The Ridiculously Long List of Ways to Go Green to Save Money

by RJ

in Random

In honor of earth day, I think it’s only fitting to share one of my favorite posts of all time on Gen Y Wealth.  The content is even more important today, then it was two years ago. Enjoy, and if you learned anything, do you mind sharing on Facebook or Twitter?

Going green and saving money go hand in hand. Few of the tactics require a large investment in time nor money. They are simple changes you can start making , today.


Saving Money in the Kitchen

  1. Don’t use paper towels
  2. Use cloth napkins, instead of paper
  3. Don’t buy plastic wrap
  4. Don’t buy aluminum foil
  5. Don’t buy plastic bags
  6. Don’t buy paper plates
  7. Compost
  8. Use cast iron pans, that last a lifetime
  9. Buy one good knife and learn to sharpen it
  10. Turn refrigerator temperature down
  11. Turn freezer temperature down
  12. Clean the coils on the fridge
  13. You only need one fridge and one freezer
  14. Use the dishwasher as much as possible, instead of hand cleaning in the sink
  15. Let dishes cleaned in dishwasher air dry
  16. Arrange dishes in dishwasher efficiently
  17. Use a quality cutting board that lasts a lifetime, instead of multiple plastic ones
  18. Fill up your freezer, the less air the more efficient
  19. If you go into the fridge or freezer, know what your going in for and make it quick
  20. When washing dishes by hand, fill one sink with wash water and the other with clean water. Don’t let the water run. 

Saving Money On Obtaining and Preparing Food


  1. Bring reusable bags everywhere you go to buy food (helps lower cost of groceries)
  2. Don’t put produce into individual plastic bags (helps lower cost of groceries)
  3. Limit trips to grocery store, by planning out meals
  4. Put coupons on your mobile phone
  5. Buy food locally
  6. Buy produce in season
  7. Start or join a co-op or subscribe to a CSA
  8. Buy dried instead of canned beans
  9. Eat less meat
  10. Eat raw produce
  11. Limit eating fast food or takeout due to the waste
  12. Learn to can your own produce
  13. Cook in batches
  14. Don’t buy prepared foods
  15. Don’t go to the grocery store until all your food is gone
  16. Learn how to store your produce
  17. If you do have plastic bags, take them back to the grocery store
  18. Learn basic knife cutting skills to avoid using a food processor

Going Green With What You Drink

  1. Drink filtered tap water
  2. Get draft beer at bars, since few bars recycle their bottles
  3. Get a reusable water bottle
  4. If it comes in plastic, don’t buy it
  5. If you make coffee, use a reusable coffee filter

Saving Energy in your Home, Saves You Money

  1. If it’s cold, set thermostat for 68
  2. If it’s hot, set thermostat for 76
  3. Use a programmable thermostat
  4. Turn down water heater
  5. Use a low pressure shower head
  6. Don’t buy cleaning solutions, instead make your own
  7. When cold, open blinds to let sun in
  8. When hot, close blinds
  9. Unplug items from electrical sockets that are not used often
  10. Use plants instead of air purifiers to clean air in your home
  11. Live in a location with a high walk score
  12. Get an energy audit
  13. Learn to weather strip your doors
  14. Use CFL lights wherever possible
  15. Use “smart” power strips
  16. Maintain your furnace
  17. Replace air filter for your furnace in your house regulary
  18. Turn off pilot flame for your furnace in the summer
  19. Buy quality furniture that lasts
  20. Buy quality used furniture
  21. Decorate your house using sites like Freecycle, Craigslist, and Etsy
  22. Learn how ceiling fans work
  23. Use old socks and t-shirts as rags
  24. Put a faucet aerator on your sink to reduce flow
  25. Buy energy star appliances
  26. Add insulation to your attic
  27. Don’t buy a home phone if you have a cell phone
  28. Don’t allow shoes inside the house
  29. If floors are cold, buy a rug instead of turning up heat
  30. Buy a blanket for your water heater
  31. Turn off your lights if you’re not in the room
  32. Use rechargeable batteries
  33. Instead of turning up the heat, wear quality socks and sweaters in the winter

