One of the great advantages about thinking of ways to preserve and protect our environment is that it often puts money back in our pocket. This shouldn't be the only reason why you would take steps to be greener, but it's an added bonus that we cannot overlook. I started writing for a website called RezHub.com which focuses on helping travelers make their travel more green, and I've learned a lot from the green community in the past 8 months that's helped me take a look at my own daily habits and how I can change them to protect the environment. What I've found during the process is that I'm saving more money and feeling good about breaking some of my wasteful habits. Here are 10 things I've done to help protect the environment and save money.
1. Installed a programmable thermostat. During the summer, the temperature is warmer during the day and cooler at night and vice versa for the winter. We're typically not home much during the day, so it doesn't make sense to cool a home with no one in it.
2. Pack Light. So many airlines charge for extra checked baggage, so it's easy to spend an extra $50 to $100 for a round-trip flight. Plus, lighter travelers means less stress on the airplane, which means the airplane will use less fuel. If you're on a road trip and you pack lighter, your car will improve gas mileage and you'll save money on gas.
3. Water my grass once a week. The rule of thumb is to water your grass twice a week, but I've been doing it once a week for the past year, and my grass looked great in the warm months. Obviously, your geographic region might cause you to disagree with this if you live in a really dry climate, but for the most part, mother nature takes care of enough watering to keep your yard looking nice. I cut my water bill in half when I started watering only once a week.
4. Make your own cleaning products. You could easily save $40 to $50 a month by making your own cleaning products and you won't be splashing harsh chemicals all over your house and body. Here's a good how-to article from Care2.
5. Buy a stainless steel water bottle. Take it with you wherever you go. You'll be drastically reducing your plastic consumption and the stainless steel keeps the water cooler for much longer.
6. Insulate your attic. Your attic should already be insulated, but it might be really old or a cheap product that isn't doing the job well. Good insulation is very inexpensive, and if you have good access to your attic, this is a project you can complete on a weekend. You'll immediately notice the cost savings during the really cold months and really hot months.
7. Walk whenever possible. You're killing three birds with one stone here. You're reducing your carbon emissions, saving money on fuel, and getting exercise. How could that be any better? This is also a great rule to abide by when traveling. Taxi and bus fare can really add up, so if you're in a big city, try walking to your destination inside of driving.
8. Carpool to work. I don't do this, because I work in a small office, but if you work in a large office, the chances of a co-worker living near you are great. Choose someone you're comfortable with and won't annoy you, because the last thing you need when having a bad morning is someone annoying the crap out of you.
9. Visit farmer's markets and co-ops for fresh groceries. It may not be much cheaper, but it will keep you out of grocery stores that try to lure you into buying food you don't want or need. You'll also be eating organically and supporting local farmers which helps stimulate your local economy.
10. Be creative with entertainment. Some of my best memories with friends are going to the park and playing sports, cooking food outside, and just enjoying the day. It's so much cheaper than going to the movies or an amusement park, and it's much better quality time because you have less distractions.
These are just a few of many green ideas to save you money, so what are some of yours? What do you do on a daily basis that helps you save money and preserve the environment?