Every year household bills increase, as well as a lot of other costs like gas for vehicles and credit card interest and insurance rates. Environmental concerns are at the forefront of people’s minds too, with the extremes of summer and winter making the change in global climate ever more evident.
This has led more and more families across the world to look at ways they can save some money, while saving some of the planet too. Here we are going to look at fifteen ways just about anyone, anywhere, can protect their pockets while protecting the planet.
Take More Control Over Your Energy Bills
One of the biggest costs in any home, after rent or a mortgage, is the energy bill. Electricity and natural gas prices are increasing every year, as well as generating tons of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases that go into the atmosphere.
By taking a few simple steps to reduce your energy consumption at home, like lowering the thermostat on heating systems, washing clothes at lower temperatures and switching to low-energy LED lightbulbs, you will not just save money and energy use, but also the planet by reducing your home’s carbon emissions.
Make Your Garden Edible
A great way to eat healthily and save money is to turn your lawn into a farm for your kitchen. Growing your own food is incredibly satisfying, and you can save lots of money on food bills by having the freshest vegetables and herbs that you can pick right when you need them. In warm climates, you may even be able to grow some fruits as well as vegetables.
You will get the most out of your garden if you start to preserve some of your crops in pickles or jams. Be sure to dry some of your herbs too; herb plants grow incessantly and you may soon have more basil and oregano than you can use while fresh.
Don’t Just Recycle, Compost Too
It is very likely that recycling has become one of your weekly chores, just like taking out the trash. In just a decade or so, sorting your garbage into different cans for collection became a part of our daily lives. If you start farming a little of your land at home, you are going to need some compost, and luckily your home is already full of it.
A lot of your home’s regular garbage will be highly compostable – mostly the food waste from scraps off your plate and bones from meat carcasses. Having a compost pile at home can be an incredibly efficient way of cutting down on refuse sent to landfills and turning excess household waste into food for your future by renewing your soil.
Use Modern, Energy Efficient Home Appliances
Too many homes are keeping old, inefficient appliances running when they should be changing to newer, more efficient models. This is especially true for washing machines and refrigerators, as an old washing machine uses a lot more water than a modern model, and an energy inefficient refrigerator operating twenty-four hours a day will waste a huge amount of electricity every year.
Using modern appliances in the home can greatly reduce your energy consumption and with it your energy bill, and you can get even more effective results by making sure you only have an appliance on when you need to use it.
Generate Your Own Electricity with Solar Panels
Millions of people across the planet are putting solar panels on the roof of their house to generate their own zero emission electricity at home. This is saving many families thousands a year in energy costs, and in some cases even becoming a source of income.
Some homes in parts of California, like San Diego, generate so much solar power from their solar power installations that they receive a check from their utility company, instead of a bill. If you are in sunny San Diego, then this Solar company in your area has all the information you need on the solar tax credit California scheme, as well as the latest in solar panel technology that could make the sunshine that hits your roof bring home the bacon. Semper Solaris is known as the best solar company in San Diego, providing the best quality products by collaborating with companies like Panasonic.
Cut Down on Plastic, Use Refillable Bottle and Long-Lasting Bags
You may not have ever stopped and thought about it before, but your home is probably full of plastic. Food containers and bags, plastic bottles for sauces and drinks, and even the bags we bring the groceries home from the store in are all made of plastic, which is a petroleum product.
You can cut down on a lot of excess plastic waste by using containers that are washable and can be reused or refilled. Bottles are a great example of this. Billions of plastic bottles are produced every year for water and sodas. By using refillable bottles, you can greatly reduce the number of plastic bottles you and your family use in a year, saving yourself money and taking a great strain off the planet.
Shop Local, Try and Eat from Local Farmers
Cutting down on the number of miles your food has to travel to make it to your plate can save you a lot of money, reduce the impact of carbon on the atmosphere, and help you eat a healthier diet.
The meat and vegetables in our supermarkets have often traveled hundreds of miles before you take them off the shelf and put them into your cart. Meat will often cover massive distances between the slaughter house, butchery and packing plant, and vegetables will often go a decent distance from the field they grew in to a processing plant to be sorted, washed and bagged.
Buying your produce from local farmers, often at regular farmer’s markets in a local town or meeting spot, will give you a much fresher product often at a cheaper price. Meat will often have been slaughtered, butchered and packed by the same local craftsmen, and vegetables are sold by the farmers that have tended the field themselves and are rightfully proud of their produce.
