If you are at all interested in helping out the planet, you have probably heard of the term ‘carbon footprint’, and that having a smaller one is always better. But what does that mean, exactly? Put (very) simply, it means that the less you use your gas-fueled vehicle to get around, the happier the Earth is going to be. But we have to use our car to get through life, right? Well, yes and no.

While our cars may seem like a necessary evil (Why does gas have to be so expensive? Why can’t I get away with one pricey oil change a year as opposed to four?), there are many simple ways you can make a positive change. With these four tips, you’ll not only reduce greenhouse emissions from the ozone, you’ll nearly always be adding savings to your bank account and freeing up your errands list. Talk about a win-win-win!

1. Purchase a gas can

The next time you have to fill up your vehicle’s gas tank, bring along a gasoline-safe canister. Even if it just holds 3-5 gallons, having a small reserve on hand at home will save you a lot of extra trips to the gas station over the course of a year. Many grocery stores offer gas reward programs, too, saving you some cash.

2. Get a mail scale

Constantly heading to the post office is a thing of the past when you get one of these handy devices for your home office! For less than $20 you can weigh out padded envelopes, letters and heavier packages with ease; print out a mailing label and then arrange for the item to be picked up from your own front porch. (Grouping multiple packages together will also save your carrier time and gas.) Stress during the holiday season? Not anymore.

3. Accomplish errands by walking

This tip makes sense on multiple levels: utilize companies that are within walking/biking distance of your home. Spending all day driving all over town to just get your hair trimmed, pick up your dress from the dry cleaner and get groceries is not doing the environment any favors, let alone your impending headache.

You can usually find a strip mall or business centers that act as a ‘hub’ for all the basic errands most people run on weekends. Walking to these places will not only clear your head, but will keep your heart happy, too.

4. Enjoy more meals at home

The average American eats out four times per week, and that’s a lot of wasted cash. You’re spending hard earned dollars on (often unhealthy) meals, and spending a lot of time on the road to get to those places. More time on the road means a larger carbon footprint. Avoid this pitfall by planning out your meals on the weekends. This will also make your grocery shopping trips smarter, not harder.
When you prepare meals at home, you know what you’re putting into your body, which means you’re saving money on potential doctor visits, all while spending more time with loved ones. It seems there is nothing ‘not driving’ can’t do!