Everyone wants to save money now a day and people tend to always be looking for new ways to do this. Being a new home owner myself and always looking to keep my bills lower to save money I have come across a few ways myself and maybe they will be useful to you as well. Our first month when we first moved into our house, we ended up with a pro-rated hydro bill for $550 for one month! Yikes. For me this was way too much to pay. I certainly couldn't afford to pay this every month so we needed to cut costs and fast. Here are a few way we found to cut costs around the house and go green at the same time.
1. Don't have your heat on all the time. It's ok to not freeze while you are at home but when you are at work or even at night when you are sleeping and tucked into your comfy warm beds turn off or turn down your heat! It will save you a pile of money.
2. When doing dishes in the dishwasher or laundry in the washer make sure you don;t put them on until you have full loads. This will save you water and energy which will in turn save you $$$$$$. If you live by yourself and you never fill your dishwasher, do them by hand if it's only a few dishes! Might be more of a pain but it will save you money.
3. Unplug appliances when they are not in use. I don't mean you have to go around your whole house and unplug EVERYTHING when your not home no not at all. Un plug things that you might not use everyday like your toaster, cell phone charger (this takes up a lot of juice), computer and printer if you don't use it all the time, extra things like fans coffee makers, blenders etc. If you watch t.v everyday you can leave it plugged in =) Keep in mind that most appliances draw energy just by being plugged in, they don't even have to be turned on for them to use electricity.
4. Get a compost and compost all organic matter. (This will be hard to do if you live in an apartment or condo). We just got our compost (I ordered it off Airmiles and got it for free) and because we have to pay for garbage pick up in our municipality it sure saves us on how much garbage we produce! On top of that, it's an added bonus that I can use this organic compost matter come spring/summer for my gardens! What fun. Fun for your pocket book and fun for the planet. Make sure to look up on line what you can and can't put in your compost.
5. Get a rain barrel! For those of you who pay for city water, watering your gardens and things outside can get expensive. Not only does this lessen your imprint on the planet but it is more cost effective and puts money back in your pocket. Make sure the rain barrel is food grade safe if you are watering your vegetable gardens or herb gardens and make sure you don't connect it to your rain spout if you have tar or asphalt shingles. The chemicals used to produce these products can leach into the water which can then in turn leach into your vegetables if you use the water to water your vegetable gardens. Rain barrels can also come in handy if you live in a place that has a lot of rain in the winter and has dry spells in the summer. Especially if there are water restrictions in your area.
6. Take a chance and don't go grocery shopping for a week. Most of us throw away so much food because most of it doesn't get used up or eaten and then it goes bad. I did this and it worked great. Saved me from going grocery shopping one week. I just got creative and used up all the food that was in my fridge and cupboards and still managed to make awesome meals! That way you can re--stock afterwards and see what you really have in your cupboards and freezer that's been hiding for all this time. Time to get rid of the old and buy some new food! You could probably get away with doing this one every 3-4 months but it can save you $100-$200 every time you do it. We spend about $150 on groceries every week in our household for 3 people. In a year you could save $300-$800.
7. Recycle all of your old cans and bottles and return them for a deposit. A lot of people don't bother, some people donate them (good for you) and some people just let them pile up and pile up and don't do anything with them. I collect my bottles after every week and take them for a return usually around $5 sometimes more. I then put this money in a jar and let it accumulate over the year. That's a return of about $260 a year! You could save that or invest that money at the end of the year. Every little bit adds up.
8. Sell stuff/junk you have lying around the house on e-bay or on any other similar website. This is a great way to de-clutter your life as well as make a few extra bucks you can put away at the same time. Go look at your garage or storage and see what you really truly don't need anymore. You would be surprised as to what you will find that could very well be someone else's treasure!
9. Plant your own vegetable and herb gardens. Good for the planet, good for your family as well as good for your pocket book. Organic vegetables can be expensive. Trust me I try to always buy organic just because I don't like the idea of pesticides being on my food and can it ever be costly. To have your very own little vegetable garden you would save on groceries in the spring/summer/and ever fall months because you would be buying less vegetables in the grocery store. Get a greenhouse and have vegetables all year round! Even better. This method won't work for everyone as not everyone likes to garden but it's a great method to eat healthy, enjoy the outdoors and save money on groceries.
10. Go get a home energy assessment done. This is an audit done by a professional who comes into your home and takes an energy rating of your home. They then give you a report back as to what you can do to make your house more efficient. Sometimes there are grants from the government that you can apply for to get money back or tax credits to help cover costs so do your research! This can save you money in the long run because if your house is more efficient and is run more efficiently then your will notice a difference for the better on your bills such as hydro, water, etc. For example if you install low flush toilets this will save you water and money in the long run. Also if you install a fireplace insert instead of just having an open fire place you will then burn less wood, heat the house more and save money in the end.
These are just some ideas that have worked for me and my family to save us money and I hope that it can and will help some of you as well. I hate to see money wasted on things that don't need to be wasted on. Not only that but by doing most of these things I mentioned above, you are reducing your carbon footprint and helping save the planet one step at a time.
I hope you enjoyed!