10 ways green living can save money, for seniors and for all

mammoth lakes bike path

Green living can save anyone money, but for seniors facing retirement, going green can be especially economical. Choosing an eco-friendly lifestyle can save literally hundreds if not thousands of dollars a year through simple steps that won’t crimp your style but definitely improve your life. And all that green living will help leave a healthier legacy for future generations, too. As Diane MacEachern explains, there’s many ways that seniors (and everybody else too) can save money.

1) Energy – Insulate attics and crawl spaces; weather-strip windows and doors; install curtains or blinds over windows on the north (cold) side of the house, and awnings and shades on the south (hot) side. Also, use a programmable thermostat to make it easy to automatically reduce energy consumption when you’re not home.

2) Water – Bottled water, ounce for ounce can cost 10,000 times more than tap water. Instead, invest in a one-time purchase of a water filter and fill your own reusable bottles and pitchers with filtered tap water.

3) Food – Did you know that most consumers throw away at least 30% of the food they buy because they forget about it and it spoils, or it passes its expiration date (U.S. Department of Agriculture data). So, keep track of what’s in your fridge and pantry; find yummy ways to enjoy leftovers; and shop from grocery lists so you don’t buy too much in the first place.

4) Cars, Car/Van Pooling, and Car Sharing – After retirement often people realize that they don’t need their own car as much as they did before. If your household has two cars, it would be more economical to maintain and fuel only one, and to take advantage of the car pools and share, or of public transportation.

5) Bicycling – In retirement, seniors find they have more time and interest in bicycling for recreation or to get chores done. It’s a great oil-free, pollution-free way to get around town without having to spend money on gasoline, and of course, it will keep you in shape.

6) Mass Transit – Here in Mammoth Lakes the town shuttle system is free for all, so why not take advantage of it!? Here all the info about it.

7) Downsize – Downsizing to a smaller home or apartment probably saves the most money on heating, cooling, and maintenance, above all in a mountain town where winters can be particularly cold. The environmental benefits can’t be beat either, since a smaller dwelling has a smaller carbon footprint, and will use less water (fewer bathrooms? less lawn to water?) and require less “stuff” in terms of furnishings, paint, cleaning products and more.

8) Travel – Green living seniors in the U.S. who have a sense of adventure can enjoy many opportunities to volunteer with the National Park Service or the National Wildlife Refuge System. In some parks, you can camp at low or no cost in exchange for volunteer services. If you put in 250 hours over the course of a year, you’ll earn a free annual pass to national parks and other wilderness and wildlife destinations. At the age of 62, for just $10, you can buy a lifetime pass that will gain you free entry to the nation’s national parks, wildlife refuges, and Bureau of Land Management public lands.

9) Library – The Mammoth Lakes Library is one of 7 branches of the Mono County Library System, and it rocks! If you don’t have a computer, use one at the library. Rather than buy a book, borrow it. The same goes for movies and music. Plus, use the library to read your favorite magazines and newspapers.  You’ll save money on the buying side, and do your part to cut back on the amount of paper that needs to be printed, since you’ll be sharing all these materials rather than owning them outright. If you have an e-reader, you can probably download a lot of what you want from the library’s website so you don’t have to make the visit there if you don’t want to. Also, did you know that here in Mammoth you can go to the library also to use a sewing machine? We love it!

10) Extra Care Communities – Although we do not have any here in Mammoth Lakes, some seniors might opt to move into retirement communities which are already designed to save energy and other resources, and make it easy to bicycle or take van pools rather than drive. Of course, if you love our mountains as much as we do and you are not planning on moving, this might not be the right solution for you.

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