When most people think about reducing and reusing, they mainly focus on minimizing their carbon footprint and promoting sustainability. And while this is noble, you shouldn’t feel guilty about also wanting to save a few bucks.

4 Ways to Save

One of the best parts about going green is that it’s extremely practical. You don’t need a degree in science or a lot of external resources to make smart, eco-friendly decisions. You can reduce your consumption and save money by doing some simple things.

1. Downsize Your Lifestyle

Think about how much you consume on a daily basis. Then consider how much you could save by downsizing your lifestyle and simply getting by with less. Not only does this reduce your carbon footprint, but you’ll feel a nice boost financially.

“You can significantly reduce your expenses by downsizing your lifestyle,” says attorney Rowdy G. Williams, who frequently works with people who are going through bankruptcy as a result of poor financial decisions, in a blog post. “In today’s society, it’s considered normal to own numerous electronic gadgets and subscribe to a plethora of services like cable TV, internet, mobile phone, mobile internet with a hot spot, and various other monthly services. But all of these services can add up to a lot of money going out on a regular basis. And you don’t really need all of them.”

2. Recycle Cans and Scrap Metal

Did you know that Americans use billions of aluminum beverage cans every single year? While that’s bad news, there is a silver lining. Aluminum can be recycled back into new cans many times over. In fact, 61 billion cans are recycled each year (saving the energy equivalent of roughly 17 billion barrels of oil).

The good thing for you — at least if you drink lots of canned beverages — is that you can get money for your recycled cans. You aren’t going to get rich, but the money does add up if you have access to lots of cans. On average, you can get around 45 cents per pound of aluminum (roughly 32 cans per pound).

3. Reuse Gift Wrap and Boxes

Think about all of the gift wrap, boxes and bows you go through in a given year. Between Christmas, birthdays, anniversaries and other small holidays throughout the year, it can add up. But instead of tossing everything in the trash, you can reduce your household waste and save money by neatly folding and saving what’s usable.

4. Invest in Energy-Saving Appliances

You’ve heard about energy-saving appliances  — particularly of the Energy Star variety – but how much can you actually save in terms of dollars and cents? Believe it or not, you can save a lot. According to Energy.gov, you can:

  • Save $75 per year by replacing your home’s five most used light fixtures with Energy Star model bulbs.
  • Save as much as 10 percent on heating and cooling bills by using an energy-efficient system and turning your thermostat back 7 to 10 degrees for eight hours per day.
  • Replace an older toilet with a newer WaterSense model and save $100 per year.

While one little change might not make a huge difference, paying attention to all of your home’s systems and making it a point to reduce your consumption could save you a few thousand dollars per year.

Putting It All Together

Living a green lifestyle requires a concerted effort on many fronts. While saving money is nice, you have to remember that the ultimate goal is to do your part in promoting sustainability in your little corner of the world. Thankfully, saving resources and saving money tend to align pretty well.

Feature image: Adobe Stock

By Anna Johansson

Anna is a freelance writer, researcher and business consultant. A columnist for Entrepreneur.com, HuffingtonPost.com and more, Anna loves enjoying the great outdoors with her family. Follow her on Twitter and LinkedIn.