Earth Day is April 22, a time to honor the planet and find new ways to protect its health. Fortunately for you, the holiday offers more than just motivation to compost. If you crave clean credit and extra cash, consider the following initiatives. Changing your habits this Earth Day can yield both in terms of:
- Trash bin size. When it comes to saving the planet, many communities are using service charges to crack down on citizens. For example, Seattle’s local waste management service provides free curbside recycle bins upon request. However, the cost of their trash bins range from $19.45 per month for a 12 gallon can to $93.15 per month for a 96 gallon can. The conclusion is simple: the more we recycle, the more we save. Review your local service’s policies and consider cutting back on non-recyclable waste. The result will help the planet and your bank account.
- Cash incentives. Your grandpa probably waxed poetic about collecting soda bottles as a child to secure a tidy 25 cent profit. While the practice may seem outdated, many states still offer cash incentives for glass and aluminum recyclables. There are also private companies (like this one) that compensate for materials like brass, copper, aluminum and even junk cars. Search your area for the best options. Earning as little as $20 per month could yield $240 in profit per year. Not bad for items you planned to throw away.
- Recycling centers aren’t the only source of used-good savings. If you’re on a tight budget, consider shopping at pre-owned clothing stores like Plato’s Closet for wardrobe updates. A pair of $50 jeans could cost as little as $5 on a thrift store rack, putting cash back in your wallet and saving the planet from pollution caused by manufacturing plants. The clothes may not be new, but they’re new to you. Look beyond the sale price to find some quality threads.
- Tax write-offs. Scenario: Every spring, Gayle cleans out her closet to make room for new clothing and shoe purchases. She’s a lawyer with expensive taste, and many of her business suits cost more than $500 each. Although Gayle could sell her unwanted goods to a thrift store, her accountant encourages her to donate them to the local Goodwill. This strategy allows Gayle to deduct the total value of her clothes from her federal income taxes.Gayle’s accountant is on the right track. Uncle Sam offers a long list of tax breaks for consumers who “recycle” by donating to those in need. Click here to learn more about the IRS rules and talk to a tax preparer about your options.
- Credit improvement. Suppose you earned $200 by recycling cans and copper, saved $600 by buying used clothing and deducted $3,500 from your income taxes in charitable donations. The sum of these savings is credit repair. Tightening your wallet provides the option of paying down debt, planning for retirement, saving for emergencies and even applying for new loans. When used correctly, all of these have the power to strengthen your credit score. Give the planet and your credit the clean start they deserve. Consider conservation this year and let it work to your advantage.