Is saving money one of your New Year's resolutions? It will be for many of us, and that can also mean reducing our impact on the environment. Here are seven ways that we can save in 2018.
- Put the car in park: Save fuel and money by leaving your vehicle at home. Try carpooling or taking the bus to work just one day a week. To find the lowest gas prices, tips on saving gas and your car's energy impact, go to www.fueleconomy.gov. Walking and bicycling are even cheaper, and healthier, options.
- Junk the junk mail: Eliminate tempting offers and reduce the amount of unwanted mail you recycle by taking your name off mailing lists. Go to MPCA's Too much junk mail? webpage to find out how to remove your name from junk mail lists.
- One bulb at a time: As light bulbs burn out, replace them with energy-efficient compact fluorescent or LED light bulbs. These bulbs use less energy than traditional incandescent bulbs, and last much longer. The fluorescent and LED bulbs may cost more, but they will save money in energy savings over the long run. For details, go to Bright ideas for lighting your home.
- Don't waste food: Here in Minnesota, the average household in St. Paul wastes almost $100 worth of food every month. This is bad for our wallets — and for the environment. Find out more and get tips for preventing food waste on our When good food goes bad webpage.
- Stay close to home: If a vacation will strain your budget in 2018, consider a day trip or weekend excursion close to home. Minnesota offers more than 100,000 acres of camping in 66 state parks and private campgrounds, along with more than 700 miles of paved trails, which is more than any other state. For ideas, go to www.exploreminnesota.com.
- Watch the grass grow: Next summer, let your grass grow a little longer in between mowings and save money on fuel. According to the University of Minnesota Extension Service, the typical yard of Kentucky bluegrass and fine-leaved fescue should be 2.5 to 3 inches tall. That's a little taller than a business card. Even better, convert part of your yard to native plants, further reducing the area that needs to be mowed and the fuel needed for mowing. For ideas, check out Grow a healthy,no-waste lawn and garden.
- Save rain water: Rain water, also called stormwater, carries pollutants such as soil into storm sewers that empty into lakes and streams. By using rain barrels to collect water for your lawn or garden, you can save money on your water bill while protecting lakes and streams. More information is available at MPCA's capturing rainwater and preventing runoff webpage.
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