There's a common misconception that being green means spending more green, but it doesn't have to be that way. While certain things, like pricier organic food items, can contribute to this notion, it's actually pretty easy to find some simple environmentally-friendly practices that cost little to nothing at all.
With the holiday season upon, us we know how important budgeting can be. So, in the spirit of "every little bit helps," we wanted to share with you a few easy things you can do to live green this holiday season, helping you save money today and throughout the year.
1. Shop locally
When you shop local, you not only keep dollars in your local community, but you also help reduce the energy used to ship products in from out of state (or even out of country). Food travels an estimated 1,500-2,000 on average from farm to consumer, producing emissions that can be eliminated by shopping local. Small businesses usually cannot afford to sell the low-quality items found in larger stores, so the products you buy will typically be higher quality and stand the test of time.
Living in Phoenix, it can be hard to find public transportation to support your daily commute, but that doesn’t mean you can’t cut down on your emissions. Try carpooling with a friend or coworker to help you save both gas and time. Plus, you'll get to use the carpool lanes which can significantly reduce your commute time. You can also look into alternative fuel cars, like hybrids or electric vehicles. Hybrids can lower your fuel cost by almost half, while an electric vehicle can cut your fuel use to zero!
3. Opt for reusable products
I think we're all guilty of using plastic bottles instead of reusable ones from time to time. Opting for a reusable bottle or a ceramic coffee mug instead of a paper or plastic alternatives at work will establish a new habit that will help reduce landfill waste. See what parts of your lunch you can pack in Tupperware instead of plastic bags. Bring a metal fork and spoon from home to use during work lunches instead of plastic options. You can even invest in metal straws for as little as $8 that can replace plastic ones when eating out.
4. Plan your meals
A lot of food goes to waste in America, which probably heightens during the holiday season. With a little planning in this department, you can avoid unnecessary waste. Try planning meals a week at a time and buy only what you need to make those meals from the grocery store. Always try to use leftovers or freeze what you can, especially any delicious holiday food you might have. If you do still end up with food that will expire, you can always start composting!
5. Go solar
While going solar isn't something that happens overnight, this option can help you save year round. There are also federal and local tax incentives that can dramatically reduce the cost of going solar, with the 30% federal ITC ramping down at the end of 2019. With leaner schedules in the cooler months, solar installation times are much shorter in fall and winter, making this time of year one of the best times to go solar. So, if you start your solar journey now, you'll be reaping the positive financial and environmental benefits long before you start thinking about your summer AC bill.
If you’ve been thinking about making the switch to solar, now is a great time to make the switch! We invite you to contact one of our solar experts for a custom solar quote. If you aren't quite ready for a quote, you can download our complimentary whitepaper: Is Solar Right for You?