You can enjoy the countless benefits of going green without emptying your wallet!
In fact, green (the eco kind) and green (the cash kind), can live happily together, side by side. I'm here to show you how.
Energy Isn't Endless
In the United States alone, buildings are responsible for 25-35% of total greenhouse gas emissions, according to Al Gore's We campaign, a nonprofit project aiming to halt global warming. Another study sponsored this time by financing database Love Money showed that that figure is actually on an upward trend and will reach dangerous levels half a decade from now.
Wasted energy equals wasted money: up to 50% of what you pay every month is due to inefficient energy use at home.
Lessen pollution-causing CO2 and save money on your bills by following these steps.
- Get a programmable thermostat
According to Energy Star, Americans could save about $180 a year by installing a programmable thermostat; it also makes monitoring energy automated and easy.
- Watch in winter
Set your programmable thermostat to 68? or lower. About 3%–5% more energy is used for each degree the furnace is set above 68?.
- Survey in Summer
Set your programmable thermostat to 78? or higher in the summer. About 3%–5% more energy is used for each degree below 78?.
- Use CFLs or LEDs
Replace at least two-thirds of your light bulbs with compact fluorescent or LED light bulbs and save up to 4% on your electricity bill.
- Update the over 10 set
Replace appliances over 10 years old with Energy Star appliances. If money is tight, look for floor models that are dinged or scratched, but new.
- Stop Phantom Power
Install 'Smart Strips' so you can shut down power to appliances not in use without having to unplug each; great for TiVos, blenders, stereo, etc.
- Tune up
Have your air conditioning and heater unit inspected at least once by the unit's manufacturer to ensure maximum efficiency.
- Seal major air leaks
Weather-strip doors and windows; call a chimney sweep to check that your chimney isn't leaking hot or cold air.
- Air Dry Clothes
Give your dryer (and electricity bill) a break and hand your wet clothing on either an outdoor clothesline or on in indoor drying rack. Added bonus: your clothes' colors will last longer!
Water Water Everywhere?
Whether you get your water for free or pay for it, water is a precious resource that should always be at the top of your conservation list.
- Install a water-efficient shower head
These wonder appliances reduce water use while actually increasing water pressure! Don't be fooled by the term “low flow” on labels – it references less water, not less pressure.
- Insulate your water heater
When insulating, be sure the temperature is no higher than 120?. Better yet, replace your water heater with efficient, tankless water heater.
- Always wash clothes in cold
Cold water is actually better for the longevity of your clothing and works just as well as hot water to get the job done.
- Wash your car without water!
Using a hose in the driveway to wash your car uses 80-100 gallons of water. My new GREEN CLEANING Green Car Cleaners help you save water and money by creating your own waterless car wash at home. These green products are water-based, biodegradable and made with pure essential oils. And every product is non-toxic, non-caustic, environmentally sound and 100% safe for you and your family.
Organic Food : Not Necessarily More Expensive
If you've crossed organic food off your shopping list because of price, think again.
There are many ways you can stock your pantry with organic goodies devoid of preservatives and chemicals – while keeping an eye on your spending. Follow these tips to get started:
- Prioritize your shopping list - and know where 'organic' counts. Meats, dairy and sweet fruits are the most important products to 'choose organic.' When making your shopping list, keep this in mind. Read Top Tips for Shopping for Organic Foods on a Budget.
- Commit to buying your favorites, organically. Choose one of your favorite food items - something you buy on a regular basis - and commit to buying the organic version of it from now on. This one simple step will greatly reduce you and your family's exposure to pesticides, chemicals, hormones and antibiotics.
- Use a grocery list! Studies show that people who use grocery lists and stick to them save money on their grocery bill. Plus, buying less junky fast foods creates room in your budget for tasty, whole organic foods!
- Look for organic generic or private labels from your supermarket chain. Does your grocery store have its own organic generic label or natural brand? They are typically cheaper than big-name counterparts and still certified organic. I've also found that these generic organic brands can even be cheaper then the conventional or non-organic counterpart!
- Shop at your local farmers' market Buying at farmers' markets is actually one of the best kept secrets to buying affordable, organic food. A USDA study in 2002 found that about 40 percent of farmers' market farmers don't charge a premium. Cities now list their local farmers' markets online, so simply search for the one closest to you. Local Harvest makes it easy.
- Grow your own, organically! Organic gardening is a great way to save cash: I grow organic tomatoes, lemons, limes, bell peppers, lettuce, herbs and other produce that would otherwise be adding up at check out! Choose the most expensive organic produce - and the ones you like to eat the most - to plant and grow. Live in a small space? Try container gardening!
- Invest in your future This is one of my favorite tips because it really makes people think...
Spending a little more now on organic will mean saving more on healthcare later. Don't forget the deep impact living green has on your long-term health. It's preventive medicine - that just happens to taste great!