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Bankrate's 2007 Living Green, Saving Green Guide
Green today
Learn 153 ways to be eco-friendly while saving green.
Green today
153 ways to go green
Money: Quick fix
Tips » Quick fix $ Factor
Tip 136:
Get your bank statement electronically.
If you're worried about computer hackers, don't. Most banks send you an e-mail with a link to a secure Web site where you can check your balance.
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Instant Internet access means you can quickly see if your bank account is dangerously low, which could end up costing you low-balance or insufficient funds charges. And by reducing your traditional statement collection, you save paper, which means you help save trees.
Tip 137:
Cancel the canceled checks.
If you still get paper bank statements that include canceled checks, at least cancel the canceled checks. You can reconcile your account just fine without all those extra slips of paper.
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Savings are immediate for many account holders, because some banks charge extra to keep sending along canceled checks. Once you start getting a less-imposing statement, it also should make it easier for you to check it each month. Timely account reconciliation can help you spot any financial trouble spots. And no canceled check clutter means more forests for us all.
Tip 138:
Pay bills by credit card.
If you don't want to pay directly from your bank account, pay your bills by credit card. In fact, this might be easier. Not every business accepts e-payments yet, but almost all take plastic.
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You get the same great environment-saving advantages of paying electronically while also earning yourself some financial perks. Set up an automatic credit card payment; that way you'll never face another late fee. Make sure the card is one with a low or no interest rate. If it's a rewards card, all the better. Your eco-friendly payment method will earn you extra points.
Tip 139:
Make a cash gift to an environmental group.
All these groups -- and there are thousands -- will happily take money via cash, check or credit card. Some even offer estate plan help so that you can leave a final bequest to the group.
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Your gift obviously will help the environmental group continue its efforts. But it also could save you some tax dollars. If you itemize, you can deduct your donations to IRS-approved charities. Just make sure you get a receipt in case the IRS has follow-up questions. If your gift is one of your final ones, it also could help lower any potential taxes on your estate. See your attorney or financial planner on how to structure these types of estate gifts to you maximum tax benefit.
Tip 140:
Donate clothing and household goods.
Donate clothing and household goods to the environmental nonprofit of your choice. Many charitable groups, including those dedicated to saving the planet, will take such gifts.
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On the pro-environment side, the organization can sell the items in its thrift shop, producing needed income to keep operating. As for your finances, such donations are as tax-deductible as cash gifts to approved groups. Just make sure the donated items are in good or better shape or the IRS could disallow the deduction.
-- Posted: Oct. 4, 2007

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