Everyone should desire to help preserve our environment, but many people choose not to because they are misled to believe that it’s too costly and they would have to sacrifice their budget to do so. Living sustainably must be approached from a long term perspective. Some products that are biodegradable and energy-efficient can be more expensive, but when examining usage from a long term perspective, it is actually more cost efficient. This is part of the educational process that must be consistently implemented in order to bring greater awareness to the consumer about the benefits to living sustainably.  There are so many ways that you can begin to live sustainably without breaking your budget.  In fact. the affordable ways I am about to share with you will not break your budget.  They are practical solutions that can actually save you money if implemented on a consistent basis.  They definitely help me decrease my own personal home’s electric, water and gas bill.  Here are some of the measures that I take to live sustainably at home.

1)      Search for any rebates, deductions or tax credits the government offers

  Look for any available incentives and rebates that your state provides to its residents. For instance the government provides tax incentives to homeowners that install Energy efficient appliances, air or heating units, solar windows and roofs and there are many other categories. The deductions for installing energy efficient products can often result in rebates as well as offset some of your tax liabilities. This can be great news for first time builders and home renovators simply because of the savings they can receive from tax deductions as well as the long term financial savings of having a green home.

2)      Replace only those items that need replacing

  I am definitely a proponent of this. I believe if it’s not broke don’t fix it. Utilize it to the max.  Get every ounce of usage out of it. I don’t know how many countless of times I have had repairmen over to fix something that they said only had a short life left. They would always want me to change it out prior to it going out. That to me was a waste. There was one particular product in my home that worked ten years after a repairman suggested I replace it. I knew that replacing it too early would only lead to unnecessary waste in a landfill.  Always remember that if things are still functional, you should not throw them away.  You are just adding more waste to Mother Earth. This behaviour often contributes to the overcrowded landfills which in turn adversely affects climate change. So make sure you are aware of the negative impacts of throwing something away that still has value.

3)      Purchase the right type of light bulb

 When it comes to light bulbs, the screw in incandescent light bulbs are pretty much phased out.  The reason is they use too much energy.  This bulb definitely has had a long run of 134 years but now the CFL and the LED are light years ahead and are the manufactures choice. Buying energy efficient light bulbs can save as much as 80% according to Consumer Reports. The bulbs are available in many different wattages and cool and warm tones as well. I suggest you buy a couple of CFL or LED bulbs to see how you like the lighting before lighting your entire home.

4)      Insulate your home

 Insulating your home is beneficial in more ways than one. If your home is not properly insulated you will always feel a draft in your home.  Improper insulation will also keep your thermostat running because of the consistent pull to maintain the temperature in the home.  It helps maintain the proper environment keeping you cool during summer and warmer in the winter.  It will lower the condensation and even noise level in your home.  The result is savings on your energy bill. There are many cost effective options and brands that can meet your budget that will be effective.  All you have to do is go to your local home store or do some research online to find the best options for your home and the right situation for you.

5)      Turn off everything when not in use

 This tip I’m sure goes without saying.  Whose parents didn’t consistently say don’t forget to turn off the lights growing up at least a thousand times.  Well there was a reason for that. Unnecessary usage of electricity can cause an electric bill to go up very quickly. This tip is basic.  When you know you are leaving the home, turn off all lights that is not used for security measures. Make sure items such as curling irons, flat irons or anything that is so easy to forget is on off.  This includes your computer as well.  We use our computers and laptops so often it is easy to just leave them on. If it’s on needlessly, just cut it off.  

6)      Purchase a timer for your shower

  After long and stressful day, who doesn’t want to take a long and refreshing shower? You can literally stay in so long and not realize the many gallons of water that has been wasted. It sounds inviting, but it is not always reasonable when there are many places facing a shortage of water. Many gallons of water can be lost in minutes.  In Australia, almost 28% of the water usage is from with showers. There are recent innovations that provide a mist instead of a water flow as well as shower heads with timers. Using these available products could dramatically reduce our wasteful water usage from the shower activity. This is very beneficial as we save our natural resources and you can also lower your monthly water bill.  Reduce, Recycle, Reuse…..It Matters.   

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