Living an environmentally-friendly lifestyle is good for the planet, but did you know it can also be good for your budget? There are many easy ways to manage your hard-earned money and help the environment at the same time! Try some of these simple steps to “go green" on a budget:
Grocery shop at your local farmer's market
Grab your reusable shopping bags and head to a nearby farmer's market where you can find fresh, organic produce grown locally. You can often save a little extra by getting your seasonal organic veggies locally instead of paying premium grocery store prices.
Cut down on driving time
Driving less can help you lower fuel costs and help the planet all at once! Try carpooling with friends or coworkers, walking or biking to nearby destinations or taking public transportation. If you need to run multiple errands, combine trips so you're spending less time on the road.
Pull the plug on energy waste
You can be environmentally-conscious and save more of your hard-earned money. While high-tech, energy-efficient appliances might not be in the budget, there are easy and cost-effective ways to cut your energy use.
One of the easiest things you can do is turn down the thermostat in the winter or up in the summer. Just a few degrees in either direction can make a big difference! For even more savings, try adding insulation to your attic or using weather-strips to seal drafty doors and windows.
There are also several low-cost, high-efficiency gadgets you can use to help save energy. A low-flow shower fixture can cut water usage by more than half. Programmable thermostats may save at least 10% a year on heating and cooling costs.
While LED lights may cost more than standard bulbs, they can help to cut yearly electric costs significantly. LED lightbulbs can last longer and more efficiently, helping you to save on the cost of replacement bulbs and electricity.
Switch from disposable to reusable
Disposable plastic items add more waste to local landfills, which may take months or even years to fully break down. To help the environment, try to buy reusable products whenever possible. For example, consider investing in a few reusable shopping bags instead of using plastic ones. Swap disposable plastic water bottles with a reusable bottle and keep metal or paper straws handy.
There are also many ways to repurpose items you might have otherwise thrown away. Instead of throwing out clothing items you no longer wear, consider giving them a second life by donating. Also, try shopping at second-hand stores to find unique and affordable styles while reducing waste.
With a few simple lifestyle changes, you can help the planet and keep your budget on track! For more budgeting tips and tools, including helpful worksheets and short interactive learning modules, check out Wright-Patt Credit Union's online Education Center.