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5 Ways to Save $500 a Month: The Green Way
Learn how you can transform green habits into green dollars.
By Karen Siegel-Maier
July 23, 2009


Challenged by the current financial crisis and recessionary woes? While the world is watching Wall Street, many of us are struggling to preserve our own check book on Main Street.

There doesn’t appear to be a quick fix for the economy, but there are some things you can start doing today that will have a real impact on your personal finances as well as the health of the environment.

We've found five easy changes that you can make which will save you $500 or more each month, all while helping to conserve energy and reduce waste


1. Share a ride: Save $60.

Car-pooling can save a boatload of money, and you don’t have to own a new model hybrid to realize the savings either (although it would be a big plus).

Let’s say your current vehicle gets a fuel mileage that’s middle-of-the-road for today’s averages, or about 23 miles per gallon. Let’s also assume that your daily two-way commute is 40 miles per day, five days per week. Your average cost of solo driving is about $117 per month. However, if you share the task of driving to work with just one other person, one day a week, you could save more than $60 each month. Commute with three people and your savings will go up to more than $80 per month.

Here’s how:

Locate available commuters at work through the use of email lists and company bulletin boards.  Check with your neighbors and friends to see if you can coordinate scheduling.  In addition, see if your employer will allow you to work from home one day a week, or stack your schedule to work 40 hours in four days instead of five.


2. Go with a lower flow: Save $48.

The average American household runs four, eight-minute showers per day, requiring about 20 gallons of heated water at the rate of 2.5 gallons going down the drain per minute per person. Instead of turning the main water valve off on your kids when eight minutes are up, you can reduce the water output from your showerhead to save on energy costs.

Here’s how:

Install a newer low-flow showerhead to reduce your hot water consumption to 1.59 gallons or less per minute per shower. If you’re concerned about sacrificing water pressure, don’t be. Today’s efficient low-flow showerheads preserve water and pressure by mixing air with the water flow. They’re also easy to install yourself, so there’s no need to hire a contractor.


3. Brown bag your lunch: Save $60

Buying your lunch everyday during the workweek can seriously dent your budget. Even when exercising frugality, the average cost of a meal and drink comes to at least $6 per day, or $120 each month.

According to the U.S. Center for Nutrition Policy and Promotion, bringing lunch to work costs about 45-50 percent less than buying it. more


1.Bureau of Transportation, Average Fuel Efficiency of U.S. Passenger Cars and Light Trucks. Available from

2.Commuter Savings Calculator:

3.Center for Nutrition Policy and Promotion:

4.U.S. Census Bureau, Consumer Expenditure Survey:

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