I’m going to run a little experiment here at Growing a Green Family. I always say, “Green living saves you money!” so I think we should find out if I’m right or just plain crazy.
As you may have noticed I stated in the title that living green can save you $50,000 in five years. Why $50,000? Honestly, I needed a number. I’m not sure HOW much green living can save you. But it’s high time we found out and saving $50,000 seems like as good as anyplace to start.
I’ve got some general ideas which I’ll be posting about weekly here at Growing a Green Family and maybe in one year we can round up all the figures and see if we hit the $50,000 mark.
Experiments always have rules…
I was a science and math major in college so I like rules with my experiments. Here’s what I came up with.
- I’m basing all figures on a four person family because it’s a decent all-American sort of number and I think that savings will be easy to multiple or divide from four. Hence if you’re a family of two or six, four isn’t that tough to work with.
- I’m going to look for bulk deals in conventional and decent deals in green. If I decide to say compare paper napkins with cloth napkins, I’ll hunt down cheap bulk paper napkins and semi-decent eco-friendly cloth napkins for my figures. Why? Because why buy bad green products plus, even with the worst paper napkins you can find, I’m guessing green will come out ahead.
- Not all savings will apply to all families so at the end of the year we’ll have to consider that. Obviously you can save a lot of money with both reusable water bottles and cloth diapers – however, water bottles apply to everyone while diapers; not so much. By the end of the year I’ll figure out some sort of checklist you can use to add up your personal savings.
- I’ll try to figure in all costs. For example, the cost of tap water used to fill your reusable water bottles, transporting nasty chemical cleaners or the cost of washing those cloth diapers.
What I’ve got in mind for cost comparisons…
- Bottled water vs. tap and filtered tap water in reusable bottles.
- Cloth napkins vs. paper napkins.
- Ditch paper towels and use cloth!
- Cloth diapers vs. disposable diapers.
- Have a less consumer-based Christmas
- Eco-friendly coffee made at home vs. not so eco-friendly bought in paper cups.
- Reusable baby wipes vs. disposable baby wipes.
- Re-purposing furniture vs. buying new.
- Organic meals from scratch vs. non-organic convenience meals (not sure if we’ll come out ahead here).
- Homemade cleaners vs. store bought green cleaners
- Cable TV vs. nature and other family activities.
- Vegetarian meals vs. meat meals.
- Composting vs. buying soil.
- Biking vs. driving.
- Library books vs. buying new books.
Those above are just some ideas. IF we’re going to save $50,000 in five years, we’re probably going to need to do more – especially since not all the cost savings will work for every family. If you got more ideas about stuff I can cost compare let me know in the comments.
What do you think? Is $50,000 aiming too high? Can a family of four really save $50,000 in five years just by living green? I guess we’ll see.