Going Green on Budget

Undoubtedly it seems like when you use less, you end up spending more. Whether it’s for green products or upgrading to a more fuel efficient car (although it cost less in the long run, it can cost a pretty penny in the beginning) or whatever. But there are some practices that can save a little money.

  1. Carpool or ride your bike- Sharing a car rides with a co-worker or a friend can be a great way to save money and car emissions. I added up my gas costs and it cost me $1560 and that was at $3.50 a gallon. If I decided to carpool and drove with a friend every other day then I could save about half that. Some of the benefits of carpooling are: Carpooling can save you hundreds and even thousands of dollars a year as it reduces the costs involved in repetitive or long-distance driving. It reduces the stress of your commute and allows you to read, relax, or even work while commuting. Carpooling could enable your family to cut back to one car or to do without a car at all. Carpooling can provide you with new friendships and company for your commute. Carpooling reduces air pollution and traffic congestion, something that benefits all of us. Carpooling helps to combat rising traffic congestion, by filling the extra seats in your car, there are fewer drivers, and therefore fewer cars crowding the roads.
  2. Start your own garden- Or eat locally is good alternative. Having your own garden will improve your family’s health because kids are more likely to eat fruits, vegetables, and other things they don’t like if they grow or help make it themselves. Also, the produce will have the highest level of nutrients when you eat them right away. Saving money on groceries is an added bonus. Seed packets cost less than a dollar. When you go the store produce cost, depending what you buy, it could cost you that much for one thing. Having your own garden will also reduce your environmental impact. Our produce travels hundreds to thousands of miles to finally get to our doorstep. When you grow your own produce, your food has to only travel from your backyard to inside your house. Also, most corporate farms use pesticides and herbicides. The less produce they grow, the less of these chemicals will go into the environment.
  3. The Power of Unplugging- In 2000, researchers from Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory estimated that Americans spend around $4 billion annually on standby power alone. In 2001, a report showed that standby power consumption accounted for an average of 15% of electricity consumption. For more information, see http://www.byebyestandby.com/USA.html.
  4.  Energy Efficient Lighting- These bulbs last up to 10 times longer than standard bulbs and they could cut your energy bill by 10%.
  5.  Look for the Star- Appliances that are labeled with an Energy Star are guaranteed to save money are conserve energy.  According to http://www.energystar.gov/ia/new_homes/features/Appliances_062906.pdf you could save up to $80 a year if you upgrade from stand appliances to energy star appliances.
  6. Wash a full load- It takes the same amount of energy and water to wash a full load as it does a half load. When you wash fuller loads, you’ll wash less loads which means that you will use less water, soap and other chemicals. According to http://www.gvsu.edu/housing/how-much-laundry-is-in-a-full-load–257.htm It is estimated that you can save about 3,400 gallons of water each year just by washing a full load of laundry.
  7. Get a water filter- Roughly 50 billion plastic water bottles end up in U.S. landfills each year — 140 million every day!

That’s enough, laid end to end, to reach China and back each day. In 2008, Americans drank an average 215 bottles of water each for a total of 66 billion bottles. Of that total, only 22% was recycled

We are paying 2 to 4 times the cost of gasoline for a product that is virtually free. http://www.back2tap.com/resources/get-the-facts/bottled-water-consumption/

If you consider that you should drink about eight glasses (64 ounces) per day

. That adds up to 2 gallons per day for a family of four. When your water comes from 12-ounce plastic bottles, the cost can be exorbitant. Let’s assume you pay approximately $6 per case of water (and remember, fancy imported waters can be much more), which is equal to $0.40 per bottle

$0.40 per bottle x 5.3 bottles per person = $2.13 x 4 people = $8.53 x 365 (days in a year) = $3,114.67

Now let’s consider: A basic pitcher-style system, which retails for about $20 and requires a new filter every 40 gallons

. A family of four will need to replace its water filter 18.25 times per year at a cost of about $6.50 per filter, which amounts to $119. A couple of $12 water bottles for each member of the family will run $96 per year. There is also the cost of water from the tap to consider, which runs about $1.50 per 1,000 gallons in the U.S. A family of four consumes about 730 gallons of water per year (2 gallons/day, 365 days/year), which amounts to $1.10. So, the total cost of using a pitcher-style water filtration system per year for a family of four is:

$119 (filters) + $96 (water bottles) + $20 (pitcher) + $1.10 (water from the tap) = $236.10.

That means a family of four can potentially save $3,114.67- $236.10 = $2,878.57 each year by switching from bottled water to a water filter.

Now consider that bottled water is rarely ever cleaner than tap water(http://www.cnn.com/2007/HEALTH/07/27/pepsico.aquafina.reut/ , http://www.treehugger.com/clean-water/bottled-sold-the-story-behind-our-obsession-with-bottled-water.html, http://www.ehso.com/ehshome/DrWater/drinkingwater.php#Overview, ).

After you consider all this, which will you choose?

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