Green Investments: 5  Eco-Friendly Investments That Are Worth The Money

Over the past decade, there has been a major shift in thought toward the environment and how we can preserve it. More and more people are making conscious decisions about how they can reduce their carbon footprint. However, some people are hesitant to join the green movement because of the costs versus the benefits—going green isn’t always the cheapest route. Take a look at these five eco-friendly investments that are actually worth the money.

Buying Energy-Efficient Appliances

Energy-efficient appliances consume less power than standard model appliances. They are a good investment because they reduce your monthly power bill. They’re becoming so popular that it’s hard to find an appliance that does not have a high ENERGY-STAR rating anymore, which makes it easier to make the green choice. Plus, the government still gives a tax credit to people who buy them. Energy-efficient appliances are definitely worth the money and they are a good place to start if you’re wondering how to go green.

Driving Hybrid Vehicles

Hybrid vehicles are an excellent choice for environmentally conscious consumers. Hybrids use less gasoline than regular vehicles, which means that you save money at the gas station over the life of your vehicle. Some hybrids boast fuel economy of more than 50 miles per gallon. In terms of costs, hybrids do not cost a lot more than standard vehicles and the cost difference is usually made up at the pump. If you’re looking for a new car, consider a hybrid because it is the greener choice and a smart investment.

Planting a Garden

Another green investment that is worth the money is planting a garden. If you start your garden from seeds in the spring, you can spend under $20 and still have a respectable garden by summer. Some families who maintain gardens save more than $1,500 per year on groceries. Gardening is easy, too. Essentially all you have to do is water your plants, and fruits and vegetables will grow.

You don’t have to plant a big garden to see the benefits. Even a small herb garden will help you save money while also reducing your environmental impact. If you have never tended a garden before, start small with a few pots and then branch out when you feel more comfortable with the process. If you’re a hardcore gardener looking for even more ways to save money, you can build a rain-water barrel to reduce your water bill, too.

Investing in Solar Panels for Your Home

The price of solar panels has gone down considerably over the past several years. That means now is a great time to get solar panels installed for your home. When you use solar panels, you don’t have to pay as much for power because you are generating your own. Some utilities even have programs that let you sell your excess power back to the grid. Solar panels do come with an initial cost, but there are also long-term loans, leases, and power purchase agreements to make it easy to afford solar power. And over the years, you will make your money back and maybe even earn more than you originally spent.

Using Eco-Friendly Cleaning Supplies

Chemicals are not good for the environment. When you clean your house with harsh chemicals, they go down the drain and can contaminate the water supply. Plus, the fumes can be dangerous. Instead of buying harsh cleaning supplies, invest in eco-friendly cleaning products. For instance, a steam mop is great because it doesn’t use chemicals and is not very expensive. You can also learn how to make your own cleaning supplies that are safer for the environment and cheaper than what you can find at the store.

As you can see, you don’t have to spend a lot of money to join the green movement. A lot of the time you will see a cost savings for making the more eco-friendly choice. Choose one of these eco-friendly investments and make the change today. It’s important for everyone to reduce their environmental impact. This is not a trend, but rather a new standard for the way to live your life.

7 Surprising Ways “Going Green” Will Save You Money

Living a sustainable lifestyle is a choice more and more people are making, and it isn’t just hippies and earth lovers. The need to change a tendency toward unthinking consumption has taken hold in popular consciousness, especially as people are realizing that a more ecologically sound approach to living can also be a wise financial decision. While it’s true some “green” choices aren’t apt to save you much money over the long haul, there are some that make such good money sense it’s amazing everyone isn’t doing them. Here are seven surprising ways “going green” will save you money.

1. Cut Down on Meat

The commercial meat industry creates more harmful greenhouse gases throughout the world than transportation does, so there’s little doubt that eating less of it is an ecologically sound and necessary choice. In terms of spending habits, since both men and women spend over 10 percent of their income on food, lowering a grocery bill is beneficial to everyone, and eating less meat can help with that. While it’s true that some fresh vegetables and fruit can be on the pricey side, cutting down your meat consumption to just once a week and replacing it with a meal like rice and beans can’t help but save you money.

2. Use Rain Barrels

If you use any tap water for house plants, landscaping, or gardening, placing rain barrels beneath gutters to catch water during rainstorms is a great way to save money and water each month. After all, the water that collects in the barrel is free. When it’s time to water plants, gather it from the barrels and water your plants. You’ll cut down on water use and save money.

3. Tend to Your Water Heater

Tending properly to your water heater can save a considerable amount of energy, which always means saving money. Replace an old or ailing water heater with a newer, more energy efficient one. If yours is fine, start by lowering the temperature as much as you can — under 120 degrees Fahrenheit is best. Then, insulate the water heater with a blanket to conserve the heat in it.

4. Cook at Home

Cooking at home is a greener choice than eating out that also stands to save you quite a bit of money. Depending on how much you currently eat out, you can save anywhere from $100 a month to over $1,000. Home cooked meals tend to use less energy than restaurant cooked ones, and because you’re not driving to a restaurant to eat, you save money and cut down pollution, too. If you commit yourself to buying locally produced food to cook and eat at home, the savings in terms of energy and cost can improve even more.

5. Garden — Even a Little Bit

Local food is always a greener choice than food that traveled on a truck to reach you. Gardening, then — even a little — is automatically an ecologically sound choice. The cost savings, however, is where things get really impressive. Consider the fact that a batch of seeds costs just a few dollars, but they can produce hundreds of tomatoes, thousands of beans, or mountains of squash. Growing your own food is almost like taking on a second job — it will take time, but you’ll save a lot of money.

6. Use Farmer’s Market Seconds

“Seconds” is the term applied to produce that isn’t pretty but still tastes as good as what’s put out for sale at your local farmer’s market, and you can often have it really cheap.

If you’re somebody who doesn’t mind putting in a bit of extra work in relation to your food, purchasing bulk “seconds” from farmers and canning or freezing them is a great way to benefit from the environmentally sound choice of eating locally all winter, while saving money. From local peaches and berries to cucumbers, tomatoes, and squash, putting aside a store of food will easily save you hundreds of dollars throughout the year, and, because it was all ripe when you canned or froze it, it will also taste better than what’s available in the grocery store during winter, as well.

7. Do a Home Energy Audit

Perform your own home energy auditor see if your local utility company will perform one for you. From locating air leaks around windows to checking on whether or not your insulation is adequate, you may be surprised at what you find. Once you make the changes, savings can run the average household as much as 30 to 40 percent.

If you want to, “go green” as much as you can because it’s the right thing to do, but if you need some incentive to make the effort, follow these seven money saving tips to a cleaner, more sustainable future that will also keep more of your money in your pocket.