If you read our recent article about our favorite couponing tactic, you know that we work smart, not hard, at saving money. Nothing irks us more than being wasteful and literally washing and draining our hard-earned money away on energy, laundry, household cleaning products, and lawn chemicals, so we've figured out a few ways to have a clean, efficient house that generates less waste and costs less to maintain, and we'd like to share our tips on how to save money while being kind to the environment.
The Silver Bullet
Kill the vampires in your house! We're talking about 'vampire' electricity. Vampire electricity refers to power that a device or power charger uses while in standby mode or simply plugged in but not in use. Entertainment systems and computers are huge culprits, and the Department of Energy estimates each household wastes $130 a year as a result. That's more than an entire month's electric bill for us!
The solution? A smart power strip which leaves 'main' components powered, like your router or DVR, but cuts off power to less-used components until you need them. To buy one of these smart strips, it would cost about $30-$50, but we found a way to get one Second Hand Millionaires'-style: Free!
Figuring that the power companies have a vested interest in reducing wasted electricity, we checked out our electric provider's website to see if they offered discounts or rebates for buying a smart strip, and found that by taking a short energy audit survey for them, they would send us a goodie box of free stuff, including a free smart strip! The box also included 4 CFL light bulbs and energy efficient night lights. A week later, we were working our side hustle at an estate sale and picked up another one of these smart strips for $2. That is one of our favorite ways to save money!
In addition to the savings from not having to buy these products from a home improvement store, we are now starving our electric vampire. Make sure to check out your utility company's website for information on rebate programs and free stuff before purchasing an energy saving device-you might be pleasantly surprised!
In case your utility company doesn't offer a free one, here is a link to one of Amazon's highest rated smart power strips. It's a little pricey, but it's a good investment and one of the best ways to save money in terms of reducing vampire electricity drain.
Just because clothes dryers exist doesn't mean that we always have to use them. Try hanging your laundry out to dry, and both you and the environment will benefit. Plus, the combination of sunshine and fresh air gives your clothes and linens a wonderful scent that no detergent can compete with!
By trying this environmentally friendly option, you will save money on energy costs (about 70 cents per load if it's an electric dryer) and your clothes will last longer and maintain their shape better because the high heat from the dryer weakens elastic- which in turn destroys socks, waistbands, and expensive Spandex workout gear. You'll save even more money by not having to replace those articles of clothing as frequently.
Even if you live in a colder climate, you can still participate! Did you know that you can dry things outside even in sub-zero weather? Your wet items will freeze immediately, but the ice will directly evaporate without having to turn back into water in a process called sublimation (Better living through chemistry!) It's not the fastest way to dry your clothes, but it works if you're looking for that clean, fresh air smell in the middle of winter with no chemical residues from artificially scented products.
It 'Sew' Matters
Sewing is a wonderful skill that most millennials don't have, even though it is an extremely valuable skill and one of the best ways to save money. The ability to hem pants, take in a waistband, make something from scratch, or salvage a torn outfit is invaluable, as evidenced by the high prices charged by seamstresses. It's definitely a skill I need to work on, as I can barely sew a straight line (much to the chagrin of my mother, who is a wonderful sewer and tried her best to domesticate my clumsy self)
Sewing is not just for clothes. When I moved into our new house with its plethora of windows, I learned how ridiculously expensive simple curtain panels are. The worst part is that there's nothing to them-they're just a few layers of fabric stitched into a rectangle and hemmed. If I would have known how to sew just a little better, I would have saved myself hundreds of dollars and trips around town to find 6 sets of matching panels.
You could probably have a nice side hustle just by sewing simple custom curtains or decorative pillow covers for friends with fabric they choose!
Sewing is also environmentally friendly. Quilts are traditionally made from fabric scraps left over from larger sewing projects, and many sewers have fabric swaps where they trade left-over fabric with each other to facilitate quilt making and for small sewing projects. Fabric to a sewer is like cookie dough to a baker-they use every last bit!
By learning how to sew, you can save yourself a ton of money on seamstress fees, have custom made fabric décor, and reduce waste by recycling fabric and repairing clothes instead of buying new.
Plus, your mother will be proud
Roundup the Savings
I absolutely love to garden and maintain a nicely landscaped yard, but I don't agree with using chemical products to control my weeds or eliminate pests. I see some people pulling out the $20 pump container of Roundup to spray all over the place at the first sign of weeds when they could be saving themselves money and saving their gardens from poison using this trick I learned from a garden magazine:
That's right; all you need to kill those pesky weeds is the most innocuous liquid on the planet. After you're done with the hot water used to boil your pasta, eggs, or whatever else, don't dump it down the drain! Put on some oven mitts and 'water' your weeds with it, making sure to get the roots also. They will turn bright green from the cooking process, then quickly wilt and turn brown and crispy within a day. It's a terrible death, but that's what they get for daring to grow in your manicured garden!
Using this simple trick will save you money, help the environment, free up storage space, and give you piece of mind by not having to worry about children and pets harming themselves with the chemicals.
We hope that you enjoyed reading about these unique tips on how to save money. Sometimes, however, saving isn't all that it's cracked up to be. Find out why in 5 Instances Where You're Better Off Spending Than Saving
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