In recent years, there has been a huge interest in simple living, green lifestyles and frugality. It makes sense: inexpensive lifestyles are often the best for the environment as well. Our nation's combined economic crisis and growing concern about resources have created a culture of environmental awareness and a growing interest in saving money. If you're looking for more ways to save money and take care of the environment at the same time, here are a few suggestions.
The easiest and most dramatic way to save money, reducing your meals out can easily shave off thousands from your budget each year. Not only is cooking at home less expensive, it's also healthier and better for the environment. Focus on selecting fresh or organic ingredients and reduce waste created by huge restaurants.
Plant a Garden
If you're committed to eating at home, the logical next step is to grow your own food. You don't need to have a huge yard to grow vegetables. Even apartment dwellers can grow tomatoes, lettuce, chili peppers and other vegetables in hanging containers or on a balcony. Not only is homegrown food less expensive and ecologically sound, it's much tastier than overbred commercial produce.
Make Your Own Cleansers
Cleaning supplies are overpriced and toxic to the environment, not to mention dangerous for your pets and children. You may be surprised to learn that homemade cleaning supplies are just as effective and much more affordable. You can clean most surfaces with vinegar, baking soda, and other household items.
Line Dry Your Clothes
If you have a sunny space outside, set up a clothesline. By drying your clothes on a line, you will save unnecessary electricity used by your dryer. If you don't own your own dryer, save several dollars a month in laundromat costs by using a clothesline. Air-dried clothes are softer and will last longer and sustain less damage.
Electronic devices, such as cell phones and computers, can include environmentally harmful components. Broken devices take up space in your home. Dispose of them properly by recycling them at an approved location. Many electronics sellers will even pay you for trading in your old phones and other devices.
Fix Water Leaks
Leaky faucets waste a lot of water over the duration of a year and lead to high water bills. Leaks are usually relatively easy to repair, and repairs will easily pay for themselves in time. While you're at it, consider installing newer, more environmentally sound fixtures like low-flow toilets and water-conserving showerheads.
Use Power Strips
Do you know that devices plugged directly into wall outlets use electricity even when turned off? Many devices continuously drain power whether on or not. Using a power strip helps mitigate that power usage. It also helps protect your devices from expensive and destructive power surges.
Reduce Gasoline Usage
Not only is gas expensive, it creates carbon dioxide emissions that damage the environment. Save gas by carpooling and taking advantage of alternate transportation methods such as walking or biking. If possible, look into buying a fuel-efficient new car or even an electric car or hybrid.
Replace Light Bulbs with Low-Energy Equivalents
Incandescent bulbs use a lot of power and generate heat. They also burn out quickly. For just a few dollars more, buy a low-energy fluorescent bulb that will last much longer and burn coolly while generating just as much light.
Receiving paper bills is a waste of space and paper, and if you sign up for paperless billing you may be able to take advantage of discounts. Sign up for online bill-paying programs to organize your bills. You’ll also save on stamps.
Whether your goal is to reduce your carbon footprint or save a few hundred dollars each month, following these tips will help your family live a more beneficial lifestyle. You don't have to subscribe to a life of voluntary simplicity and give up all of your city-living amenities. Choose just a few things that will make a difference and still fit with your lifestyle. Every small change will benefit your bank account and Mother Earth at the same time.
Jessica Bosari is a freelance writer and blogger for various publications and her own blog. You can read more of Jessica's work here. If you have any comments or questions about SavingTools or about saving money, leave your comments in the form below or email firstname.lastname@example.org. Thanks!