You don’t have to be an environmental scientist to want to help save our planet. With a few small changes, you can start making greener decisions for your money.
Here are 12 ways to green your finances today.
1. Invest in green stocks and funds
Green investment is a popular way to make your money work for the environment. This often includes building a portfolio of companies with strong environmental, social and governance (ESG) values.
You can also invest in green funds or green ETFs, which are portfolios of companies that have a positive impact on the environment.
Improvement as well as personal capital — two of the best green investment advisor robots. Both have low fees and a variety of socially responsible investment (SRI) portfolios to match your goals and values.
2. Use a green bank or credit union
Supporting environmental initiatives is not limited to where you invest your money. You can also support the environment by using a sustainable bank or credit union.
Look for a financial institution that uses paperless banking, finances renewable energy projects, avoids fossil fuels, or has other environmental policies.
And if you really want to up the ante, you can make sure the institution is a Certified B Corporation (meaning they are required by law to meet certain sustainability and diversity requirements).
Some of my favorite green banks:
- Pursuit Bank: Has spending and savings accounts, as well as investment accounts with non-fossil fuel portfolios.
- Ando Mani: With a mission to combat climate change. Accounts come with unlimited cashback of 1.5% on purchases, free overdraft protection and early payouts.
- BankPurely: Plants a tree every time someone opens a SavingPurely account.
3. Get an eco-friendly credit card
With a green credit card, you can help the planet as well as earn rewards for yourself.
There are currently several different companies that offer eco-friendly credit cards. Most reward you for shopping with green companies or help offset your carbon footprint.
One of the best green credit cards is the Aspiration Zero credit card. It gives you 1% cash back and plants a tree every time you make a purchase to help neutralize your carbon footprint.
4. Make your home more energy efficient
Another way to make your money green is to make your home more energy efficient. There are many easy ways to do this:
- Install LED bulbs.
- Insulate doors and windows.
- Turn off electronics when you are not using them.
- Turn off the faucet when you are not using it.
- Install low-flow lights in your home to save even more water.
- Always run your dishwasher and washing machine when they are full.
- Air dry clothes, not in a dryer.
- Install solar panels.
You can even get a tax credit for some energy efficient improvements to your home.
5. Consider a green car
If you are looking for a new car, look for economical or electric models. Not only will you save money on gas, but you will also contribute to reducing emissions. In addition, you may be eligible for a tax credit if you purchase a qualified electric vehicle.
Read more: Cost of driving a hybrid
6. Drive less and drive smart
Speaking of driving…
When you need to use your car, there are several ways to save money and be more environmentally friendly. This includes car sharing, using public transportation, and cycling or walking when possible, all of which can help reduce your carbon footprint.
And when you get behind the wheel, you can save fuel and money by obeying the speed limit, keeping your tires inflated and putting things together into one trip.
7. Replace disposables with reusables
Another easy way to make your money greener (and reduce your environmental impact) is to replace disposable items with reusable items.
For example, you can:
- Use a reusable water bottle instead of buying bottled water.
- Take a reusable mug with you to the cafe.
- Carry stainless steel straws with you so you don’t have to use plastic ones.
- Bring your own bags to the grocery store.
- Invest in reusable menstruation products like cups, cloth pads, and menstrual panties.
These are just a few examples – there are many other ways to reduce your impact by switching to reuse. And the best part is that they often save you money in the long run. So if you’re looking for an eco-friendly budgeting hack, this might be it!
8. Avoid fast fashion
The fast fashion industry is one of the biggest polluters in the world. Clothing production requires a lot of resources, and most of them end up in landfills. When you buy from fast fashion brands, you are contributing to this cycle of wastage.
Instead, use these two alternatives:
Switch to slow fashion
Instead, choose slow-moving fashion brands that focus on sustainable and ethical production.
Some of the best slow fashion brands are Reformation, Everlane and Girlfriend Collective.
You can pay more upfront for one item when you buy slow fashion, but these items are built to last. And they often end up cheaper than fast fashion brands when you factor in the cost of clothing. (This is the price of the item divided by how many times you plan to wear it.)
Second hand shop
You can find high quality used clothing at thrift stores, thrift stores and online. This is a great way to repurpose high quality products that have already been produced and keep them out of the landfill.
Read more: Conscious consumerism: how to spend money with intent
9. Minimize food waste
A family of four spends about $1,500 a year on uneaten food. This food then rots in a landfill for decades. (Did you know that lettuce takes 25 years to decompose?!)
One of the best ways to reduce your environmental impact and develop greener budgeting habits is to minimize food waste.
Plan your meals to use up all the food you buy and compost any waste. You can even save money by turning leftovers into new dishes.
Read more: How I Used Local Farms to Cut Food Costs
10. Eat less meat
Meat production is a major contributor to greenhouse gas emissions, so eating less meat can help the environment. If you’re not ready to become a full vegetarian or vegan, try including more lean foods in your diet.
Read more: The True Cost of Going Vegan
11. Do an eco-friendly part-time job
There are several ways to earn extra income while helping the environment at the same time. You can start a composting business, offer car sharing services, or sell organic products. If you are passionate about sustainability, there are many opportunities for you to make a difference and make a profit.
Read more: Side Job Ideas: 35+ Ways to Make More Money on the Side
12. Donate to environmental charities
Last but not least, you can make your money green by donating some of it to environmental charities. There are a number of organizations working to protect our planet and your donation can help them continue their work.
Some of the leading environmental charities include the Nature Conservancy, the Sierra Club, and the Environmental Defense Fund.
By donating to these organizations, you support their efforts to protect our planet. And you will do your part to fight climate change.
Read more: You’re not too broke to donate to charity (and 4 more reasons to donate)
Making even a few of these changes can help you lead a greener lifestyle. And as you start making greener choices with your money, you will be doing your part to protect our planet for generations to come.
Featured Image: MI KO DON/Shutterstock.com