Saving Money and Going Green in Your Lawn and Garden

  1. Share lawn equipment with neighbors
  2. Rent equipment that you only use once a year
  3. Start a garden
  4. Plant trees to block sun coming in
  5. Use electric instead of gas powered lawn equipment
  6. If you have a small yard use a push mower
  7. Don’t water your grass
  8. If you need to water your grass, manually place sprinkler as to not water driveway, street, and sidewalk
  9. Never use automatic sprinklers, check grass yourself before watering
  10. Collect rain water
  11. Shovel your snow with a shovel
  12. See if your park district gives away mulch
  13. Use solar powered lighting for your yard and garden
  14. Learn how to maintain your garden without pesticides
  15. Water plants when cool, to prevent water from evaporating
  16. Leave your grass clippings after mowing
  17. Never use a hose to wash your driveway, use a broom
  18. Adjust lawn mower to high setting, this allows the grass to retain more moisture

Going Green with Transportation

  1. Buy only cars that have a high MPG
  2. Buy a small car
  3. Buy a used bike
  4. Take public transportation
  5. Walk everywhere possible
  6. Ride a bike
  7. Car pool
  8. Don’t drive more than 55 MPH
  9. Set cruise control whenever possible
  10. Instead of buying a car, use public transportation and rent when needed
  11. When idling, turn car off
  12. Learn how to care for your own car, including changing your own oil
  13. Fill your tires to their proper pressure
  14. Read your car manual (most cars don’t require an oil change every 3,000 miles)
  15. If taking a long road trip, pack your own food
  16. Get rid of any excess weight in your car, usually found in your trunk
  17. Accelerate and brake gradually
  18. Tigthen gas cap
  19. Roll downwindows and turn off the AC
  20. Take stairs instead of an elevator
  21. Combine errands
  22. Don’t warm up your car in the winter, instead  drive it slowly at first


  1. By quality items, second hand
  2. Instead of throwing clothes out, give away and take a tax deduction
  3. Make your own laundry detergent
  4. Air dry your clothes
  5. Wash clothes only if they smell or are dirty, not after every use
  6. Use the “warm” setting on your washer, instead of hot
  7. Wash only full loads
  8. Share formal clothing (shoes, purses, suits, dresses, etc…) that you don’t use often, with a friend similar in size
  9. Take your wire hangers and plastic bags back to the cleaners
  10. Better yet, don’t buy clothes that need to be dry cleaned
  11. Buy basic clothes that match all your other clothes (For example, just buy one black suit with multiple shirt and tie combinations)
  12. Don’t use bleach
  13. Don’t use fabric softener
  14. Clean lint trip thoroughly after each use
  15. Check if clothes  in the dryer are done before timer goes off
  16. Consider buying a front-loading washing machines, which are usually more energy efficient


  1. Pay attention to tax laws that encourage sustainable living
  2. Request paperless statements to avoid any account fees
  3. Combine home and auto insurance with one company to reduce paper costs and to save money
  4. Monitor your energy bills on a month by month basis

How To Turn Your Fitness Routine Green

  1. Don’t workout with anything that needs to be plugged in
  2. Workout outdoors, whenever possible
  3. Multi-task, walking or biking to work can be your workout for the day
  4. Buy only basic equipment like shoes, jump rope, yoga mats, etc… instead of shake weights and ab rollers
  5. Use your body as a weight, i.e push ups, pull ups
  6. Use nature as equipment, i.e. trees are pull up bars and the lake is your swimming pool

Save Money In Your Bathroom

  1. Take a navy shower
  2. Take cold showers
  3. Don’t buy disposable razors
  4. Install a dual-flush toilet
  5. Lower water level in toilet
  6. When shaving, fill the sink with a little warm water instead of letting it run
  7. Don’t let sink run when brushing teeth
  8. Just about everything in the bathroom can be cleaned with vinegar and water
  9. Use bathroom towels multiple times before washing them
  10. Don’t take baths
  11. Use the water running when shower is heating up, to water your plants
  12. Use a handkerchief

Going Green and Saving Money At Work

  1. Ask your boss if you can work from home a few days a week
  2. Go paperless
  3. Get ink cartridges refilled
  4. If you need to print anything out, use “draft” mode on your printer
  5. Print on both sides of the paper
  6. Make your own scratch paper instead of buying it
  7. Turn your computer off
  8. Get a notebook or netbook, which uses less energy than a computer
  9. Video conference, instead of attending meetings
  10. Share printers, scanners, phones, etc… as much as possible
  11. Bring your own silverware to work, instead of using plastic
  12. Buy office furniture and equipment used
  13. Get paid electronically (less you have to drive to the bank)
  14. Take your lunch to work in a reusable container

