Honoring Earth Day by shrinking your carbon footprint can go hand-in-hand with saving money and shrinking your financial footprint. We live in a wasteful society, and squandering precious resources costs us money every day.
The following are ten ways you can do your part to take care of our planet and save money for yourself at the same time:
- Adjust your thermostat. Use programmable settings to automatically minimize heating and cooling when you're not home, or when you are asleep.
- Learn to live with an indoor temperature that more closely resembles the outdoors. Easy to do during spring's mild weather, but think about practicing this habit year round. For example, in winter, set your thermostat to 68 and put on a sweater or cover up with an extra blanket. In the summer, only cool your house to 80 and wear light clothing. If your family balks, make your adjustments a degree at a time to gradually reach a compromise you can all tolerate.
- Fix leaks and don't leave water running unnecessarily, like while you're brushing your teeth or shaving.
- Don't leave sprinklers on a timer. It's wasteful to water your lawn during a deluge.
- The toilet is not a trash can. A flush can use 1-5 gallons of water, depending on the age and efficiency of the toilet. Also, items that don't belong there can clog up the sewer system and risk an expensive house call from a plumber.
- When it comes time to replace an appliance, choose a product with energy savings.
- Turn off, and even unplug appliances when not in use. This includes lights and televisions in unoccupied rooms.
- Eliminate unnecessary car trips. Walk or ride a bicycle when feasible. Take advantage of opportunities to carpool or combine errands. Handle some tasks from home by phone, mail, or online.
- Don't buy more food at the grocery store than you need. Organize your refrigerator and your cabinets so you know what's in there, and use it before forgotten produce or leftovers turn into a science experiment.
- Don't order more food at a restaurant than you need. Many restaurants do serve more food than most customers can eat, but you can fix this problem by taking the leftovers home in a box and squeeze one meal into two. Plan on it when your food arrives so you don't eat your way past "the point of no return" when there's not enough left on your plate to be worth saving. You'll be happy the next day when you're eating a "free" lunch.
How are you taking care of the planet? I would love to hear your comments.