Going green, like most things, has both advantages and disadvantages. One of the biggest factors that will affect your decision to adopt a green lifestyle or not is the impact that it will have on your finances.
While there are economic advantages and disadvantages to investing in going green, the outcome will depend primarily on how you choose to approach green changes at home, at work, and in between. Here are some things to consider.
One of the greatest financial advantages of going green is the opportunity to save on home heating costs. For the typical homeowner, 15 percent of the energy used to heat a home during winter months is lost through the roof. This means that you can save significantly on your heating bill each month if you take small green steps like investing in extra fiberglass or foam insulation, which is inexpensive and easy to do.
However, energy costs can also increase as a result of going green. If you decide to install your own green energy system, such as solar panels or small wind turbines, you will have to invest in the installation costs upfront, and you may not be able to see a profit from producing your own energy for several years.
Using ‘payback’ models touted by investing books, you can calculate the time it will take for an investment in green energy to pay for itself by dividing the total upfront cost by the annual saving.
If you want clean energy without the fuss, however, you can also research the benefits of signing up with a renewable energy company. Reliant Energy plans, for example, offer those kinds of renewable energy plans that will help you start saving on your power bill in no time. Some energy companies ensure that green energy that is directed straight from the supplier to you, revolutionising the way electricity demands are met in the UK.
You could also end up saving on transportation. One of the best ways to go green is by reducing the carbon footprint made by your vehicle. There are several ways to do this, including taking public transport to work or carpooling with neighbours or co-workers.
It may take you a bit longer to get to work, but the amount of fuel you save could be worth the extra time. You could also try cycling to work instead of driving your car, which will help you save on auto maintenance in the long run.
As an extra bonus for those who choose to cycle to work, they will also never have to worry about getting enough exercise, which means that they are more likely to be healthy and able to avoid costly visits to the doctor. Incorporating physical activity into your day can become easier with other green practices, as well, such as choosing to grow your own vegetables in a garden rather than buying produce that had to be shipped to a supermarket. This also has financial advantages.
Growing a garden or shopping at your local farmer’s market, which will often have fresh, organically-produced fruits and vegetables, can slash your monthly food bill in half.
The closer to home you can find your produce, the cheaper it will be because you won’t have to factor in the costs of transportation the way supermarkets do. Like green transportation or researching renewable energy companies, eating green may require more of a time commitment to start, but for many people, the economic payoff is worth it.
When it comes to going green, strategy is everything. Whether you end up shelling out more money or saving will be determined by how you choose to meet your green lifestyle needs. The best way to approach the change is by picking up green habits one at a time so that you don’t overwhelm yourself — or your wallet.