Those looking to green their homes and lifestyles, can also take a look at their finances. Here are tips to green your finances and money management. Save yourself time and clutter, while keeping Mother Nature happy.
- Pay Your Bills Online
Paying your bills on the Web will help cut down on paper and is quick and easy. Also, request that your bank and other businesses send you online statements. According to the National Automated Clearing House Association (NACHA), by switching to electronic bills and statements and making online payments, the average American household can conserve 6.6 pounds of paper annually. To determine your own positive impact, use the Pay It Green Alliance’s PayitGreen calculator at www.payitgreen.org.In addition to minimizing paper, computer budgeting programs, such as Quicken, provide tools that allow you to track and analyze your spending in ways that using a checkbook alone can’t accomplish. If you’d rather use checks, you can purchase those made from recycled paper. Bank of America, Wells Fargo, and other financial institutions offer the option to purchase eco-friendly checks. It’s important to minimize your use of paper checks because their production and use consumes more than 674 million gallons of fuel and adds 3.6 tons of greenhouse gases to the environment each year, according to NACHA. In addition, sign up for direct deposit with your employer to save time and paper.
- Buy a Scanner
Scanning important documents onto your computer will cut down on paper and clutter, as well as help to keep you organized. Special scanners, such as the Neat Receipts model, www.neatreceipts.com, will allow you to scan and organize important receipts and bills that you may need to retain. Be sure to recycle once you’ve completed uploading your documents.
- Use Banks that Follow the Equator Principles
Inquire whether or not your bank adheres to the Equator Principles, a set of environmental and social standards developed by the World Bank Group. Followed by banks and financial institutions, these principles encourage the financing of development projects that are socially and environmentally responsible. Banks such as Citigroup, HSBC, and ING have adopted the standards. Also, research what other green initiatives your bank may be participating in.
- Patronize a Green Bank
San Francisco’s New Resource Bank (www.newresourcebank.com) looks to cater to eco-friendly companies and other Earth enthusiasts. The bank practices what it preaches: It was built to green building standards and offers employees incentives to use public transportation. “Green banking” describes any financial institution that has incorporated an eco-friendly outlook into its business model. Chase opened a green bank branch in Denver, and Wachovia has plans to open 300 green banking institutions by 2010.
- Invest in Green Companies
Invest in your community and companies whose products and services are not detrimental to the environment or society. According to the Social Investment Forum (www.socialinvest.org), an association dedicated to advancing the practice and growth of socially and environmentally responsible investing, this form of investment comprises $2.3 trillion dollars in the