GREEN: 15 Steps to More Money and a Better Planet

Jan 24th, 2009
Here are fifteen simple tips for people who want to save their money, or save the planet, or both.
  1. Drink Tap Water. Tap water is free, or almost free. It is most certainly cheaper than any other drink, unless you own dairy cattle or milk goats. Water is better for you than pretty much anything else, other than natural juices, and is environmentally friendly, no container for the trash. It is especially important to know, when eating out, that coffee, pops, and pretty much any drink, are one of the highest marked up foods in the restaurant industry.

  2. Grow Food. Everyone, even apartment dwellers can grow something. If all you have is a small balcony, you can at least grow container tomatoes or strawberries. If you have bigger space you can grow a bigger assortment of vegetables, potatoes, or fruit. A fruit tree provides some shade. When you grow your own food it is healthier as you control the amount of chemicals used. You save the environment because there is no shipping in getting the final product to you. Some plants are so productive you can share with your friends, family, and pets.

  3. Do not Kill your Air. Save on cleaning chemicals. Use simple things like vinegar, or baking soda in hot water. Bleach, although not entirely environmentally friendly is still better than most chemical cleaners. When you think of spray disinfectants, ask yourself what would you rather be exposed to, a germ for which our bodies are naturally prepared to deal with, or a chemical we have no tolerance for?

  4. Turn off.... Turning off lights, radios, televisions, etc when you are not in the room will save a lot of electricity.

  5. Turn down.... Turning down the heat or air conditioning really can make a difference. Both in your car (where they use gas) and in your home. If you are going out, make sure you turn these down. At night you should also turn these down.

  6. Shop at Second Hand Stores. You would be surprised at what you can get. Some stores often receive new goods. I often find clothes in second hand stores with their original tags still on. In return, pass on any unwanted clothes, and other items, to the second hand stores. Buying new things means we use the planets resources.

  7. Do not take Shampoo from the Hotel. If hotels were not expected to provide shampoo and soaps, ultimately the cost of rooms would go down. Probably only by a dollar, but still its a dollar. Fewer tiny plastic bottles would be in the garbages and everyone would be better off. If you need the shampoo by all means, use it, but do not just take it home for the fact of taking something home you will never use. I wonder how many hotel soaps end up in peoples bathroom cabinets and ultimately in their garbage. And why stop there? Do not take ANYTHING you do not need. Do not ask for ketchup in your bag if you have ketchup at home to use, do not take free stuff just because its free, unless it is something you truly need and will use.

  8. Buy in Bulk. Bulk packaging usually means less packaging, and the cost often goes down when you buy in bulk.

  9. Don't idle your car. New vehicles do not need to be warmed up for lenghty amounts of time, often times their own manuals recommend only thirty seconds. If you are stuck in a traffic jam, or in a drive through, or are waiting for your kids to come out of school, turn off the engine. In most new vehicles after fifteen seconds of idling you would have used less gas by shutting off the engine and restarting the car. Many cities now have idling by-laws where you can be charged for running your engine too long.

  10. Alternative sources. Rechargeable batteries, energy efficient light bulbs, hybrid autos. Sometimes you have to spend some money to save more in the long run.

  11. Eat less meat. Cut back, have some meatless meals or at least smaller portions of meat. The average American eats enough meat in one meal to feed a family of four in Japan. Our portion sizes are out of control. The correct size should be equivalent to the size of a deck of cards and meat is not needed every day. Meat is expensive and environmentally unfriendly not only because of cattle flatulence, but also because of the deforestion to keep cattle or raise food for them.

  12. Do not buy junk you do not need. Nobody needs knick knacks, shoes for every day of the year, or half the stuff stores sell. Everything comes at a price, and the price is not what you see on the tag. The price is the destruction of the planet. You throw money away onto buying things that are of no use, and came into being by destroying some part of our plant (most manufacturing creates pollution).

  13. Small spaces. Living in a smaller home has many advantages, lower heating and cooling costs, smaller mortgage, or rent, and the construction consumed fewer materials.

  14. Breast feed your baby. Its free and it saves the planet because you do not use formula or bottles. It is safer for your baby and healthier.

  15. After that baby... STOP! Something most people don't think about, but should, is that every human being on the planet is a consumer... Eating, pooping, needing, consuming. More people mean more demand. The more children you have, the more of a demand it places on your wallet. Studies have shown the more educated a person is, the less likely they are to have a big family. With over 6.7 Billion people, we do not really need any more. The birth rate is not the only problem, our extended lifespan means people are not dying off as fast as we used to.

Brenda Nelson
Brenda attended Olds College to study Horses, working with Arabian horses for several years.  She later went into Animal Welfare and worked in an SPCA for five years.  She wrote a weekly pet newspaper column before moving to a hobby farm. Says Brenda…
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