|Top Ten Ways to Afford Going Green|
Want to go green but think it’s too expensive? Think again. You can actually SAVE $20-$50 every month by choosing products and services that protect the planet. Here's how:
Buy reusables. Compare a sponge to a roll of paper towels. One sponge may cost as little as $.99. A roll of paper towels runs around $1.99. But one sponge lasts as long as SEVENTEEN ROLLS of paper towels. You could save as much as $33 in paper towels before you have to throw the sponge away. (Meanwhile, keep sponges fresh by washing in the dishwasher with the dishes; microwave on high heat for 30 seconds to kill germs.)
Plug into a power strip. 40 percent of the energy used to power consumer electronics is devoured when the devices are turned off. That’s nearly 5 percent of the total electricity American homes consume. A power strip lets you plug several appliances or lots of office equipment into one larger outlet that you can turn off with minimal hassle, automatically cutting power to all devices that are plugged into it.
Take a tax credit. New fuel-efficient hybrid vehicles save gas and earn you tax credits, too. The amount, as determined by the IRS, ranges from $250 to $3150.
Use Craig’s List or Freecycle. Before you pay full price for furniture, appliances, sporting equipment or lawn and garden tools, go “shopping” online – at clearinghouses that help you acquire the goods you need at no or low cost. In the same vein, get books from libraries, or swap bought books with friends. Trade in your gently worn clothes at thrift stores, and pocket the savings or apply to the purchase of something equally thrifty.
Donate. Giving your used clothing and household goods to the Salvation Army, your local church, or a local charity for veterans lightens the load at the landfill and earns you a tax write-off for your charitable donations.
Choose quality over quantity. Simplify your needs overall. Then, buy clothes, jewelry, toys, tools, furniture and other commodities that are made to last. You may spend a few more dollars up front but save money in the long run when you don't need to replace items that break or wear out quickly.