We celebrate Earth Day on the 22nd of April, but what if we made every day Earth Day? You will save a couple of dollars by being frugal with resources on the day, but if you commit to being an environmentally friendly family all year round, it could make a big difference to your budget. We look at Earth Day activities that could become part of your way of life.
1. Save energy
Switching off the lights on earth day is a nice gesture, but if you’re going to waste energy throughout the year, it’s not going to help you or the environment. Get your family involved by suggesting the following ‘rules.’
- Use energy saving light bulbs.
- Always turn off the lights when leaving a room.
- Switch appliances off at the wall instead of leaving them on standby.
- Instead of turning up the heating, put on a sweater indoors.
- Only run air conditioning in the hottest weather (more tips here).
- Only turn on the geyser when hot water is needed.
- For more tips check out this post.
2. Save water
Not only is water a precious natural resource, but it also costs you money when it’s wasted. Resolve to do the following things from Earth Day onwards.
- Wash cars using buckets instead of the hosepipe.
- Sweep rather than spray down outdoor paving.
- Check your plumbing for water leaks.
- Place a bottle filled with water in your toilet cistern to reduce water used when flushing.
- Take short showers.
- Reduce or eliminate lawn area.
- Have a drought hardy garden and reduce irrigation.
- For more tips check out this post.
3. Save gas
Saving gas will reduce your contribution to greenhouse gas emissions, but it will also save you money, and it could help you to get fit too.
- Carpool for trips to work or school.
- Use public transport when possible.
- Walk or ride a bicycle for shorter trips.
- Service your car regularly (this will also reduce repair costs)
4. Get packaging-savvy
Not only does packaging add to landfills and increase pollution, but you also pay for it when you buy products. Reduce the amount you’d pay for packaging you’d only throw away by using these tips:
- Buy refills instead of bottles (e.g. detergent, spices).
- Buy produce with minimalist packaging (mainly fruit and veg).
- Boycott over-packaged products.
- Cut down on processed ‘instant’ foods.
We’re inclined to think of recycling as being something we do out of altruism only, but we can save money by recycling too!
- Repurpose packaging such as bottles and plastic tubs as food savers at home.
- Find out if your pledge to recycle can earn you discount coupons through recycling bank.
- Sell empty wine bottles and wine corks to crafters on E-bay.
- Look out for product loyalty programs that earn you benefits for collecting packaging.
6. Stick to the necessities
Consumerism not only hurts your wallet, but it also hurts the environment, so think twice before you buy anything. Of course, you need to treat yourself now and then, but make these luxuries meaningful by keeping them to a minimum and making a special occasion out of it.
7. Grow your own veggies
The more veggies you grow yourself, the less food you’ll buy from far afield. You reduce your carbon footprint and get cheap, healthy food right out of your garden.
8. Cut down your meat consumption
If going vegetarian sounds too extreme for you, try planning meatless meals on specific days of the week. Producing meat takes far more of the earth’s resources than producing plant-based foods – plus, meat is an expensive part of your diet.
You can find some delicious an frugal vegetarian recipes here.
9. Stop buying bottled water
From pumping to packaging and transport, bottled water is a big user of resources. Get a good water filter and a reusable water bottle and take your own water along. Why pay more for water if you could be paying less?
10. Check out solar energy
A lot of US states have tax incentives for installing solar energy, but even if you don’t go the whole hog, there are mini solar panels that you can use to charge devices such as cell phones or tablets. Or you can just make your water heater work with solar power. Ask a solar consultant how long it will take to see a return on your investment – it may be quicker than you think.
And lots more
There are lots of other things you can do for the environment that will also benefit the environment. For example, you can re-use plastic shopping bags or resolve never to use them again; you can swear off aerosols and make your own air freshener, make your own household cleaning agents and reuse your household items as much as you can.
What’s your favorite money-saving tip that’s also good for the planet?
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