When it comes to your home, there are numerous expensive ways to become more eco-friendly. For starters, replace old appliances with new ones that use less energy. Then install double or triple glaze windows. Buy heavy drapes, sun shades, or eco blinds for your windows to keep the winter cold and summer heat outside. You can even install solar panels if you have enough sunshine.
While all those things are wonderful, they might not be in your budget. The good news is, you CAN still save money and become more “green” simply by changing some habits.
In the kitchen
Clean your refrigerator coils. Dust and grime build up, preventing the refrigerator from working at it’s peak performance and efficiency.
Use your dishwasher – but wait until it’s full to run it. Experts say it takes about half as much water to run the dishwasher as it does to wash dishes by hand.
Keep your freezer full. A full freezer uses less energy to stay cold than a half-empty one. So buy in bulk (which also saves money!) or cook in batches and freeze dinners for fast meals on your busiest days.
Use cloth instead of paper. Use cloth instead of paper products to clean. Microfiber clothes are great or you can be frugal, and make rags out of old towels and t-shirts. Use cloth napkins, instead of paper.
In the bathroom
Turn off the faucet. If you generally leave the water running while you brush your teeth – stop it. Turn it on and off as needed.
Fix leaky faucets. That steady drip, drip, drip is using water like you wouldn’t believe.
Open the window after showering. Let the excess humidity out, so it can’t stay in the room and turn to mold.
Wash your hands in cooler water. A recent study by Vanderbilt University found that washing your hands in colder water has the same hygienic benefits as hot and reduces energy costs and consumption.
Throughout the house
Switch to natural cleaners. Harsh chemicals are no friend to the environment – or to your own health. In addition to purchasing natural cleaners, you can save money by making your own. I am a big fan and user of Thieves Oil, which can be used for so many cleaning applications.
You may be amazed at the good job that combinations of baking soda, vinegar, olive oil, peroxide, and lemon juice can do. Switch from chlorine bleach to peroxide to sanitize countertops, cutting boards, etc.
Laundry. Wash laundry in cold water instead of hot. Line-dry when you can.
Turn Down, Turn Off, or Unplug. Did you know that your televisions, games, phone chargers, etc., are all drawing power even when they’re not in use? Get in the habit of unplugging them when you’re not using them.
The easiest way to make your home greener and save money on your monthly bills is to make sure you’re not using utilities more than you need. Turn off the lights when you leave the room, or open the curtains and blinds and rely on the sunlight to cut down on electricity use. Shut down and turn off your computer completely at night.
When it comes to heating and air conditioning, small changes can make a big difference. By turning down your home thermostat by 3-4 degree during the winter (or increase during the summer), you will quickly see the savings add up. And, if you do this one degree at a time over the course of several days, your body will adjust and you shouldn’t really notice the change. Adjust the thermostat even more when you are not home.
Opt for a sweater or a cozy throw before turning up the heat.
Change out to LED or CFL lighting. Yes, this one does cost a few dollars, although the price has been coming down over the past few years. Start with the lights you use most often, and keep going until you get through the house. Bonus: Better light with less energy use, and you won’t have to keep changing light bulbs and adding to the land fill when they burn out. Those LED/CFL lights last, and last, and last.
Repurpose glass jars and bottles as leftover containers, bulk storage or even paint them to make pretty vases.
Stop using disposable bags. Purchase reusable bags.
What eco-friendly tips do you have to add to the list? Do you already do some of these things? There are SO many more simple things we can all do, I’d love to hear what you can add to the list. Comment below!