Save Water Whenever Possible
Leaking faucets can cost homeowners hundreds a year. Even poorly maintained toilets can have small leaks that cause the toilet to always draw a little water, like a faucet that is constantly running.
Leaks like these may only seem small and insignificant, but over time they can cost your wallet dearly, as well as putting excess pressure on our planet’s most precious resource; water. Make sure to check the water points in your home, not just faucets in the kitchen and bathrooms, but also the toilet cisterns and any outdoor water supply. A small, undiscovered leak in your home’s water system could be secretly draining your finances.
Drive Less and Walk More, for You and the Planet
Cars and trucks release a huge amount of carbon into the atmosphere every year, and many of the journeys we take can be completed on foot or on a bicycle rather than by using a gas guzzling internal combustion engine.
Deciding to complete a journey on foot not only helps save you money and the planet, but is also a great way to keep fit and help lose weight. Walking for a half hour a day can make a massive difference to your health and your metabolism, and when allied with a healthier diet, perhaps containing more homegrown vegetables, can help anyone lose excess weight and have a more toned physique.
Dry Clothes in the Sunshine, Not in an Electric Dryer
Using electric dryers to dry clothes is incredibly energy inefficient. If you have a garden or yard, you have every excuse to harness some wind and solar power and dry your clothes naturally without using any electricity. Not only is this better for the planet, but it will also give your clothes a more pleasant aroma and a softer feel than clothes dried in a dryer.
Handwash Clothes to Save Energy and Water
Doing the family laundry can be very time consuming, but it also consumes a huge amount of energy and water.
Handwashing laundry is one of the most effective ways to reduce your home’s carbon footprint and the how much water it uses. A washing machine can use gallons of water to do the job that a few liters can do in a sink or bathtub.
Cut Out Air Conditioning and Use the Breeze Instead
Air conditioning can put a massive strain on power grids on a hot day, and the demand a neighborhood’s air conditioning puts on a community’s electrical system can often cause power cuts and rolling blackouts just when people need the power the most.
Try to cut air conditioning out of your life by taking advantage of natural breezes and drafts when you are at home on a hot day. Electrical fans are a more efficient solution too, using a lot less power than full air conditioning and being portable can be used in the room you are in, whereas air-con would waste energy cooling your whole home.
Stop Leaving Electronics on Standby or on Charge Overnight
A lot of energy and money is wasted by leaving electrical appliances like televisions on ‘standby’ or ‘wait’ mode. Behind that little red light there are many components using electricity, waiting to spring to life when you press a button on the remote control.
You can save a lot of money and the environment by turning the appliance off fully, or even removing its cord from the outlet. If you have three or four televisions at home, this method could save you a huge amount of money over the course of a year.
Switch to Electric Vehicles or Use Public Transport
Gas guzzling vehicles have been polluting the planet for over a century, but fortunately electric vehicles that can beat the internal combustion engine at its own game have hit the market in the last decade.
Electric vehicles now go further and faster than most traditional cars and trucks do on a single tank of fuel. Even better than that, some electric cars come with charging options that can take fuel costs right out of the picture for you. Tesla have schemes that allow owners of their vehicles to charge their cars for free at their branded charging stations, reducing their customers fuel costs to effectively zero.
Electric vehicles also have greatly reduced maintenance costs when compared to their gasoline drinking counterparts, so the savings quickly mount up when you drive electric, helping the car to pay for itself.
Another useful alternative is public transport like buses and trains, or even using a bicycle. These services are often more regular and of a higher quality than you think, as governments across the country have invested in newer vehicles for public transport with better security and wider areas of service.
Re-Use and Re-Purpose Old Clothes and Containers
Hundreds of acres of land are filled every year by old clothes and discarded plastic containers. Though these are easily recycled, many still find their way into the stream of general garbage and polluting the earth when they should be repurposed.
Old clothes should always be offered as hand-me-downs to younger family members or friends, or donated to thrift and good will stores if they are still in a good condition. Good quality, hard wearing clothes like an old winter sweater can be transformed into a new grocery bag or a blanket for a pet.
It may be easier than you think to make a few changes in your lifestyle to save your family money and do your part to help save the planet and preserve it for future generations. By changing some of the foods we eat and how we travel, we can make huge changes to our pockets and the planet from only small changes to our diet and commuting habits.
Hopefully this guide has given you some inspiration that will help you and your family make some positive changes to your family habits and start saving money and the planet for your children’s future.