How to Be Eco-Friendly, Save the Earth, and Save Money Too

Lately, there has been so much more talk about our environment, climate change, and what’s been happening with the EPA (or as some have been recently calling it the EDA – The Environmental Destruction Agency) that you can’t help but feeling worried, confused, and even desperate to do something to prevent disaster. I hope I am not too late for the party by bringing up a subject that has been around since my first eco-friendly Earth Day back in 1970, but yet I and millions of others can see that we still aren’t fully committed to protecting ourselves from our worst enemy…us.

We need to take care of our home, the Earth. Here are some tips on how to be eco-friendly, save money, and take care of the environment at the same time.

Here’s something that I came to realize late in life and it’s something to really think about when you think about conservation:

Do you realize that the water we have here on earth is exactly the same water that has been here since creation? No more and no less. The only difference is whether or not it’s “clean” water. The water that evaporates every day and returns to us as rain is the same water that you used to wash the car and flush your toilet. It’s finite, so you have to keep it clean and take care of it or we are doomed!

Save, in Every Way

As a show of appreciation for our one and only planet, I wanted to write something special. Reducing the negative impact on this planet and saving money are both things that I care very much about. That is the reason I thought it would be worthwhile to create a list of environmentally friendly products that also save you money and save the earth too. Many of these products have been around a few years. Others are fairly new and have come highly recommended from both family and friends. I guarantee you’ll find at least one thing on this list you didn’t know about before.

There is a direct correlation between the environmental impact reduction on the earth & you saving money (the more you reduce, the more you save and isn’t that kinda nice!). Reducing negative impact is basically just awesome. Saving money is awesome too. But when you combine both—well, you’ve really got something extra special.

Making Real Impact in Waste Reduction

The more I learn about the impact of consumption behaviors and their effect on our environment, the more I know that we all have to be making changes in the things we can control right now.

Driving down our electricity consumption is a worthy goal and that prompts people to convert to using a solar panel array and get this cost way down. There are still numerous government programs to help defray the cost of conversion and the last time I checked, the sun was still fired up and producing what you will need.

But as They Say on TV, “Wait, There’s More!”

Have you done any of the following things to reduce the environmental impact on our planet?

  • Keep your non-recyclable waste down to around 3-4 gallons of volume per week
  • Sell off your second car (or third or fourth, etc.) to become a one-car family and consider taking the bus or train or biking to work
  • Rid yourself of unused personal belongings by selling on Craigslist or eBay or at a yard or garage sale (then donating 100% of it to help the environment)
  • Move to a smaller home instead of a larger one (downsizing)
  • Switch to a vegetarian diet (it will make a huge impact on the planet and on your money savings)
  • Eat more organic food and purchase more from local farmers

Are you at least making one of these earth-saving actions into a goal?

  • Save energy
  • Save resources
  • Save water
  • Reduce pollution
  • Reduce toxins

Here are Some Eco-Friendly Solutions You Can Use

Emerson Programmable Thermostat (with wi-fi)

This is one of the top selling, highest rated, and least expensive wi-fi enabled programmable thermostats out there. Versus a non-programmable thermostat, it could save you upwards of $180 per year. It also provide a huge convenience factor in that you don’t have to set the thermostat every time you go to bed, wake up, go to work, or get back from work. And you can monitor and change temperature in your home even if you are traveling.

P3 Kill A Watt Energy Monitor

This is a nifty little device that tells you how much energy each of your electrical devices is using. You plug it into the wall and then your device into the monitor to get the readout. The goal in using the device is to figure out how much that electrical item is costing you if you keep it plugged in (on or off). Standby powered appliances ratchet up your energy use. This device will actually tell you exactly how much money and CO2 you are wasting with each device. Ignorance is not bliss when it comes to energy use.

TP Link Smart Plug with Energy Monitoring

This device can also monitor energy use, but does it through its app, and it also duplicates as a smart plug with wi-fi that you can control from anywhere.

Niagara Energy Saving Power Strip

This surge protector allows you to control whether your TV peripherals are getting electricity. You simply plug your TV into the master control outlet and if your TV is off, it shuts down standby power to the other outlets so they aren’t draining energy while your TV isn’t even on. If it’s on, it turns on standby power. It could save you over $60 per year.

Delta Low Flow Showerhead

It’s a 2.5 gallon-per-minute (GPM) unit that can save a family of four about $260 per year in heating costs alone vs. a more common 5.5 GPM unit. That’s a 640% return on investment in one year! Not to mention a huge amount of water savings. The Delta low flow showerhead can switch between 2.5 GPM and a super economical 1.8 GPM for even more savings and you won’t feel like you’re not getting enough water.

LED Bulbs

These bulbs are now priced below incandescent and CFL’s based on lifespan and with only one-tenth of the energy use of incandescent and less than 50% of the energy use of CFL’s. We’re at the point where every light bulb purchased needs to be LED. The cost and energy savings are immediate.

