Saving money is a priority for many people, but you may not always know where to start. There are a number of ways you can save money within your own home or office while also making more eco-friendly choices that will have a positive impact on the environment.
When you unplug your electronics and other items in your home or office, you can save energy that would have gone into powering unused items. Use the sleep function on your computer to lessen the amount of energy used when no one is on it. You can also change out lightbulbs to LEDs or compact fluorescents to reduce energy usage. Use dimmer switches or lower wattage bulbs to further decrease the power that goes into lighting up a room.
You can also save money (and help the planet) by choosing eco-friendly cleaning options and other resources within your home. When you do laundry, instead of using the dryer for an hour, hang your clothes on a clothesline or drying rack. Not only does this save energy, but it also helps lengthen the life of your clothes. If you have young children at home, consider environmentally friendly cloth or alternative diapers instead of spending money on disposable diapers that will end up in landfills. When you do spring cleaning and organizing, donate or sell unused items instead of throwing them away.
Reusable Bags and Efficient Shopping
Instead of choosing paper or plastic bags at the grocery store or on other errands, be sure to bring your own. Not only does this reduce your impact on the environment, but many retailers are now offering discounts or loyalty points to customers who use their own bags. When you do head out for errands, try to run them in a batch instead of making a separate trip for each one. This helps you save fuel and lessens the emissions put out by your vehicle. If you enjoy your morning coffee while running errands, bring a travel cup for the barista to fill.
Some environmentally aware employers offer employees the option to telecommute for part of their work schedule to save on gas and decrease energy usage in an office, so ask your boss if this is an option for you. When you do go to the office, try to use the cruise control feature on your car, since it can improve gas mileage by as much as 15 percent. Try to keep printing to a minimum, but if you need a hard copy of something, use both sides of the paper.
Instead of a bath, consider taking a short shower, since this can cut your water and energy usage in half. When you brush your teeth, turn off the water to conserve as much as five gallons per day. You can also save on paper products by using cloth napkins at dinner, then washing the napkins with your regular laundry for re-use.
You might think that shopping for secondhand or used items isn’t for you, but think again! If your kids have been asking for bicycles, roller skates, or other toys, you can often find these in consignment shops for much lower prices than in traditional retailers. In some cases, kids outgrew the items after using them just a few times, so they could be in great condition. Secondhand shopping keeps excess items out of landfills and saves you money.
Consider the pros and cons of solar energy for your home. The upfront cost of solar panel installation is often high, but switching over to this sustainable source may qualify you for tax credits and rebates. And when factoring in the money you will save on utility costs each month, it is generally well worth the investment. Solar energy is most efficient in areas that get a lot of sunlight throughout most of the year, but homes in rainy or cloudy climates may also benefit.
Saving money while helping the environment is a win-win, so start now and teach family members how to go green and save your green.