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Reduce Your Emissions (Improve Your Cash Flow)

Andrew Tavin
Andrew Tavin covers budgeting and credit scores for OppLoans. His experience as a comedian lends an approachable and humorous angle to his content and makes the scary parts of personal finance less intimidating for readers.
Updated on March 18, 2021
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The planet (and your wallet) needs you!

October 24th was the 10th anniversary of the International Day of Climate Action. The International Day of Climate Action was organized by nonprofit as part of its mission to keep the carbon in the atmosphere below 350 parts per million (ppm).

As of 2019, atmospheric carbon is now at 415 ppm. has since adjusted their goal to ceasing further atmospheric carbon increase as quickly as possible and bringing the total back down to 350 ppm.

That goal is going to require some major commitments from world and industry leaders. But you might as well do what you can to lower emissions as well — especially if it can also save you money.

Here are four ways you can cut down on daily expenses by making changes to the way you live, shop, and eat.

Take up biking

Public transit is a great way to get where you need to go, whether you use it every day as part of your morning commute, or only when you want to visit the fish at the aquarium. But even many large cities do not have effective public transit systems, and many people do not live in large cities.

A car may be a requirement for your situation, but it can still be worth minimizing your auto use when you can.

“Riding a bicycle is always the greenest option, saves money at the gas pump, and burns some of that unwanted body fat while keeping your heart running,” suggests B.C. Kowalski, founder of “The good news is you do not have to bike everywhere. I am a big fan of the two-mile principle — start biking to destinations within two miles of your house, which nearly everyone can do. ”

Biking, if even only for short distances, can help to cut down on your gas use over time. But also remember, the more you use your car, the higher your risk of having to deal with costly repairs due to wear and tear.

Click here for our post featuring tips on saving money with two wheels.

Clean cleaning supplies

You do not want to dirty the planet while cleaning your home. Highly specific cleaning products can also get quite pricey.

Alberto Navarrete, general manager of Frisco Maids, suggests avoiding aerosol cleaning products — basically products that come in a can. He also recommends taking cleaning matters into your own hands. “There are always substitutes for these products that you can find or research online for a [do-it-yourself] solution —  usually at a fraction of the cost of the can spray product. This helps to reduce toxic waste that creates a greenhouse effect on the earth.”

The way you wash your clothes can also make a difference, from the temperature of the water to what you use for detergent.

“Switch to washing clothes in cold water,” says award-winning sustainability author Shel Horowitz. “Heating water is the most energy-intensive part of the laundry process,” which also makes doing your laundry more costly. There are many ways you can make an impact on your water bill while also helping the environment, but using cold water for washing is one of them.

Using a detergent formulated for cold-water washing can help support your cold laundry efforts. Additionally, finding a reusable detergent solution can also help reduce costs while cutting down on packaging. “A non-detergent product such as the laundry ball we have used for almost three years, you can get the clothes plenty clean,” Horowitz said.

Choose better bulbs

LED bulbs use a fraction of the electricity of traditional light bulbs, which means less emissions and less money spent on replacing bulbs. LED bulbs are said to last for years, with their lifespan depending on how many hours you use them a day.

“I figured out once that the owners of certain types of businesses could save six figures over the life of the bulbs by switching 50 bulbs in hard-to-reach locations,” Horowitz said. While a homeowner isn’t likely to burn that type of energy or save that type of cash, switching your bulbs out can help you save on utilities over time.

Consider less meat

Look, we love a good burger from time to time. We are not going to tell you to give up meat entirely. But lessening your meat consumption is not just good for the environment, it can have big benefits for your wallet and your arteries.

“Eating more plant-based meals is one of the easiest and most significant things people can do to lower their carbon footprint,” Horowitz says. “And now, with the recent arrival of much more convincing meat substitutes …  you do not have to give up the taste. I have been a vegetarian for 46 years, but even if you just cut back, it makes a huge difference.”

One factor to note: Not all meat substitutes are slimming for your wallet — some of them can be rather pricey. However, sticking to a plant-based diet can be cheaper overall if approached responsibly.

Adapt and start saving

The sooner you start adapting these sorts of habits, the better off your bank account will be, and you will be helping keep the planet more livable. Living on Earth and saving money? Those are two things we can really get behind!

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