltage.
  • Invest in fluorescent or other energy-saving light bulbs.  They may cost more initially, but they last significantly longer, saving you money in the long run and reducing the amount of wasted electricity.
  • Turn down the heat in the winter and turn up the temperature in the summer—or don’t use your air conditioner at all if the weather is bearable enough.  Even a few degrees can make a difference in your energy usage and the cost of your bill.  Open the windows and turn on the fans in summer, and pull out the comfy blankets and sweaters in winter.
  • Insulate your water heater and pipes.  They’ll lose less heat, and that means they won’t have to work as hard (read: use as much energy) to stay hot.
  • Wash your clothes in cold water.  It will save energy since the water doesn’t need to be heated, and you’ll still be able to take a hot shower at the same time!  And you don’t have to worry about your clothes not getting a clean.  While I personally still use regular laundry detergent with no problems, some brands make detergent designed specifically to work well in cold water.
  • Shop for groceries at your local farmer’s market instead of the local supermarket.  Not only will your produce be fresh (and tastier), they didn’t waste any fuel or cause any emissions through being transported from another part of the state or country.
  • Get all your business done online.  Pay your bills on the respective company’s website, or even through your bank’s website, and request electronic statements instead of paper ones.

This is just the beginning.  Take some time to consider your daily routine—what else can you modify to go green and save money?

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