Greener Living Tip: Save $120.00 Annually By Lowering Your Thermostat At Night!

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Good morning, savvy savers! For this weeks Greener Living Tip, I wanted to post about a very commonsense method for lowering your household electrical consumption, as well as lowering your carbon footprint, lowering your thermostat at night!

Here are a few reasons to lower your thermostat at night:

1) Help prolong houseplant life. Keeping your thermostat 75 degrees at night will prolong the life of household plants; cooler temperatures at night help to mimic outdoor, nighttime cooling off periods. This tip also allows plants to need less water when they’re cool. A helpful tip, when leaving to go out of town leave plants in the coolest part of the house, and they will instinctively know to consume less water, staying fresher until you return!

2) Help lose weight. To shed a few pounds, drop your thermostat below 70 degrees, for half of each day;. you want the room to be so cold enough so that a light sweater feels perfect. Why is this useful? When the temperature drops, your energy expenditure increases, which tells your body to burn more calories; this can burn roughly 100 a day. Over a period of one month, increased energy can translate into an extra 3,500 calories burned, or one pound!

3) Extend the Life of Your Fridge. Your refrigerator and freezer work really hard to keep your food safe and fresh, so when your home is cooler, large Freon-regulated appliances will not have to work as hard to keep your food cool. This will extend the life of the appliance, and help reduce the number of service calls needed to replace Freon.

4) Get a Better Night’s Sleep. Lowering your home’s temperature by about five degrees, sends a signal to your brain to release more melatonin into your bloodstream, triggering the desire to sleep.

5) Lowering energy costs. Each one-degree drop on your thermostat can reduce your energy bill by 1-3 percent, and by lowering your thermostat to 68 degrees at night, you will help to lower your energy bill by 10-15 percent, which is an average savings of $120.00 annually!

Here’s to living green!

Greener Living Tip: Make Your Own Miracle Grow Potting Soil Mix, For Under $2.00 A Bag!

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Good morning, savvy, green-savers! For this weeks Greener Living Tip, I am going to post about a topic that I am currently in the process of making for own home again this week, homemade potting soil mix! I traditionally had purchased Miracle Grow Potting Mix, but last Spring when a mid-size bag of this mix skyrocketed to $12.98 at my local Lowe’s, I knew I needed a new alternative! What’s even worse, upon closely inspecting my remaining mix at home, which I blindly purchased for years,  noticed a small warming label stating that the potting soil can cause irritation of the gastrointestinal tract or respiratory tract if ingested and to prevent accidental ingestion, store it out of the reach of pets, and restrict pets from the area while you are using or mixing the product; the product also stated to not touch the soil, and as hard as one might try, sometimes dirt gets inside gloves! I then wondered if I should even use a product which tells me not to directly touch the soil, for fear of illness? How could I have this product around my pets and family?

At once, I set out to create my own soil mix, and today will be sharing with you my recipe! I purchased all of the ingredients for around $20.00 and this makes 10 large bags of soil mix, which is a savings over the Miracle Grow Mix of $10.98 a bag! Also note, I make my own compost, and to add it to the mix, simply place a piece of screen over your containing tub and sift out your compost; for those wanting to learn to make compost, I will be posting about later this season. If you do not have a compost pile, you can purchase screened compost for under $3.00 a bag at a local warehouse or nursery as well; some cities also offer free mulch and compost, which you can screen at home, for free.

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Basic Container Mix:

1 bucket (2-1/2 gallons) peat moss
1 bucket(2-1/2 gallons) vermiculite or perlite
A half bucket (1-1/4 gallons) compost
2 cups fine sand
2 cups epsom salts
1/2 cup lime powder

Combine all ingredients, mix well, and store in tub containers; I used rubbermaid containers from Lowe’s, purchased on Black Friday, for $1.98 each!

Here are a few tips for using the mix, from what I’ve seen at my home:

1) 20 quarts of potting mix is needed for a window box.

2) For cacti, succulents, and scrub bushes, such as lavender, add 1 cup extra sand to your mix.

3) For primrose and rose bushes, add 1 cup extra peat moss.

Also, to estimate how much dirt, and supplies you will need, I have created a size guide below:

Pots, Tub, and Container Size:

8-inch        3 quarts
10-inch      6 quarts
12-inch      8 quarts
14-inch      12 quarts
16-inch      20 quarts
20-inch      24 quarts
24-inch      28 quarts
30-inch      72 quarts
36-inch      96 quarts

Hanging Baskets:

12-inch       6 quarts
16-inch      10 quarts

Window Boxes:
24-inches by 6-inches      12 quarts
36-inches by 6-inches      20 quarts

These measurements are based on how much mix I use at my home, and should work for you as well. I hope this recipe will help inspire you to Greener Living as well!

