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Go Green and Save Money!

Laurie Campbell

Earth Day is April 22 so we're focusing on saving money by saving Mother Nature. Most people tend to think that making greener, more environmentally-friendly choices is expensive or will end up costing you more, and that going green is reserved for the rich, but making small changes in your everyday choices can not only save you money, but you will also be doing a greater good for the Earth and future generations.

Save Money by Saving the Environment

There’s no doubt that incorporating alternative sources of energy into our homes, such as solar or wind power, requires significant upfront costs that most of us can’t afford. But the truth is there are simpler, more cost-effective green choices we can all make that will help us save the evironment (and money!) in the long-run.

In this blog you will learn how to save money by:

  • Cutting down on transportation costs
  • Making healthier lifestyle choices
  • Develop ongoing recycling habits
  • Reduce energy consumption
  • Reduce heat loss

Ready to Go Green and Save?

Here are my favourite eco-friendly money-saving tips to help flush out those extra expenses:

  1. Take transit, walk more and dust off your bike. Transportation costs can be crazy. We’ve seen it with many, many of our clients. By carpooling or ditching your car and taking transit you could be saving yourself hundreds, if not thousands, of dollars a year. Some people decide to get rid of their car entirely and instead use a service like zipcar to save a ton of cash in car expenses and insurance. Using a bike to get across town will not only save you money and time sitting in traffic, but you’ll also be doing something healthy for your body. Most major cities have invested in great bike routes—use them! And don’t forget about the most infallible mode of transportation—your feet. Walking to your friend’s place or to a local shop instead of grabbing the car keys will do wonders for you, your mental health, and your wallet.
  2. Reduce, reuse, recycle. Reduce waste by spending less on packaged goods and products. For example, I have a friend who makes 100 percent natural body products, such as moisturizers, balms, scrubs, etc. I bring back the containers and she gives me a discount, plus I know I’m using products that are non-toxic. (Who doesn’t like that?) Reuse anything and everything you canfrom bottles, cups, and containers to clothing and furniture. And do not forget to recycle! It’s almost an obsession for some us at Credit Canada.
  3. Don’t throw anything away. The last place for anything I get rid of is the garbage. Especially nowadays when it’s so easy to give things we no longer use to people who can really appreciate them. And with free apps like Letgo, websites like Kijiji, organizations like the Furniture Bank and countless shelters across the country, there really is no excuse to throw things away. It might not save you money, but it will for someone else who probably needs it more than you, and sometimes that’s the best thing anyone can do. 
  4. Donate to thrift stores. If spring cleaning means going through your closet and getting rid of garments you no longer use, take a trip to a thrift store you love and donate your purge. Most thrift stores will give you a discount based on what you bring in. What about those garments that no human should ever reuse? Bring them to H&M. You can drop off any unwanted garment, no matter what condition it’s in, at any store location and they’ll make sure it doesn’t end up in a landfill. (Plus you'll get a discount on your next purchase. Bonus!)
  5. Unplug. Did you know that electronics and appliances can still draw energy even when they’re not being used? This is called phantom power and it can account for up to 20 percent of your home’s energy use. Unplug electronics and small appliances when they are not being used, like the microwave, coffee machines, toasters and blenders. 
  6. LEDs. Yes, they’ll cost you more upfront but they last 50 times longer than regular incandescent bulbs (50,000 hours versus 1,000 hours) and use 80 percent less energy than a 40-watt incandescent bulb. With average use, LEDs can last over two decades—minimum!
  7. Let the sun shine in. Using natural daylight can cut your home’s lighting costs by up to 80 percent! It’s especially useful to do during spring when it’s not too hot, to avoid over-heating your home.
  8. Ceiling fans. I’m a fan of ceiling fans because they use a fraction of the energy air conditioners normally use. In fact, they only use about 10 percent of the energy used to run a window air conditioner. If you have ceiling fans in your home make sure they turn counter clockwise in the summer, so air blows straight down, and clockwise during winter to help distribute the heated air.
  9. Awnings. Awnings are those window coverings you see extending from the top of the window, or over a patio extending across one side of the home. They're considered an "old school" solution but awnings can reduce heat gain by about 55-77 percent, and in some climates they can save you as much as 25 percent off your energy bill.
  10. Re-caulking & weather stripping.  You want to minimize drafts in your home because drafts cost you money. Think about it: You spend so much money all year round conditioning the air in your home only to have it literally go out the window. The average home loses about 30 percent of its heat due to drafts! The good news is you can re-caulk your windows and doors, as well as replace the weather stripping to help stop drafts in their tracks.

These are just a few green changes you can make at home and in your life that can help keep you, your wallet and the Earth healthy and happy, because we all win when we care. For more ways to save money, check out our blog on The 12 Best Budgeting Tips for Lower Income Families and our free Tips and Tools.  

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Topics: Saving Money

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