Start your Earth Day by looking at your finances. And we’re not just talking about keeping more of that coveted green in your wallet.Sure you recycle and don’t water the lawn during peak hours. But, being financially savvy can also be good for mother Earth. How we conduct and manage our finances can have a great impact on our environment.
Follow these 13 simple tips on how to green your finances for Earth Day, and every day after that.
1. Are you really still getting statements in the mail?
Do you know someone who not only receives paper statements, but who also purchases money orders, stamps and drives to the post office? Just remember, it’s never too late to establish more environmentally conscious habits. E-statements take seconds to set up and are offered by most credit card, utility and cell phone companies.
If you haven’t done so already, set up all your statement and bills to be sent electronically. You can also pay all your bills from a single third party app, like Check.me.
Already have those checked off? Good for you. Now, go forth and help someone else who may need to be shown the green way.
2. Download your bank’s free smartphone app.
Reduce your carbon footprint by utilizing your bank’s app. There’s no need to make an additional trip to the bank. Deposit checks, transfer funds, and manage accounts from wherever you are on your phone.
3. Your money will get there with direct deposit.
Ever meet someone who still doesn’t have direct deposit? The most common excuse is that they prefer to physically deposit the check themselves rather leave it to electronic deposit.
With direct deposit, there’s no check to cut, no paper used, no postage needed, and no mail truck or plane to get you that one piece of paper. So, let’s move into the 21st century and better utilize our time, shall we?
4. Never go back to paper ads, use Retale and RetailMeNot.
How often do you find your mailbox cluttered with sales ads? More importantly, how often do you actually use them?
In the digital age, so much ink and paper is wasted on piles of obsolete local sales ads. Switch over to the Retale app and have local sales ads handy. Simply enter your zip code and just about every retailer’s sales ad will be available to view and browse. If you are more of an online shopper, you should never make a purchase without checking RetailMeNot first.
Put that tablet or iPad mini to use and shop like a true professional. And, never miss a deal, online or in store, ever again.
5. Of course you want your receipt emailed.
Major retailers, like Macy’s, offer emailed receipts in order to cut down on cost and paper waste. Not to mention it’s one less receipt for you to scan on your phone or when you get home.
When available, provide your email address and always choose for your receipt to be emailed.
6. Who writes checks anymore?
Three cheers for plastic that links to your bank account.
Just about every retailer accepts debit cards. And if they don’t, they are probably not selling big ticket items.
Stick with debit cards and cash for everyday items. For large purchases, just don’t forget to let your bank know if you have a daily point-of-sale limit in order to avoid a declined transaction. And leave the checkbook at home, only to come out of hiding once a month to pay rent.
7. Meatless Mondays for Mother Earth.
Cutting your meat and seafood consumption by just one day can make a dramatic impact on the environment. A Meatless Monday or Vegan Before 6:00 can help reduce agricultural and transportation pollution. Not to mention eating your fruits and veggies is much cheaper than meat proteins.
8. Indoor gardens
“Organic” is pretty much a marketing term for “more expensive.” Even blind taste tests have been conducted where participants could not decipher the difference in taste between organic and non-organic produce.
Cut costs on expensive organic produce by growing your own. And not having enough space is not an excuse. Even in a single apartment, you can grow your own veggies and herbs in mason jars. Be sure to factor in the cost of soil and the time involved with growing your own vegetables.
9. Participate in car-free events
Along with car-free days like Los Angeles’ CicLaVia, cities and bike coalitions are working together to encourage locals to leave the car at home on Sundays.
As bike lanes and bike safety awareness are becoming more common in big cities, grab a helmet or lace up those comfortable walking shoes, and go explore your city.
10. Cancel the gym membership.
Do you have to drive to your gym? So you are paying to get there on top of the expensive monthly fee?
Even if you can walk to your gym, your wallet will be much happier if you invest in a home gym or research low cost alternatives like Daily Burn. Also, check local neighborhood listings for free or donation based exercise classes and run clubs.
11. Eat local & support your local farmers market.
Where our food comes from is now very important to us. The longer produce takes to get to the produce aisle, the more likely it is that the produce has been treated in order to survive the shipment.
Ditch the “frankenfruit” and choose locally grown produce, either from the big chain grocery store or support your local farmers market.
12. DIY cleaners that are cheap and chemical free
Did you know you can use half a lemon to clean and disinfect your cutting board?
Let Pinterest teach you in the ways on DIY cleaning products. For pennies on the dollar, make your own no-toxic chemical-free household cleaners with easily accessible and natural ingredients.
13. Don’t toss those used gift cards in the trash
Don’t dismiss the environmental impact of discarded gift cards. When tossed in the trash, gift cards end up in the landfill. And most gift cards are not biodegradable.
Instead, gather up those gift cards and send the to Earth Works. They will recycle your gift cards for you.
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