Turn Energy Efficiency into Hard Cash
The stock market and real estate declines have investors looking to gold and other markets. Here's another option: energy efficiency.
It turns out that investing in saving energy can provide a better return on investment than many stock bets, even when the market is bullish. And you'll reduce your environmental footprint.
Try Green Cleaning
Not only is green cleaning a refreshing alternative to toxic cleaning products, but it saves you money. Instead of buying an endless array of chemicals from the store, get spotless floors, countertops, porcelain and more the old-fashioned way, with vinegar, baking soda, borax and elbow grease.
You'll breathe cleaner indoor air, avoid poisoning pets and don't have to keep children out of your cleaning supplies. Put the money you save to better use. Get simple green cleaning recipes at thedailygreen.com/green-cleaning.
Check Out the New CFLs
If you've read this far, we're guessing you've heard of CFLs before. But you might not be aware of the newest designs from cutting-edge manufacturers, including a new range of pleasant color temperatures, dimmable CFLs, bug lights, 3-way models, candelabra and flicker tip styles and more.
See these 10 hot new CFLs to fit any fixture or lifestyle.
Visit Your Local Library
Instead of buying small mountains of books, CDs, DVDs and even magazines that you barely use, check materials out of your neighborhood library, or relax inside the quiet halls and browse on site. Over time, you can save a nice pile of cash, and you'll help divert paper and plastics from landfills.
Use Vodka for Everything!*
*We don't mean quite everything, but the versatile spirit does have an enormous range of money-saving applications around the home, from soothing toothaches and poison ivy rashes to deterring insects, shining surfaces and cleaning clothes. Get the scoop here.
Do an Energy Audit
For many, the first step to saving energy around the house is assessing how much you actually use every day. There are many things that will likely surprise you, as well as easy fixes that will make an immediate impact.
You can hire a pro analyst, or go DIY and conduct your own quick energy audit. We even made a checklist to guide you through the process.
Learn to Cut Your Food Bill 25%
With rising oil prices comes rising food prices. So check out these tips for stretching your grocery dollars as far as possible, while eating healthy and lighter on the Earth.
Use Your Computer Settings
Did you know that 90% of desktop computers are not optimized for energy efficiency? If yours is the one-in-ten that is, then pat yourself on the back, and get back to darning your handknit socks by the flickering light of a candle. If you're like the rest of us, however, take a quick look at your manual or online for green computing tips.
Take advantage of "sleep" and "hibernate" settings, and turn off your devices when you won't use them for an hour or more. Use a surge protector to turn them all the way off so they won't draw a "phantom load" even when shut off. Every watt adds up.
Use Rechargeable Batteries
It may not sound like much at first, but investing in rechargeable batteries can save you some money over time. In general, the less you rely on single-use, disposable items, the less money you'll burn through.
Log on to the world of freecycling (freecycle.org), and you can get and unload a huge array of items...all for free! It's simple and fun, and doesn't cost a dime. There are some really great finds in every region, and you may even meet someone nice.
Invest in Green Remodeling
Turns out there are some easy ways you can make quick fixes to your abode to boost its property value, without needing to refinance or inherit a fortune from a deceased uncle. Here are 5 green remodeling steps that will save you money on those rising home bills, while improving your dwelling for the future.
7 More Easy Ways to Save Energy
Energy conservation is mostly common sense, yes, but sometimes we can all use a few reminders. These 7 tips will help you get started; once you give it a little thought, we're sure you'll find even more ways to $ave.
Make Your Home Greener
You don't need to go off the grid to make big money and earth-saving changes to your home. We promise: These are perfectly painless solutions to get you started.
Learn to Save Energy Around the House
Utility bills are skyrocketing across much of the country, with some areas seeing double-digit growths. Take a big bite out of those payments by adopting some commonsense measures.
Relax. It's much easier than you might think to slash energy waste, avoid paying for hot water you don't need and still live as comfortably. Want the green tips?
Electricity and gas aren't the only commodities experiencing sharp price increases in recent years. In many areas, water bills have been rising as well, as water tables sink and rivers are drained, diverted or polluted.
