Earth Day is April 22, and in honour of this special day, we're focusing on saving money by saving the environment. Most people tend to think that making greener, more environmentally-friendly choices is expensive or will end up costing more. Or that going green is reserved for the rich. But making small changes in your everyday life can not only save you money, but you will also be doing something positive for the Earth and future generations.
Save Money by Saving the Planet
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 greener choices we can all make that will help us save the environment (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
10 environmentally-friendly tips that will help you save money
It's always wonderful when doing something positive for the environment can lead to multiple benefits in our personal and financial lives. The following tips are no exception. Below you will learn how making greener choices can save you money and increase the green in your life.
#1 Take transit, walk more and dust off your bike.
Transportation costs can be crazy. We’ve seen it with many of our clients. By carpooling or ditching your car and taking transit you could be saving 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 (aka the heel-toe express). 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 purchasing less packaged goods and products. Thanks to the gig economy and social media, many people today have side businesses where they make all-natural products, like moisturizers, balms, scrubs, etc., which require less packaging. Why not support small businesses and the environment too? In some cases, they'll even give you a discount if your bring back the original container. You should reuse anything and everything you can—from 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 to go is the garbage. Especially nowadays when it’s so easy to give things we no longer use to people who could 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 anything 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 any of us 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. But what about those garments no human should ever reuse? Take 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!)
Did you know electronics and appliances that are plugged in 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 Switch to 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, so you avoid over-heating your home.
#8 Use 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 the winter to help distribute the heated air.
#9 Add awnings to your home.
Awnings are those window coverings you see that extend out from the top of a window, or over a patio door. They're considered an "old school" solution but awnings can reduce heat gain by about 55-77 per cent, and in some climates they can save you as much as 25 per cent off your energy bill.
#10 Re-caulk and add weather stripping.
You'll 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.
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We all win when we care. 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 stay healthy and happy. For more ways to save money, check out our blog on The 12 Best Budgeting Tips for Lower Income Families, as well as our free Tips and Tools. And if you ever need some expert debt advice, we're just a phone call away. All of our counselling is 100% free, confidential and non-judgmental. Just give us a call at 1.800.267.2272.