Having Fun In Your Community By Going Green

  1. Invite friends over for a potluck dinner, where everyone has to cook with ingredients they have on hand
  2. Use your local library
  3. Start a game board night
  4. Watch any sporting events with your neighbors, instead of separately
  5. Stop reading print newspapers and magazines, read them online
  6. Watch less TV
  7. Pay attention to what your local government is doing to promote sustainable living and get involved
  8. Cut the cable and watch movies and shows online
  9. Look in your local paper for free events to walk too
  10. Next time you have a kegger, declare it “Bring your own cup night” instead of buying plastic cups
  11. Get books from paper back swap
  12. Get DVD’s that you will watch over and over again from DVD Swap

Giving Green Gifts

  1. Give an experience (cook a 5-course meal) or a service (babysitting), over a physical object
  2. Wrap gifts with leftover paper grocery bags or newspaper

Going Green When Having Kids

  1. Buy unisex clothes for the first child, so you can hand them down for the second
  2. Try out cloth diapers
  3. Give kids a bath together
  4. Don’t spend money on entertainment with your children, just give them your attention
  5. Breastfeed
  6. Buy an awesome blender that will last a lifetime like the Vitamix, and make your own baby food
  7. Don’t drive kids to school if there is public transportation available, even if that means they have to get up 10 minutes earlier

Saving Money With Pets

  1. Don’t buy your pets toys, instead take it for a walk and play with them outside without an iPod or phone.
  2. Don’t buy your pets clothes, for thousands of years they were somehow able to survive without them
  3. Adopt pets from a shelter
  4. Spay or neuter

Buy less stuff. Pay attention to things you do buy. Basically, just use the same common sense our grandparents used.

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{ 9 comments… read them below or add one }

CrystalNo Gravatar January 28, 2010 at 11:16 am

Good list. I disagree with a couple of things for personal reasons, but overall, good list. I really like the idea of joining a co-op, but I’d need a second freezer to store large meat orders. :-)

I just wanted to say, please don’t feed your dogs leftovers. I’m a foster parent for Pughearts and a volunteer for the Houston SPCA. Most cases of joint problems and internal problems are caused by feeding the dogs human food…they get fat and hurt their backs and legs or develop heart problems. It shortens their life and increases your vet costs.

Some human food is great for the dogs, but most of our cooked meals are not good for our pets. My dogs really like the white part of Romaine Lettuce and carrot peels…you can find other healthy ideas online. Thanks!


RJNo Gravatar January 28, 2010 at 2:54 pm


Thanks for the insight. Made a correction.


Jeff9No Gravatar January 28, 2010 at 12:30 pm

This covers all the bases = saves you money, helps the environment, helps your health, makes you feel better, it’s so easy to do and it costs less than $50.00; Save money and the Earth and be clean at the same time! Add Bathroom Bidet Sprayers to all your bathrooms. I think Dr. Oz on Oprah said it best: “if you had pee or poop on your hand, you wouldn’t wipe it off with paper, would you? You’d wash it off” Available at with these you won’t even need toilet paper any more, just a towel to dry off! Don’t worry, you can still leave some out for guests and can even make it the soft stuff without feeling guilty. It’s cheap and can be installed without a plumber; and runs off the same water line to your toilet. You’ll probably pay for it in a few months of toilet paper savings. As for water use a drought is always a concern and must be dealt with prudently but please remember that in the big picture the industrial water users always far exceed the water use of household users and in the case of toilet paper manufacture it is huge. The pollution and significant power use from that manufacturing process also contributes to global warming so switching to a hand bidet sprayer and lowering your toilet paper use is very green in multiple ways.


MashawnNo Gravatar August 25, 2010 at 11:40 pm

This is the most helpful information i ever seen is it possible all this information can be in a book form


Pat SNo Gravatar April 22, 2011 at 12:27 pm

That’s a long list! For most of us, just a few of those changes would make a meaningful difference.


RJNo Gravatar April 22, 2011 at 2:26 pm

It sure is. Thanks Pat.


JasmineNo Gravatar April 22, 2011 at 1:44 pm

Well thought list RJ! There are indeed a LOT of ways we can save money while staying/getting healthy and satisfy ourselves – all we have to do is look around and think of other options. Some of the ideas are really ridiculous as you have described – I’ll definitely skip some of the “bathroom money saving tips” – man, that “navy shower” is just too much money saving. :D


RJNo Gravatar April 22, 2011 at 2:28 pm

Ha. I bet most will skip the “bathroom saving tips” but I guess you’ll never know how far someone will go to save behind closed doors.


BrandonNo Gravatar April 23, 2011 at 12:53 am

Great list. It would be nice to see some estimates of how much some of those ideas could save someone.


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