Dec 30

What’s the Best Way to Save the World? Oh, and Save Some Money, too?

Recently, I asked Frugally Green Readers what the best ways to improve the world while pocketing some coin for themselves along the way are. As an incentive to answer, I gave away a few prizes.

Turns out, you guys are really smart (of course I already knew that)!

I got lots of interesting replies from a number of excited people.  I don’t want those ideas to be forgotten, so I’ve decided to highlight some of them in a post.

The following are five comments that I selected from that post to highlight here as well as a little commentary from because, well, I like to hear myself talk.

Take a second to think about each one and see how it could apply to your life.  Maybe these ideas could provide a little guidance while you’re setting your goals for next year.

Comment #1 comes from Wendy, who said:

Best way to save while saving planet: Don’t spend money on useless crap that you don’t really need or will even want in a month. Save the money and keep stuff out of the landfill.

Best way to make money while saving planet: Do something you truly love and find a way to get paid for it. A planet of fulfilled souls makes for a better world.

Way to tell it like it is, Wendy!  We can all stand to get real once in awhile about the things we need.  I try to do a little benefit analysis every time I consider buying anything, but I still end up with junk I never really wanted now and again.

I’m right on board with you about doing what you love, too.  Fulfilled souls certainly beat wandering zombies.

Comment #2 comes from KC, who said:

Best way to save while saving planet: Get rid of all incandescent lamps at home. Replace them with efficient CFL or LED lamps. They draw way less power saving you money and result in less emissions at the power plant. They can pay for themselves within a few months depending on your usage.

If you’re concerned about mercury in CFLs, use caution while handling them so they don’t break and recycle them at the end of their life. Home Depot has an excellent CFL recycling program.

Incandescent lamps generate a lot of heat that your AC needs to remove from your home during summers. This causes extra burden on your AC and also costs you money.

No need to go out and replace every light in the house.  Just pick them up one at a time if you want until you’ve totally converted.  The biggest complaint I hear about CFLs is in regard to the quality of light they emit.  People prefer incandescent bulbs to read under.  “They’re superior,” they say.

You know what else is a superior product no one uses anymore?  Asbestos. Same story, different application.

Comment #3 comes from Jason, who said:

The best way to save money while improving the world is to be realistic in your choice of automobile. How much passenger/cargo space do you really need? Are most of your trips made with only the driver in the car, etc.?

Once you have determined what you really require, buy a used, well maintained vehicle that fills those requirements. Make maintenance a priority and do as much of it yourself as you can to keep the vehicle in top condition.

IMO, it is wealthier for the planet to continue to use existing resources as opposed to consuming more in the name of new.

Spot on, Jason. I’m almost a perfect example of who you’re talking about.  I bought a little, old truck right before college to get around in.  I never really even considered what I “needed” in terms of transportation besides something cheap.

98% of my trips are by myself with no cargo yet, six years later, I still haven’t done anything about it. Next year will contain some serious head scratching over how to improve this. Ideally, I’d like to go carless.  No promises…

Comment #4 comes from Susie (aka my mom), who said:

Composting can save you some money on your garbage bill and your garden will thank you next year. It is easy to do and doesn’t have to take up a lot of space.

A blog is always better with family involvement. That’s why I make sure to call out my mom every time she shows up here no matter how badly she wants to remain anonymous.

You’re right, Mom.  Composting is awesome.  However, sometimes compost tumblers aren’t.

Comment #5 comes from Rosemary, who said:

The best way to save money while saving the planet is to live close to where you work! Since I really wanted to live in Boston/Cambridge, I chose to work 3 miles away instead of 20+ miles away! In the summer I bike or take public transportation to work, and in winter time I drive when it’s too cold or snowing.

We also live within walking distance from our main grocery store.

The rent in the city is not that different from being in the suburbs, so from that aspect it’s not too bad either!

This kind of advice is extremely useful, but takes some careful planning to complete.  Finding a good home and a good job can be two of the most difficult things a person does in life.  Getting them next door to each other is even tougher.

Nonetheless, many do it and live very happy lives because of it.  Honestly, how happy can you be if you spend half your working life in a car?

Well, there you have it, folks.  Five suggestions from the brightest minds at Frugally Green on ways that you can reduce your footprint and your bottom line simultaneously.  I hope you take a little time to consider implementing or optimizing some of them in your own life.

Have any feedback on these tips? Any others you’d like to add?


Raise your hand if you do any of these things.  Or, just leave a comment and subscribe get free updates.

Connect with me on Twitter: @tylertervooren

Image of speech bubble by rubyblossom


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  1. wendy

    wow, i think this is the first time someone called me bright other than my mom! ok, maybe that’s not true, but it still feels good! thanks for choosing my comment…

  2. Michael Thomas

    Ha! Thanks for contributing, Wendy.

  3. RMS

    Thanks Tyler!
    I agree with you that it is very difficult to work close to where you live. It wasn’t easy for me either. I had to say goodbye to a lot of very nice coworkers many years ago.

    Then again, I no longer get road rage while driving. So it was well worth it.


  4. Michael Thomas

    I bet that was a tough decision to make RMS, but the absence of road rage is quite a perk. My daily commute is typically filled with many deep, calming breaths.

  5. FreshGreenKim

    Last summer, I blogged about a make it yourself composter, out of an old plastic garbage can with a locking lid.


    (I found you from Aldra’s blog).

  6. wendy in denver

    Too much clutter? Me too. So for the past few years, every time a non-profit calls to ask whether I have any donations for them to pick up, I say “yes.” I don’t necessarily know what it will be, but I know I can get a bag or two together. What a win-win-win! My no-longer-needed items get out of my house and go to a good cause; they earn funds for the non-profit when they’re sold; and they get re-used by the purchasers. Re-use is the greenest!

  7. Richard @ Eco Living Advice

    I like Rosemary’s suggestion a lot. So many people commute such a distance each week it’s ridiculous. We’re lucky in that my girlfriend lives literally a 2 minute walk from where she works so whilst we have a car, we have cut our consumption so much you wouldn’t believe it (while saving a *lot* on fuel)!

  8. Freddie Cook

    Incandescent light bulbs will soon be phased out because they waste a lot of energy.’~”

  9. Bankruptcy Ben

    Rosemary is the champ!! If we all lived closer to where we worked, schooled, shopped you wouldn’t need to make a desicion about your car, you’d just walk.

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