Save Money With These 12 Green Habits
Two benefits of living a simpler, more minimalist lifestyle are that you tend to naturally live more lightly on the planet and you generally save money. To wrap up the week, let’s take a look at 12 simple ways you can tweak your habits to be both a little greener and save some cash.
- Use a slow cooker to make meals while you’re at work. They use very little energy, are easy, and can keep you out of the drive-thru line after a long day at the office. Don’t mistake slow cookers for “winter” tools — they are hugely handy for making tasty meals during the summer while keeping your kitchen cool.
- Cut the number of cleaners under the sink. You’ll save money, and you won’t inhale as many toxic chemicals. Use baking soda to scrub your sink instead of commercial scouring powder. White vinegar works great in the laundry instead of fabric softener, plus it cleans windows and hard surfaces, etc. Try my DIY Household Cleaners recipes to clean everything in your home.
- Skip air freshener. Spraying toxic chemicals in the air doesn’t seem like such a good idea, regardless of how pretty they smell. Decorate with plants to improve air quality, and make sure to open windows regularly to air out noxious fumes from furniture and rug off-gassing and cleaning chemicals.
- Check your faucets. A faucet that leaks one drip per minute can waste more than 3,000 gallons of water a year, not to mention run up your water bill. Test all your faucets and make sure everything is drip-free.
- Combat vampire power leaks with a power strip for all your electronic devices, and turn it off when you’re not using it. I have one next to my bed to power my lamp, iPhone charger and baby monitor, and I can simply click it off in the morning to save power all day. A “smart strip” in my home office only powers up when I turn my laptop on, then I have power for my lamp, printer and scanner as well. When my laptop isn’t plugged in or is powered down, the strip kills power to everything else as well, no effort required on my part.
- The greenest paper is no paper at all, so keep things digital whenever possible. The more you do online, the less you need paper. Keep your files on your computer instead of in file cabinets – just make sure to back up your files often! Read and review documents on-screen instead of printing them, and use both sides of the paper when possible.
- Add a low-flow shower head. It can save you up to a gallon of water a minute. And take short showers instead of baths to save water. If you do take a bath (who doesn’t love a good soak?), stopper the drain before adjusting water temperature.
- Wrap your water heater and pipes with insulation to avoid wasting energy and keep your water hotter.
- Wash your laundry in cold water and empty the lint filter in the dryer after every load. Try using half as much laundry soap. Your clothes will be just as clean, and you won’t even notice a difference in them (but you will notice the savings!) Get a clothesline or drying rack, and use it as much as possible. I have a wall-mounted rack in my laundry room, a free-standing one I set up in the guest room next to the laundry room, and we frequently use the stair banisters to hang comforters and blankets out to dry.
- Clean your home with microfiber cloths, old washcloths or rags instead of paper towels. They require no extra waste since you can toss them in with your regular laundry.
- If you have automatic sprinklers, install a sensor that shuts the sprinklers off if it’s raining. There are few things more wasteful (and annoying) than driving past running sprinklers in the rain. Many cities and counties offer these sensors for free to residents, and they’re inexpensively found at your local home improvement store.
- Install motion sensors for outside lights so lights are only on when you need them. Look for LED versions, which use the least amount of energy.