We all know saving money is important, but often the decision between finding great ways to increase your savings and taking advantage of eco-friendly lifestyle options seem to be directly in contradiction with one another. Many eco-friendly options available tend to be very costly, and for those of us who have to watch our budget, this can be disheartening.
Thankfully, there are ways in which you can take steps to save the planet—and the future of humanity—without breaking the budget. In many cases, you can do your part to change the future of our world by making small, entirely free choices in your daily life, and some options will ultimately save you money.
#1 Save Water
Water is a basic resource for all life on the planet, and yet it is easy to forget how valuable it is when it seems to arrive endlessly from your working faucet. With a couple simple choices, you can reduce your water usage while still maintaining a high quality lifestyle.
First, find ways to avoid using bottled water whenever possible, and find alternate ways to install a reusable water container and water filter for your sink. Additionally, be sure to take showers instead of baths, and keep the shower time to a minimum.
#2 Reduce Electricity Consumption
There are dozens of ways you can reduce your consumption of electricity around the house. Some of the options are no-brainers, such as always turning off home lighting when they are not in use, and others call in a bit of creativity with the suggestion to plug appliances that keep drawing power even with “off” into a single outlet strip, and then turning off that strip during the night or when not in use.
Either way, these options are all entirely free of cost and can work towards reducing your electric bill as well. If you want to put up more money up front to save money in the long run, switch your light bulbs to the energy-saving light bulbs as well.
#3 Eco-Friendly Home Construction
If you are the handy type, or considering doing a little DIY around the house, there are several projects you can take on to reduce your carbon footprint in your house. Before you begin, professionals suggest you begin with a home energy audit to create a baseline from which you can detect changes and improvements in energy consumption and bill costs.
First, you can find drafts and air flow leaks in your house and plug them to reduce energy use to heat and cool the home, and also installing ceiling fans can improve air flow at a low cost. If you install reflective insulation, this can be a brilliant and cost-effective way to keep out the heat during sweltering summer months.
#4 Home Maintenance
Just a few projects around the house every few months can make a big impact. When controlling temperature, if you keep the summer temperatures at 78 degrees and winter temperatures at 68, you will immediately see a massive difference in heating costs.
Be sure to always keep the air conditioner fan set to auto instead of on, and keep the drapes closed in the summer or open during the winter to control the flow of heat. Even your lawn can be updated to be low-impact with strategically placed bushes and trees instead of only using blades of grass.
Getting from here to there can be more than just a simple journey. Eschew using your personal car whenever possible, opting instead for cycling and using public transportation.
If you do need to drive, look for carpool options instead. Take advantage of the opportunity to build your social network while also saving money on gas…all while doing your part to save the planet.
#6 Get Rid of Paper Products
Decrease the size of your waste bin by canceling both magazine and newspaper subscriptions. These days, you can view these things online, and many major newspapers even offer subscriptions online to ensure you get the best quality content.
Stop throwing out paper napkins and paper towels, but opt for cloth napkins and rags or small towels instead to make a big difference in how you are able to reuse around the house. Another idea is to share your magazines and books with your local community to save trees and reduce paper usage.
Our shopping decisions can affect how eco-friendly we manage to be, and that starts with seeking out garage sales and flea markets for your purchases, so you are more likely to reuse items that would otherwise be thrown into landfills. In addition, when you shop, bring canvas bags to carry the items and avoid using plastic bags whenever possible.
Choose to buy rechargeable batteries and stop throwing out dangerous used batteries. Your cleaning products can be switched to all-natural options, and even items such as your face cleaners can be updated to just using biodegradable items found in your home and kitchen.
#8 Food and Eating
Do a little research if necessary and seek out the local farmers markets and available produce farms. When you buy locally, you get more than healthier, fresher, and cheaper foods, but you also reduce the enormous transportation costs of produce.
In your home, find ways to fill your freezer, and it uses less energy to stay frozen if the space is filled, and always eat your leftovers.
#9 Eco-Friendly Driving
If you do have to drive around town, reduce your daily gas consumption by keeping your trunk empty (and your trunk weight low) as well as avoiding quick starts and all aggressive driving. Find ways to keep your engine idle time to a maximum of a minute as well.
If you drive on toll roads, opt for the electronic toll services to reduce waste.
We all wear clothes, but when you choose second hand clothing purchased from consignment shops or even garage sales, you are reducing the energy needed for clothing production. In addition, make the effort to dry your clothes outdoors on a line instead of using your dryer (you can use liquid softener in the wash to prevent clothing stiffness).
Save the Planet Without Breaking the Bank
These steps are easy to make, and can be applied to your daily life, all without digging into your personal spending budget. Make the choice today to be an environmental rock star and live your life with a lower carbon footprint.