The new year brings new resolutions, except for the occasional few that always ends up back on the list: Get in shape, quit a vice, keep in touch with family and save money. Last year I resolved to make money and save it, and actually succeeded. Then I splurged on a backpacking trip through Europe halfway through 2008. Not bad.Many people choose to save money as a resolution. If that is yours, did you know you can actually save green by being green? Here are five tips I will be following this year:
Use a reusable water bottle. Stop buying bottled water and carry a stainless steel, aluminum or even a nice plastic bottle. Say I drink a liter of bottled water a day, that’s about a dollar daily. If I spend $7-20 on a nice bottle, I save about $300 a year! Also, less bottled water means I prevent the pollution of liters and liters of ground water by the bottling industry.
Ride a bike. This is one of my favorite resolutions and favorite ways to save green while being green. It’s like
planting two trees with one seed: I will save money on gas and get fit while I’m at it. Well, maybe even three trees: I create less air and noise pollution. Imagine if everyone rode their bike?
Ditch the paper towel. I know, it is such a convenience, but try splurging on a few inexpensive washable towels for cleaning up messes and picking up dirt and dust. It also helps save all that green spent on paper towels every month (say a roll costs $2 and I buy one every other week, that’s $48 saved a year). We save a good load of trees which gives us clean breathable air, gratis!
Turn down the thermostat. If you are paying your own bills, you know how heat and AC can be the source of all evil. We can save money and a bit of the planet by simply wearing an extra layer on a cold night or enjoying a breezy fan on a summer day. In the winter, set the thermostat to 68 F (or less while you’re sleeping or not home) and in the summer set it at 78 F (or more). Hint: Make sure the house or apartment is properly sealed, so your controlled air (and money) does not leak through cracks.
Air dry. The laundry, I mean (although some people like to air dry themselves, that’s a personal choice). This year I plan on getting either a folding drying rack ($20-30) or a clothes line ($10). Not only do I keep from spending a dollar for every cycle on laundry every other week (that’s $48 a year), but it also prevents the energy waste in heating all those clothes (especially helpful if you have a dryer at home and pay for your own bills). If you must use a dryer, make it efficient, such as clearing the lint filter, drying full loads, and separating heavy fabrics from lighter ones.
So here I am, saving a few hundred bucks in 2009 and a little bit more of the planet. And that is me being stingy. Good luck to everyone with their New Year’s resolutions!
Photo credit: Stephanie Bercht