Photo by Neubie
This is a guest post from Andrew Chilton of Retire at 40. Be sure to visit his blog to see how he plans to retire at 40. To do this, he has recently started to take control of his finances by spending less and saving more. He has also noticed that a number of things he's changed has also helped him become more environmentally aware. Here's a few thoughts from him on the matter.

Did you ever imagine that saving money can also help save the environment? If
not, you should try it now because my recent experience with spending less and saving more
proved it to me and should work for you too.

Did you ever get the feeling that the 'green' movement knew that the reverse of
this was also true - that saving the environment also helps you save money -
though I suspect this is considered a side benefit more than anything
else. Nowadays I think that one implies the other whichever way you look at it.

Here's some background info on me. Recently I changed my spending habits such
that I would be spending less and becoming a little more frugal in all areas of
my life. In doing all this, I realized that not only am I spending less but I'm also helping
the environment too.

5 Areas of your life that are affected by cost and also have an affect on the environment.
Taking your own reusable shopping bags to the supermarket
costs less money, they don't go into landfill and sometimes the supermarket
even rewards you for doing it (let's face it, it's also saving them money
too). These bags are usually made from more environmentally friendly materials
too; mine are cotton and the best thing about them is that they are washable.

Reusable batteries might cost more in the short term but they
soon pay for themselves. This also means less waste to deal with (but remember
not to dispose of any batteries in the landfill - seek advice from your local
council for the best way to discard them).

Now let's look at the eternally shining Energy Saving Light
Bulbs. These have come down in price quite dramatically over the past
5 years and with a lifespan of 10,000 hours instead of a measly 1,000 hours,
all at about 1/6th of the regular energy usage, you are onto a sure fire winner
with these things.

Let's now consider the type of food we buy (but for the purposes of this
conversation, I'm not going to delve into organic foods since that is a whole
new topic itself).

I used to buy certain foods which came with lots of plastic, biscuits with
individual wrappers and lots of takeaway coffees. I have never been really bad
with any of these things but bad enough for me to notice and do something about
it. Nowadays, I buy more fruit and vegetables, none of which come in individual
wrappers and I never use those little plastic bags in the shop either. I
rarely, if ever, buy biscuits anymore (though I have been known to make
some). I have also completely quit buying takeaway coffees. All of these
actions are now saving me money and a few little things like that all add up to
help the environment too.

Furthermore, putting fruit and vegetable waste into a compost heap puts nutrients
back into your garden rather than the landfill. It can also help when growing
your own fruit and vegetables - so there's another saving there. Growing your
own also means less waste being used in packaging, less going into rubbish bags
(which I have pay the council to put into the landfill) as well as spending
less in the shops. In just a few sentences, that adds up to a number of
different savings right off the bat. (Did I also mention the fact that you'll
feel much better when eating more healthily, have more energy and your
digestive system will thank you for it too!)

Also remember to look for a local market which sells local fruit and veg. That
way you're not buying apples that have come from thousands of miles away but
instead those which have travelled from just down the road. Think globally,
act locally as they say.

Finally, we have to look at cars/automobiles. There are a number of costs to
mention here like initial price, depreciation, repair and maintenance,
insurance, tax, petrol and maybe breakdown recovery. Of course, some people say
they just can't live without a car, or even two, but let's look at it from a
money and environmental angle rather than a practical angle for now.

Moneywise, you might have to buy a bike, pay for public transport, taxis or walk
more than you used to and the costs of some of these may well add up. Still,
you'd probably be surprised to hear that it's pretty likely that it'll be
cheaper than the amount of money you're spending on your car (especially if you
bought new with horrendous depreciation). All of these solutions are better for
the environment and in lots of cases are also better for you. Just be sure to
keep track of your car spending so that you can make an informed decision as to
whether getting rid of your car helps you financially. It is certain that would
help the environment more and your fitness might also go up too.

Admittedly some of the points made in this article have been brief and I have
only touched on a few issues. There are many other factors to consider with
regard to manufacturing cost and materials used for each item but as always you
should look to more appropriate sources for further information. I just
find it fascinating reading about both
personal finance and going green at the
same time and how the two actually go hand in hand rather than being a
balancing act.

You should try some of these things too and please leave any saving
and/or green tips so we can all care for the environment as well as our own
pockets.



7 comments

  1. Don // September 22, 2008 at 3:33 PM  

    In many cities you have to pay for rubbish bags. The more you compost and recycle the less of these you use. This leads to a direct saving when buying these bags!

  2. Julie // September 22, 2008 at 6:18 PM  

    Speaking of saving money and being green I thought I'd let you know about a product you might like. I work with ShoreBank promoting their HYSA (3.50% APY, online access, $1 minimum, FDIC insured). ShoreBank invests the money saved with them in green lending projects, here's a story of how they created green collar jobs in Chicago: http://shorebankdirect.sbk.com/stories/indie_energy.asp

  3. Zhu // September 22, 2008 at 11:07 PM  

    Yes, I agree, being green and saving money work well together.

    Buying local is sometimes cheaper than buying imported (think markets instead of supermarket).

  4. rkudasik // September 23, 2008 at 3:29 PM  

    Over the weekend I made the decision to get rid of my car when it broke down. It's scary for me. I've been riding my bike all summer and I'm ready for the challenge.

    I had worked my credit card from $3200 to $700 in ten months and the idea of putting $1700 or more back onto it made me angry.

    I made the challenge. I will fix my car, but I have to pay to get it fixed in cash and still have $1000 in the savings. At this rate it could be months.

    Read my blog about my carless life at www.rkudasik.wordpress.com

  5. lulugal11 // September 24, 2008 at 7:50 AM  

    There are no recycling facilities available where I live so I don't do that.

    I have been using the CFL bulbs for a few years now and I love them. I even replaced the bulb in the refrigerator!

  6. retire-at-40 // October 3, 2008 at 4:16 AM  

    Thanks for the guest post SingleGuyMoney.

    @Don: you're right, you also produce less waste. As always, thanks for the tip.

    @zhu: I missed that one out about going to the market but you're right, it saves a fortune.

  7. adamsmom06 // November 9, 2008 at 12:28 PM  

    Thanks for sharing this post, it takes just a little bit of change for each of us to have a huge positive impact on the planet. I found other family/household friendly tips for saving cash when going green here .