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I've had a special place in my heart for Earth Day ever since my dreamy Environmental Studies teacher, Mr. Swisher, put on a rock concert at my high school to raise awareness (and teenage heartbeats).

I've been freaked out about the state of the planet, however, since I was a neurotic little preschooler. I can remember watching an episode of “Sesame Street” that featured a song called “Garbage Man's Blues,” complete with a foreboding verse about how we were “running out of resources/running out of space” and how we “don't have room for all that waste.” (To see a clip of the song, visit my Twitter or Facebook pages. Addresses are below.)

Even if I couldn't have imagined it way back then, being environmentally aware has enhanced my life in lots of ways – including helping me save money.

Here are ways you can do the same:

• Buy in bulk. Whether you're bringing your empty bottle of Dr. Bronner's soap to be refilled in the bulk section at Lexington Co-Op or just buying an extra large canister of protein powder, you'll pay less and reduce packaging. Just make sure you have enough room to store bulk purchases and that you're not buying more than you can use before the product expires.

• Borrow stuff. Use your dad's tools; get your books from the library; or wear your best friend's dress to a party. Why pay (and use resources) for something you'll only use once?

• Use less gas. Walk, bike, carpool, take the bus. You'll reduce your carbon footprint and make fewer $4-per-gallon trips to the gas station.

• Try meatless Mondays. Meat is expensive. Raising livestock uses more resources and does more damage to the environment than growing crops. Save money and the environment by switching out steak for pasta once a week.

• Buy secondhand. People often forget about the second “R” in reduce, reuse, recycle. Reusing items such as clothing, housewares and appliances keeps them out of landfills and affords a terrific price break.

Selling stuff you don't need anymore through the classifieds or at consignment shops such as Once Upon a Child can also be a nice little source of revenue.

• Control your climate – and prevent climate change. Weatherproofing your home and lowering the thermostat will help you conserve energy while reducing your heating bill.

• Bottle your own water. Invest in an aluminum or stainless steel reusable water bottle and fill up at the tap or drinking fountain. You'll save money and contribute fewer non-biodegradable hunks of plastic to landfills.



email: schristmann@buffnews.com or call MoneySmart at 849-4612. Follow me at www.Facebook.com/DiscountDiva