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Ecofrugality – Saving Money, and the Environment

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This article was written by Matthew Paulson of Getting Green, a webzine which discusses topics of personal finance, money management, investing, debt reduction and more. At Getting Green, we’ll provide you a steady stream of tips, tricks, and ideas on how to get closer to financial independence. If you enjoy this article, be sure to check out some of his articles or subscribe to his RSS feed.

In the late 1970′s and early 1980′s, we saw a lot of films which painted a very grim view of the future, a future in which over population had wrecked havoc on the world’s natural resources, a future where pollution was the norm rather than the exception, a future where garbage was everywhere and clean drinking water was a scarce commodity. A lot of these eco-doom-saying views never came to fruition, but we all know that it cannot be good for our planet to keep making use of its natural resources without limit, but we also need room to help the economy grow and provide sustainable development. Keeping these two priorities is definitely a balance, and here are some ways that you can save money, and help save the environment too!

One of the best ways to save money and the environment is to save your pop cans. You can get a device which will crush them, and then you can store them in garbage bags and take them to an aluminum recycling company when you have quite a collection. You won’t make a whole lot of money, but you will probably make $5 or $10 for a bag of crushed cans, which really isn’t all that bad! It’s money that you didn’t have before, so why not?

Another great thing that you can do is buy a fuel efficient car the next time you are going to get a new or different vehicle. It never makes sense to sell your existing car and buy a new one because it has better gas mileage, but if you are going to replace one anyway, you had just as well go get yourself a vehicle that’s fuel efficient. You can compare fuel economy for different vehicles on various websites before you go to the lot. If you drive 5000 miles a year, and have a vehicle that gets 30 miles to the gallon compared to 20, you could easily save $250 a year in gasoline.

Recycled paper is another must for those who want to be economically and environmentally friendly, it works just as well as paper cut fresh from the forest, and usually it’s a bit cheaper because the cost to cut down the trees was already paid the first time it was used.

The term re-use comes up a lot when it comes to decreasing consumption and saving the environment. If you were going to throw something away, and find a new use for it, you have in essence prevented additional trash from being formed. The sky is the limit as to what trash you can reuse. You can create a compost file for fertilizer and mulch; you can use old newspapers as kindling for a fire, reuse large boxes for storage, and the like. Most of the stuff we throw away has a use, and if we don’t have a use for it, somebody probably does.

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3 Responses to “Ecofrugality – Saving Money, and the Environment”

  1. FMF says:

    Lots of people don’t want to turn in their pop cans even oin a state where you get a refund for them. My son went door-to-door last night and made $40 for a charity simply by asking people to donate their pop cans. So he helped the environment and the charity at the same time!

  2. Chris says:

    I like to use my junk mail as kindling, all the ink burning is probably not too good, but a once in a while usage I think is okay. Also, I have a decent quality shredder that makes nice unreadable confetti which I use for padding packages and hey it’s free, biodegradable and abundant.

    I also definitely agree that you should use recycled papers whenever possible!

    One last thing, PLEASE people, change your light bulbs to CFL’s! I spent $30 to replace all the bulbs in my house a year ago and I save at least $20/month on electricity ($240 a year is nothing to sneeze at)!

  3. haverwench says:

    Actually, recycled paper is usually more expensive. This is one of those cases in which the dollar cost of a product does not reflect its true environmental costs. Fortunately, there are far more cases in which the environmentally sound choice has a direct financial payoff (e.g., driving less means you produce less CO2 and also spend less on gas and maintenance).


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