Therefore it makes eco-sense and dollar cents to conserve water (and remember, the less hot water you use, the less energy you pay for as well). Get started on painless water conservation tips, like fixing leaky faucets, putting a full water bottle in your toilet tank to save H2O with each flush, and take shorter showers. The less you use, the less you pay.
Rediscover Lost Arts
Here's a fun fact about going green: Much of it isn't new. Many of the eco-tips people are 'discovering' are things our grandparents did every day.
Here are our favorite lost arts from our collective memory banks, from line drying clothes to starting a root cellar.
Green Tips Anyone Can Do
We call this list of green tips our top 10 idiot-proof eco-tips, because they're so easy anyone can do them. Many will save you money.
Air Fridge Hack
Tired of paying to cool your food when it's cold outside? Find that a silly situation? Then you might be a candidate for an ambient air refrigerator.
Install a Tankless Water Heater
Spend Tax Rebates Wisely
We know George W. told you to spend tax rebates to help our ailing economy. Here are our suggestions on how best to put that money to work for you and the planet.
Start a Garden
Gardening is as old as dirt (almost) -- and it can save you money, as well as provide the freshest, most delicious organic (and hyper local!) produce. Yes, it's true that some people spend a lot of money on fancy gardening gear and designer seeds, but the entry level can also be essentially free.
Ask around your neighborhood for gardeners who might have extra seeds or cuttings to share. Join a gardening club, and try to sprout old produce from your kitchen. You can also go for hearty tomatoes and other power veggies with the highest return on your efforts.
Save Money but Dress Green
Print on both sides of the page, optimize your printer settings and use scratch paper for notes. Paper doesn't grow on trees (ha ha), and the less you waste the more cash you'll pocket.
Drive Smart and Get a Fuel-Efficient Car
In an age of high gas prices and economic turmoil, consumers are flocking away from large gas-guzzling SUVs and are snapping up smaller cars in record numbers. There's never been a better time to make the switch.
While next generation vehicles like Honda's Insight hybrid concept car (pictured) and electrics like the Chevy Volt and Tesla Roadster are coming (not to mention fuel cells), you can also do a lot to save fuel today, even with your current ride. For example, take extra junk out of your trunk, drive the speed limit and carpool and/or combine errands. Skip jackrabbit starts and don't idle your savings away.
Click through to get many more green driving tips, as well as the lowdown on all the most fuel-efficient models available in showrooms today.
Tune Up for Savings
You don't have to buy a fancy new hybrid to save money (in fact, with all the turmoil in the auto industry right now, you may not feel too much like buying anything). But did you know a clean air filter can improve gas mileage by as much as 10%, and can save you 28 cents a gallon? Yet nearly one in four cars needs an air filter replacement.
In addition, poor alignment forces your engine to work harder (in addition to wearing out your tires), and this can reduce fuel economy by as much as 10%. Get a tune-up and replace that cracked gas cap to save even more. If you can't afford a trip to the mechanic, make sure your tires are properly inflated; that will cut down on what's called rolling resistance and boost mpg a little bit. Good car maintenance pays you back.
Notice to those living on the Eastern Seaboard or Southern California: Most modern cars have a handy feature called cruise control, which keeps your vehicle at a constant speed -- useful when you aren't restricted by gridlock and aggressive drivers. If you get the chance, use it!
Cruise control saves you gas, as well as wear and tear on your brakes.
Obama Was Right About Inflating Tires
Although some snickered at the thought, Barack Obama was right: You can save gas by making sure your tires are properly inflated. Get the details here.
Learn from the Hypermilers
Darin Cosgrove gets 133 miles per gallon in his hand-modified 1998 Pontiac. While you may not be ready to adjust the transmission, add wheel skirts, strip down the interior and forgo a/c, you can learn from the hypermilers' driving techniques.
As hypermiling (and ecomodding) catches on across the nation, we are all reminded of what's possible.
Want to Pay Less for Gas? Think Outside the Box
There are a number of ways in which you can effectively pay less than $1 per gallon of gas. Sound too good to be true?
Think a little outside the box. Consider taking a bus or train, which will save you big over time. The U.S. public transportation system saves 3.4 billion gallons of oil a year. Save even more by walking or biking short distances. Plus, consider moving closer to work, and asking your city for walkable "smart growth."
Get the details, and other suggestions, here.