How to save money while Saving the Environment
Trying to save the environment by going green can be very expensive. When you think about what “going green” means you would probably visualize something like solar panels on the roof, a purification system in your backyard, personal water treatment plans with fancy rain water collection barrels or a windmill fueling your home with all the electricity it needs. All of this would certainly would help you save some money and will help you do your part in saving the environment but the initial expense of installing such equipment is well outside the average family budget.
However, it doesn’t mean you can’t do your part to save the environment and there are a number of things you can do to save money and save the environment!
1. Don’t Buy Bottled Water
You might think it’s worth it to drink water that tastes good and is considered safe; but what else do those bottles of water cost? Only about 1.5 million barrels of oil per year to make the plastic bottles, and 22 million bottles ending up in the landfills annually. Did you know that many companies are simply bottling tap water and slapping a label on it before selling it to you? Save money, drink healthy water, and do your part for the environment, install a filter on the water faucet.
2. Trick Your Toilet
There are toilets that reduce water consumption each time you flush, but they’re more expensive. Plus, if your toilet works, who wants to pay to replace it? Instead of buying a new toilet to conserve water, you can just displace the water in the tank. Put in a brick or a soda bottle filled with water and it will use less water per flush, and not cost you anything.
3. Flush Less
If you want to, you could flush your toilet less. Don’t flush if you’ve just blown your nose and tossed the tissue in the water!
4. Capture Wasted Shower Water
Do you have to run your shower for a few minutes before the water heats up enough to step in without screaming? Put a bucket in to capture the cold water while you wait for it to heat up and you can use it to water the plants or wash the floors.
5. Low Flow Showers
Low-flow showerheads are fairly inexpensive and reduce the amount of water you need to get clean. Because showers use hot water, using less water in the shower will also reduce energy consumption.
6. Spend $5 to Save
Take a trip to the hardware store and pick up aerators and low-flow faucet adapters to install on each of your sinks. You’ll use less water and save money.
7. Fully Stocked Dishwashers Only
Only run your dishwasher when it’s completely full of dirty dishes. Skip the pre-rinse to conserve water.
8. Pre-Soak to Handwash
Fill up one side of your sink or wash tub with warm, soapy water to let your dishes soak for awhile. This loosens up food particles and lets you wash them easier. Fill another tub or sink with clean water to rinse and avoid running tap water constantly for hand washing dishes.
9. Save Fruit and Veggie Washes
Rinse your fruit and vegetables over a bucket or bowl and use the water to water your flowers, plants or garden.
10. Wash Cold
Whether you use energy-efficient appliances or the older ones, you can wash your clothes in cold water to reduce the amount of hot water you use in your house and save money and energy.
11. Catch the Rain
Keep a bucket or two outside to catch the rain as it falls from the sky. You can use this water to wash your car, water your lawn, garden, flowers and plants.
12. Time the Shower
Put a kitchen timer in the bathroom and take shorter showers. You’d be amazed how quickly you can lather and rinse when you are conscious of what you’re doing.
13. Skip the Heated Dry
Most dishwasher’s have a heated dry cycle. This uses more energy. Turn off the dry cycle and let them air dry, or wipe with a dish towel before putting them away.
14. Power Down
There are a number of appliances and electronics that consume phantom energy even when they’re off. You’ll recognize them by their flashing lights and glowing clocks. Unplug them when not in use- they’re responsible for 10-40% of your electricity useage
15. Replace lightbulbs
Energy efficient lightbulbs cost a bit more when you first buy them, but are still fairly reasonable with the average price of just $1.50 per bulb or so! Energy efficient lightbulbs draw less electricity to light up – and last about seven years. Buy them all at once and replace all your bulbs at once – or simply replace bulbs as they burn out with the energy efficient versions.
16. Use Computer’s Sleep Mode
Whenever you’re not using the computer for a few hours, let it go to ‘sleep’ to conserve energy. When done using it for the day, shut it down completely.
17. Vacuum Under Fridge
Every three months or so, vacuum the condensor coils under the refrigerator. If they get built up with dust and dirty, the refrigerator has to work harder to keep your food cold.
18. Keep it Stocked
Your refrigerator and freezer will require less energy to maintain the coldness if they are full of food. The food itself will help maintain the temperature. This is why an empty freezer uses more energy than a freezer that’s full of frozen goods.
19. Use the Microwave More
The microwave uses half the electricity of your conventional, electric oven and cooks food in less time, so use it more often to conserve electricity.
20. Use Task Lighting
When reading or working on a desk, use small lamps to illuminate the area you need rather than using an overhead light to light up an entire room. You can use less watts with smaller lights and reduce energy consumption.
21. Hang To Dry
On dry days, hang your laundry outside to dry rather than using your clothes dryer. So what if the neighbors see your undergarments blowing in the breeze? You are helping the environment and saving money in the process. On colder or rainy days, you might be able to use wooden clothes racks in the bathroom to air dry many of your clothes.
