Go­ing green makes fi­nan­cial sense

The Progress-Index - At Home - - NEWS -

Be­ing "green" is not just a buzz­word to­day but also a way of life for an in­creas­ing num­ber of peo­ple. The ben­e­fits of mak­ing some en­vi­ron­men­tal strides not only ex­tend to safe­guard­ing re­sources for fu­ture gen­er­a­tions. For those who have not yet em­braced en­vi­ron­men­tally friendly ac­tions, per­haps the fi­nan­cial re­wards of do­ing so may be the cat­a­lyst for change.

A side ef­fect of be­ing en­vi­ron­men­tally con­scious of­ten can be sav­ing money. In fact, de­pend­ing on the ini­tia­tives taken, sav­ings can be any­where from a few dol­lars to sev­eral thou­sand. Nat­u­rally, some eco-changes do re­quire an ini­tial in­vest­ment, such as pur­chas­ing a new en­ergy-sav­ing de­vice or ap­pli­ance. Many oth­ers do not and only save you money.

Whether you're look­ing for tried-andtrue ways to go green, rel­a­tively easy ways to save money or both, the fol­low­ing are some ideas that work.

Cook more meals at home. Con­ve­nience meals may be easy, but they're more ex­pen­sive than cook­ing fresh meals for break­fast, lunch and din­ner. What's more, con­ve­nience foods tend to be overly pack­aged and may be shipped great dis­tances. Sim­ply pack­ing a lunch for work each day can save you around $100 per month.

Find a car­pool­ing buddy. Share your ride to work with one or more peo­ple, and not only are you sav­ing fuel, wear and tear on your car and pos­si­ble toll charges, but you will save money as well. Some cal­cu­la­tions paint a sav­ings of around $650 a year for car­pool­ers who share their ride and gas bill with only one friend. That may be in­cen­tive enough to split com­mut­ing costs and tasks.

Try pub­lic trans­porta­tion. If you are more of a com­mut­ing loner or do not have any­one nearby to split the ride, try switch­ing to pub­lic trans­porta­tion, where avail­able. Not only will you re­duce your car­bon foot­print by us­ing mass tran­sit, bik­ing or walk­ing to work, but you will also save thou­sands on trips that would de­pre­ci­ate your ve­hi­cle's value.

Make smarter buys. So many items are avail­able at the click of a but­ton or by vis­it­ing mass re­tail chains. How­ever, not ev­ery pur­chase is a smart buy - even if it costs less. Some cheap con­sumer goods are not worth the smaller price tag. They're pro­duced over­seas in ar­eas with lax en­vi­ron­men­tal reg­u­la­tions and then may be shipped thou­sands of miles. Some­times buy­ing more ex­pen­sive, lo­cally pro­duced items makes bet­ter fi­nan­cial sense in the long run. Th­ese prod­ucts will last longer and not need re­plac­ing in mere months.

Rent, bor­row and give. Most peo­ple are at fault for pur­chas­ing a gad­get, tool or small ap­pli­ance they had ev­ery in­ten­tion of putting to good use. But after one use, that item is now col­lect­ing dust on a shelf some­where. In­stead of al­ways think­ing to buy first, save money by in­ves­ti­gat­ing rental agree­ments or bor­row­ing be­long­ings from oth­ers. Plenty of peo­ple have equally dusty items sit­ting in their homes that they'll likely lend out. The cost is con­sid­er­ably less than pur­chas­ing new, es­pe­cially for a one-time use item.

Grow a gar­den. Pro­duce prices con­tinue to climb. An easy way to save money and have ul­ti­mate con­trol over what fer­til­iz­ers and pest reme­dies are used on fruits and vegetables is to grow them your­self. Save hun­dreds on salad greens, toma­toes, pota­toes, and straw­ber­ries. Plus, a home gar­den of­fers the con­ve­nience of fresh pro­duce close by when it's needed.

Do an en­ergy au­dit. Your home is prob­a­bly wast­ing money right now. Sim­ple im­prove­ments that make a home more ef­fi­cient can save the av­er­age home­owner con­sid­er­ably. Caulk­ing, seal­ing win­dows, en­sur­ing heat­ing and cool­ing sys­tems are work­ing ef­fi­ciently and a load of other mi­nor re­pairs can save on en­ergy costs. Ad­di­tion­ally, you may be el­i­gi­ble for home tax cred­its.

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