April 22 marks a very special day for our shared planet: Earth Day.
This year, participants around the globe are celebrating with three straight days of climate action and one major theme: to Restore Our Earth™. And the overarching theme highlights how innovative thinking and green technology can revive our world’s ecosystems.
What better way to think one step ahead this Earth Day than by finding eco-friendly ways to approach your finances?
Factoring Mother Earth Into Your Finances
Going green with your “green” does Mother Earth proud. She appreciates it. And there are plenty of personal sustainability practices you can implement to ensure you’re reducing your financial carbon footprint, restoring the planet and making her happy along the way. The best thing about factoring the environment into your everyday finances is that you get to make a difference right where you stand.
In honor of Earth Day 2021, here are a few eco-friendly financial tips:
Opting for Online Banking
Online banking is a greener way to manage your money. Banking online eliminates the need for a car or public transportation to travel to an in-person branch, which cuts down on one of the primary drivers of climate change: carbon dioxide emissions. And since you and other customers like you no longer need to physically be inside the bank, these branches can reduce their overall energy output. In-person banking also comes with a heftier paper trail thanks to the physical exchange of paper receipts, statements and other paper documents that would have otherwise remained paperless with online banking.
Skipping the Paper Statements
Speaking of paperless banking, even if you do opt for online banking, odds are a paper statement (or two or three) could find its way into your mailbox. By logging into your bank account and actually switching paper statements off, you’re taking ownership of your individual sustainability actions and making a commitment to a reduced carbon footprint.
Focusing on Greener Banking and Investments
When you start striving for eco-friendly finances, your banking methods and investments are another vital part of the equation. A green investment strategy takes into account not just the potential financial returns, but whether the business practices behind those investments have environmental and social benefits as well.
Green Banking involves choosing to conduct business with banks who are concerned with the social and/or environmental impact of their business. These banks are often called “sustainable banks” or “ethical banks,” and joining them can bring about some socially responsible benefits like exclusive eco-investing opportunities, charity-supporting credit cards and lower-interest financing for eco-friendly purchases or low-emission cars.
Green Investing or eco-investing involves investing in socially responsible companies with eco-friendly products and policies. The sky is essentially the limit on industries that prioritize the planet — from water and energy conservation to organic produce, wind power, solar energy, pollution control, green transportation and aquaculture, there are many investment opportunities that align with sustainability plans and environmental goals.
Making Green Home Improvements
Instead of turning to traditional building practices, using environmentally friendly options for home improvements and repairs can save money, foster a healthier living environment, and, most importantly this Earth Day, preserve natural resources and energy.
- Using a tankless water heater could cut your energy consumption (and, potentially, bills) nearly in half.
- Choosing greener flooring materials like bamboo, linoleum or sustainable wood may also be more affordable than conventional flooring.
- Installing solar roof panels to reduce greenhouse gasses and fossil fuel emissions by acquiring clean, pure energy from the sun comes with a variety of rebates, credits and tax incentives.
- Opting for a programmable thermostat to control your home’s energy usage goes a long way toward cutting the costs that can come with an unchecked system.
- Using reclaimed wood or salvaged lumber, renewable resources that reduce the environmental impact of manufacturing new building materials, also lessens landfill waste.
Engaging in Eco-Friendly Buying
When push comes to shove, we’re all consumers. Okay, there might be some small percentage of the population who moves onto a deserted island and lives off the same coconut tree for the rest of their lives, but we’re not all that person. Still, it is up to environmentally conscious consumers to do the research on companies and how their production processes affect the environment.
Eco-friendly buying means being on the lookout for authentic, environmentally friendly companies to purchase from. Here’s a little help for spotting them:
- Searching through their labels for specific sustainability claims like “100% fair trade ingredients” or “made from a plant that reduces carbon dioxide emissions.” Don’t fall for vague, blanket descriptors like “all-natural” or “environmentally friendly.”
- Making note of packaging red flags like excessive packing materials or the use of polystyrene packing peanuts, bubble wrap and other environmentally damaging shipping materials.
- Looking into third-party vetting resources like Green America or Fair Trade International that work directly with companies to certify their green products and practices based on rigorous environmental standards.
- Purchasing locally where you can to cut down on distribution, shipping and energy costs, which can all add up to a heavier carbon footprint.
Choosing a Green Credit Card
Not all credit cards are created equal. Green credit cards work the same way as your regular credit card, but the rewards are different. Instead of earning traditional rewards points like airline miles or instant cashback, a green credit card rewards the planet with each of your purchases. The points translate into carbon offsets, so by going about your daily business, you’re canceling out your carbon footprint. How cool is that?
Making Finances Sustainable
By adopting some of these green financial practices, you can take tangible steps to Restore our Earth™— which is exactly what Earth Day 2021 is all about. And if some of these tips inspire you to have a more sustainable financial outlook, Tally can help navigate that path with a debt management plan that works for you.