With it just being me and my Chinese crescent puppy, I am always looking for ways to save money especially when it comes to the little things that can be done around the house. I’m not the most mindful person when it comes to the environment, but I sure do feel guilty when running the water while doing the dishes or letting that piece of paper slip out of my hand on our walks. So while coming across many ways to save money these days, I’m going to share some alternative low energy techniques.
1. Audit your Home
In my last blog post, “Average Household Energy Consumption,” I gave a few tips to do some minor tweaking around the house to save energy like switching your bulbs from incandescent bulbs to CFL bulbs and what you should look for when changing your air filter. But ponder around the house now and glance at what you could be doing to save energy and money. Your dishwasher, for instance, doesn’t have to turn on every night, unless of course you’re feeding a family of like 20! Let that sucker fill up before you turn it on. It doesn’t matter how full it is, the same amount of water will be used regardless. If you’re a sink dish washer, then fill the sink up with soapy water, even better if you have a double sink.
2. Home Remedies
I am all about creating your own cleaning products or curing achy muscles with what you already have in your cabinet. For instance, if you do have achy muscles, take 1 tbsp. of horseradish in 1 cup of olive oil and let it sit for 30 minutes. Then apply it to the area that is bothersome. Do you have a sore throat? What about mixing ¼ cup of vinegar, ¼ cup of honey and take 1 tbsp six times a day. The vinegar kills the bacteria in your throat. I love honey! Not the kind you buy in a grocery store, but the good authentic, farmer’s market kind of honey. But research has shown that honey is great for your immunity and for your skin. A good remedy to try (of course if you’re allergic to honey, don’t try) is to cover a blemish overnight with honey and place a Band-Aid over it. This speeds the process up and keeps the area sterile. Two products that get the most attention are hydrogen peroxide and apple cider vinegar. Hydrogen peroxide is used in so many circumstances, but most popularly with antiseptic, disinfectant, and oxidizer. Blood stains can be irritating to get out. Add hydrogen peroxide before the stain sets then rinse in soap and cold water.
I still love the smell of a library book. It gives me a nostalgia feeling of days when my dad took me to the library (he was a total bookworm) to check out a book and curl up on the couch to catch up on the latest Boxcar Children series (who doesn’t love a good mystery?) But nowadays everyone has the latest Kindle or iPad to download their e-books. Doesn’t the computer screen kill your eyes? I’d rather have the real deal, but that’s my opinion anyway. It doesn’t take a monthly membership to run up to the library and it doesn’t cost a thing to check it out. Just be sure to return it on time so no charges will be added to your account. Weird side note: there is actually a perfume called Paper Passion, perfume for book lovers.
4. Stop Eating Out
Not only will this help the wallet, but your pant size as well. An average household will spend $4,000 a year on meals outside the home, while those that cook daily will only spend $3,000. Yeah I could use that $1,000 on my happys. Cooking at home is a great way to go green, especially if you decide to grow your own. Vegetables like tomatoes, cucumbers, okra, and peppers are real easy to start and maintain. Just a little TLC, water, and of course sunlight will grow with better nutrition and more wholesome that what you buy at a grocery store. Speaking of growing your own vegetables begins my next point.
5. Develop your Own Compost
Green thumbers note! Creating your own fertilizer and compost pile is a lot easier than you think. Out of all the kitchen scrapes you waste, lawn debris and coffee grinds we typically throw away, compile that together to make an even better nutrition source for your garden. So a list of items you can throw in there are:
- Kitchen scrapes
- Lawn Waste
- Vegetable trimmings
- Coffee Grinds
- Brown Leaves
- Grass Clippings
An average lawn is 8,000 square feet and can make up to 1 lb of nitrogen per 1,000 sq. ft. After a few weeks of sitting there, you are set to go. Hey, at least this saves you about $30 a year. That’s a new pair of cheap shades!
6. Power Saver
I really like this one because I’m always trying to beat my power company at its own game. Plug your TV, computer, printers and even any kind of charger into a power strip. Even though the source is turned off, it is still using that little bit of energy to make it convenient for you to push the power button on your remote. If they are plugged into a power strip, you have the control to turn it all off completely so that it shuts the energy source off. I have actually found this tactic to work only because my power strip is connected to a light switch and I turn it off every time I leave for the day and my computer isn’t generating energy. If you don’t have a nifty light switch to use, you can buy a timer Belkin sells for $10.
7. Paperless Billing
At first I was against the idea of paying bills online, but now I find how convenient this really is. Stop receiving “the hate mail” (is what I call them) via snail mail and get notifications sent to it through e-mail to let you know when your statement is ready, when you’re late, and when you’re WAY late. You can also set up for automatic email, but I haven’t quite ventured that journey yet. Nope not ready to have companies power over my account, but then again, that’s just me. Another good reason? Save your stamps! It seems USPS is creeping on the price per stamp every time I buy a new book, so save that chump change and buy yourself a snack attack!
I also talked about this in my recycle blog, “Around the World Recycle Goes.” Reduce, Reuse, Recycle can go a long way. Anytime I need a power tool I ask my parents, neighbor or brother instead of buying one because Ha! Let’s face it; I leave the nitty gritty work up to the guys. This goes for anything else you know you wouldn’t need more than once. A cup of sugar anyone? This can go both ways too. Did you get a new TV? Couch? Ask your peeps if they could reuse it instead of trashing it. When I first moved into my place, my sweet friends were WILLING to give their used, just laying around appliances away to me. And trust me; they would love to de-clutter their homes. Never hurts to ask right?