22. Turn it Off
How often do you turn on lights out of habit when you enter a room, than out of necessity? If you don’t really need it, don’t switch it on. If you’re done with it, switch it off. Teach your children these habits as well and you’ll notice savings on your electricity bill- and use less energy which is a bonus for the environment.
23. Lower Water Temperature
Next to your home’s heating system, the hot water heater uses the most energy in your home. Lower the temperature from 140 degrees to 120 degrees and save about 10% on your energy bill.
24. Insulate Hot Water Pipes
You can purchase inexpensive water pipe insultation kits from the hardware store. Wrap your hot water pipes with them to help keep the heat in as the water travels through the pipes.
25. Weather Strip-It
If the windows in your house are drafty, consider replacing them. Since this is quite an expense, you may need to make them work for awhile before you can save up enough to replace them, though. In the meantime, use weather stripping around each of your windows in the winter to block out most of the cold air while keeping in your warm air. Consumer Reports tells us that heating costs can be reduced by about 30% with the use of weather stripping.
Caulk costs about $5 per tube, and can be used to seal drafty windows. It’s a little messier than weather stripping, but cost efficient and easy to use.
27. Re-use Cooking Heat
When you use your oven in the winter, once you’re finished cooking and have turned your oven off, keep the door open to allow the hot air to enter the kitchen. It will help keep the air temperature warmer and reduce the need for the heat to kick on temporarily.
28. Rearrange for Winter
Move furniture away from your heating units in each room, so you don’t block the warm air. It will require less energy to heat your home as more of the heat is being used rather than blocked behind furniture.
29. Use Warm-Air Humidifiers
In the winter months, the air is dryer and it can make it difficult to breathe. Using energy efficient warm-air humidifiers can help raise the temperature of a room while providing moister air to improve breathing.
30. Close the Door to Unused Rooms
If you have little used rooms in your home, why should you spend the money to heat them? Turn off the heat to that room (close heating vents, switch off electric radiators, etc) and keep the door shut with a towel or blanket to seal off the opening under the door. You’ll require less heat to keep the rest of your house warm.
31. Use Space Heaters
You can purchase affordable space heaters to keep the rooms you’re in warm, instead of heating the entire house, and turn them off when you’re not going to be home for extended periods of time. Just keep in mind it often takes more energy to bring the room back up to temperature than to maintain it at the desired temperature; so only turn the heat off completely if you’ll be gone for a long time. Also- only turn heat off completely if there is no risk to your pipes freezing.
32. Don’t Use Bathroom Ventilator Fan For Winter Showers
The water vapors from a shower raise the temperature of the air around the shower. In the winter months, don’t turn the ventilator fan on and you can benefit from the warm water as it will help heat your home.
33. Lower Heat Temperature
For every degree over 68, you can expect about a 3% increase in your heating bill. Lower the heat to the lowest possible setting that maintains comfort throughout winter, and wear heavier clothing to keep warm.
34. Shrink Wrap Windows
Purchase shrink wrap product (about $10 a box will cover 3 windows) and seal up your windows for winter.
35. Use Electric Blanket
If you turn the heat way down at night but feel cold when going to bed, simply turn on an electric blanket for a few minutes to warm up your sheets and bed – and turn it off. You’ll be warm all night.
36. Programmable Thermostats
For an expense between $30 and $100, you can program your home’s temperature based on your schedule so you aren’t wasting energy when you’re not home or when you’re sleeping.
37. It’s a Tankless Job
Make your next water heater a tankless water heater
38. Downsize the Computer
Buy a laptop instead of a pc for your next computer and you’ll use far less electricity.
39. Quick Clean A/C Unit
Use a garden hose to blow dirt out of the filter around your A/C unit and your air conditioner will run more efficiently and require less energy.
40. Turn the Freezer Temperature Down
Turn your freezer down to just below the freezing mark. A good test of the right temperature is ice cream. It should be solid but easy to scoop.
Use a toaster oven for reheating meals instead of conventional oven. It heats up quicker and uses less energy. You can get one for about $10 at Wal-Mart.
42. Reduce Air Conditioning
Turn your thermostat up a degree or two in the summer and use fans to keep cool. Fans require less electricity and any air movement will be cooling against your skin.
43. Remember the Air Filters
Change the air filters on your furnace regularly to keep it running efficiently and using the least amount of electricity possible.
44. Put Your A/C Unit in the Shade
Provide some shade for your A/C unit so it’s not in direct sunlight.
45. Better Transport
We’re a long way from a car that doesn’t use any gas at all that’s affordable and reliable. In the meantime, ride a bike or walk whenever possible, carpool or use public transportation. Save money on gas and reduce your carbon output at the same time.
46. Drive Better
When you do have to drive your car, don’t accelerate like a race car driver everytime you take off from a redlight or stop sign. Keep your tires properly inflated and save one mile per gallon. Combine your errands so you don’t have to drive as often.
47. Don’t Idle The Car
Idling the car will use a lot more energy than turning it off and turning it back on. If you’re sitting for longer than a minute, just shut down the engine and start it up again when you’re ready to go.
