With glaciers melting, forests shrinking, and animal species becoming extinct, the world needs your help, and so does your wallet. Living a sustainable life not only helps our planet drastically, but it can also help you save money. Below, we give you 6 of the best sustainable practices you can implement in your daily life to reduce your expenses and your carbon footprint.
1. Replacing Your Toilet
Believe it or not, toilets manufactured before 1980 use a whopping average of 5 gallons of water per flush, according to the Environmental Protection Agency. Additionally, replacing these old toilets with modern toilets can save you $140 per year in water costs, and $2,400 over the lifetime of your toilet. While it may cost you a few hundred dollars upfront to replace a toilet, it will save you more money down the line and save freshwater. Even better, some companies offer rebates when you replace your old toilet with a more efficient one, putting more money in your pocket.
2. Line-Drying Clothes
Most dryers don’t come with an Energy-Star rating because they use so much electricity to dry your clothes. However, those that do can use 20% less energy, helping you save money on your utility bill. However, one way around this is by line-drying your clothes outside or by using a drying rack. Plus, line-drying your clothes will reduce air and water pollution from power plants, so you can have a healthy conscious knowing you did your part.
3. Electronic Recycling
Unlike antiques that grow in value over time, electronics sadly don’t. No one wants a “vintage” computer that doesn’t even turn on. But what do you do when you upgrade your electronics? Many manufacturers and retailers have buyback programs where they will give you cash for your old electronics, such as phones, computers, and printers. Or, you can donate your old electronics to 501(c)(3) organizations as a charitable contribution and get a tax break. Electronic recycling doesn’t stop there, either. You can even recycle toner cartridges at many stores, such as Staples, Walmart, and Best Buy.
4. Plant Trees Around Your Home
This may not be the first thought that comes to mind when trying to live sustainably but planting trees around your home can save you tons of money. Planting tall, lush trees such as evergreens will provide shade during the hot summer months and decrease the temperature in your home so you don’t have to put the AC on blast. And during the winter, tall trees will block wind and reduce heating costs during those cold, dark months. This tactic can save up to 25 percent of a typical home’s energy use, drastically cutting down your energy bill.
5. Drive Efficiently
You may already know this, but drive your car with a V8 engine is probably putting a huge dent in your wallet every time you go to fill up. If you find yourself constantly at the gas station even though you just threw in $20, it may be time to upgrade to a car with better gas mileage. It’s best to find a car that gets at least 30 miles per gallon, or, invest in an electric or hybrid car for the ultimate savings. Not only will you spend less on gas, but you’ll also reduce the amount of fossil fuels destroying the ozone. Other car-related sustainable practices that will save you money include:
- Carpooling to work or using public transportation
- Reduce the amount of time spent idling by shutting your car off
- Regularly rotate your car tires and make sure they’re always filled
6. Shop Smart
We know, it’s hard to resist the urge to shop when you have a closet full of clothes but nothing to wear. If you want to heal your relationship with money, you have to shop smart. What does this mean? This means not making any impulse buys, such as that electronic vegetable peeler that saves you a mere 10 seconds when skinning carrots. The same goes for food. Sure, we may tell ourselves we deserve that nice dinner at our favorite restaurant but check to see if you have food in the cabinets first. Other ways to shop smart and sustainably include:
- Using reusable bags instead of paper or plastic
- Buying a reusable water bottle instead of plastic water bottles
- Shopping second hand for clothes, appliances, and goods
- Creating a budget so you don’t overspend
The Bottom Line
Saving money while living sustainably doesn’t have to be as hard as it seems. All it takes is a few lifestyle adjustments, such as shopping smart and reducing energy consumption, to save you money and our planet. Over time, these actions will become habits, and you won’t even notice you’re doing them!