It seems that every decade or so, the green fad sweeps through our nation and becomes a trendy thing to do. And I agree that saving our planet is a great objective, but those of us self proclaimed frugal folks also know that following a few green tips not only helps the planet but can also help keep money in our pockets!
Recycling has always been a great way to help our planet. Not only are we saving natural resources by re-purposing paper, plastic and glass products, but we are also saving energy. It takes less energy to recycle most products than it does to manufacture new ones! With more and more curbside recycling programs nationwide, more people are getting on board with recycling. And while curbside recycling is a great program, you may be throwing your money away ¦.LITERALLY! In this instance, you are actually paying someone to take away your aluminum cans, that could be turned in for cash! Check with your local recycling plant and find out how much they are paying for aluminum. You ™d be surprised at how much money you can make over the course of a year, by simply bagging up your aluminum cans and turning them in every few months!
Reusable Grocery Bags are another great way to save the planet and your money, and not just for retailers but also for you! Many grocery stores are now offering customers a discount for using reusable grocery bags. Many offer you a 5 cent per bag discount, which over the course of a year can actually shave a few bucks off your grocery budget. The catch? You have to ask for the discount. Most cashiers forget to automatically put the discount on your grocery tab unless you ask for it. So next time you take your reusable bags into the store with you, remember to ask if they have a discount program! And if you have a hard time remember to take your bags with you, simply keep them in the trunk of your car, for easy access!
Reducing water usage is another great way to save money and there are so many options. This can be done around the house, following some of these great tips or even while you are out. Purchasing bottled water while out, is one of the most expensive things you can do. In most areas, water out of the tap costs less than a penny a gallon, while bottled water, purchased in single serve bottles is well over $4 per gallon. Pick up some inexpensive reusable water bottles and keep them filled and with you when you head out for the day. A little bit of preparation can save you bundles!
Use leg power instead of petroleum! If you can, bike or walk when you head out. You may not be able to do this everywhere you go, but start small and walk if you head somewhere within a few blocks. If you do this a few times a week, you ™ll notice your gas budget shrinking. And who knows? Maybe you can even get enough exercise to cancel that gym membership!
Get in the habit of re-purposing things around the house. While this won't save you bundles, it can help save a bit! And the more creative you are, the easier it ™ll be. I ™ve made a business out of reselling items that I recycle. I make purses from old clothing, jewelry from pop tabs, old film slides and even plastic containers. You don't need to go that extreme, but begin thinking about how you can repurpose items into something that you would normally go out and purchase and you ™ve saved your self some cash!
And don't forget the almighty tax deduction. While many don't think of this as a way to save money , it really is. You get a break on the tax you pay to the federal government for recycling old clothes and things to charities than can use them. If you itemize your taxes this is another great way to save some cash and be green at the same time.
One man’s trash is another man’s treasure. Trash picking is another great way to save on things you need. And while it is taboo in some social circles, it seems to be becoming more of a social norm to do this. I don’t advocate taking anything consumable out of the trash, as rummaging for food or other consumables can be dangerous. However, many people put perfectly usable things on the curb with the trash, in hopes that someone will come by and pick them up before the trash man gets to them. If you have qualms about doing this, you can check with your local law enforcement agency to find out the legalities. In most areas, it is perfectly legal to pick up trash left in the parkway. If you are still uncomfortable taking something, you can simply knock on the homeowners door and ask for it. I have done this several times and almost always get the same reaction. People are happy for me to take it away, they didn’t want to throw it away in the first place, but didn’t know what else to do with it since they no longer needed it!
Consignment shops are a another great way to clean out the closets and make some extra cash. It is alot easier than organizing a garage sale and can be done several times a year when you clean out your closets! Most consignment shops have a 60/40 ratio, which means you will only recieve 40% of the sales price. But since all you have to do is box up your goods and drop them off, and they do the rest, you still make some money and it’s an extremely easy way to do it!
Being green and being frugal don't always go hand in hand, but I find that they are closely related. The both take a bit of preparation in order to reap the rewards. So try one or two of these tips and see how they work for your family! And don't stop once the green fad fizzles, make them lifelong habits and not only will you be saving money, you ™ll have the sense of satisfaction of being eco-friendly!