While many people think that moving to a green lifestyle is expensive, there are actually many things you can do to gradually make the shift and actually save money while becoming more environmentally friendly. With the news being filled with reports of the climate changing due to our energy consumption habits, now is a time when more people than ever are trying to make an impact in any way they can. Since many of you are also trying to save the most money possible, I figured it was time to show you how to save the environment and your budget at the same time! I hope you'll join me over the next few weeks as I show you how little it takes to go green and save green!
Use Less Energy, Spend Less Money
- While it's tempting to turn up the thermostat in the winter, think about how much heat you really need. By investing in a programmable thermostat, you can have the temperature lower during times when you aren't home (even as low at 60 degrees) and then have it turn up about 30 minutes before you get home so the house is warm when you are there. When you're sleeping, have the thermostat lower and rely on an extra blanket! In the summer, bump the thermostat up so the central air isn't running when you're not using it! Also, you can gradually get your family acclimated to a lower temperature by nudging the thermostat up or down each day.
- Unplug everything you can! If you're not using your computer, TV, toaster, etc, don't leave them plugged in. Even if you think you're doing the right thing by turning them off, there is still an electricity pull created by the electronics. If you are going on vacation, you can simply turn off the surge protector or unplug is to make everything power off completely. Yes, you may have to reset some clocks when you get home, but the savings to your budget and the earth will be worth it!
- When you need to replace a light bulb, replace it with a compact fluorescent bulbs. While they are more expensive when you buy them, you will replace them less often and they require less energy than an incandescent bulb. In recent years, manufacturers have realized that not all fixtures are created equal and you can get them in a wide variety of sizes. If you watch the home improvement stores, they often have a HUGE discount on bulbs in March and April, when most consumers are thinking about going earth-friendly because of Earth Day.
- Wash your clothes in cold water! You wouldn't believe how much money this will save over time! First of all, you're not paying to heat your water. Second, you can use less soap and your clothes will be clean. Most detergents, whether marketed for it or not, are designed to work better with cold water. You can actually use about half the recommended amount and still have clean clothes! If those weren't good enough reasons for you to switch to cold water, how about saving your clothes? Hot water combined with the agitation in most washing machines is VERY hard on clothes over time. The fibers begin to wear down and eventually rip, not to mention the color fade.
- Reduce drying time by using a clothes rack or outside line whenever possible. Not only is line drying the environmentally responsible thing to do, but if you have whites that have stains on them, the sun will bleach the stains naturally! If this is not possible where you live, do an extra spin cycle on your clothes to get them as dry as possible and then place two or more tennis balls and a dry, absorbent towel in the dryer. This will help your clothes dry faster, reducing your drying time and minimizing the heat coming into your home in the summer.