Why It’s Cheaper To Be Greener

Being green is all about simplicity and often, frugality. Most of the time the greener choice is the less expensive one. It’s true that organic produce can cost more than its non-organic brothers, or that “eco-friendly” products at times come at a premium price. But at its most fundamental, being green is more about conservation than consumption. Take the phrase, “Reduce, Reuse, Recycle.” Put into practice, these three calls to action will save you money in the long run. How? Let’s take a look:

  • REDUCE. Buy less and reduce the amount of stuff you own. It’s obvious that if you’re buying less, you’re saving money. I’ve also heard of people who got rid of loads of stuff they didn’t really need, people who were paying large monthly fees to keep storage sheds piled full of stuff they never used. By clearing out the clutter, we can reduce our storage costs if we have them, but for those of us who don’t, we can reduce our maintenance cost (not to mention time). It takes a lot to maintain a house full of stuff — either in upkeep or in time cleaning it. It goes without saying that when we reduce things like our energy consumption (by turning down our thermostats or driving less, for example) we are not only helping the planet, but we’re fattening our wallets at the same time.
  • REUSE. When you need to purchase products, choose items that are reusable rather than disposable. Try reusable alternatives to paper towels. I recently purchased a mega-pack of 50 terrycloth shop towels from Costco for the same price I used to pay for a mega-pack of Bounty paper towels. Instead of using (and constantly tossing and replacing) paper towels for spills and wipe-ups, I now use the terrycloth towels and throw them in the wash. Try to be creative in coming up with reusable solutions. Think of all the disposables you use on a regular basis and try to figure out how those items could be replaced with more permanent ones. When I pack my lunch for my day job, I use a reusable lunch tote, reusable water bottle, and I pack silverware and a cloth napkin from home. I save money on brown bags, bottled water and disposable silverware and napkins.
  • RECYCLE. In addition to recycling through the standard channels, find ways to recycle items within your own home. Before you throw out an item that may not be recyclable, try to find a use for it around your home. My husband is great with this. When our twin daughters out-grew their infant swings, one of the swings was in working order and could be donated, but the other one was not. I hated the idea of all of that plastic and metal ending up in the landfill. My husband dismantled the entire thing. He used the screws and fasteners in his workshop and found other uses for nearly all the other parts. My favorite “re-use” is the bike rack he made for us from the legs. We saved money by not having to buy a bike rack to hang in the garage AND we kept a bunch of junk out of the landfill. With some scrap lumber and old lawn mower wheels, he made a great wagon for the girls. With a little creativity, there’s no limit to the number of ways things can be reused.

It really is easy to save money and be green at the same time. Some of the most frugal people I know were green long before it was a buzzword. Think about the way your grandparents lived. Many people in the older generation are far more frugal, but also far more green, than we may realize.

What are some green habits you have adopted that are also saving you you money?

Comments

  1. I would like to add another way to reduce, reuse and recycle. Fix things that are broken. Many times it is easier to throw something out and buy a new one, even if it is less expensive to fix it. As an example, our vacucum cleaner stoped working. Ended up with an easy fix to order a new switch. Around $12 and just a little time the thing works like new.
    New vacuum would have cost around $200.

  2. Good point. I think most people would rather toss something out and buy new than try to repair things. One benefit of the crummy economy has been that shoe repairmen are doing a booming business these days. Maybe some people are starting to catch on to the idea of repairing rather than replacing.

  3. Is it totally wrong / bad to wash and reuse plastic “disposable” silverware?

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  2. […] options for monitoring your fuel efficiency without mileage monitoring units. Beth presents Why It’s Cheaper To Be Greener posted at Smart Family Tips. …at its most fundamental, being green is more about conservation […]