It’s Earth Day. Get Some Real Green

Not really into saving the environment? Then focus on saving cold, hard cash.

Unless you live on another planet (literally), you know that today, April 22, is Earth Day. You might also be aware that April is Financial Literacy Month. If the first observance doesn’t move you to change your energy-consumption lifestyle, maybe the second one will—unless you’ve got cash to burn during the current economic crisis.

The fact is, many of the habits that we practice in our every day lives not only waste energy and harm the environment, they also waste money—I’m talking thousands of dollars a year. I don’t know about you, but I could use a few extra thousand each year. Here are just some of the things you can do to get it:

tapvbottleMake today’s bottled water the last one you buy. Save that one bottle, and refill it with tap water for drinking each day. In most areas of the country (especially the New York metro area), tap water is just as good, if not better, than bottled water. If you have been buying a typical 1.5 liter bottle of water each day, you can save up to $1,000 a year or more by switching to tap. You’ll also reduce the number of plastic bottles that end up in landfills (where they’ll take 1,000 years to break down), not to mention the fuel that’s burned to transport bottled water to your local grocer.

Install a programmable thermostat. We just put one of these in at my house, and it works like a dream, automatically heating or cooling the house depending on the time of year, and whether the house is likely to be empty or not, or whether we’re all in bed. Why run the heater or air-conditioner while you’re at work and the kids are at school? Why have the heat on over night while everyone is in bed? It’s far less expensive to break out the flannels and quilted comforters. You can easily save $300 a year or more; according to the U.S. Department of Energy, the average American family spends about $1,900 on home utility bills each year.

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