How to Save Money and Save the Earth

Lifestyle | | October 1, 2009 at 8:00 am

Photo by Famona Forcella.


As a kid, I loved waking up to watch Saturday morning cartoons. Between segments the local energy company ran an animated ad featuring a winged light bulb that flew around the television screen singing, “who needs that night light, there’s no reason to be scared of the dark kids. Close your eyes, sleep tight, you’ll wake up to see the sunlight!” My parents weren’t sure why I believed an imaginary light bulb over their reassuring words, but it worked! Lights off!

Luckily, the message stuck. I would have prepared a song today, but my singing voice isn’t that great, so here are a few simple steps to share with your family to begin cutting your carbon footprint. Start at home and soon you’ll experience an extension of your good habits at work and school too! 

The road to weight loss

Living by the beach means I have the luxury of riding my bicycle just about everywhere. You can imagine how surprised I am when I actually do pay at the pump! Have you ever considered that we’re actually paying for your gas by the pound? Driving around with a full trunk, an unused roof rack, or on wheels that are 3 times larger than necessary for your vehicle, determines both the frequency and amount of fuel your vehicle needs to carry all that extra weight. Shed the extra pounds now and you’ll save at the pump. What you leave behind at home can increase fuel efficiency by 10%!

Unplug after use

Did you know you’re paying money for your appliances even when they’re not in use? If you’re leaving them plugged into an electrical outlet be assured, the meter is running! Mobile phone chargers and unused power strips are two of the most common culprits left plugged into outlets. Over time they’re slowly sucking valuable energy and money out of your home and pocket book. If you really want to know what you could be saving invite your local energy company to drop by for an audit to learn where you could be saving more and using less. The average home will save $10-20 a month by simply unplugging unused appliances.

How to conserve in the bathroom

We all enjoy a hot shower for sure, yet studies show that the hotter the shower, the longer you stay, draining more water and energy than necessary. Energy efficient experts suggest setting your hot water heater between 120-130 degrees to get this balance. Keeping your water heater between these temps ensures your dishwasher won’t be over-consuming as well.

Conserving in the kitchen

Save a little heat when using your stovetop or oven. Use the smallest cookware for the job. No sense in heating up a 3 quart pan for only 1 cup of rice. Take advantage of your convection setting as well. Convection cooking not only speeds up the process, using less heat, it ensures as well that food is evenly and properly cooked throughout.

Drink more water and keep it from going down the drain!

  • Brushing your teeth? Turn the water off or use about 4 ounces of pre-drawn water to complete the job.
  • Shaving in the shower? Get a little wet and then turn off the faucet while shaving and lathering up.
  • Have a garbage disposal? Try composting. Garbage disposals use copious amounts of energy and water to grind up waste into tiny particles. Composting requires less energy and allows your food scraps to be used as re-purposed materials.
  • Leaky faucet or shower? Maybe you can’t get it fixed today. Until you do, place a bucket beneath the leak and use the excess water to feed the house plants and garden.
  • Landscaping? Plant foliage indigenous to your locale so that excess sprinkling and watering can be avoided. Consider plants that will lend shade in the warmer summer months to reduce water use.
  • Washing dishes? Stop running that water unless you’ve got something directly under it! You can accomplish the job without blasting the stream.  Experts say an energy efficient dishwasher saves you water and money in the long run.
  • Clothes washing? Wear it once, twice, three times before washing. If you can’t afford it now, consider saving for a front loading washer and dryer. Even if it’s not hot outside, a swift breeze allows for most articles of clothing to dry on a line.

ChristineChristine M. Dionese L.Ac. specializes in integrative medicine, medical journalism and was the VP of marketing at WellWire LLC. Visit her wellness and lifestyle blog, Reaching Beyond Now.

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  1. Karla says:

    I love this post! Very inspiring and will begin incorporating these simple tips now! Thanks Chrissy!

  2. Sami says:

    You missed the big one, although I think it’s also the one that most people don’t like to hear: do not have children. According to the sustainability consultant Paul sheldon it’s the most environmentally friendly decision that a US citizen can make. Nothing else comes even close to that.