Earth Day falls on April 22 this year, and there’s no better time to appreciate the place we call home. It’s also a great time to consider ways to be better environmental stewards and evaluate our current practices and activities. In addition to being better patrons to our planet, “going green” can also save money, more to go into your IRAs or 401k. If you’re looking for ways to save, see how much you can release from your equity. My friend uses a self-directed IRA through The Entrust Group. Use these simple tricks to save over $2,000 per year and get more eco-friendly while you’re at it!
1. Buy Refurbished Ink ($130 Annual Savings) Though 97 percent of an ink cartridge is recyclable, 375 million cartridges end up in landfills each year. To cut down on this waste and to cut your costs by 70 percent, head online to find the cheapest replacement ink and remanufactured options for your specific printer.
2. DIY Cleaning Products ($50 Annual Savings) Manufacturer’s boasting “natural” toilet cleaners charge roughly $5 per bottle. You can save up to $50 a year using pantry goods like vinegar and baking soda to tackle common household chores!
3. Use Mobile Coupons ($1,560 Annual Savings) Last year, the average coupon user saved $1,560 a year spending just 20 minutes each week looking for deals. Avoid those paper circulars and download a free coupon app for savings at retailers, restaurants, service providers and more. Save paper, save money: boom!
4. Don’t Buy Bottled Water ($100 Annual Savings) The average American spends $100 each year on bottled water. What’s more, U.S. citizens discard 2.5 million plastic bottles every hour and contribute unnecessarily to landfills. Purchase inexpensive, BPA-free reusable water bottles and keep one at the office, in your gym bag and at home so you always have one to refill.
5. Send E-Cards or Repurpose Greeting Cards ($40 Annual Savings) From birthdays to holidays to other special occasions, Americans buy roughly 6.5 billion greeting cards annually. At an average of $4 a pop, this represents an enormous expenditure by consumers. Instead, send e-vites and other digital greetings, or reuse cards you received by cutting out the personal sentiment and creating a postcard.
6. Kill Energy Vampires ($65 Annual Savings) Gadgets and appliances like TVs, laptops, coffee makers, space heaters and cable boxes continue to suck energy even when turned off. Get in the habit of unplugging all these electronics and appliances when you aren’t using them. Considering that the average American home electricity costs are $1,300 a year, 5 percent savings can keep an extra $65 in your pocket.
7. Swap Paper Towels for Cloth ($150 Annual Savings) Americans use a staggering 13 billion pounds of paper towels every year, equating to over 50,000 trees and 60 million gallons of water. Swap these paper hogs for cloth alternatives like sponges and microfiber towels which you can toss in the dishwasher and washing machine for reuse. Eco-towels: Anne Riggs.
8. Store Foods in Glass Instead of Plastic ($50 Annual Savings) Open up your pantry door and you’ll likely find a ton of plastic containers and plastic bags. While convenient for storing dry goods, the process of making plastic is extremely harmful to the environment. Consider switching to glass and reusing jam and pasta jars to store rice, nuts, popcorn and the like. Not only is this a cost-effective solution, it’s also an aesthetic one; your pantry will never look prettier!
9. Decorate with Repurposed Items ($100 Annual Savings) Tin cans are the new mason jars when it comes to home decor trends. Instead of tossing that empty can of whole tomatoes or green beans into the recycling bin, repurpose it into a vase with a little spray paint. We prefer low-VOC and eco-friendly paint that will help keep things green.
10. Pest Control ($250 Annual Savings) Nothing stops you in your tracks faster than mouse droppings in cupboards or spiders in window corners. Instead of loading up on harsh chemicals and pesticides, spray baseboards and window sills with a water-peppermint oil mix to deter spiders and rodents naturally. Go green and drop harmful, unhealthy chemicals for good!
About the Authors
Authors Kendal Perez and Andrea Woroch are frugal bloggers and money-saving experts who help consumers live on less without radically changing their lifestyles. From smart spending tips to personal finance advice, they help transform everyday consumers into savvy shoppers.
Andrea has been featured among top news outlets such as Good Morning America, NBC’s Today, MSNBC, New York Times, Kiplinger Personal Finance, CNNMoney and many more. Kendal has been quoted in such media outlets as Woman’s Day, People StyleWatch, FOX, TIME Business & Money and Kiplinger’s Personal Finance.