8 Ways to Save Money While Saving the Earth

Here's hoping you had a very happy Earth Day!  Personally, it was a simply crazy time for me; having a baby can very rapidly turn ‘free day when I can get caught up on my blog writing' into ‘somehow, I have spent 12 hours looking at my daughter today, and didn't accomplish anything else'.  (That's looking at, not looking after, as it's understandable that I don't get anything else accomplished when I am caring for a four-month old baby.  It's less understand when I look over my wife's shoulder at said baby.)

All of which will help explain why there was no Earth Day post (or post of any kind) yesterday.  But fear not!  I have returned, my daughter is (relatively) settled, and I'm here to share some ways to cut your costs and help ensure that the planet doesn't go into a post-apocalyptic, broken environment scenario before my daughter is old enough to enjoy it.  I've shared some ideas on previous Earth Days, but there are plenty of good ideas out there, all of which can benefit the planet while not only not costing you money, but actually saving it over time.  Yes, it's time to consider

Ways to Save Money While Saving the Earth

1. Stop Buying Books: ‘Heresy!', I can hear you shout, ‘How can I, and for that matter you, do without books?' You'll note that I didn't say to stop reading books, though; just there are ways to read books without buying them.  From getting digital book units (think Nook and Kindle) to reading classic books online to this thing called a ‘library' that lets you borrow books for free, there are plenty of places to sate your bibliographic hunger without buying books.  (Barring any of that, you could buy used, as noted below, and save the books from being thrown away.)

It's also nice to have a beautiful sky to see when you look outside
It's also nice to have a beautiful sky to see when you look outside

2. Cut Down the Water When You Shower: I'll admit, this can be a hard one (I like a long, relaxing shower myself), but if you keep your bathing swift, your water bill will thank you.  You can do this simply by cutting down the time between when you enter the shower and when you leave, or by pausing the water when you are soaping and shampooing up.  If you are really trying to save energy when cleaning, you can opt for a short, cold shower, but that's a bit more intensive than I, and I imagine most of you, are willing to go.

3. Use Vinegar and Baking Soda For Your Cleaning: To save money (and cut down the chemicals you need to buy/use near your family), you can look for natural alternatives.  Two of the most popular are vinegar and baking soda.  Individually, each has numerous uses, and combined, the reaction between them (the same one that powered the fake volcanoes of your elementary science fair) can be quite effective at everything from stain removal to unclogging toilets. They (and other homemade methods) make a pretty good method of doing many of the things that you'd normally reach for a chemical cleaner to do.

4. Buy Used:It's one of the biggest thing you can do to cut down your expenses while also helping the environment, so buying used helps all around.  In our increasingly disposable world, you can find everything from computers to cars that are still perfectly functional, but have been discarded for the new, hot thing.  (Or for cars, they may have simply run out their lease, which is something you shouldn't do in the first place.  But I digress.)  A little bit of shopping can cut down your cost substantially and keep useful tools out of the garbage.

5. Buy Local: Whenever possible, opt to buy from someone nearby.  You'll cut down on shipping, put money back into the local community, and usually get better food or other projects out of the deal.  I will admit, you'll likely pay more upfront in many cases (for food, particularly organically grown food, in particular), but the increased quality will mean fewer replacements (for the furniture, clothing, and other durable goods) and less health problems (for that food and related products) in the future.  Overall, your wallet will benefit.

6. Bicycle! Bicycle! I Want To Ride My Bicycle: Besides having a catchy theme song, bicycling to any location you are able will accomplish numerous advantages, for you, your wallet, and the planet.  You'll get exercise, the planet will get fewer pollutants, and your wallet will benefit from not having to pay out for gas or repairing the wear and tear on your car.  Granted, this method isn't available to some of us, but for most people, this represents a pretty good idea for most local transport.

7. Recharge Those Batteries: I know, I know: rechargeable batteries cost several times as much as disposable batteries, usually allowing you to buy a pack of twenty (or more) disposable batteries for the cost of four rechargeable ones.  But those rechargeable batteries will last for many dozens, perhaps hundreds, of charges, allowing them to keep working for years after the last of those disposables are, well, disposed.  Add in the chemical contents of the disposables (and the fact that most people, myself included, don't dispose of them properly), and rechargeable batteries are an environmental win all around.

8. Cut Down On The Packaging: There's a lot of things you can buy out there, and they come with various levels of packaging.  Buying the ones with less packaging will cut down on the amount of waste you put in the garbage, helping the environment.  Add in the fact that products with less packaging tend to be less expensive (think individual servings vs. bulk packaging of say, food) and you have a method of keeping your expenses to a minimum.

These are far from the only ways to cut down on your expenses and cut your impact on the environment, but they should give you a good start.  What are your favorite methods of saving money AND the planet?  Which have been the most successful for you?  How did you celebrate Earth Day?

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