During the winter months, it is very easy for bills and other expenses to add up quickly. During the holiday season, most people drain their savings or invest in expensive gym memberships for the new year; this can make money tight for the next few (cold) months. In addition, as costs go up, so does our toll on the planet. The more water and power we use, the more resources are needed to meet that demand. So how can you save some money while still enjoying life on these frosty days? Here are some quick and easy changes you can make to save money and maybe help the planet too.
Lower your food costs. Invest in a slow cooker. Yes, this is an added expense for those who do not already own one, but these products tend to pay for themselves very quickly. Slow cookers are especially handy in the winter months as most of us have added things to our schedules and just don't have the time or energy to cook. With a little prep time in the morning or even over the weekend, you can prepare a week’s worth of meals that can easily be thrown into the pot to cook all day while you are at work. Comfort food like pot roasts, roast chicken, beef stew and chilli are all great meals that can be done multiple ways in slow cookers. So how does this save you money? Having dinner when you walk through the door will eliminate the temptation to order take-out for the convenience. In addition, any leftovers from dinner can easily become lunch for the next day while you are at school or the office. While cooking all your own meals can be a pain and there will always be nights you don't want to, it still remains one of the best ways to save money. You would be amazed at the number of delicious recipes available online that take 8 to 10 hours in the pot to cook, making them perfect for long days at the office. Another great convenience is that it is all cooked in one pot, eliminating dozens of pots, pans, and utensils that need to be washed otherwise; this saves water as well!
Save money on your bills. Turn down the heat. It can be very tempting to keep the heat cranked to seventy-five degrees all winter long, but this is bad for both the planet and your wallet. By simply turning your thermostat down 7-10 degrees, you can save up to 10% on your yearly heating and cooling costs. While at first this drop in temperature may feel drastic, your body will quickly adjust. If this continues to feel cold, add a second blanket to your bed or throw on your comfy pants. The addition of a second blanket could also have the added benefit similar to a light weighted blanket, helping you sleep better. Turn off the lights, and maybe light a candle. It is very easy to leave a light on. Perhaps you always leave the closet light on in the morning by accident or maybe you purposefully leave the front hall light on. Stop doing this. Leaving the lights on, especially when you are not home, is simply a waste of energy. Additionally, you do not need all the lights in the house on the watch TV.
Saving money can be easy, and it can also lead to learning new recipes that will quickly become favorites. So turn down the heat, light a candle, enjoy a good meal, and take care of yourself (and the planet). If everyone does their part to lower the amount of power and water they use, the impact can be large. Finally, if saving money can help the planet, why wouldn't you?