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How to Go Green and Save Green: Tips for Saving Money by Being Eco-Friendly

1. Reuse plastic water bottles

While we don't normally advocate drinking bottled water in the first place, if you're going to drink it, or if you just recently kicked the habit and are trying to find a creative way to reuse all those plastic bottles that are laying around, there are many projects, both crafty and practical, that will enable you to do so. You can make your own holiday decorations out of plastic bottles. Or you can help your kids build a "bottle tornado" or terrarium display out of 2-liter soda bottles. See our article on "How to Reuse Plastic Water Bottles" for an extensive list. If none of these projects are of interest to you, you can always fall back on recycling as the final option. (Remember, though, there is an order to the phrase: "reduce, reuse, recycle.") By reusing plastic bottles, however, you can save money on practical household items by making them yourself, instead of buying them from a store.

2. Drink filtered water

Filtered water is not only better on the planet. It's easier on your wallet. Think of how much money you'll save each year by purchasing a reusable water filter system, whether it's a Brita pitcher, a faucet filter, a refrigerator water filter or a complex reverse osmosis system for the removal of fluoride, it's less expensive than buying single-use plastic bottles. A reusable stainless steel water bottle can be refilled easily. If you just can't seem to curb your bottled water addiction, you can bottle your own water right from the kitchen, with a Filtrete Water Station.

3. Invest in quality furnace filter and change them regularly

Changing your air filters on a regular basis improves the efficiency of your HVAC system, saving you money on energy costs. It's also important to consider quality, when purchasing an air filter. A typical fiberglass filter may cost less in the short-run, but because they are not very efficient at trapping small particles (or large ones, for that matter), it could end up costing you thousands in HVAC repairs in the long run. It is best to invest in an electrostatic filter with a high MERV raiting. For more information on this, check out our $2,000 Premium Fiberglass Air Filter. And be careful not to click on, "Add to Cart," or you might regret it.

4. Carpool, walk, bike, or use public transportation

Gas prices seem to be on the rise, continuously. Why not save money on fuel by carpooling or taking the bus for those longer-distance trips. Or if your job is close to home, perhaps you can even walk or ride your bicycle. Reduce emissions while keeping your wallet fat.

5. Stop using disposable products

Disposable plates, napkins, paper towels, and flatware can cost you hundreds annually (or even thousands, if you have a large family.) Yes, it might be easier than having to wash dishes, but that's what a dishwasher is for. (See #8.) Reusable cloth napkins, stainless-steel flatware and porcelain dishes will save you money, and you can feel good about doing something positive for the environment.

6. Eat out less

Eating out involves driving to the restaurant (which uses gas), paying extra money for food, and probably taking the leftovers home in a styrofoam container that's not biodegradable. Bad for the planet and for your wallet.

7. Shop local and organic, whenever possible

People say that eating healthy costs more. But if you think about it, the benefits outweigh the costs. A good diet boost immunity, potentially saving you thousands in doctor's bills later in life. Supporting local, sustainable farmers is also better for the environment than eating processed foods that are packaged and shipped around the country.

8. Save water

There are many ways to conserve water in your home. For instance, instead of washing dishes by hand, which uses more water and more energy, use your dishwasher with the energy efficient settings turned on.You can also install a low-flow showerhead and make a conscious effort to take shorter showers. Showering in lukewarm water is not only better for your skin - it will keep down costs associated with your water heater. And, lastly - flush the toilet less, if you can. It's not necessary to flush after every single use; conserving water in this way will also help cut down the amount of your monthly water bill.

9. Make your own cleaning supplies

You can easily make your own non-toxic household cleaning supplies with four simple, readily-available, inexpensive ingredients: lemons, baking soda, vinegar and soap. Do the research. There are plenty of recipes out there.

10. Use a programmable thermostat

A programmable thermostat can save you up to 33 percent annually on your energy costs, when used correctly. Some thermostats have 7-day advanced programming capabilities; if you go on vacation, you can turn it off and set it to turn back on the day before you arrive home. More advanced models can even help dehumidify your air. Though it may cost a lot up front, just like quality furnace filters, a programmable thermostat is worth the investment.

Here are some links to other websites that offer great tips for saving money and going green:

"10 Ways to Go Green and Save Green" - WorldWatch Institute

"10 Ways to Go Green and Save Money at the Same Time" - Wisebread: Living Large on a Small Budget

"30+ Surprising Ways to Save Money By Going Green" Picture Slideshow - The Daily Green Saving Your Money and the Planet

"Save the Planet, and Save Some Money, Too" - MSNBC

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