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  • Green ways to save at home

    As consumers become increasingly aware of how their purchases can have an impact on the environment, households may have started to wonder how to limit their carbon footprint while saving money at the same time.

    Instead of buying food at the grocery store, shop locally at a farmers market and save moneyHere are a few simple, green ways to change your habits:

    Skip paper towels
    Most households use paper towels on a daily basis without even thinking about how much money and paper they waste. According to Daily Finance, the average household uses two rolls of paper towels every week. While a single roll might not break the bank, using many can quickly add up. Instead of using a paper towel to clean up a mess, consider using a sponge or reusable rag instead. There are many kitchen towels that are super absorbent and can be thrown in the wash when they are dirty. You can eliminate cost of buying paper towels and reduce the amount of waste.

    Turn down the water heater
    If you've ever turned the shower to the hottest setting, you've most likely found that it is scalding. Turning down the temperature of your water heater can save energy, and in turn, save you money. The difference of 10 degrees can be a savings of 3 percent to 5 percent on your water heater energy costs. You can change the temperature on your water heater easily, but be sure to read the manufacturer's recommendations before turning it too low. Higher temperatures will help ensure that bacteria won't survive inside.

    Shop local
    When it comes to your grocery bill, there are a number of ways to reduce your monthly budget and make purchases that are environmentally conscious. Shopping for produce at local shops and farmers markets usually means they came from local sources. In addition to reducing your carbon footprint by buying locally, farmers markets are typically less expensive than the regular grocery store. According to a study by SCALE Inc., prices for meats, dairy and cheese at a farmers market were competitive with grocery stores. The study found that buying produce was cheaper than 74 percent of the local markets measured and organic produce was cheaper at 88 percent of markets. At the grocery store, produce was 22 percent higher on average than the local market and 16 percent more for organic produce.

    Eat better
    In addition to buying at a local market to save, making better choices with your diet can also be a green way to save some cash. Some of the cheapest foods are fresh fruits and vegetables compared to processed products. Additionally, meat can be very expensive and contributes to greenhouse gases. Cutting out meat just one night a week can shave off your grocery bill and encourage you to purchase local produce.

    Most communities have local libraries where residents can check out books, movies and CDs for free. Unfortunately, many people don't utilize the opportunity to borrow entertainment and instead choose to buy. Unless you plan on reading a book or watching a movie multiple times, borrowing from the library makes more financial sense. If you don't have membership to your local library, consider signing up to reduce the amount of paper and plastic products you buy for entertainment.