Many people believe that going green means spending more money. It’s true that when “green” lifestyle options are discussed, the first things mentioned are solar panels and hybrid cars. These are investments most people simply can’t afford. Here are some tips you can easily implement that will help the environment and save you money.

1. Stop the junk mail. Every year millions of trees are chopped down to create the junk mail that is sent to your home. You can contact the Direct Marketing Association to have your name removed from its mailing list. You will have less mail to go through on a daily basis, and lower trash bills.

2. Receive and pay your bills electronically. Set up online billing with your utilities and credit companies to receive your bills electronically every month (and pay them that way, too.) You will be saving trees and the cost of postage.

3. Shut down your electronics when not in use. The average computer kept on 24 hours a day uses 1,000 kilowatt hours of electricity. Even when your TV is off, it’s still using power. Unplug all your electronics when not in use. Any change you make will lessen your electric bill.

4. Use less, so you have less going into the trash. Eat ice cream in a cone rather than a cup (trash) or bowl (has to be washed). Bring your travel mug to the place where you buy your coffee versus throwing out a cup every time. Less trash will be better for the environment and will lessen your household trash, therefore reducing your trash bill.

5. Cutting your utility bills. Take shorter showers. Reducing your shower time by two minutes will save 10 gallons of water. Removing the lint from your dryer after each use will save electricity. Switch your light bulbs to compact fluorescent bulbs and you save four times the energy of a regular light bulb.

6. Collect water. Place covered containers outside to collect rainwater you can use to water your lawn, flower beds and gardens. We keep a bucket in the shower to collect water as we get the water to the right temperature and use that to water our indoor plants. This will reduce your water bill.

7. Reuse and reduce. The foil or plastic bag you use only once can be reused. Purchase reusable canvas bags to take to the store (some stores give discounts to customers who bring their own bags.) The more ways you can think to “reuse and reduce,” the less you will be buying from the grocery store.

8. Recycle. Check with your city or town so you can recycle as much as you can. My town picks up glass, plastic, metal and newspapers weekly. Monthly, it picks up mixed paper (magazines, junk mail, envelopes, wrapping paper etc.). We can also drop off cardboard—both corrugated and food boxes. Check with your town about what you can recycle. Less trash means lower trash bills from your hauler.

Jill Russo Foster provides practical tips for everyday finances. Learn more about protecting your credit and living within your means with Foster’s popular free report, bi-monthly ezine and credit report reminder program, available at