How Does Going Green Save You Money?

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

You may be laboring under the misconception that developing an eco-consciousness will inversely affect your wallet. In the past, this might have been true. With little demand for cleaner energy solutions, a reduction of greenhouse gases, and products that were chemical-free, manufacturers had no reason to produce the quantities of these goods that would have allowed them to bring down prices (or compete with others). Today it’s a whole different story. Everyone is clamoring for eco-friendly alternatives for everything from cars to heating to breakfast cereal. So now is a great time to jump on the bandwagon and you could even save some money by doing so.

When it comes to the small stuff, like your weekly grocery bill, you may actually pay more by shopping for only organic items at your regular market (or worse, visiting a specialty store). But that doesn’t mean you can’t get the fresh, toxin-free food you want for less. By frequenting your local farmers market or growing your own vegetable garden, you can significantly reduce your tab for food while ensuring that the items stocking your fridge do less harm to the Earth.

Bigger gestures may cost you more initially, but they also stand to show more return. Take for example transportation. There are many alternatives to driving a gas-guzzling car. You could opt instead for public transportation to skip the entire cost of car ownership (gas, insurance, registration, and of course, the vehicle itself). If you live in a temperate climate and work close to home, you could even walk or ride a bike the majority of the time. But if you simply have to have a personal automobile to get around, consider purchasing a hybrid or fully electric vehicle. There are several options for your perusal and the market is flooded with vehicles that go further and faster than ever before, at less cost. And don’t forget to carpool if you have a long commute.
As for issues on the home-front, your main concern is probably energy and water conservation. To this end, you can invest in alternate energy (wind, water, sun), which will cost quite a bit to implement, but also brings a generous return in the form of government incentives and a significant reduction in your utility bills. You may even get some money back by returning excess energy to the power grid. And of course, energy-star appliances, low-flow toilets, and aerated faucets can also garner rebates and lower bills.

Of course, there are free options as well. Recycling, for example, requires only an expenditure of time and effort on your part and it does a lot for the Earth. You may even be able to trade bottles and cans in for money at your local recycling center, earning a few extra bucks by keeping these items out of the landfill. And working to cut back on energy usage (turning off electronics when not in use, setting the thermostat on a timer, and using natural lighting as much as possible) is totally free and will save you (and the planet) in the long run.

Kyle Simpson writes for InStyle Swimwear where you can find Vix Swimwear and other popular brands.

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