This article discusses changes you can make to your everyday lifestyle that help the environment and save you money. This article may contain affiliate links, for more information please see my disclosure policy.
Have you always wanted to go green to help the environment? Or maybe you have thought about it but it seems too expensive. I put together a list of great switches you can make that will save energy, help reduce your environmental footprint, and save you money at the save time!
Programmable Thermostat -Having a programmable thermostat can help you save a ton on your energy bill, well actually closer to 10-15% which I still consider a ton. By setting the temperature a little cooler in the winter or warmer in the summer during the day when you are away from your house, your A/C and furnace have to work less. I love the Nest thermostat so I can control the temperature from my phone but there are also plenty of cheaper programmable options like this $40 one.
Switch to LED’s -According to The Simple Dollar , if you use one light for 3 hours a day for 23 years, buying and replacing incandescent bulbs will cost you $201, while using an LED bulb will cost just $38. This works out to be a savings of about $7 a year. While that might not be a ton, if you replace 10 of the most used light bulbs in your house, that’s a $70 a year off your electric bill.
Turning off lights -I’m guilty of not always doing this but I am getting better. Before you leave the house, do a quick run through to make sure all the lights are turned off. If you are leaving for work it might be 8-10 hours that you don’t need the light to be on
Unplug Phantom Power Users -Many appliances still use power even if they are turned off. Some big culprits include TV’s, videogames, computer, small kitchen appliances, and phone charges. You can either simply unplug them or use a power strip to make it even easier to disconnect them. Some sources estimate you can save 8-15% of your monthly power bill by great reducing your phantom power use.
Close and Open Blinds According to Season -To save energy and money on your heating and cooling costs, use your blinds to regulate the heat from the sun. In the summer keep your blinds closed to prevent the sun from heating up your house. In the winter open your blinds during the day to let the sun in to help heat it.
Vacuum Fridge Coils -It is recommend to dust or vacuum your fridge coils a couple times a year. Dusty coils cause your fridge to work harder and be less efficient, costly you more on your energy bill
Put Bricks in Toilet -An inexpensive alternative to a low flow toilet is to put a brick or other object in the upper deck of your toilet. The purpose of this object is to take up space and thus less water is need to fill the tank of the toilet.
Low Flow Shower Heads/Faucets -A low flow shower head can reduce your water usage while you shower by up to 40%. That can add up to huge savings, especially if you have multiple people showering. If you are like me and have trouble parting with your rain shower head, try to shorten the duration of your showers to save money.
Hang Clothes to Dry -The Balance estimated the cost to dry a load of clothes in an average dryer to be about $0.45 per load. That adds up quickly, $10.80 a month if you do 24 loads. By hanging your clothes to dry, on either an outside line or indoor rack, you can save that energy. Even if you only do it for half your clothes, that could add up to $60 a year in savings.
Grandma’s Tupperware -Do you ever remember going to grandma’s house and having her put leftovers for you and an old butter container? While it always struck me as odd when I was a child, it is a great way to save money on buying Tupperware while preventing more waste going to the landfill.
Caulk Air Gaps -A few small gaps near window or ceilings can let a ton of air that you just paid to heat or cool right out the window. You can pick a tub of caulk for less than $5 and fill those gaps to keep heat from escaping.
Insulate pipes/hot water heater -You might be losing heat from your hot water as they travel through your pipes to your faucet. By insulating your pipes you can turn down the temperature on your hot water heater and save some energy. Same goes for insulating the hot water heater itself. Newer models tend to have good insulation already but older ones can really benefit from a hot water heater blanket.
Compost -By composting your food scraps and lawn waste you are able to make nutrient-rich fertilizer and skip the pricey store bought stuff. Many townships will even provide free or low cost compost containers to residents.
Use Reusable Bags -Using reusable bags at the grocery store helps cut back on the amount of plastic bags floating around in the world. Some store even offer you a discount (albeit normally is pretty small like 5 cents per bag) for using reusable bags. If you don’t want to use the bag at the store, try reusing them at home for things like lunch bags or packing material.
Plant a Fruit and Vegetable Garden -Seeds to start a garden are very cheap. A $3 packet of strawberry seeds can yield pounds of fresh berries. Planting a fruit and vegetable garden can help reduce your grocery bill.
Plant Trees for Shade -Similar to opening and closing your blinds you can use trees to help regulate the amount of sun light heating up your house. Opt for leafy trees that will provide shade in the summer and then shed their leaves in the fall to allow sunlight through in the winter.
Repair Worn out Clothes -How often have you found yourself pitching away clothes because they wore down and have a few holes. Try saving them from the landfill by repairing them yourself with a sewing kit. This also saves you from having to go out to by a replacement piece of clothing.
Ride-share and Use Public Transit to Commute -Try biking to work a few days a week to cut down on your gas and parking bills. If biking isn’t an option, look into public transport or carpooling with a friend.
Reusable Water Bottle -Instead of going out and buying cases of water (which also creates a lot of garbage) opt for a reusable water bottle instead. Most bottled water is already just plain tap water and you can even buy a reusable water bottle with a filter.
Buy Quality Products Over Quantity -When it comes to household appliances, quality is really better than quantity. Instead of buying the cheapest toaster that will probably break in a year, try a nicer slightly more expensive one that might last 5 years. This also helps reduce the number of broken toasters that end up in the landfill.
Choose Paperless Billing -Many, if not all, of your bill should have a paperless option. Not only does this cut down on paper, but some companies will actually give you a few dollars off every month if you opt-in to the paperless bills.
Leave a comment and let me know some you have found to go green and save a little green!