In the United States, the average family spends $1600 on utility bills alone (I know in Canada, I've spent much more than that) (source: Investopedia). If we save money on things that we don't really care about (even though they are a necessity), we get more money to spend on the things that matter, like retirement, or great memories with family and friends. You might think that there's no point in helping to stop climate change and global warming, that we are too far gone and that even if we change our lifestyle and behaviours that others won't. But we must remember that collectively, we are more powerful than we think.
“Individually, we are one drop. Together, we are an ocean.”
- Ryunosuke Satoro
Here are 4 tips on how to save both money and energy in your household:
#1. Microwave it instead of using the Stove
When you're simply reheating something, it's more energy efficient to reheat it in the microwave instead of on the stove. According to Scientific American, the energy used by a microwave is about 25% less than that of an electric stove. The energy difference used by a gas stove and a microwave, on the other hand, is a bit more nebulous.
However, what it boils down to (excuse the pun) isn't really that much of a savings for your wallet unless you cook often, of course. Using a microwave compared to an electric stove only three times a week is only estimated to save you a little over $2 per month.
#2. Opt for a Laptop instead of a Computer
Gone are the days when everyone had desktop computers. Nowadays, laptops are so versatile and packed with so much stuff equivalent to a desktop computer, that many people do not have desk top computers, including me. I haven't had a desk top computer for over 5 years and haven't looked back. You may be surprised at the energy consumption difference between a laptop and a desktop computer, even for a laptop with a larger screen.
The Energy Star website in Europe stated that when you compare the energy use of a notebook and a desktop computer, there is about an 80% difference. With a laptop or notebook despite a larger scree, the difference between that an a desktop computer's energy consumptions is still about 50% difference.
#3. Use a Front Loading Washer
Front loading washers don't just look good, they are good for the environment too. According to the Michael Blue Jay blog, laundry is one of the easiest ways to save money. One way is to use the cold water cycle (90% of the energy that goes into washing laundry goes to heating the water).
More importantly, front loading washers use about 40-75% less water and 30-85% less energy that top loading washers according to the Michael Blue Jay blog. They make your clothes last longer (they don't agitate the clothes as much, it is more gentle) and the clothes get dried more easily because they do a good job wringing the water out. This equates to an average savings of $100 per year- which makes the average $100 extra price tag of a front loading washer compared to a top loading washer worth it.
If you want to really compare, the blog has a great calculator that lets you compare front loaders and top loaders and the energy savings if you used gas or electricity for your home. It even goes into the detail of how many cents it costs per kWh for your electricity.
#4. Turn the Heat Down
The biggest factor in utility bills is heat. Keep your feet warm, only heat the rooms that you are in, turn down the heat when you are going out (consider investing in a programmable thermostat), and grab a sweater on those colder days. Also, make sure your home is insulated well. Just getting used to a colder temperature can cut your utility bills considerably.
It isn't that difficult to both save energy and electricity in your home. Small changes can amount to big pay-offs. If you're interested in other ways to save energy (while likely saving money as well), check out David Suzuki's list of 10 Ways you can Stop Climate Change. Both mother nature and your wallet will be thankful!
Bargainmoosers, do you have other ways you save both money and energy?