Many Think an Eco-Friendly Lifestyle Is Too Expensive

Many Americans believe that living an eco-friendly lifestyle costs too much “green.” That’s the finding of a new survey by digital coupon website RetailMeNot and The Omnibus Co. released just in time for Earth Day.

The survey found that less than half – 44 percent – of Americans would describe their lifestyle as completely green. Nearly half of the survey participants said the biggest reason for not living an entirely eco-friendly existence is because it’s too expensive.

And 7 in 10 people said they only purchase eco-friendly products if the cost is the same or lower than non-green.

Trae Bodge, senior editor of The Real Deal blog, says that despite many people’s perception that living green is spendy, it can actually save you money. Bodge compiled 11 ways to go green and save.

Here are our five favorite tips. They’re both easy and Earth-friendly:

  1. Bag it. Follow a “BYOB” policy, where you bring your own bag(s) or reusable totes when you shop. Many stores, including Target, Whole Foods and other grocery stores, offer a small discount if you use your own bags to haul your items.
  2. Make sure it’s full. Don’t run your dishwasher (or washing machine) unless it’s completely full. “According to the EPA, running only full loads will save the earth 100 pounds of carbon dioxide and save you $40 a year, plus you’ll avoid that horrible feeling that you’re alwaysunloading the dishes,” Bodge said.
  3. Let the light shine. Trade just a handful of incandescent light bulbs for Energy Star-certified compact fluorescent bulbs. “You’ll use at least 75 percent less energy and save about $70 a year on your electric bill, or up to $135 per bulb over its lifespan,” Bodge said.
  4. Erratic driving. Slamming on the gas or brakes and speeding are bad for gas mileage. FuelEconomy.org says you can improve your gas mileage by up to 33 percent with smoother driving. Make sure your tires are inflated correctly – that can save you 3 percent in gas mileage.
  5. Put that plastic bottle down. On average, Americans drink 30.8 gallons of bottled water annually, Bodge said. Rather than filling up landfills with plastic bottles, purchase a reusable bottle and fill it with tap water.

I already follow Tip 2 (I’m happy it’s eco-friendly, but I do it because I HATE unloading the dishwasher), Tip 3 and Tip 5. I have a bunch of cool, reusable bags for groceries, so Tip 1 should be checked off for me too. But I frequently forget to bring them to the store with me.

Bodge’s tips for being green really are easy and they won’t break the bank. It’s a win-win.

Happy Earth Day.

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Comments & discussion

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  • Nancy

    I’m trying to be both more eco-friendly and more frugal. We’re in a drought where I live. To do our part in saving water, we replaced the most frequently used toilet in the house with a high-efficiency “watersense” toilet. If you don’t care about designer styling, you can find pretty inexpensive ones. We bought one at a home improvement store for $140 (before tax) and had it installed for another $125. I don’t think $300 is so much to spend in order to save 1,500 gallons of water year after year. Even though it uses about 25 percent less water, the new toilet is actually flushing better than the old one, so if we don’t have to call the plumber twice a year (at $125 per visit), the new toilet will pay for itself in about one year. This is one example of the meeting of green and frugal.

  • Gars

    My generation called it recycling; this generation calls it green. It doesn’t exist. Manufactures ploy to get you to buy new stuff.

  • Jcatz4

    #5 – Put that plastic bottle down – I do use a reusable plastic bottle, but I would like to point out that here in SJersey, the plastic water bottles can be recycled and do not end up in landfills.

  • Ursula Petralia

    i spent no money by replacing excess volume in the water tank with pieces of bricks (could be rocks). it takes a little while to figure out just how much water you need for efficient flushing but it’s free!