Start Small to Make 2011 a Greener New Year
Simple steps, like changing filters, can keep more money in your pocket and help the environment.
Going green is about more than the environment; it's also about keeping money in your pocket. Even small adjustments can make a positive difference to your home, your wallet and your health.
Put some of these ideas into practice to make the coming year green – in more than one way:
- Adjust your thermostat. Turning the temperature down in your home, particularly when you are at work or sleeping, can lower heating bills. Let your house do the work for you. Programmable thermostats are available for purchase at Aco and most major hardware stores. This Old House provides an easy to follow video on how to install one.
- Change your furnace filter regularly. A dirty filter makes your heating and cooling system work harder. A fresh filter means cleaner air (a health benefit) and lower heating bills! Home Depot, Jean's True Value and most hardware stores sell replacement filters.
- BYOB – Bring your own bag. Plastic bags don't hold much and aren't comfortable to carry. Don't get me started on how bad they are for the environment! I keep a stash in the car and next to the back door (and even then I sometimes forget to bring them in to the store!) to take when I'm shopping.
- Try a meatless meal one night a week. Buying chicken, pork or beef for a family of four can cost $5-$15 a pound. Eggs are about $2 a dozen. Serve an omelet, frittata or quiche for dinner and pocket the difference. Not a fan of eggs? Prepare pasta with marinara sauce and a sprinkling of your favorite cheese.
- Keep your car maintained. When is the last time you checked the air pressure on your tires? Under-inflated tires can lower fuel economy, over-inflated tires increase wear - either situation takes money from your pocket. Most oil change shops, including Victory Quick Oil Change on Twelve Mile Road, Colonial Oil Change and Valvoline Instant Oil Change on Grand River, adjust tire pressure with service.
- Unplug it! When you are done using the toaster, computer, coffee maker, hairdryer, stand mixer, curling iron, cell phone charger…unplug it! If it is plugged in, it is drawing power and costing you money. Putting your computer and other electronics in "sleep" mode is good, but shutting then down completely is better.
What changes are you making in 2011 to save money and live greener? Be sure to share them in the comments.