Many folks mistakenly believe that going green around the home means having to buy expensive products and make costly conversions of electronics, appliances, etc. However, there are many small things that you can do at home that really add up to a savings for you as well as for the environment. For starters, there are a few easy ways to be green and save money at the same time….
1) Charge It
And I don’t mean with a credit card. Cell phones, remote controls, hand held gaming systems, cordless phones, etc. all have their own chargers that eliminate the need for repeated battery replacements. After an initial investment, chargers pay for themselves while saving an infinite number of batteries. There is even a handy-dandy new contraption that will charge multiple items all at once (like your phone, iPod and Nintendo DS) on the same power pad. If you’d rather not buy a new charger, you can settle for rechargeable batteries instead that can be reused again and again. When it is time to get rid of old batteries, make sure to dispose of them properly and do not throw them in the trash as they contain toxic materials that are harmful to the environment. Usually, hardware stores, home improvement stores and even some libraries have receptacles for old batteries.
2) Take a Coffee (Filter) Break
Another small but meaningful change is switching to a reusable coffee filter. Many electric coffee makers come with their own permanent filters that replace the paper kind. You will save paper (and trees) and…you guessed it, you will also save money. Don’t forget to unplug your coffee maker when it is not being used because otherwise, it will still use energy, called “phantom electricity.”
3) A Light Bulb Moment
Switching to CFL bulbs is costlier at first than traditional bulbs, but they last considerably longer, which is better for your electric bill and the planet. Watch as your electric bill goes down after changing to CFL’s and you will also find yourself buying bulbs much less frequently.
4) Bottle Programs
Another way to save money while being green is to collect your bottles and cans and return them to a redemption facility or at the grocery store. If your state has a bottle bill, you will earn money back (up to 15 cents) on every bottle or can that you turn in. In my state, I can return my bottles and cans for a credit that I can use toward my grocery bill.
5) Plan Your Meals
When you plan your meals ahead of time and create a shopping list, you will actually spend less at the grocery store than if you buy on impulse or without a carefully thought-out plan. Menu planning will also cut down on the number of trips you have to make to the store each week, saving you money on gas while releasing less pollution into the atmosphere.
Making green lifestyle changes can be done in baby steps or big steps, depending on what works with you and your family. No change is too small, however, as when we all pitch in, it can really make a difference. You might be surprised how easy and affordable it can be.
Do you have any other environmentally and budget friendly tips to share?