How to Be Green at Home: Everyday, Affordable Ideas!

by Kate on December 13, 2011

in Frugal Living, Green Living, Healthy Living, Simple Home, Simple Living

There are plenty of affordable, everyday things you can do to make your home a little greener and save a bit of money in the process.  Assuming we all know the main benefits of going green (preserving the beauty pictured above, health benefits, and plenty of savings on utility bills) let’s jump right in, shall we?

1. Use Lights Only When You Need Them. Don’t leave the bathroom or bedroom light on all day if you’re never in there. And if you leave the house, be sure to turn out all the lights. Try to enjoy natural light (and if you plan to move, make natural light a consideration in choosing your next home) rather than relying on electricity.

2. Buy a Water Filter, rather than using plastic bottle after plastic bottle. The expense of those bottles adds up, and there’s been a lot of controversy as to the purity of bottled water anyway. And if you’ve got to have a bottle for on-the-go, then buy a nice reusable one.

3. Pay Your Bills Online. And make sure you go to the company’s website and opt out of paper bills. I think it’s only a matter of time before companies start adding a surcharge if you still want paper bills sent to you. So, might as well get in the habit now.

4. Turn Off Appliances Whenever Possible. Even when you’re not using them, your appliances do require small amounts of energy to stay on, and those small amounts really add up. If you can, try to hook up things like your TV/DVD player/Sound ststems to a plug that’s connected to a light switch. That way before you leave the house and before you go to bed at night you can turn all of these off with a flick of a switch!

5. Use Green Cleaners: Baking Soda and Vinegar is a cheap, effective option! Check my earlier post about Healthy Home Cleaning for details on making a baking soda and vinegar mixture.

6. Use Cloth Instead of Paper Towels. Okay this is a tough one. It’s my resolution to get out of the paper towel habit, but I’ll admit I’m struggling. But it helps me to think about just how wasteful it is and how much it costs. This article from The Simple Dollar about how to “Stop Wasting Money on Disposable Things” really helps me get my head straight about it.

7. Shorten Your Showers. I’ve actually always been in the habit of short showers.  Mainly because the rest of my morning routine takes so long that if I added a long shower in there, I’d never leave the house! But if you’re one who likes a long shower, consider this: by shortening your shower, you’ll save money, do good things for our California water shortages, and have more time for breakfast/coffee/newspaper/etc. Shoot for no more than 5 minutes.

8. Open Your Windows. If it’s cool out, but hot inside your home, rather than turning on the A/C, open a window.  Circulating the outside air through your home helps prevent mold, but be forewarned if you have dust allergies, you may notice an increase in dust and your symptoms. If your allergies are severe, then feel free to skip this one, but if they’re just mild, you might try a HEPA air purifier. It will use less energy than running your AC all day and it should help keep your allergy symptoms at bay.

9. Wash Clothes in Cold Water and Line Dry: As much as 85 % of an average home’s energy bill comes from doing laundry! Washing clothes in cold water whenever possible will help cut costs, as will line drying items.  It’s not always practical to line dry everything, but if you can, dry your items in a dryer only half way and let them finish on the line, it won’t take too long and it will save a lot of energy. Helps preserve colors too!

10. Replace Light Bulbs with CFL’s (Compact Fluorescent Light Bulbs). CFL’s use 2/3 less energy than incandescent bulbs and last 10 TIMES longer!

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*In the spirit of full disclosure, links to products in this post may be affiliate links, which means that I may receive a commission if you decide to purchase any of the products I recommend. Know that I only recommend products that I have used and love myself.

*I am not a doctor, a nurse, or any kind of health practitioner. I’m just a gal with a pretty keen intuitive sense, great research abilities, and curiosity that is easily peaked. Please understand that my advice is really just another opinion and it’s for you (and your doctor) to decide the best course for your health and well-being.

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