5 Ways to Go Green and Save Money

Go paperless, carpool, and buy fewer books and magazines for starters.

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When it comes to things like going green and eating organic, you're probably used to spending more money, not less. Fortunately, this isn't always the case and there are plenty of things that are both good for you and for the planet.

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Take gardening for example. It's usually better for you, your wallet, and the environment if you grow your own rather than import them from a foreign country. When you grow it at home, you know exactly what you put into it, what gets sprayed on it, and the path it took to your plate. Best of all, once you get the hang of it, growing your own herbs, fruits, and vegetables are remarkably easy. Gardening isn't the only thing you can do to help the Earth and your wallet, here are four more:

Paperless Statements

Paperless statements, or going all electronic, is a great way to help the environment and perhaps save a little more money. Banks and credit card companies will sometimes offer you points or even cash to get you to switch to electronic statements. Since they don't have to print up the statements and mail it to you, they save some money. You help the planet by reducing the amount of paper being used, albeit a small amount, and the tiny amount of fuel used to deliver that extra letter. Some banks, especially online banks, don't even offer paper statements and pass some of the savings along to you as higher interest rates.

Carpool

You're helping the planet anytime you reduce the amount of gasoline you consume and the easiest way is by carpooling with coworkers. It's simple - just ask your coworker if they'd be interested in carpooling just once a week. Not only do you shave 20% off your fuel costs each week, you get a companion for that ride into and out of work. You'll have to deal with some extra headache, coordinating departure and pickup times, but isn't it worth it when you consider where gas prices have been going? You also reduce wear and tear on your car, which is an invisible tax you probably don't think about every day.

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Buy Fewer Books and Magazines

You probably don't live very far away from a public library, why not take advantage of it? Not only do you save money by not buying books and subscribing to magazines, you help the earth by not churning through as much paper. Books are less egregious than magazines, since they last longer, but both cost you money when they are available for free from the library. You might get dinged a few times on late fees but it won't cost as much as a paperback.

Use a Fan, Skip the A/C

On the milder days, consider using a fan instead of an air conditioner. A fan works by blowing warm air away from your body (so there's no point to having a fan on in a room you're not in) and is most effective when the temperature is just a few degrees above your comfort zone. Fans are far more energy efficient than air conditioner, which needs to remove moisture and reduce the temperature of the outside air, and so using it at the right time crucial.

Can you think of any others?

Jim Wang writes about personal finance at Bargaineering.com. When he's not tackling money issues, he's usually looking forward to his next vacation and writing about it at Wanderlust Journey.