So many issues today affect how we live our lives.  There’s the rising prices of crude oil and its derivatives, the rising inflation rate and prices of consumer goods, and the global food crisis, all of which directly or indirectly increase our cost of living even though our income/salary more often does not increase with it.

So here are just a few tips on how we can save some money and save our planet in the process.

Unplug unused appliances. Many of us have gotten used to keeping our cellphone chargers plugged even though there’s no cellphone at the other end.  Do you know that at least 5% of your annual electric bill is due to appliances that are on standby?  So shut down those laptops and computers when not in use.

Use compact fluorescent bulbs instead of incandescent ones.  The next time a light bulb in your home burns out, replace it with a compact fluorescent bulb.  It may cost more than the incandescent bulb but it will last you 10x longer, produces more light per watt and uses only about a fourth of the energy incandescent bulbs use.  In the long run, compact fluorescent bulbs actually save you more money.

Make sure your appliances are running efficiently. Cleaning your airconditioning unit’s filters regularly will give you cooler air and make it more energy efficient (read:consume less electricity).  Use a timer on your airconditioner.  If your airconditioner doesn’t have a timer, there’s a plug adapter sometimes called the “aircon to fan” – it has a timer that will switch on your fan and turn off your airconditioner after a set number of hours.

Make sure your refrigerator thermostat is at an optimum setting.  It your refrigerator or freezer is empty or not full, set the temperature at minimum (higher temperature).

Fix your leaky faucets. A leaky faucet that drips every three seconds can waste 30 gallons (110 liters) of water a month.  They run up your water bill too.

Choose your mode of transport wisely. When buying a car take note of related costs not included in the price of the car.  With the rising price of gasoline (and parking fees), your car’s fuel consumption should be a major factor when deciding which one to choose.  Sometimes it’s more practical to take a commute (specially if you live in a place with efficient public transport) rather than take your car.

These savings may seem little but they can add up to a significant amount when put together.

Although these other tips may not actually save you money, it wouldn’t cost you to do them either.  Plus wouldn’t it feel good to know that in your own little way, you are helping our environment?

Bring reusable bags when doing your groceries. Less plastic, less waste. When buying small, dry stuff, tell the store you don’t need the plastic and just put the items in your bag and ask for a receipt.

If you live in a place that has recycling facilities, segregate your trash.  Send bottles, newspapers, boxes, etc. to the recycling bin.  In Manila, the closest we have to a recycling bin is our friendly magbobote-dyaryo.

I know a lot of OFWs send money home to maintain households.  With the dollar not being able to buy as many pesos as before and the rising costs everywhere, I’m sure these simple tips will help.

These are just a few tips on how to save money and be green at the same time.  I know there are a lot more ways to save so if you care to share how you save money then feel free to leave a comment.

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