15 Ways to Save Green While Going Green

15 Ways to Save Green While Going Green

Since Earth Day this year, I have been trying to figure out what my next green step will be.  I decided that I need to concentrate more on my family’s health – eating more organic foods and less chemicals in our personal products to start.   Most of this will cost more money.  So, first I am taking another look at how going green can save me some green.

Below are changes you can make with no impact on your budget.  Well, not exactly no impact – some of these ideas will save you money, time or both!  Even though they do not have an initial cost, they are a change from your normal routine.  Pick a few at a time.  When you have mastered those, pick a couple more.
A note about the Average Annual Savings:  I tend to be on the conservative side with this.  
1. Pay Bills Electronically  Minimally this saves you the stamp.  If you set up automatic payments, it will save you the time of paying the bill each month.  I found a few more I could switch.  Average Annual Savings: 12 * 0.44 = $5.28 per bill
2. Switch to Simple Cleaners  Next time you need some all-purpose cleaner, refill the spray bottle with equal parts vinegar and water and use that.  This will cost you about 30 cents per bottle instead of about $3-4  for the average all purpose cleaner.   Try some of these homemade cleaners for more savings.  Average Annual Savings: $7.40 
3. Stop Buying Anti-Bacterial or Disinfecting cleaners  Fill a spray bottle with vinegar and place a spray top on a bottle of hydrogen peroxide.  Spray one then the other on anything you wish to sanitize – counters, kitchen table, lunch bags, water bottles….  Do not use vinegar on granite counters.  Cost of 32 oz of vinegar =   40 cents, $1 for the hydrogen peroxide for a grand total of $1.40.  Average Annual Savings: $7.40
4. Plan Your Meals for the Week  Make a menu for the week and your grocery list BEFORE you go shopping – will curb those impulse buys and help not waste food by buying only what you need.  Americans throw away a lot of food – that’s money in the trash.  Estimates were all over the place, but let’s assume a conservative $10 per week.  Average Annual Savings: $520
5. Eat less Meat   Meat is expensive.  Learn a few meatless meals and cut your grocery budget and your fat intake!  If you can’t go completely meat free for a meal, reduce the meat and bulk up with more veggies or beans.  Let’s say you reduce your meat by 2 lbs a week at roughly $4 per pound and replace it with beans at $3.  Average Annual Savings: $250
6. Buy Dried Beans  Want to save even more, buy dry beans and cook them yourself.    Dry beans cost about 1/3 the price of canned.  This could increase your savings in#5 by:  Average Annual Savings: $104
7. Use Your Reusable Bags  They will save you 5 cents at Target (Make sure you ask, they tend to forget), Whole Foods, and you will be entered in a giveaway at Trader Joe’s.  Average Annual Savings: $1
8. Turn Your Hot Water Heater Down to 120  You may need to play with how low you can set your hot water heater.  How much you save depends on the temperature and the method of heating.  My Average Annual Savings: $50
9. Turn You hot Water Heater to VACATION when you are away   If you are going away for more than 3 days, turn your hot water heater to VACATION mode or way down.  Again, the savings will vary widely based on your hot water heater and how often you go away.  My Average Annual Savings: $20
10. Wash Your Clothes in Cold Water   Most of the energy used to wash your clothes goes into heating the water.  Take a look at this website to figure out how much you could save.  My Average Annual Savings: $70
11. Use Both Sides of the Paper for Printing   I rarely buy paper for my printer.  When I do, I use both sides.  I mostly use the backs of my children’s school papers for my printer.  Better yet, print less!  Need to keep an online receipt – save the page electronically.  Average Annual Savings: $15
12. Reduce Your Paper Towel Use   Try using reusable microfiber clothes or old towels or T-shirts instead.  They won’t take up much more room in your washing machine so you won’t be spending more on washing them.  Let’s say the average household uses 1 roll of paper towels per week.  If we cut that in half, Average Annual Savings: $24
13. Use Cloth Napkins   This is one of the first things I did to go green.  I couldn’t believe how easy it was.  I had some cloth napkins from a wedding present so I pulled them out.  I have not bought paper napkins in 4 years.   Average Annual Savings: $20
14. Buy Spices in Bulk at Whole Foods   I have mentioned this one several times.  I still can’t get over how inexpensive they are.  Obviously if you are making a special trip to Bedford or Andover for this, then the gas will negate any savings, but if you are in the area…. The spices cost pennies compared to $3-4 in a jar. Average Annual Savings: $20
15. Consolidate Your Errands   If you are a mom, you probably already do this.  You need to be efficient with your time so it makes sense.  I use my “To Do” lists to organize where and when I need to run errands.  I can then look at my list and plan my route accordingly to reduce the driving and the possibility I might forget something.  If you saved 10 miles of driving per week, 20 mpg for your mini-van, at $3 per gallon (I’m being optimistic!), Average Annual Savings: $78
How do you save money and the planet?

This post was shared at The Frugal Days, Sustainable Ways .  30 Days to Save Some Green


2 Responses to 15 Ways to Save Green While Going Green

  1. groovygreenlivin.com April 27, 2011 at 1:45 am #

    Great list Kristina! I always wash clothes in cold water and they come out very clean. I could certainly improve on planning meals for the week and consolidating errands (also involves planning!).

  2. The Greening Of Westford April 27, 2011 at 7:17 pm #

    Thanks Lori! I remember it took a while to convince myself that my clothes would come out clean washed in cold water. Once I switched, I never looked back.

    I fall in and out of the meal and errand planning. I am getting back on track with those! I love using my phone to help with this. I have Word docs on the phone for various “To Do” and shopping lists. I can add things where ever I am!

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