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Today, April 22nd is Earth Day, and while "going green" might be the last thing on your mind during the COVID-19 global pandemic, making environmentally-conscious choices can be good for your budget too. Check out 10 simple changes you can make today to adopt green, money-saving habits. 

1. Use reusable dishes, cups and cutlery rather than purchasing plastic forks and paper plates. Carry a refillable coffee mug or water bottle instead of purchasing plastic to-go cups and bottles. It takes seconds to wash a cup or dish, and is easier on the budget. 

2. Walk or bike to run your errands. Get out of the house and get yourself some exercise. If you must drive, combine all your errands into one trip to avoid multiple trips and limit your exposure to other people.

3. Pay your bills online, and opt to receive your bills electronically. Easily pay your bills from your phone or computer, and eliminate the need to run to the post office. Or, set up automatic bill-pay and e-statements through your bank. 

4. Repurpose old t-shirts or towels to clean and sanitize your home. When you're done, throw them in the wash to reuse again later.

5. Turn off lights in rooms where they aren't in use. Or, open your curtains and use natural light to illuminate your home instead. Energy for lighting accounts for about 10% of your electric bill. Switch your lightbulbs to energy-saving LEDs to cut down on cost.

6. Save paper by only printing what is absolutely necessary, and if possible, print on both sides of the page. If printing double-sided can't be avoided, use the back of the pages to make scratch notes or allow your kids to draw you a picture.

7. If you must print any documents, purchase recycled paper and recycle your empty ink cartridges.

8. Turn off and unplug electronics or appliances when not in use. Unplugging unused items cuts down the electronic load in your home. 

9. Wash your laundry in cold water instead of hot, and line dry your items. About 75-90% of all the energy your washer uses goes to heating the water, so switching to colder water can lower your gas or electric bill.

10. Use this time to sift through your home. Go through your clothes and household items to donate to thrift or secondhand stores when they open again, or have a garage sale and put some extra money in your pocket.

Sarah Taubenheim

Sarah is the Media Specialist at Heartland Bank. She graduated from Nebraska Wesleyan University with a degree in Communication Studies. Sarah enjoys spending time with her family and friends and organizing and decorating her home.

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