Going green does not have to be pricey. In fact, it should help you save money overall. Here are a few items to help you get started with a healthier home and more wiggle room in your monthly budget.
LED Light Bulbs
The average house has 45 light sockets, ranging from fixtures to lamps. Replacing just 4 standard bulbs with LEDs could save you over $100 per year. While these are a bit of an investment up front, they do pay off big and most come with warranties to ensure that you will get the most life out of them. As a bonus, they don’t contain some of the toxins found in their curly counterparts. Additionally, you can even buy affordable kits to convert recessed lighting for around $10-15 per light (which is a great long-term savings considering the price of those bulbs!) If you’re doing new construction (like we are, currently), you can find flush mount options that can be installed into a small junction box.
Want more bang, go for a wifi model that you can control from your smartphone. While it may seem like it’s just extra fun, the app capabilities make it easy to adjust the temperature of your home if you forgot to change it before leaving, have to stay out longer than expected, or perhaps are returning home sooner and want to be sure that the house is at a comfortable temperature when you do.
According to Energy.gov, you can lower your heating bill substantially by setting your thermostat to 68°F during wakeful hours, and setting it back a few degrees while you’re asleep – or while you’re away at work. In the summer months, you can follow similar rules by setting the A/C to 78°F during the hours that you are home, and higher when you are away for any measurable time. You prefer different setting, but even a degree can make a noticeable difference in your bill.
Low Flow Shower Head
Reducing water flow is a great way to save water and save money. A quality low-flow shower head can help reduce water usage by as much as 40%. Look to quality brands with good reviews to find a model that will give you the low-flow you want without sacrificing water pressure!
Glass Food Storage
Not only are plastic baggies costly, but they are also incredibly wasteful and can leech toxins into the foods they hold. Investing in inexpensive glass storage (like Pyrex or Anchor) can save you a bundle in the long term — for your budget and your health. An assortment of containers from tiny to huge will cover all of your bases and you’ll wonder why you didn’t do this sooner!
Cloth Napkins, Rags, & “Un”Paper Towels
Paper towels are so freaking expensive, and why? They don’t even work all that well. They generally provide little to no ‘nap’ and without some generous hand cupping they tend to just push debris around. A stack of cheap washcloths from a big box store can run you about $5 and last for years – as a bonus – the cheaper, the better! Cheap washcloths that become pilly make for a better surface area for cleaning, so go cheap and score big for this tip.
Okay, so maybe this item isn’t like the others, but a single bottle of “natural” cleaner can cost as much as $5 — buy a gallon of vinegar and you can whip up cleaning supplies for months! If you’re not use to cleaning with vinegar the fragrance can be a bit overwhelming at first. Adding some citrus essential oil can help (pine and cinnamon are nice as well). Soon after cleaning the smell will disappear and you’ll be left with clean surfaces — not residues. Vinegar is also great to use as fabric softener, the rinse aid in dishwashers, drain cleaner, and more.
Reusable Hygiene Products
There are expensive organic and natural hygiene products aplenty, but you don’t have to choose the most spendy products on the market to have quality products that are safe. There are so many options but a few that come to my mind are using refillable products (like hand soaps, laundry detergent, dish soap, etc.) and reusable menstrual products (like menstrual cups and cloth pads). These options can help you live with less toxins and save a whole lot of money.