11 Sustainable Finance Tips
Here's a guest post by Canadian blogger Sustainable PF who along with his wife, Mrs. SPF, created the blog SustainablePersonalFinance where they discuss and explore balancing their personal finances with sustainable living. This year they are running a series called 365 Sustainability Tips. Each and every day they write a new tip on how they attempt to live a sustainable lifestyle. We asked them if they would present some tips to the Bargainmoosers so they selected 11 that most people can employ in their daily lives. Here you go:
- Shower with a partner. Seriously. Find your favourite person and double up on the shower. Many municipalities are charging tax payer for the water they consume and those cities that don't do so quite yet will in time: water is a valuable resource. By showering with a partner, as long as you can remain focused on the task at hand, you will use less water.
- Add a bucket to the shower. Still on the topic of water waste, let me ask you. Do you put money in the toilet and flush? If you let water go down the drain while you wait for your shower to be ready you are essentially letting money go down the drain. So catch that water with a bucket! You can use that water to fill your toilet tank for when you really do need to flush some water.
- Buy quality dog food. Believe it or not you actually spend more money on Rover's supper when you feed him the cheap and low end dog food. I broke the numbers down on our site. Cheap dog food is made up of filler products that your pooch doesn't need and has less of the good nutrients he does need. As such you have to feed Fido a lot more per serving of the cheap stuff which in the end costs more to buy (in bulk).
- Bake your own treats. Mrs. SPF loves to bake - cookies, muffins, granola bars, cakes and more. She has looked into the financial numbers and figured out that she saves money when she bakes her own treats - compared to buying from the grocery store. In addition she has a major reduction in packaging and the "carbon miles" saved by not having ingredients shipped to a manufacturer, then the goodies shipped to stores really does help our environment.
- Cook in bulk. Cooking in bulk makes sense for a lot of reasons. First, you only have your appliances heating up and running during the bulk cook time. Second, you create leftovers which means you will be less tempted to call in for take out or spend money on lunches out at work. Third, you have quality, quantity and ingredient control in your diet.
- Install a low flow toilet. As part of our home Eco Energy retrofit I researched and actually figured out how to install a toilet (two actually). The low flow toilet uses 4.8 L per flush (other models give you a choice of 3L or 6L depending on what you need). Compared to old style toilets that used 14-30 L of water per flush, you'll save a ton of water (and money) with the newer technology. Old toilets account for 31% of indoor water use in the U.S. so you really want to stop "flushing" your money down the drain.
- Load the Dishwasher Intelligently. Dishwasher loading is a pet peeve of mine, at least when it is done illogically. There is usually an optimal way to load your dishwasher to take advantage of the available space. The better you use the space the less dish loads you will need to do. The less dish loads you run the less detergent you use (and pay for + put into the water system), the less water (and money) you save and the less electricity needed to burn to run this appliance.
- Get a Library Card. There are SO many great and FREE resources at your local library. Use them! You can get books, magazines, books on tape and even DVD movies at the library! Why rent or buy these things when you can borrow them, often for no charge (unless you return them late!). Plus, instead of producing new "stuff" that will just turn into clutter in your home items get re-used and enjoyed by many.
- Make Compost, or what I like to call free premium dirt. You can compost all sorts of kitchen waste, yard waste and even things like pet hair and nail clippings. Turn the pile with a shovel or pitch fork every so often, add some worms to speed up the process and make sure the compost heap gets some air circulation and you'll have nutrient rich soil to add to your garden.
- Buy Things Locally. When you buy local goods you are being sustainable in so many ways. The carbon miles that the goods travel from the seller to the buyer are greatly reduced. This helps keeps costs down. Additionally, buying local means you keep money in your community by contributing (usually) to local small businesses which hire people locally who then continue the cycle of spending at home. Lastly, when you buy local food you won't get anything fresher and tastier.
- Pull Down the Blinds. Aside from the added benefit that people won't be able to see you shower with a partner, keeping the blinds pulled down, especially during the sunny and hot summer will keep your home cooler leaving less need for your air conditioning to cycle on which costs money.
There are plenty of other ways you can save while acting sustainably. Most don't cost much out of pocket and you'll get a good feeling knowing you are doing a small part to protect the environment in which we live. What do you do to save money in a sustainable manner?