Here’s to saving!

 

Greener Living Tip: Save $240.00 A Year By Serving Meatless Monday’s!

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Good morning, savvy savers! For this weeks Greener Living post, I wanted to re-discuss the idea of serving your families Meatless Monday’s! I know a lot of people are thrown off the idea, but consider the following: you can potentially save $240.00 or more a year by doing without meet one day a week.

If the economic perks are not enough for you, try adding a few health and Green Living Tips to this list:

1) Limiting Your Cancer Risk. There are numerous medical journals and studies that suggest eating a diet high in fruits and vegetables may reduce cancer risk; noting that both red and processed meat consumption are associated with colon cancer.

2) Potentially Reducing Heart Disease. A 2012 study from Harvard University study found that replacing saturated fats with foods rich in polyunsaturated fat, the lipids found in nuts and vegetable oils, reduces the risk of heart disease by twenty percent.

3) Help Stave Off Diabetes. Research suggests that higher consumption of red and processed meat increase the risk of type 2 diabetes.

4) Help curb Obesity. Cutting meats out of your diet, even for one day a week, can help lower body weights and body mass indices, according to a recent study from Imperial College London.

5) You May Live Longer. Red and processed meat consumption is associated with increases in cancer mortality and cardiovascular disease mortality.

6) You Can Improve Your Diet. Consuming beans, lentils, or peas one day a week can results in higher intakes of fiber, protein, folate, zinc, iron and magnesium. with lower intakes of saturated

7) You Can Reduce Your Carbon Footprint.The United Nations’ Food and Agriculture Organization estimates the meat industry generates nearly one-fifth of the man-made greenhouse gas emissions that are accelerating climate change worldwide; which is 3-times the amount omitted by cars.

8) Water Conservation. Going meatless for one day a week, can help conserve vastly needed fresh water supplies, as an estimated 1,800 to 2,500 gallons of water go into a single pound of beef production; feeding the cow and the like. Soy, in comparison, uses only 220 gallons of water per pound consumed.

9) You Can Help Lessen Fossil Fuel Dependence. Consider this, according to the FDA, 40 calories of fossil fuel energy are expended, for every one calorie of beef consumed in this country. Eating one day a week without beef, for example, is a great way to cut fossil fuel demand.

10) Cutting Your Food Budget. Cutting meat out of your weekly menu by one day, will save you nearly $20.00 a month, and $240.00 annually!

11) Causing You To Think Outside The Box. Going meatless one meal a week will cause you to look for new ways to prepare dishes. Think globally. Try more ethnic dishes. Going meatless can help expand your culinary palette!

A greener planet, a healthier body, and a fattened wallet! Yes, that’s reason enough to consider Meatless Monday’s in your neck of the woods!

Greener Living Tip: Save $300.00 A Year By Unplugging Your Power Strips Nightly!

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Hello again, savvy savers! If your home is anything like mine, you have a myriad of electronical devices in every room of your house. Two years ago, when moving into a larger home I started to notice my electrical bills were skyrocketing! Upon calling my local electrical company, I was told to self-evaluate my home for “phantom drainers,” or electronic equipment that draws a continual supply of power when they’re plugged in but turned off; this causes a vampire drain of power and spikes in your consumption rates!

I began to try and find ways to shave dollars and cents off of my bill, which went from $110.00 a month to $190.00 this past summer, even under incrementalist billing implemented. What trick did I come up with? Power Strip with Switches. You can use a power strip with on/off switches to plug in your appliances. An example, I have a power strip in my living room, where my TV, DVD player, game system and sound system are all plugged into. I have another power strip in my office, where my computer, printer, paper shredder, lamp and phone charger are plugged in.

I invested in ENERGY STAR® power strips because, according to the Standby Power Data Center, a website from DOE’s Federal Energy Management Program (FEMP), which aids the general public to identify low standby power products, pulling plugs at night, via the unplugging of power strips, can help save the average homeowner 5-10% off residential energy use rates, whereas the average user would save $100 per year. In three months time, I have saved $48.10 off of my electrical bill!

You can realistically save upwards of $1.05 a day, and a savings of $328.25 yearly simply by unplugging power strips!

That’s an amazing savings! Before you go to bed, unplug your power strips! you’ll sleep better knowing all of the green savings you’ve generated!