When you want to save, you gotta to make a few sacrifices. You won't see any difference on your savings until you decide to change your habit and your lifestyle for the better.
Going green does not necessarily mean giving up modern conveniences or spending extra money on organic products or emerging green technologies. There are a number of very simple steps that can be taken that can help the environment while also reducing the amount of money that you spend each month.
Start With Your Electricity Usage
Electricity usage in an average home is often a sizable part of the monthly budget. By monitoring how you use electricity and finding ways to change your usage, it’s a relatively easy way to save money and to reduce harmful emissions that can damage the environment.
There are some simple steps that can be taken such as shutting off lights when they are not in use and switching to compact fluorescent light bulbs. Homes that have electrical heating and air conditioning can see significant savings by changing the thermostat by just two to three degrees. Spend a week paying close attention to how you use energy in the home and make adjustments that will help you save.
Make Your Own Cleaners
High-end cleaning products sometimes contain harsh chemicals that can release volatile organic compounds (VOCs) into the air. VOCs can cause repertory problems in humans and animals. Some of the chemicals can also affect local waterways and can cause algae to bloom. Simple cleaning products can be made in the home from ingredients like salt, lemon juice, baking soda and vinegar. Homemade cleaning supplies are much less expensive than some of the cleaning products that are sold in stores. If you are looking for information on how to make your own natural cleaners, check out the DIY Natural book on clears.
Your Transportation Habits
Buses, trains, and car pools can be used for travel instead of flying with a major airline. Airplanes and the fuel that they burn contribute to particulate matter and other pollutants in the atmosphere. Using alternate forms of transportation means that fewer planes will be needed in the skies. Trains and buses are very cost-effective and can actually be very relaxing on long trips. Airline fees and baggage fees can be avoided by taking alternate transportation since most trains and buses do not charge for luggage. Granted, you can’t compare with the time it saves to fly, but if you plan your trip in advance and aren’t in a rush, taking other transportation could save a ton.
Reduce Water Consumption
Excessive water use in a home can contribute to water shortages. Water purification plants also use large amounts of power in order to meet the growing needs of surrounding communities. Reducing the amount of water that is used can help to mitigate these problems. The ways to reduce water usage can include taking a shorter shower and washing dishes in a sink filled with water instead of under a faucet. Homes that have a garden or lawn can benefit from using barrels or other containers to collect rainwater during a storm. This rainwater can be used to feed plants instead of using fresh water from a hose.
When it comes to reducing our energy and resource consumption, every little bit counts. Don’t get sidetracked by only looking at major green changes such as solar paneling or the installation of a geothermal system. While the big projects will certainly help, just a few simple lifestyle changes can lower your energy bills and reduce your carbon footprint without much effort on your behalf.
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About the Author: Jeremy Vohwinkle is a Chartered Retirement Planning Counselor® and spent a few years working as a financial planner. Today, he helps people make the most of their money by writing about personal finance here and elsewhere on the web. Jeremy is also Coach at Adaptu and a regular contributor for other publications such as Intuit, and American Express. Be sure to follow Jeremy on Twitter or Google+.
If you really can't avoid using your car, drive slowly. But not too slow. Drive around between 50 mph to 60 mph to get your car’s best performance. It would also help to lighten the load of your car so that it’s not struggling with creating too much power. That’s driving smart and driving green.
You might want to take a look at your home appliances and gadgets. Those that you have been using for more than a decade already should be replaced. Why? Simply because they are no longer at their optimum performance.
I like your idea of homemade cleaners. I also have something to add about saving on electricity bills. With the usage of heaters during winter, it's a pain seeing the cost so high during the season so what we did was we open the curtains during the day to allow sunlight inside our home. We don't turn it on as long as we can. It’s the same thing during summer. We open the windows to let the wind go in during the day instead of using air-conditioners. It’s all about making little sacrifices in order to save money.
Those simple steps I believe Transportation Habits most. We should walk on food. It can help us take excercise and heathy
Thanks for these tips, Jeremy. Definitely agree on all accounts but most importantly, we have to remember that as adults it's our obligation to educate our children and teach them how to become responsible adults one day. Doing this will certainly add huge amount of savings in the years of their growing up under your roof. :)
For transportation I'd suggest buying a bicycle and biking whenever and wherever you can. It's not practical for everybody, but in urban environments it usually allows you to get around with great ease. Bikes are an investment that can be costly up front. However, they pay for themselves without requiring fuel or costly insurance. Repairs and maintenance are small expenses compared to those of a car. Plus you get exercise when you bike!
-Christian L. @ Smart Military Money
You can save quite a bit on water use (good on your money and the environment) by turning off the water while you wash yourself. Then turn it back on when you're ready to rinse. We cut our water use from showers by 50% this way. This may be like too much trouble for some, but here in california water use is taken pretty seriously.
@jeancox Very well said. These appliances tend to work harder and it uses up a lot of power. And when you decide to buy a new one, choose those with energy star mark. They consume energy-efficient, around 30% less power, than your regular home appliance.