4.20.2009

My new favorite color

Green! In honor of Earth Day, which is tomorrow, for those of you living under a rock! I'm not a tree hugger by any means, but I do want Little Hauss to be able to enjoy our planet for as long as possible. I'm also happy to save money however I can. There are few ideas I have that might not be genius by any means, but will allow us to do our part no matter how small they may seem!

Here are my goals for this year (yes, YEAR, because some might take time and a little extra cash upfront but will save tenfold in the long run):

1 - Start converting light bulbs to the CFL's - replacing when necessary
**CFL's last up to 10,000 hours compared to a regular incandescent light bulb which is 1,500 and uses 1/4 of wattage - 14 watts compared to 60

2 - Turning down hot water heater to 120 degrees from the normal 140

3 - "Air" dry or half dry clothing when possible. We have such a great space for our clothes to hang in the laundry area, so we should be taking advantage of this instead of using all that energy by using the dryer

4 - Install a 'low flow' showerhead

5 - Make my own cleaning supplies for windows, oven, all purpose, bathtub scrubbing, and even furniture polish - replacing when necessary. The basic ingredients for non-toxic cleaners are baking soda, vinegar, liquid soap/detergent and washing soap (powdered laundry detergent). I have "recipes" for these and will post them later.

6 - Try really hard to start unplugging unused items - laptop during the day, tv's, radios, kitchen appliances, etc. Sometimes this one is hard because Hubby works nights and we are on opposite schedules, but even most of the time will help.

The biggest reason for all the change is to try and save money and it doesn't hurt that it will help the environment at the same time!

Other things I plan to do that will save money:

1 - Make my own bread. I have a perfectly good bread machine that probably hasn't come out of the box in over 3 years, so I have found a whole wheat recipe with very few ingredients that I'll try out this weekend.

2 - Plan better menus. I love planning menus and I do fairly well with coordinating sale items (meats & veggies) with our weekly dinners, but we still have a lot of stuff in our pantry - some of which is opened and needs to be used before it goes bad. So, I am going to take an inventory of what items need to be used and try to incorporate them in our meals.

3 - Not eat out as often. We do fairly well with eating at home most nights, but sometimes we just don't want to cook - so I really want to maximize our eating out experiences. I plan to find out when local restaurants will have specials or buy one get one free/half off, look for coupons and also kid's eat free nights!

4 - Plant a very small, itty bitty garden....might just have tomatoes and fresh herbs in it, but at least its a start. I'm not quite the green thumb, but I love fresh veggies and herbs, so I thought I could try that for now and work my way up to more next year. If not, then there is always the farmer's market - grown locally and organic - and open every day in the summer, so I don't have to stock up weekly!

That's about all for now, but I feel that its a good start and like I said, planning on taking this next year to implement these things. It won't feel so overwhelming and I won't be wasting any of the items I already have to use (cleaning supplies and lightbulbs for example).

Some things that we already do but are good things for you all to try:
1 - wash clothes in cold water only
2 - only wash full loads in the dishwasher and washing machine
3 - don't leave water running (cleaning up kitchen or brushing teeth)
4 - don't flush EVERY time - "if its yellow, let it mellow, if its brown, flush it down" - kind of gross, but with tiny bladder, it wastes much less water by not flushing every single time
5 - turn off lights when you leave a room
6 - open your windows - don't run heat or a/c if not needed - fresh air is good for everyone
7 - use a programmable thermostat - and set a few degrees higher in summer and a few lower in winter - it really does make a big difference in your monthly bill
8 - get on a budget plan with your utility company/gas company - same monthly payment and ours actually went down last year by $10 a month - so that means, we saved $120 in utilities last year!! We are pretty sure it'll go down even more this year!
9 - Eat vegetarian or leftovers at least once a week - beans are the way to go!!! Very cheap and versatile.
10 - Use reusable shopping bags. I have 4-5 that are from all different stores. I take them ALL into the stores. I don't care that only ONE came from that particular store - they work and they hold lots more than regular plastic bags.

Enjoy your Earth Day and hopefully you and your families will implement some of these things as well!

3 comments:

JR911 said...

I love some of those ideas and may just have to pick a few to try myself. I too wash clothes in only cold water and only do full loads of dishes/laundry.

Another good idea is to use the water you pour out of your cooking liquids (draining pasta, veggies, etc) for plant water. The plants love the extra vitamins and minerals found in drained water and you keep yourself from wasting it by pouring it down the sink. You can do this for houseplants or outside gardens.

This year I plan on getting gutters put on the house so we can collect rain water. Collected rain water is perfect for watering our vegetable garden when there isn't enough falling from the sky to do it.

Good luck to us all!

Hokie Girl said...

JR, those are some good ones too!!! Especially the cooking liquid! I always hate pouring out water!!!

Kim said...

Good ideas!! I can't wait to plant our garden!!! Let me know how yours goes. I need some info on planting herbs!! I would love some fresh garlic. Yummy!!!