The cost of living is rising and sadly, most of our salaries arestaying the same. When it’s getting harder and harder to make ends meetat the end of every month, cutting spending by any means necessary is amust. But this doesn’t mean that your green credentials have to go outthe window: quite the opposite, in fact. Often taking up someeco-friendly behaviours can actually go hand-in-hand with reducing yourhousehold bills. If you follow these simple tips as well as all the more obvious ones such as making a meal plan and easting leftovers so youdon’t waste food, using draught excluders to keep your house warm, andturning the thermostat (and hot water temperature on your boiler) downby a few degrees, you’ll be well on your way to saving money at the same time as saving the planet.
Are you too cool?
Get a fridge thermometer; you can get them really cheap online, and useit to test the temperatures of your fridge and freezer. A fridge shouldbe between 37-40F – any higher and you run the risk of bacteria breeding – and a freezer should be running a temperature of 0-5F. Many of ushave them set lower than this in the belief that it’ll help the foodkeep for longer, but this isn’t the case, and in fact keeping them just10 degrees colder than necessary can boost your energy consumption by up to 25 percent.
Make the switch to renewable energy
Switching to renewable energy is a fantastic environmental choice forobvious reasons, and whilst installing solar panels – or other renewable energy generators – to your home can be a big initial cost, in the long runit’s something that can save you large amounts of money on yourelectricity bill. If you’re generating your own power, you won’t have to pay a big energy company to generate it for you, and can sometimes even sell unused electricity back to them. You could cut your energy billsdown even further by switching to an electric cooker and electric radiators – so the only thing you’re using gas for is hot water.
Put a brick in it!
This one’s a classic, and something I firmly believe everyone should do. It’s as simple as getting an unused brick and sticking it in yourtoilet cistern so you use less water per flush – approximately half agallon less, in fact. If you don’t have a spare brick lying around, lots of water companies will give you a free “water saver” which serves thesame purpose, and if they don’t, fill an unused plastic bottle with sand or gravel, and it’ll do the same job.
Lots of companies – phone providers and catalogues/credit card companies as well as energy providers – will charge you a sneaky couple of pounds for the privilege of a paper bill. By cancelling all your paper billsand opting for E-statements instead, you could save a decent amount ofmoney each month, reduce waste and not have to worry about where tostore/shred sensitive documents! Plus it could make visits from thepost-man a whole lot more pleasant. And whilst we’re on the subject –although not directly related to the environment – lots of companiesalso add on a surcharge for not paying by Direct Debit, so switching tothat could save you even more.
Give yourself a break!
Make life a bit easier on yourself by using the dishwasher. It doesn’tsound very green, but as long as you’re filling it up to capacity, it’sfar more energy efficient than doing the same dishes by hand would be.If you have a really energy efficient dishwasher, it’ll use just 4gallons of water per load – compared with the 24 it would take you towash by hand – saving you approximately 5,000 gallons of water, £25(US$41) and 230 hours of time each year.
Liberty-Belle Howard is a UK blogger with an interest in climate change and green issues.
Guest post by Liberty-Belle Howard*