Save the Planet, Save Money

Tuesday is Earth Day, a day intended to inspire us to love our planet just a little bit more. I’m a practical woman and I know sometimes being eco-friendly seems to be so expensive. Well, it doesn’t have to be, so in honor of Earth Day and your wallet here are ten ways you can protect your planet and wallet at the same time.

1) Ditch bottled water. If you haven’t kicked this habit yet, do it today. Bottled water is no cleaner or safer than water from your tap. Buy a reusable water bottle, fill it from your tap or filter pitcher, and throw it in your purse or car as you leave each morning. Depending on how much bottled water you drink, you could save yourself several dollars a day.

2) Remind the checkout clerk of your nickel refund. Of course you take your own bags to the grocery store (if you don’t start today!) but the checkout clerks seem to forget the nickel refund per bag at least half the time. This won’t save you a lot but you should get something for your efforts!

3) Snack on organic fruits and veggies instead of organic processed snacks. Does the price of organic fruit make you balk? Organic fruits and veggies may cost more but they cost less per serving than organic processed foods, which require more energy to produce, package and ship than whole foods.

4) Produce less garbage. It amazes me how many recyclables get thrown into my garbage bin if I’m not careful – little scraps of paper especially. If you become an obsessive recycler you may be able to move to a smaller garbage bin, thereby incurring a smaller garbage bill. We just saved $5 on every garbage bill by downsizing our bin following our switch from disposable to cloth diapers. Take a peek and see what’s in your garbage bin that shouldn’t be.

5) Make your own cleaning products. It’s really not that hard. We use a mix of 1/4 cup white vinegar and several cups of water mixed in a spray bottle for our hardwood floors. This was the recommendation of the installation company. It cleans wonderfully, is practically free and is completely non-toxic.

6) Eat leftovers. Rather than throw out moldy leftovers that never get eaten, plan a leftovers night into your weekly menu. The less food you buy the more money you save and the lighter your footprint on this earth.

7) Eat vegetarian. No I haven’t sworn off meat, but even if you go vegetarian one night a week you can save quite a bit in your food budget. Raising livestock is much more energy-intensive than raising plants and beef costs more than broccoli.

8) Change your light bulbs. There’s no logical reason to still be using those “old-fashioned” light bulbs. Compact fluorescent light bulbs do cost more up front but they last forever (well, almost) and use so much less electricity that you quickly recoup the original cost and more.

9) Walk, walk, walk. I just cringe when I pull up to the gas station these days. With the cost of gas right now, anytime you can walk or bike somewhere your wallet will thank you as much as the planet.

10) Don’t buy anything. If you think twice before you buy anything, you may realize you can get by without it. Anything you buy has some impact on the planet to be produced, transported, etc, no matter how eco-friendly. I can’t think of a more inspirational way to love the earth and protect your wallet.

What do you do that is good for the earth and for your wallet?