Monday, April 20, 2009

Celebrate Earth Day Week! How to Save Green by Going Green Part I: Reduce

I always see these shows on "going green" and half the things they tell you to do make me want to grab ahold of my wallet and hang on for dear life! Luckily, you don't have to buy all the newest and greatest eco-friendly gadgets and products out there in order to save the planet. This week I'll do a series in which I'll share some of my favorite ways to save money by saving the planet. It's all about reduce, reuse, recycle!

For Part I, let's start with Reduce. Naturally, almost everything we consume costs money. Therefore, when we reduce our consumption, we reduce the amount we have to spend on consumables. Here are a few examples of ways to cut back:

1. Grocery Bags
- Purchase reusable cloth bags from your local grocery store (CVS has these for $0.99 this week also- really cute ones!) and take them with you when you shop.
- Save money by taking them to stores like Kroger that give you a discount on your groceries for bringing your own bags.
- Save the planet by keeping plastic bags out of the landfills!
- BONUS- reusable shopping bags are also great to use as everyday totes. I have one that I use as our "library bag", and others that I take with me when I need to haul stuff to church or other outings.
- Don't Forget- if you (like me) forget to bring your own bags, be sure to save your plastic grocery bags and bring them back to the store- most grocery stores have special recycling bins in the front just for plastic grocery bags.

2. Utilities
- Turn off the water, turn down the A/C, turn out the lights! So simple, yet so effective!
- Save money on your monthly utility bills
- Save the planet by using less energy = less pollution from coal-burning energy sources

3. Paper Towels
- Lose the paper towels! Switch over to cloth rags or washcloths for your everyday cleaning, and just toss them in with your laundry for the week. I decided to try this after we used up our last roll of paper towels, and I purchased some antimicrobial wash rags made by Clorox ($4 for a pack of 5). I just use them and re-use them throughout the day, then toss them into the laundry room to get washed with whatever load I'm doing next. Adding bleach to the cycle reactivates the antimicrobials. I haven't missed my paper towels one bit!
- Save money by not spending it on costly paper towels
- Save the planet by keeping even more garbage out of the landfills
- BONUS- I have found that cloths are always more absorbant and hold up far better than any paper towels- even the priciest ones. That means I can get more done with one cloth, saving me time as well as money!

4. Gasoline
- Save gasoline by combining your errands as much as possible.
- Save money by not spending it on gas and reducing mileage and wear and tear on your vehicle, which can lead to costly repairs
- Save the planet by reducing your car's fuel emissions
- BONUS- Save yourself time and hassle by not running all over the place! Combining your trips will help you get more done in less time.

5. Paying Bills
- Use your bank's electronic billpay service to pay your bills
- Save money by not having to buy stamps, and possibly reducing late fees by using automatic withdrawals
- Save the planet by reducing paper waste and reducing gas emissions by mail trucks (small, but every little bit helps!)
- BONUS- This is another time-saver, as well as a sanity-saver because you can easily check online to keep track of which bills you've paid, and a quick click is all it takes to get a payment sent out.

These are just a few "reduce" ideas I've come up with- tomorrow I'll cover the "reuse" part (look for some fun crafty ideas!) and then on Wednesday- Earth Day!- I'll cover recycling. 

Remember, going green can save your green! Do you have any great ideas on how to "reduce" and save money at the same time? Leave a comment and share!


  1. Good post. I'm an earth lover too, so am excited to read the next 2 posts as well.

    I did the same experiment with papertowels and napkins. I think I got the idea because money saving mom and everyday cheapskate both had little entries about it on the same week a while ago. We haven't bought any more papertowels and haven't missed them either. However, I did buy napkins for V's lunchbox, to use for really messy meals, and for if I am behind on laundry etc. The kids actually strongly prefer the cloth napkins! I was suprised. I am thinking that I might invest in a few more sets or ask my mo-n-law to sew a few out of some kids friendly fabrics.

  2. AUGH....I have reusable bags in the back of my car that I always forget to carry into the store.

    BUT WHAT I REALLY THINK MIGHT HELP is if I could have one of those trees you have for myself.

    Have a great day.


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