This is a guest post by Timothy Ng.
Saving money is a big deal, but saving the earth is an even bigger deal. That said, imagine how big a deal it would be if you could do both at the same time. It’s completely possible. If you were to look at your household budget, you’d probably see plenty of places where you could cut back on spending. But, if you looked at it with a ‘green eye,’ you could not only cut back a bit, but live better and help out mother earth in the process.
Energy Efficient Savings Tips
1. Unplug Electrics
It’s not always enough just to turn off electrical devices in your home, although that’s a great first step. Go around your house and unplug everything that’s reasonable: second television sets, lamps, alarm clocks in spare bedrooms, etc. Everything that’s not essential, like the refrigerator, should be unplugged. Then, only plug those items back in while you are actually using them. You’ll realize two things; the first is there are loads of electrics that never get turned on and second that your utility bill is lower. Even though it doesn’t seem like a lot, all of those appliances still draw electricity when they’re off. Unplug and save money. It’s that simple.
2. Make Cleaning Supplies
Most cleaning supplies we buy at the market are filled with caustic chemicals or bleach. Even though they might work to get our homes clean, they can also do damage to our bodies as we breathe those fumes or to our stuff as the chemicals slowly eat away at finishes. You can make your own cleaning supplies with a variety of recipes easily found on line –things like club soda and vinegar are excellent cleaning agents without all of the harsh chemicals. You can even find recipes that add essential oils to give your home a pleasant and clean scent.
3. Go To The Farmer’s Market
This one might not seem like a big money saver as there are a lot of people who thin farmer’s markets are more expensive. This is somewhat true; the prices can be a little higher on some items. However, not everything is more expensive and the added cost is often negligible. More importantly, if you’re buying local you will save money on petrol and you’ll be eating better, more healthy foods. That means you’ll feel better, have less risk of illness, and make your corner of the world a bit greener all at the same time.
4. Skip The Restaurants
Going out to dinner is nice. We all like being waited on and not having to clean up dishes. The downside is the cost. Even cheap meals eaten out can cost double that of a homemade meal. Add to that the fact that, if you eat at home, you’ll eat healthier food and less of it. Now it’s easy to see why cutting down on the restaurant fare is a big savings. If you feel lost in the kitchen, then ask for some advice or take a cooking class. Before you know it, you’ll be making gourmet meals your whole family will enjoy.
5. Stop Drinking Bottled Water
Just stop. Bottled water really is a scam. There have been loads of tests that have proven that water from the tap is no worse for you then the water from a bottle, and in some cases, even has less bacteria and chemicals. Those plastic bottles release terrible pollutants into our air when they’re made and then clog up landfills for hundreds of years when we’re finished with them. Make yourself a promise right now never to buy bottled water again. Instead, purchase a few high quality reusable water bottles and use them when you’re on the go, or just drink your water the old fashioned way – out of a cup.
6. Find A Carpool
Petrol is expensive. The fumes your vehicle releases into the atmosphere do immeasurable damage to it. So, why not cut out as much driving as you possibly can? Arrange carpools for as many activities as possible. You could have one for work, one for the kids school, one for all of those after school activities, and even one for the weekly grocery or farmer’s market run. It’ll save time and money. You’ll probably have so many people who want to participate that you’ll need two cars.
7. Make The Light Bulb Switch
If you’re still using incandescent light bulbs, it’s time to get rid of them. Compact fluorescent bulbs are more energy efficient and safer to use because they don’t get hot. Forget about that minuscule amount of mercury that’s in them and how it will be disposed. Right now, they’re your best bet to save money and energy. Also, check with the store that you purchase them from about recycling and disposal programs which will ease your mind about the dreaded mercury.
8. Stop Buying New Books
That doesn’t mean stop reading books. You should definitely continue reading, but cut back on buying new books. We need trees more then we need books. Instead of buying them new, check them out from the library or buy them used. If you have the money, invest in an electronic book device like an iPad or a Kindle so that you can simply download books.
It’s easy to make saving money and saving the earth a joint mission. Once you get started you’ll surely come up with lots more ways you can make budget cut while greening up your home. A greener home and more money in the bank is a winning plan for everyone.
Timothy Ng is an experienced personal finance writer, specialising in credit card comparison. Check out his guide to the best credit cards where he’ll step you through the process of finding the best credit card.