Philips A19 LED Bulbs

This great bulb that has similar light qualities and appearance to an incandescent, but one-tenth of the energy use and an energy cost of just under $2/each per year.

Dimmable LED Bulbs

This uses only 6W of energy each, but just 3 of them light up a entire kitchen. Their prices have come down significantly—and these bulbs are long lasting.

A Clothesline for Drying Outdoors

No brainer. It’s way cheaper and less impactful than using a clothes dryer. Just make sure it doesn’t run afoul of any HOA rules.

You Can Lead Them to Water But Can You Make Them Drink?

I calculated the cost of bottled water and on average, it can be more than $1,000 per year more than tap water. That’s ridiculous! Not to mention all those wasted plastic bottles that you need to recycle. The following items will save you serious money almost immediately. Cutting down on the waste and cost of individually bought bottled beverages should be considered mission critical. Here’s how.

Get a Water Pitcher

I drink a lot more tap water (vs. pricier alternatives) if it comes ice cold from the refrigerator rather than from the tap. A simple water pitcher does the trick. If you prefer a filtered pitcher, this is also a good option. If your water smells or tastes not so great, and that is preventing you from drinking it, get a system like the GE filtration system or a Brita system.

The Dual Flush Water-Saving Toilet

This is a newer toilet and has an option of 1.0 gallon or 1.6 gallon flush, far less that the one you are probably using in your home right now. This toilet could literally save you tens of thousands of gallons of water and thousands of dollars over a lifetime. Here is a list of the best rated ones as of July 2018.

Final Thoughts

I was not raised with an environmental conscience. My parents didn’t understand the necessities of it and frankly, I am part of the most wasteful generation (the Boomers) in our planet’s history. I’m part of those who haven’t learned to fully recycle, built large homes in the suburbs, travelled to work on a long commute every day, and ate the old standard of meat and potatoes more often than not. We are also the biggest generation of consumers and the ones who bought the most of clothes, toys, and video games for their “entitled” children and themselves. It’s not a legacy to be really proud of for sure. But it isn’t too late to change, is it? I hope not.

Are you concerned about our environment, now more than ever before? Do you think that climate change and the necessity of saving the earth are simply extremist views? Do you take actions that are good for the Earth and ultimately can save you money too? Are you part of the problem or a part of the solution?


  1. Louise

    Important ideas here, Gary! I’m glad that the less expensive options for home electrical use are becoming more easily available.
    I add one more, as living space allows: Plant trees! For shade, oxygen, appearance, etc., perhaps in public spaces for memorials to important people in your life.
    On a quiz program I saw once, the contestants were shown a photo of a family, vehicles, house, pets, etc., and had to guess which had the biggest negative environmental impact. The correct answer claimed it was the very large dog, because of the meat it ate and all that went into raising plants to feed to animals and process them for consumption. That was (excuse the pun) food for thought.

    1. Thanks, Louise, for bringing up the great idea of planting to help the earth and the environment. It’s something that’s not very difficult to do for most people, and even if you don’t have your own land, you can certainly contribute to a public project. I’m going to have to do that myself and I appreciate you mentioning it.

  2. Important points and great ideas, Gary! Our family is always looking for ways to be more planet-friendly. We eat a largely vegetarian diet, have one car that we usually don’t drive much, and limit our airline travel. Our current goal is to reduce our use of plastic, which is incredibly challenging because it seems as though EVERYTHING is wrapped in it. I know we can do better.

    Bottled water drives me absolutely bananas. It is so wasteful. We should focus on making sure that everyone has access to clean water from the tap.

  3. Being home all day means we consume more electricity than I’d like — especially when you add in the in-laws in the guest house who are also home all day. I try to keep the temperature a bit higher to counteract that, but Tim’s fibro means he has trouble regulating his body temperature. So we’ve only been able to settle on 76 degrees most of the time. (He turns it down to 74 if he’s been out in particularly hot weather and needs to cool down stat.)

    We are a one-car family, and while we don’t have a dual-flush toilet we do have a “yellow let it mellow” policy to help cut down on flushes. A little gross, I suppose, but it helps.

    1. I can appreciate the challenge of regulating your thermostat and controlling your electricity since my wife and I are home all day and she also suffers from fibromyalgia. Being creative and also helping the environment is definitely a challenge but it looks like you’re doing a very good job at it. Keep up that great effort!

  4. Holly

    We compost & recycle at home. I have a stainless steel water container that I bring with me when I’m running errands etc. We use totes for grocery shopping, and I have reusable produce bags too so I can avoid the small plastic produce bags at the grocery store. I make my own laundry detergent, but recently I tried a store bought detergent for the first time in two years, to see if a skin issue I had was the cause of the natural one. I’ve even dabbled in making my own deodorant (check out Trash is for Tossers website) and I’m growing some veggies in our garden. I know we can do more, but I’m happy about these changes.

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