April 18, 2011 — -- You know going green is good for the planet, but it can also be good for your wallet. The website The Daily Green shared 15 ways going green can help you save big:
1. Carpool (Estimated Cost Savings: $650 - $1,000)
The Daily Green calculated that the average American uses about 7 gallons of gas per week commuting to and from work. At today's prices, that's about $25.75 a week, or nearly $1,300 a year.
But if you share your ride and the gas bill with just one friend, you each save $650 a year. If four of you carpool, you each save nearly $1,000. Websites like Divide the Ride, eRideShare, and CarPool World can help you find other commuters headed your way.
2. Stop Eating Out (Estimated Cost Savings: Hundreds, if not thousands of dollars)
The typical U.S. family spends $4,000 on meals per year outside the home. Jeff Yeager, author of "The Cheapskate Next Door," estimates that a family that commits to eating at home can save $3,000 in one year and eat just as well. Cooking at home will also force you to pay more attention to the ingredients that are going into your food, according to "The Daily Green."
3. Rent, Borrow and Freecycle (Estimated Cost Savings: Hundreds of dollars)
Did you know that you can go online to find out who has something you can borrow? Freecycle connects people getting rid of useable stuff to people who want those same items, according to "The Daily Green."
If you'd rather borrow items from people you know, ask your neighbors and friends before buying a tool or item you won't use that often.
4. Start a Vegetable Garden (Estimated Cost Savings: $25- $2,000)
While some may doubt that growing your own food can save you money, Roger Doiron, founder of Kitchen Gardeners International, proved it by growing about $2,000 worth of produce in one season in his garden, according to grocery-store prices. Start saving money by growing crops like tomatoes, potatoes, salad greens, zucchini, and strawberries, according to "The Daily Green."
5. Buy an Affordable Fuel-Efficient Car (Estimated Cost Savings: Hundreds or thousands of dollars)
If you need a new car, consider buying a fuel-efficient one that's used. With the price of gas today, cars that get over 30 miles per gallon can significantly reduce the amount of money you spend on gas. If you do a lot of driving, a fuel-efficient car is a must, according to "The Daily Green."
6. Do a Home Energy Audit (Estimated Cost Savings: Up to $570)
Much of the energy a household uses each year is wasted. Most homes can benefit significantly from simple improvements like caulking cracks, sealing windows and ducts, and using draft snakes to save money on heating and cooling costs. You can also install a programmable thermostat to control your heating and air-conditioning when you're sleeping or not at home, according to "The Daily Green."
7. Adjust Water Heater Temperature Settings (Estimated Cost Savings: $30-$475)
The average U.S. household spends $1,900 on heating, hot water and electricity.
Hot water represents as much as 25 percent of the cost of heating, hot water and electricity costs, according to the Department of Energy, and much of it is wasted. If you're buying a water heater, choose an Energy Star model or a tankless or solar water heater. These more advanced systems are expensive to buy, but they eliminate your hot water costs. If you have a hot water heater already, consider turning the temperature down, so the tap water isn't so hot, and wash your clothes in cold water, says "The Daily Green."
8. Make Your Own Green Cleaning Products (Estimated Cost Savings: $200 or more)
Cleaning products -- from dishwasher and laundry detergents to all-purpose, window, toilet bowl and tile cleaners -- are surprisingly expensive. But most can be replaced with home-made remedies, using baking soda, vinegar and lemon juice. Go to "The Daily Green" to find out how you can make your own green cleaners.