Green isn’t a color…sort of. It’s more than a color. Green is a way of life particularly in eco friendly states such as Vermont, Oregon, Rhode Island, South Dakota, and Washington, to name a few. That is, green should be a way of life. Living green is about living simpler, living lighter, living more enjoyable, and living more healthy. Plus, a green lifestyle can save you greenbacks. Here are ten ways you can save some cash, love on the environment, and make your life greener.
You’ve heard all the jokes about changing light bulbs, right? The amount of money you can save by changing one little bulb is no joking matter. Carefully unscrew that energy-hogging spherical glass bulb, and replace it with a twirly CFL bulb. The CLF takes up 75% less energy, plus it lasts ten times longer! You can even increase the wattage, and still save.
Insulate your home.
Insulation probably sounds like an itchy scratchy pain. Rethink it. Insulating is easy and fun. Buy a tube of caulk and a caulking gun, and roam your house for runaway energy. Most likely, you’ll find a few cracks around window frames, baseboards, door frames, or power outlets. They’re small but deadly when it comes to energy use. If you’re up for a bigger job, throw an extra layer of insulation up in your attic. A properly insulated home can save up to 40% on your heating/cooling bill each year.
Update your appliances.
You’ve always wanted new appliances. Now, you can purchase the appliances of your dreams and be green in the process. Old appliances are notoriously inefficient, gobbling up more electricity or water than they’re worth. An energy efficient dishwasher, for example, will save a lot more water, take a lot less energy, and get your dishes cleaner than your 15-year old model. You may not recoup the cost of a new refrigerator or washer/dryer set in the first few months, but it will pay off over time.
Stick with soap and water.
We all want clean homes, and the cleaning companies do all they can to get us to buy more advanced and powerful cleaning solutions. Here’s a bit of news for you. First, that fancy cleaning stuff is expensive. Second, all those chemicals do nasty things to the environment. The solution? Use soap and water. A simple bottle of detergent plus water will handle most messes.
Go with gardening.
Gardening is perhaps the greenest and most enjoyable solution there is. The fruits and veggies hauled in by your local supermarket are taking a toll on the environment, costing you more than you wish to spend, and aren’t nearly as tasty as the backyard variety. Purchase a few pots, drop in a few seeds, water occasionally, and you’re in business with your own green, edible sweet spot. You may not be operating a commercial farm (thank goodness), but you are saving money and preserving the environment.
Even if you’re not a pioneering, self-sustaining, DIYer, you can still save your rainwater. It’s not that complicated. Simply purchase a plastic rain barrel from your local home improvement store, connect it to your downspout, and you’re done. You may not be interested in drinking your harvested H20, but your thirsty garden could use a drop or two.
Get a plumbing overhaul.
Speaking of water, it’s amazing how much water you pay for that you don’t actually use. Drippy faucets are like leaking bank accounts. You pay for every drip that finds its way down your sewage pipe. Some simple leaks can be fixed with thirty seconds and a wrench. Some leaks might take a bit more chutzpah and savvy. Still other plumbing problems may best be solved by the local plumber. Water may be our planet’s most plenteous resource, but it’s still in high demand in most places of the world. Save it.
Ride your bike or use public transportation.
If you have to run an errand that is two miles away or less, ride your bike. A two-mile bike trip is a cinch, even for beginners. You’ll experience more benefits than just an increasing greenness and saved gas money: Your bank trips will turn into workout sessions. You may also want to consider taking public transportation to work. If you live in a location with a good mass transit system, you can even take your bike along with you.
There’s nothing more annoying than saving stuff you don’t need. But what about saving stuff that you do need? That empty egg carton can be a paint well for the kids. Now that the jelly is gone, you can use that glass jar to store your toothbrush on the shelf. An old butter tub becomes a wonderful container to put those assorted screws. Even paper bags, plastic bags, empty boxes, and all manner of erstwhile junk can reincarnate into useful and practical items.
Start unplugging things.
Have you ever wondered where all the energy in your home goes? Why does your electricity bill always exceed $300 each month? It’s not like you’re home all that often. Two words: power phantoms. A lot of things that are plugged in are sapping away precious energy, even though the power is turned off. TVs, microwaves, phone chargers, printers, and LED clocks slowly siphon away your electricity. Deny these power phantoms by plugging them into power strips, and then turning off the strips when you leave the room. And by all means, don’t leave the TV on all day. Making these simple and easy changes can save you $200 a year.