Earth Day is April 22. What will you do this year to celebrate Mother Earth, and to help keep her healthy and beautiful?
Will you mark the day by turning off the tap water when you brush your teeth and tossing your empty water bottle in the recycling bin instead of the trash? Or are you ready to make some bigger, long-lasting changes that will benefit the planet – and yourself?
You are? Then start by making sure your use of credit is green.
Yes, really – even something as seemingly practical as your credit report and score, and your relationship with the credit bureaus that track it, can have an impact on the planet. Can’t see the link? Think we’re stretching? Here are two ways to green your credit and make changes that pay off this Earth Day:
Take your tracking online
If you’re still using paper for tracking your credit report and score, it’s time to switch to the Internet. Every sheet of paper you use has an environmental cost associated with it – such as the trees and energy that were needed to make it.
The major credit bureaus make it easy for you to check your credit online, using plenty of security measures to help ensure your information is as safe as possible. Accessing and saving your credit report and score electronically, rather than printing it out, is also one more way to protect yourself from identity thieves – who might go through your trash looking for exactly the kind of information you printed.
Use credit to buy green
Once you’ve streamlined your use of information from the credit bureaus you can use your credit to benefit the planet by making green purchases.
For example, transportation is a major source of greenhouse gases and consumes millions of tons of fossil fuels every year. Your good credit score can help you secure an auto loan for a fuel-efficient, hybrid vehicle. Many consumers believe the higher cost of a hybrid is justified by how the vehicle’s fuel efficiency benefits the environment – and the savings they reap on gas mileage. Or, you can use credit to buy a bicycle and leave your car in the garage for short trips.
Home energy use also has a major impact on the environment. You can use your credit to pay for energy-efficient home improvements that will trim your utility costs and reduce your home’s carbon footprint. Making changes such as replacing older appliances with newer, Energy Star-rated ones, replacing drafty windows and doors with more efficient ones, and using solar panels to generate electricity and heat water for your home can help lower your home’s energy consumption and your family’s carbon footprint.
This Earth Day, go green with your credit – and make some changes that are good for you and the planet as well.