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Save Money, Save the Earth
No matter which side you’re on in the global warming debate, this article will help anyone looking to save money. By making simple changes to our lives and thinking about the specific habits and routines we have, we can all take simple actions to improve our quality of life, live more environmentally friendly lives, and save money by going green.
Most blogs that discuss saving money and the environment include tips such as walking or biking instead of driving, using public transportation and carpooling, and considering alternative fuel vehicles. Unfortunately these are not options for everyone. However, there are many different things we can do to be a part of the national movement of “going green”.
Simple steps to save you money and save the planet:
- Replace regular light bulbs with compact fluorescent light bulbs. If every home in the United States changed just 1 frequently used light bulb to a fluorescent light, we would save enough energy to light 3 million homes for one year. It’s the easiest change to save money and help save the earth.
- Extend your battery life. It’s best to buy a rechargeable battery but if that’s not an option, here are some tricks to extend battery life. 1. Do not replace all 4 batteries. When your device stops working, it might be because a single battery is dead. Try to buy self-test batteries and check each one, only replace dead batteries. 2. Store your batteries in the refrigerator to make them last longer. 3. Believe it or not, your laptop computer is not on your lap. Placing the notebook on a soft surface restricts airflow and heats up the battery. To extend battery life, invest $5 to $20 in a “cooling pad.”
- Get a home energy audit: Check if your utility company offers a free home utility audit to help you find air leaks, poor insulation, and determine your home’s energy efficiency.
- From a home energy audit, you will be asked to seal and insulate your home. You can hire a contractor or try a “do-it-yourself guide” for the more adventurous. This may cost some money but will definitely save money in the long run.
- Keep your water heater warm by wrapping it in an insulation blanket. According to the US Department of Energy, adding insulation to your water heater can reduce heat loss by 25-45%, saving you 4% to 9% on water heating costs. You can buy these at any home improvement store for about $20.
- Insulate your car battery. Check that your car battery is properly insulated, if not, purchase a plastic insulated battery blanket for $10 to $30.
- Charge your batteries with solar energy. Pay a one-time fee of $80 to $200 and then charge your batteries for years for free and save money.
- Unplug unused electrical appliances and save money on your electricity bill. It’s easier said than done. Start by unplugging your cell phone and iPod charger. Additionally purchase a power strip that allows you to turn it on and off easily.
- Turn off the lights and go green! It might seem like a no-brainer, but it’s amazing how many people leave their lights on, televisions on, and computers on. Turning it off will not only save money on your electricity bill, but also contribute to our efforts to save the earth.
- Set your thermostat between 68 and 78 degrees Fahrenheit. Use blankets, open windows and remove layers of clothing. For most of us, this is easier said than done. Remember to turn down your thermostat when you go to work and when you go to bed. If you forget, get a programmable thermostat. This can save you a lot of money on your heating bill. Important facts to remember: First it doesn’t take as much energy to reheat your home as it does to keep it at the same temperature. Second, the house doesn’t heat up faster as the temperature rises, leaving the heater running longer after it’s turned off.
- Stop using store catalogs and shop online. Most of the time you save money online.
- Stop receiving junk mail. Junk mail alone kills millions of trees every year. You can try removing your name from junk mail sources, or take a moment and write on every piece of junk mail you receive, “Return to sender.” You won’t have to pay for postage and eventually you will stop receiving mail from them.
- Print less often. Write directions on a small note pad, don’t print the email. If you want to print, there are free software programs that allow you to edit web pages to print only the content you need.
- Ways to conserve water: 1. Take short showers 2. Turn off the water while shaving or brushing your teeth 3. Repair all toilet and faucet leaks immediately. A leaking leak can waste 200 gallons of water per day, a leaky faucet a little less. 4. Be smart about watering your lawn and landscape. Water only when needed, early in the morning. 5. Water used with the right dishwashing soap saves energy- An efficient dish washer can save water, energy and save money.
- Eat out less. Restaurants use more energy to prepare your food.
- While staying in a hotel, practice what you do at home. Turn off the lights and television when you leave, don’t waste water, turn off the A/C when you leave the room. Reuse your towels and use your own toiletries. Hotel toiletries are cheap and always over-packed.
- Save and use less and transition to “Living Green”. Use less shampoo, cleansing detergent, soap, toothpaste and paper products. It’s amazing how much conservation can save you money and how worthwhile it is in our fight to save the planet.
- Buy Used: Search online classifieds and newspapers. You can find gently used furniture, appliances, cars and more.
- These next two items are the easiest, fastest way to start “going green” and living more eco-friendly. Invest a little money ($1 to $5) in reusable shopping bags. My favorite is the Chico bag that clips onto your purse or keys and is hard to forget. Use them at the grocery store, mall, or any other place where you need to pick up some items. This not only saves plastic but also creates awareness about the living green movement.
- Avoid using plastic water bottles. Instead, buy reusable aluminum or stainless steel bottles at any Target or sports shop. It really helps in the effort to save our planet but it is also beneficial for our health.
- If you want to use disposable plastic water bottles, fill a few bottles (not full) and put them in the freezer. This makes your freezer more energy efficient and runs less, and you can use frozen water bottles when you need ice packs. When they melt, it makes a wonderfully cold drink.
- Save your leftovers. You can save bread bags, butter containers, and other packages that you can use to store your leftovers. Buy cheap labels at the dollar store and label everything.
- Avoid using disposable plates, cups and utensils whenever possible. It costs a lot of money and takes up a lot of space in our landfills.
- Use non-disposable cloth diapers. It is not as difficult or inconvenient as most parents think. There are many great articles on the cloth vs. disposable debate.
More difficult steps to “go green”. Spend less time and money in the short term, save money and/or save the planet in the long run.
- Composting your food and yard trimmings reduce the amount of waste sent to landfills and also reduce the amount of air pollution.
- Efficient landscaping: It can save money, save energy and save the earth.
- Install solar panels. Solar power is rapidly becoming more affordable and efficient, and many states now have tax incentives.
- The US Department of Energy is here to help motivate you toward “going green” and eco-friendly living, research incentives, and tax incentives for home improvements.
- Lastly, plant a tree. A tree, in its lifetime, will absorb a ton of carbon dioxide and release healthy oxygen into the air.
Unfortunately there are many people who believe that the problem is too big for one person to make a difference. But that’s just not true. Every time you choose to recycle instead of throwing it in the trash, or walk to the store instead of driving, or spend a little more money on organic and eco-friendly products, you alone are making a difference. And if 100,000 people make just simple changes to their daily routines, our efforts will significantly improve our chances of saving the Earth and saving the planet. For more detailed information, links and resources to start living a more eco-friendly life, visit GreenGardenEcology [http://www.GreenGardenEcology.com](Article: Save Money).
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