15 Ways to Go Green & Save Money

I've heard some Christians refer to going green as some liberal or hipster trend, but it's more than that--it's good stewardship. AND, it can save you money! See how...


Our family tries to do what we can to be good stewards of the earth and resources God has given us. We feel it’s the responsible thing for us to do, and it benefits us in so many other ways as well. Many times it’s healthier, and as an added benefit, most of the environmentally responsible things we do will also save money. I wanted to share with you 15 easy ways that you can go green and save money.

1. Go paperless in your kitchen.  As I shared in my grocery savings post, we do not use disposable plates, utensils, or cups.  Instead, we use real dishes, cloth napkins, and cloth kitchen towels.  Saves money and helps the environment.

Bonus: Go here for my tips on how to go paper-free in your kitchen.

2. Reduce. Reduce the amount of stuff you purchase. {bonus: you’ll reduce the amount of clutter in your home!} Many of the material things we have aren’t really necessary.  For the things that you don’t want to give up, buy them used.  You’ll save money and help the environment, since you’re still reducing the amount of new stuff and packaging.  For the items you purchase, be aware of the packaging—get your fruits and veggies right out of the bin rather than buying those that are wrapped onto a styrofoam container.

Choose a recyclable/reusable container over one that isn’t, and buy in bulk where possible to save on packaging.

3. Reuse.  For the things that you need consider reusing, and repurposing.  Purchase used items as much as possible.  For packaging, don’t just throw it in the trash (or even the recycling), look for ways to reuse and repurpose it! See how I save money on used books.

Tip: save your bowls, toilet paper rolls, spice bottles. There are a variety of programs that have use of these for projects such as preschools, daycares, churches, and health department programs.  You might also be able to reuse some of them yourself for storage.

4. Recycle.  After you have reduced your purchasing, and reused everything you can, recycle what you can’t reuse or repurpose.  Call your local recycling place to see what they will accept.  Most will accept paper, newspaper, corrugated cardboard, glass, and plastic.

5. Reduce driving trips.  Make an effort to combine errands, play dates, etc. so that you will use less gas in your car. It takes some effort, but with the price of gas these days, it’s worth a little extra planning.

Bonus: less wear and tear on your vehicle! Also, if you really reduce your mileage, many insurance companies will offer discounts for vehicles with lower miles driven.

6. Save electricity.  Turn off lights when they aren’t in use.  Better still, don’t turn them on when they aren’t needed.  Unplug appliances when they aren’t in use-many can actually use electricity while plugged in, even if they aren’t turned on.  Turn your thermostat up a few degrees in the summer and down a few degrees in the winter.

Bonus: Invest in solar panels! They aren’t as expensive as you might think and many power companies offer split metering–they will give you credit for the solar energy you use on your bill! There is a bit of up front cost, but these can pay for themselves in a short amount of time via savings on your monthly electric bill.

7. Start a garden.  This has many positive effects—better tasting food, healthier, more economical, and less energy wasted on packaging and travelling.  Even if you have a very small plot available to you, you’d be amazed at what you can grow. You can grow many herbs and other vegetables in pots on your porch, or in raised beds if you have limited space. You can learn how to build a raised garden bed yourself online.

If you really can’t/don’t want to have a garden, buy local, organic produce whenever possible.

8. Compost. This doesn’t have to be difficult at all! In fact you can get a great little counter bin for composting, and it’s super easy. This is a great way to use your produce scraps and reduce your trash output. It’s also a great way to naturally fertilize your garden.

Bonus: It’s really neat to watch the process–I was amazed at how our produce scraps shrank down and continued to fit into our composting bin! It’s also great hands-on science for the kids.

9. Reusable shopping bags.  They aren’t just better for the environment, they are so much easier to carry.  They are more comfortable and you can fit a lot more stuff in them. And, some stores such as Target and CVS will actually reward you with discounts for using them.

10. Tweak your dishwasher settings. Turn off the “dry” function on your dishwasher and let your dishes air dry.  Also, don’t run the dishwasher unless it’s completely full. Note: We actually don’t have a dishwasher but still a good tip.

11. Use your dryer less.  Line dry clothes when you can.  If you don’t want them to be stiff from hanging on the line, you can dry them on the line and then throw them in the dryer for about 10 minutes. Soft, fluffy clothes but still much less energy from the dryer.

Bonus: Don’t use a hair dryer either :)

12. Monitor your mail.  Pay your bills online and go to paperless billing where possible, some companies will actually offer you discounts for doing this.  When you get unwanted catalogs or junk mail, don’t just ignore it, call the company to let them know you don’t want to receive future mailings.

13. Eat out less.  Most restaurants have an incredible amount of waste, both in food waste and in ridiculous amounts of paper packaging from fast food restaurants or take out.

Bonus: See my tips for eating out less.

14. Use cloth diapers.  Cloth diapers save a ton of money–you can even do it basically for free with recycled cotton t-shirts made into diapers. And they are much better for the environment. They really aren’t as bad as you’d think.

Bonus: Breastfeed. Obviously, this only applies to certain people, but I wanted to throw it out there anyway.  There are tons of good reasons to do this, but I’m including it on this list because it’s both better for the environment and saves you money.

15. Conserve Water. Using less water is better for the environment, and will cost you less each month on your water bill win/win.

Wherever you are, you can always add a few more simple steps to reduce your carbon footprint.

Comments

  1. says

    Good ideas! I do some of them and need to work on doing more. One thing I do is the reusable shopping bags. It’s unbelievable how many of those little plastic bags collect in my house! Anything I can do to reduce them is a good thing!

  2. says

    Love this post! So useful and smart. We compost, use cloth EVERYTHING, bike, and use the energy saving feature on our washer and dryer :)

    Thanks for the tips

    Carly @ ryandcar.blogspot.com

  3. says

    These are some great tips. One thing I got of rid of recently – paper towels! It has been about 3 months since we stopped using paper towels, and I have not missed them at all. When guests visit they seem to inevitably look for paper towels, and I explain that it is ok to use the kitchen towel. It is ok to get a towel dirty….towels are washable. It is funny now to think how reliant people are upon disposable cleaning supplies…well, I am perfectly happy to dirty my towels and wash them :)

    • Crystal Brothers says

      Yes! We use all cloth things like that as well, and sometimes visitors are a bit uncomfortable with it.

  4. says

    Perfect tips for us and some of them I do now but some was new to me and I will try and see if we can use them soon. As I am all for saving as much money as possible.

  5. says

    Great ideas here. I live in Australia and it's not really a thing for us to use disposable products in the kitchen, except for paper towels on the floor. When we watch US shows of family life we are facinated that people don't use china and silverware for every meal. We also have a timer for 4 minute showers from when we had a severe drought. That keeps the water and electricity bills down a bit. Thanks!

  6. says

    These are great ideas, I’ve made many of these changes in our lives including cloth napkins and towels, composting, starting a garden and I love your tip about Paperback Swap. A majority of my books are from Goodwill or our public library sale but I need to make some room and send off some paperbacks. Stopping by from Inspire Me Monday and would love to have you join us at Small Victories Sunday Linkup too if you haven’t already.

I love to hear your feedback and value your thoughts! All I ask is that we remain respectful and civil, even when we disagree. Thanks so much for reading. I appreciate you!

Thank you for joining in the discussion!