Money Smart Ways to Go Green
These days it seems everyone is going green – but what does that really mean? Essentially, it is about being a conscious consumer. From shopping smartly to investing wisely and cutting down on energy bills, nearly everyone can reap the rewards of eco-friendly habits.

Be a savvy shopper
Sometimes the best way to save the money – and the planet – is to simply scale back your purchasing habits. Buying “green” products certainly can make good sense, but make sure they are items you really need and will use. Sometimes less is truly more. For more tips on how to shop prudently and stay out of debt, read Before You Buy, Know What You Can Afford.

Also, just because something is labeled as “natural” doesn’t always mean it truly is and that it is worth the premium. Read labels carefully. If you are going to pay more because a product is organic make sure the claim is backed up by the ingredient list.

Invest with the earth and returns in mind
There are many socially conscious mutual funds to invest in, and scores of companies you may want to support. Investigate businesses that are developing technology to create energy-efficient vehicles, computers, and appliances, or those that are seeking ways to effectively feed the planet’s growing population.

However, don’t waste your money on funds and businesses without sound management and growth potential. Your future matters and you will need to ensure you have enough money for your goals. Read Invest in Tomorrow And Sleep Well Tonight for more information on smart investing.

Reduce your energy spending
From the gas you put in your car or truck, to the fuel you burn to heat your home, make a deliberate attempt to reduce those energy costs – an effort that will help your finances and the earth’s resources. Consider this: for every degree you lower your home's temperature during the winter months, you’ll reduce the cost of your heating bill an average of about five percent.

If you are ready for a new vehicle, seriously consider a model that is designed to get good gas mileage. Not ready for a trade in? Learn how to get the most out of your tank by reading Frugal Fill-Ups: 25 Ways to Save at the Pump.

There are many ways to tread lightly on the earth while still enjoying a satisfying lifestyle. Often it takes little more than a heightened sense of awareness to what you buy and what you need.