You’ve done it before—made the resolutions at the New Year, attempted to commit, then abandoned them not long after the year starts. We get it, it’s hard to commit to something when it drastically changes your life, especially if it hasn't been part of your normal routine over the years. Perhaps another way to look at it, to keep you pushing forward with this 2020 resolution to help preserve the planet, is to look at it as a way of improving not only your life, but the lives of others. And it can’t hurt to keep in mind you're saving money at the same time!
1. Resist the Urge to Spend Online
Sounds like a given, especially when we’re talking about saving money, but the effect goes beyond your bank account. It’s convenient to buy things online for home delivery, but a lot of extra packaging goes into the transport of that new pair of shoes in red (when you've already got a pair in green), or the new pizza stone for your barbecue grill, or the tire gauge for your car, or the extra plush pillows for decorating your sofa—you get the picture.
In addition to all that packaging, don't forget the emissions from fuel consumed during transport. The draw is strong when it comes to online shopping, and it sure is nice to be able to shop from the comfort of home, but before clicking ‘Buy,’ consider whether or not you truly need the item, and maybe save it for your next shopping trip instead.
And perhaps before making your next purchases, either online or in the store, you should try going the opposite direction by getting rid of some of the extra stuff occupying the corners of your humble abode. Get your garage organized by holding a garage sale to add some extra cash to your pocket. Make a tax deductible donation to a needy organization, or find a way to upcycle things you're throwing out. Either way, you've just given new life to the things you no longer needed, without adding any heat to our collective atmosphere.
2. Reduce Energy Usage
If you have trouble remembering to turn off lights when you leave a room, smart lights are made just for you. They may be a larger initial investment, but the money and energy saved are worth it in the long run. And if you’re in the market for new appliances, find ones with an Energy Star rating for added efficiency.
Then get into the habit of unplugging the energy vampires that draw electricity while not in use, like chargers for your mobile devices, coffee makers, and hair dryers. If you’re really interested in saving money this year, consider green home solutions like smart thermostats, and smart pipes—all of them will save you money while helping protect the planet.
3. Avoid Single Use Plastics and Styrofoam
Plastic water bottles are a menace to the environment, but still widely used. We know you could probably get a great deal on a bulk purchase of water at places like Costco, and though we are all for saving money with bulk buys, if it involves single use plastic water bottles—not so much. Reuseable water bottles are inexpensive, and they come in a variety of styles and features to reflect your personality while keeping your water ice cold. Plus, they'll remind you to stay hydrated!
Single use plastics and styrofoam are a staple of many take-out joints. While we’re not advocating that you never go out to eat, or utilize the convenience of food delivery services, we do recommend you be judicious when it comes to these choices. Everything in moderation. And who knows? Maybe a little customer feedback at your favorite pizza place might help them make a more Earth-friendly business decision.
4. Choose an Eco Friendly Commute
With rising gas prices, this just makes sense. If you live close to work, walking or biking may be an option. Otherwise, look into carpooling or public transportation one or two days a week. Letting someone else do the driving saves money (and your sanity) when it comes to those high traffic hours.
5. Try Going Paperless
If you’re still receiving paper statements from your bank and utility companies, make this one of your first resolutions for 2020. Some banks even waive their monthly fees when you switch to online documentation. It may seem like a pain to set up an account for online access, but once you get past the tedium of initial setup, the rest is easy.
You can set up email or text alerts that remind you of payments, alerts when your account is low, and access via your mobile device. You’ll reduce waste and fuel emissions used in transporting these statements to your mailbox. Same goes for any magazine subscriptions you have. Many popular magazines and newspapers have an online version you can access with your subscription, saving the paper and fuel emissions required for delivery to your home.
Doing what we can to help our planet is a responsibility we all must share if we want to preserve it for future generations. Luckily, almost everything we can do to help save life on Earth is good for our own bottom line.