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Green Ways to Save Some Green

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Save-GreenA couple of weeks ago we talked about six savings tips to boost your college savings. This week, in honor of Earth Day on April 22, we’ve compiled some more money-saving tips that will help you cut your costs and reduce your family’s carbon footprint. By making small adjustments and putting the savings towards future college expenses, you can make things a lot easier on yourself with the added benefit of giving the planet a helping hand.

Reduce Car Trips
When looking to cut your fuel and vehicle maintenance costs, the daily commute is the first place to look. From carpooling or taking public transit to walking or biking, there’s sure to be an option that suits you no matter how far you live from the office.  Another opportunity is to combine trips when running errands. By making weekly shopping lists and strategizing your route, you can significantly cut your number of trips, fill your tank less and save valuable time.

Consider Buying Used
Save yourself some serious some cash while extending the useful life of perfectly good items. There are lots of opportunities to get great deals, especially when it comes to picking up essentials for the kids such as strollers, clothes, toys and books. Garage sales, Craigslist and consignment stores are just a few places you can pick up some great treasures.

*Bonus: Keep the cycle going by selling or donating items as your kids outgrow them.

Reduce Energy Consumption
There are so many opportunities to cut energy costs in your home, ranging from simply shutting off lights when leaving a room and adjusting the thermostat by a few degrees, to more involved endeavors such as sealing gaps around doors and windows, adding insulation, and upgrading to energy efficient appliances. It may also be worth considering a home energy audit to find opportunities to cut your costs. Many cities and counties partner with local businesses or non-profit organizations to provide this service at a low or subsidized cost.

Be Water-Wise
While savings are more noticeable if you’re on a municipal water supply vs. a private well, reducing your water consumption is always smart choice for the planet. By avoiding running the water when brushing your teeth, taking shorter showers and installing water-saving flush valves on your toilets, you can potentially save hundreds, even thousands of gallons a year. When it comes to lawn and garden care, consider a rain barrel system for watering non-food plants and use mulch to reduce the amount of watering needed.

Water

Make More Meatless Meals
On a cost-per-pound basis (in terms of actual cost and environmental impact), meat packs a much bigger punch than non-animal protein sources such as grains, beans and legumes. Many schools, restaurants, and families now set aside at least one day a week that’s dedicated to completely meatless meals. While often promoted first for the positive health and environmental impacts, meatless meals will usually cost you significantly less to make.

While these are just a few simple tips, there are literally hundreds of other little efforts you can make that can add up to positive long-term impacts on the health of your family’s finances and the environment. We encourage you to continually look for those little opportunities and bank the savings in your college fund, because even small amounts can really add up over time.

Written by Lucas Minor

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