This is a guest post from Eric at Narrow Bridge Finance as part of the Yakezie blog swap. You can see my post on the same topic at Eric’s blog. This week, our topic is “What is your best go green method to save money?”

People have many different motivations for “going green.” I think you would be hard pressed to find someone who hates the environment, but people are willing to make different levels of effort to make a difference for the planet.

I have been a long time conservationist. I support efforts to move away from fossil fuel, I support recycling programs, and I make personal efforts to help our planet. However, as a finance blogger, I always have other motivations when I look at my environmental impact.

I have three favorite methods to both save money and save the planet at the same time. Depending on your situation, they might not all be possible, but at least one certainly applies to you.

For the super dedicated: Get a green car

When my old car, a 1990 Volvo Station Wagon hand-me-down, died while driving down the road, I had to get a new car. I had to do it quickly. When my car died in August, 2007, the average gas price per gallon was $2.75. This was during our first major run up of gas prices a few years back.

Sure, I would love to have a four wheel drive SUV to help navigate Colorado winters. However, I have always done fine with a sedan. And, I was not stupid. I knew that gas prices would continue to rise. I didn’t want to spend enough for a hybrid, but I did want a small, fuel efficient car.

I bought a 2008 Toyota Corolla. I have been thrilled with the car. It has been reliable. It is safe. It is easy to park and drives comfortably. Oh yeah, and it gets 28 MPG in the city. I once tested it out on a road trip and got 38 MPG. I don’t feel bad for people spending fifty or more dollars filling up their SUV. I bought a small car on purpose.

For the dedicated: Install a thermostat with a timer

Heating and cooling our homes is expensive. I live in an apartment building surrounded by people who like to leave their heat on high during the winter, so I just leave my thermostat off during the cold months. However, it gets HOT in my apartment during the summer.

How hot does it get? About $40 per month hot. That is how much more my power bill is during the months I use my air conditioner. However, if I forget to turn it off when I leave for work in the morning, my apartment stays nice and cool all day. While I am sure my plant appreciates it, I don’t.

If I owned my own home, I would install a thermostat with a timer. I leave every day around 7:30am and come home around 6:00pm or later. There is no reason to cool my home during those hours. If I had a timer, I could save money and not even think about it.

For the lazy: Conserve around the house

If you are not looking to buy a new car and you can’t change your thermostat, have no fear. You can still take steps to stay green without changing your life completely.

  • Adjust your thermostat temperature – There is no reason to set your air to 67 degrees in the summer and heat to 80 in the winter. A few degree change can save a lot on your energy bill.
  • Shorter and cooler showers – The energy conservation shower really saves water and hot water costs.
  • Use cloth towels – We love our paper towels, but you can save money and the planet by switching to washable cloth towels instead. The landfills, trees, and your wallet will all thank you.
  • Go paperless – By not printing, can save ink and save paper.

A few quick facts


Tap water – $0 per gallon

Bottled water – $6.40 per gallon

Beer – $8.88 per gallon

Gasoline – $3.27 per gallon (today in Denver)

Printer ink – $2,702 per gallon

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