If you aren’t ready to ditch your power company, but would like to save some money by living a greener life, then here are some tips to help you get started.
Around the House
1. Make sure your thermostat is set properly. Lowering the default settings during the Summer and at night could save you almost $200 a year, according to ENERGY STAR. More tips could be found at energystar.gov.
2. Insulate your hot water heater. To see if you need to insulate, touch your heater. If it's warm to the touch, then it needs additional insulation. You'll lower your water heating costs with this single step.
3. Cut down on car trips and run your errands on your bike or on foot. If you need a bike, check out Sayville-Bayport Patch's directory.
4. Rip up some lawn and plant a vegetable and flower garden. You'll save a ton of money on food, and delight your children as they watch things grow through the summer.
5. Get some chickens and have fresh, free eggs every day. Get support and ideas at urbanchickens.net.
6. Expand your hand-me-down circle. Organize a clothing swap for your co-op, preschool or a group of friends. Have everyone bring gently used and clean kids’ clothes to your garage; parents can take as many items as they donate. The rest goes to charity.
7. Have your kids make their friends’ birthday cards and wrapping paper. Paper bags are easily transformed with pastel crayons or markers, and kids love getting a hand-made card - as do adults.
8. Organize a Halloween costume swap in September. This can be a great service project for a Girl Scout troop. Green Halloween is a great resource for ideas about how to get started.
9. Check out Swap.com, a “valet service” that collects your unwanted clothes, gear, media, toys and décor, and sells them on its site. You set the price,s and you can take your windfall in cash or stuff.
10. When stuck in line at the bank drive-through or school pick-up line, turn off your engine. Get other driving tips for tree huggers on the Car Talk website.
11. Ditch the sandwich bags, and get some washable containers or bags.
12. Save up to 30 percent on your monthly heating bills by having a home energy audit done by a professional. Ask if your local utility will cover some of the cost.
13. Give and accept hand-me-downs.
14. Replace your old light bulbs with LED bulbs. They last 15 times longer and use 75 percent less energy. Find stores with bulbs at energystar.gov.
15. Have an older house? Install double pane windows, and you’ll see immediate savings on your heating bill.
16. Ditch the dryer, and use a clothesline when the weather permits.
17. Dump your bottled water costs. Buy metal water bottles for everyone in the family at a local store and a personal filter for your kitchen faucet, and you could save hundreds of dollars a year.
18. Replace your shower heads with low-flow models. Low-flow shower heads can save you up to 15 percent of water heating costs.
How have you gone green? Share your thoughts and ideas in the comments section below.