You’d have to have been living under a rock the past few years not to understand that the Earth needs our help. From Global Climate Change and greenhouse gases to plastics in the ocean and animal species on the brink of extinction, we should all be ‘going green’ and changing our ways, or we will face some pretty dire consequences down the road.

While we can’t all switch to solar power or work on the next big thing in biofuels, there are a number of things the average person can do to go green. Many of those things can save you money as well. Find five ways to go green that will put cash back in your pocket below.

  1. Grow a Garden. From a herb garden in your kitchen window to an expansive garden in the yard, growing your own food is a healthy alternative that can save your family money. Fresh, flavorful herbs, fruits and vegetables are good for you and your taste buds. Similarly, gardening has been shown to be a relaxing and low-impact way to exercise and relieve stress. Add in canning and freezing extra produce to extend the savings. Your local extension office is an excellent resource for gardening in your region, such as UF/IFAS’s garden guides for Floridians going green with a garden.
  2. Watch Your Water Usage. Most people pay for water these days, so reducing your usage is both good for the environment and your bank account. Follow water-reducing tips like putting in low-flow toilets and showerheads, installing timers on sprinklers and more. Find water-saving tips here.
  3. Save Electricity. Many ways of generating electricity create pollution or greenhouse gases, and then you have to pay for usage. Reducing electricity usage saves money and is good for the environment. From buying energy-efficient appliances to drying clothes on an outdoor line, find energy-saving options here.
  4. Walk, Bike or Take Public Transportation. While automobiles are getting more and more efficient, and flex-fuel vehicles are getting more affordable, reducing the amount you drive right now saves you money and keeps greenhouse gases and other pollutants out of the atmosphere.
  5. Make Your Home Efficient. There are many options for things you can do to your home to save on heating and cooling costs. From planting trees and installing a programmable thermostat to replacing old windows and increasing your home’s insulation, your savings on heating and cooling costs could be significant. Find more options at gov.

If everyone did a few small things to try going green, the environmental outlook for our future would be much brighter.