48. Drive over 15mph and under 60mph
Studies show that a car emits more pollution into the air at speeds under 15mph and over 60mph. Watch your speed and reduce your carbon footprint.
49. Re-Use Shopping Bags
Grocery bags and other plastic shopping bags are good for way more than one trip home from the store. Use them to line small trash containers and save money on trash bags.
50. Purchase a Canvas Bag
Make or purchase a few canvas bags to use instead of plastic bags. They last forever and can be washed like laundry to keep them fresh.
51. Grow Your Own
Grow an herb garden indoors all year round for fresh herbs. You can stop buying dried herbs and spices and save money and packaging. Also, grow fresh vegetables and fruits whenever possible.
52. Push Lawn Mowers
Instead of using a gas or electric lawn mower, get the manual, push kind. You’ll use less energy, no gas, and avoid the harmful emissions that a typical lawn mower shoots into the air.
53. Skip Laundry Detergent – Use Eco Wash Balls
Laundry detergent is primarily chemical based. You can skip it altogether with re-useable eco wash balls. Depending on the brand, they’re reuseable for 60 to 600 washes. They’re safe for all fabrics and great for sensitive skin types. You can shorten the rinse cycle and use less water during the wash, too, since there is no detergent to rinse off. Another bonus is eco wash balls make your laundry softer- you can probably skip fabric softener.
54. Rechargeable Batteries
Purchase and use rechargeable batteries instead of replacing dead batteries with new ones every time. Keep enough on hand to have a few spare sets already charged and ready to go.
55. Buy Refills in Bulk
Buy bulk refills for things like shampoo, soap, laundry detergent etc at Sams/Cosco. It’s cheaper and uses less packaging.
56. Re-use Paper
If you’ve got kids in school, you’ve got a lot of paper. They come home with a stack of announcements, drawings and worksheets daily. Don’t just read and toss- flip them over and let the kids use them to draw or paint on the other sides, too.
57. Make Your Own Notepads
Speaking of conserving paper, cut a stack of paper that’s used only on one side into squares. Staple on the top corner and use for grocery lists, to do lists, or taking phone messages.
Don’t forget to save the comics for gift wrap. You can use newspaper to fill boxes and envelopes when mailing bulky items to protect it during transit, too.
59. Re-use Baggies/Ziplock
Sandwich bags and ziplock type baggies can often be rinsed out and re-used more than once. If sending kids crackers or cookies in a ziplock bag to school, you can send the same or similar snack in the same baggie the following day.
60. Cleaning Products
You don’t have to pay big bucks for green cleaning products. You can make your own with everyday household items, like baking soda and vinegar and club soda.
61. Washable Napkins
We are in the habit of grabbing paper towels, napkins, aluminum foil and other one-time use products, but there are alternatives. You could use towels in the kitchen and wash rather than throw away when used; tupperware products instead of wrapping in aluminum foil, and cloth napkins instead of paper based napkins.
62. Green Meals
You will almost always save money if you make meals at home over purchasing from a restaurant or fast food place. Plus, getting take out uses excess packaging which typically ends up in the garbage.
63. Give it Away
Don’t throw away items you no longer want or need that are in good condition. When possible, donate and get a tax-write off to help you save some money.
64. Mineral Salt Deodorant Sticks
These are available in health food stores. They last much longer than a regular deodorant stick, and don’t contain any harmful ingredients. They also don’t have a lot of extra, unuseable packaging to clutter the landfill.
65. Reuseable Coffee Filters
Not only do you reduce the amount of waste you produce when making coffee, but you’ll never run out of filters again when you use the reuseable kind. Just wash and re-use.
Take the extra second to recycle rather than toss in the garbage. Aluminum, tin, plastic, glass – most towns have recycling centers and some garbage disposal services are capable of picking up your recycleables, too. To make a little money from recycling, return soda and beer cans to the store.
67. Use Washable Coffee Mugs
If you drink coffee or tea or other hot beverages at work and your workplace provides styrofoam cups – bring in a coffee mug and wash it rather than tossing in the garbage after each drink. Same goes for the water cooler- no one says you have to use the provided plastic cups!
68. Rent Glassware For Parties
Instead of buying a ton of paper products for party guests, rent glasses, plates and silverware from caterers and wash and return after using.
69. New Windows for Tax Credits
New windows, storm windows, sky lights: credit on 10% of the cost up to $200 total for all windows.
70. New Doors for Tax Credits
New Exterior doors: credit on 10% of the cost up to $500.
71. New Roofs for Tax Credits
Metal roofs: 10% of the cost up to $500.
72. New Insulation for Tax Credits
Insulation. Credit on 10% of the cost up to $500.
73. Central air or heating for Tax Credits
Central air/heating: $300 credit.
74. New Furnace for Tax Credits
New Furnace: $150.
75. New Heat Pump for Tax Credits
Geo-Thermal Heat Pump: $300.
76. New Water Heater for Tax Credits
New Water Heater: $300
Saving the environment can also help you in staying focused, staying motivated at work or in general to be able to achieve your goals.