In an economy where every cent counts, cutting costs can save you a lot in the long run. Making a few changes in how you do things can not only benefit your wallet, but the planet, too! I'm talking about "going green" in one of the easiest ways possible....baby steps! Start at home, with a few of these easy tricks, and your budget will thank you!
My idea of "going green" is really more of cutting down on, or eliminating, waste whenever possible. I think a lot about efficiency, either because I am a bit of a hippie, or because I am a bit of a dork. Either way, these tricks will help you run a more efficient, less costly household. I'm starting with the kitchen, because it is usually the heart of the home.
2. Try one-pot cooking. Stews, soups, and other great meals only take one burner to cook, and are very filling. Add vegetables for a nutritious dinner!
3. You can cut your operating costs by one-half by running the dishwasher only when it’s full, according to data provided by The Natural Resources Defense Council .
4. If you have one, use a pressure cooker or a slow cook (crock pot). It really saves on energy.
5. Many homeowners believe they can save water and energy by hand washing dishes. The truth is that a dishwasher requires less than one-third the water it would take to do those same dishes in the sink. By running the machine (when full), you can cut down the operating time of the hot water heater, your home’s largest energy hog.
6. Forget fancy cleansers: Real Simplemagazine says you can avoid dishwasher lime deposits and iron stains with a package of Kool-Aid: Pour a packet of lemonade Kool-Aid (the only flavor that works) into the detergent cup and run the dishwasher while empty... The citric acid in the mix wipes out stains, so you don't have to.
|Picture from RealSimple|
7. Install Energy Star ceiling fans in the rooms you use most often. They’ll help keep you cool in the summer while your AC works less or not at all. In the winter, switch them to turn clockwise to circulate the warm air rising up to the ceiling back down into the room.
8. The refrigerator is one of the biggest energy-users in your home, and if it was built before 1993, it’s a huge energy hog. Clean the coils on your fridge every six months to keep it running efficiently, and take up unused space with jugs of water, which will hold in the cold better. Eliminate a second refrigerator, if you have one.
9. Run your dishwasher (and your clothes washer, for that matter) at night, during off-peak hours. It’s our country’s peak demand that determines the expansion of dirty coal-fired power plants.
|Picture from Green @ Home|
10. Many electronics still suck energy even when they’re turned off--such as powering that little clock on your microwave when it’s not in use. Unplug your electronics or plug them into a power strip and switch it off to save on this “phantom load.”