• Second Opinion Magazine

6 Wallet Savin' Ways to Go Green


Battle Vampires

Can you identify the energy vampires in your home? Energy vampires are devices that appear to be turned off, but are actually pulling tiny bits of energy while they’re plugged in. EnergyStar.gov estimates that in one year alone, an average American family will throw away $100 on their electricity bill on home devices while they are on standby mode. Pinpoint the devices in your home that are costing you money. Unplug the unnecessary ones and put $100 back in your wallet.

Stop the Flood

Here’s a challenge for you. Place a shallow basin in your sink to catch all the water that falls while you are running the faucet waiting for the water to heat up, rinsing dirty dishes, brushing your teeth or washing your face or hands. If you’re like most people, your basin will overflow more than once. All that clean water that came directly from your faucet is going to show up on your water bill. Why not collect it and reuse it? Depending on the situation, that basin water can be used to boil the vegetables, wash the car, water the garden or clean the floors.

Be a Little Shady

To create energy efficient shade in your home, utilize blackout blinds. Solar shades work in two ways; they block heat from the sun and trap cooled air inside your home. Energy efficient shades are an easy way to save money on cooling costs for your home. They practically pay for themselves with the savings on your next bill.

Turn it All Around

As you’re walking in to your local grocery store, a smiling youngster asks you to buy a canvas tote bag to help support her sports team. The logo is kind of juvenile for your taste, but you want to help so you buy it. At home, you’re tempted to throw it away. Instead, simply turn the bag inside out and use it to carry your groceries or library books. Every time you reuse it, you’ll be saving another plastic grocery bag.

Gang Up

The EPA reports that taking public transportation just two days a week reduces your carbon footprint by approximately two tons of carbon emissions a year. If you live in an urban area with regularly scheduled buses and trains, that’s great news. But what if you don’t? Consider arranging a carpool with your neighbors. Even better, ask your supervisor if you can work at from home two days a week. This option has the added benefit of allowing you a partial tax deduction for a home office.

Be a Gas Miser

U.S. Department of Energy studies conclude that poor driving habits reduce highway mileage up to 33 percent. Learn to drive conservatively and you can put that savings back in your pocket. If you aren’t getting the gas mileage you expected from your vehicle, review these tips to increase your mileage rates and cut back on fuel consumption:

• Keep idling to a minimum • Utilize cruise control on long trips • Unload excess cargo weight • Heed speed limits

Green piggy bank photo from Flickr user RLHyde / Ryan Hyde.

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