10 Clever Hacks That Save Both Money and the Earth

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Earth Day is all about being kinder to the planet we live on, a worthy goal in and of itself. But did you know that many of the ways you can live greener can also help put a little green back into your wallet?

Consider these 10 hacks that can reduce your spending and reduce your waste and consumption. The ultimate win-win comes from helping both the environment and your finances.

10 Clever Hacks That Save Both Money and the Earth
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10 Clever Hacks That Save Both Money and the Earth
Buy Energy-Star appliances. Yes, you'll pay a little more upfront but you'll save serious dollars in the long-term.

Turn off and unplug any electrical device you're not currently using. Use a programmable thermostat. Wash your clothes in cold water and line-dry them rather than putting them in the machine. Turn off the lights if you're not inside the room.
Take shorter showers. Only run the dishwasher and washing machine when you have a full load. Install a low-flow showerhead. Fix leaky faucets. Use rain barrels to collect water for your garden (check first to see if it's legal in your area).

Shaving an extra $10 per month from your water or energy bill adds up to $120 each year, a nice chunk of change to have back in your budget.
Live in an area of town that's not overly car-dependent. Walk or bike to work, or use public transit if it's available. Carpool with coworkers who live nearby. Set up a carpool schedule for getting the neighborhood kids to and from school and extracurricular activities.

Run all your errands in one trip rather than heading out several times a week to take care of a task here and a task there. This saves time, money and the environment –- a trifecta of savings.
Create a meal plan and a shopping list to make sure you only buy ingredients you'll eat before they spoil. Learn to use leftovers creatively. Compost food scrapes and food that has happened to expire, or find ways you may still be able to use it (like turning overripe bananas into banana bread).
Install a water purification tap on your faucet and buy a reusable water bottle you can take to the gym or carry while running errands. You can also buy reusable water bottles that have a filtration system built into the cap, so you can refill at a drinking fountain while you're out.
Buying fresh ingredients and making your own meals from scratch is another trifecta: It saves you money; it cuts back on the unnecessary waste caused by foods that are over-packaged; and it cuts back on the health risks of foods that are over-processed.
This motto of frugality from the Great Depression -– "use it up, wear it out, make do, or do without" -- is a smart one to follow today if you're on a mission to live in a way that's more Earth-friendly.

This motto encompasses everything from mending clothes rather than throwing them away to learning to fix your broken toaster rather than buying a new one. In our "disposable" society, this motto stands as an encouragement to be more resourceful and make the most of what you already own.
Whether it's in your backyard or on your kitchen windowsill, growing your own veggies and herbs gives you fresh, organic ingredients you don't have to waste gas driving to the store to purchase. Plus, you'll know your produce is totally organic and pesticide-free because you grew it yourself.
When you make your own cleaning products from simple household ingredients, you save money, cut back on packaging waste, and can make solutions that are safer for the environment and your family. Many household cleaning products get the job done just as well as expensive store-bought cleaners with harsh chemicals.
Why buy a DVD you'll only watch a once or a book that will just sit on your shelf once you've read it? Borrow media from your local library -- many libraries even have video games for your kids.

When you have a DIY project, borrow tools from your neighbors rather than buying a power washer or circular saw you'll probably never use again. Organize a clothing swap with your friends so you can trade items from each other's closets -- an outfit that's old and boring to you could be new and fresh to one of your friends.

Paula Pant is an entrepreneur and real estate investor who has traveled to 32 countries. Her blog Afford Anything is not the same tired, stodgy, uninspired financial advice that you'll find on other websites. Afford Anything shows you how to crush limits, create wealth and maximize life.
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