Five Easy Ways to Save Money by Going Green

Updated October 8, 2019

Plant a tree. Switch your light bulbs. Use less water.

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This time of year, there's a lot of information in the media on how to use only what you need. And while going green for the sake of the environment is important, there's another compelling reason to change your habits: your wallet. By taking these simple steps, you could potentially save up to a $1,000 a year!

1. Brew, Don't Buy. Some days espresso seems essential, but let's face it -- it's expensive. Really expensive. The average American spends over $1,000 annually for their daily jolt. By brewing your coffee at home and having a reusable coffee mug on the go, you will save around $100 per month. If you're not ready to say no to that coffee shop cup of joe, some places will give you a discount for bringing your own mug. To get the most out of your home brew, read: Clean Your Coffee Maker.

2. Wash Clothes in Cold Water. Don't you wish your favorite red sweater could be bright forever? While it won't guarantee any miracles, setting your wash cycle on cold does lengthen the life of your clothes. Bonus: It also saves the average family around $63 on their electric bills. If you're curious just how much you're family will save, try Seventh Generation's Calculator.

3. Plant a Garden. Instead of spending money on tomatoes, potatoes, and carrots, grow them! For every dollar you spend on seeds you get an average of five dollars worth of produce. So, if you spend $50 on vegetable seeds you could save your family about $1,250. When planning your garden, choose plants that are cheaper to grow at home than to purchase at the grocery store such as tomatoes, cucumbers and zucchinis. For the greenest garden, read How Much Mulch?

4. Set Your AC on Autopilot. The average U.S. household will spend about $2,100 on home energy this year, and almost half of that is due to heating and cooling. By simply setting your air conditioning fan to “auto” instead of “on,” you'll save roughly $15 each month on energy bills. It works by turning the fan motor off when your air conditioner is not cooling.

5. Turn Down your Hot Water Heater. The average American spends around $400 per year heating water for their homes, according to the United States Department of Energy. By turning down your hot water heater, you'll save about $7 a month on your utility bills. How low should you go? Most experts recommend setting your water heater at 130 or 125 degrees. Trust us, you won't notice the difference.

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