Earth Day is often associated with mass tree plantings and a one-day observance of environmental practices. A single day of "green" activities isn't enough, however: it's important to find ways to incorporate earth-friendly practices into everyday living! Shopping is something we all do regularly, and saving money is something we all wish we did more often. Learn to save more green by applying these earth-friendly habits to your next grocery run or shopping weekend. 1. Use mobile coupons. When it comes to couponing, consumers are increasingly turning to their smartphones. According to Inman's 2014 Coupon Trends report, 44% of shoppers would like to present coupons using their mobile phone. With apps like Coupon Sherpa, it's easy to get your extra savings without printing and wasting paper. Plus, you'll never again arrive at checkout and realize your carefully clipped coupons are still at home. The app also features savings for restaurants, movie theaters and local service providers. 2. Request a digital receipt. Chain stores like Home Depot and Old Navy, as well some local shops, are hopping on the email receipt bandwagon, offering customers a paperless way to keep track of their purchases. Walmart's receipts now have QR codes which you can scan using their app for storage on your device. I love this trend because I hate receipts cluttering up my purse and car console. Plus, it's much easier to find receipts in email (especially when you use labels and filters). There is a caveat to this convenience, though: most retailers will analyze your receipts to learn more about your preferences and pitch you accordingly. 3. Send e-gift cards. In the throes of graduation and wedding season, many guests are turning to gift cards to convey their well wishes. Instead of purchasing yet another plastic card, send an e-gift card for the recipient to use for an online purchase or upload to their phone. You can even save money on these convenient vouchers when you comparison shop using GiftCardGranny.com, a comparative marketplace for discount gift cards. Filter your results to "online gift cards" to see only those offers available as e-codes. 4. Streamline price comparison. When it comes to big-ticket items, it's important to shop around to find the best deal. Both online retailers and brick-and-mortar stores fluctuate prices on everything from toys to electronics to appliances. Instead of driving from store to store, reduce gas use and emissions by quickly comparing prices with apps like RedLaser. This mobile tool will pinpoint the cheapest options around town as well as online. Even better, you can use this data to request a price match: many retailers are offering this service, with Walmart, Target and Best Buy all promising to price match one another, as well as meet Amazon's price. 5. Skip the bag. How often have you received a bag for a single purchase that can easily be carried in one hand? Cashiers of environmentally-thoughtful companies often ask "would you like a bag?" instead of just assuming you do. In the interim of all companies making this their motto, evaluate whether your purchase needs a bag and just say "no thanks" when it doesn't. You can also get into the habit of carrying reusable bags for larger shopping trips. In fact, many counties and cities are now charging customers for bags, so this is a no-brainer! 6. Buy used. "Reuse" and "recycle" are common words associated with green living and Earth Day. There's no better way to apply these principles to shopping than visiting local thrift stores and consignment shops. In addition to reusing perfectly good clothing, shoes, home goods and furniture, you're saving a ton by avoiding typical retail markups. You can also shop for pricey electronics this way, buying refurbished iPods and laptops instead of new devices. Search for coupons to enhance your savings, like free shipping and 20% off your purchase from Dell Refurbished.
About Kendal Perez
Kendal Perez is the Savings Expert for CouponSherpa.com, the popular coupon website offering coupons you can trust. Kendal is a regular contributor to local morning news programs on the topic of saving money, and has been an expert guest for HLN, FOX Business and a host of regional news stations across the country. She has also been quoted in such media outlets as People StyleWatch, Woman's Day, CNN Money, Huffington Post, Kiplinger's Personal Finance and US News & Money Report, and also blogs at HassleFreeSavings.com.