Nine More Months: Saving the Earth, and my wallet | #Reduce #Reuse #Recycle | #GE Lighting

Monday, April 8, 2013

Saving the Earth, and my wallet | #Reduce #Reuse #Recycle | #GE Lighting

Ever since making the switch from working mom to stay-at-home mom, one of my biggest priorities is saving money. As seen throughout my blog, I make a lot of things from scratch, do without many items, find new uses for old items, and use other frugal practices in order to make it work on one income, while still maintaining a greener way of living. Since we rent our home, I am unable to make some of the significant changes I would like to - such as some getting some more energy efficient appliances, but there are some things control, like light bulbs. I partnered up with GE and received coupons for my GE light bulbs in exchange for sharing some of the ways I save money and live a more sustainable lifestyle. All opinions posted about my GE Lighting experience are my own.

As you can see I have quite a few burnt out lights in my house. After buying a lot of cheap bulbs and having to replace them often, I decided it was time to change things. I vowed to never buy cheap-o bulbs again, and instead, replace all of the lights in my house with energy efficient bulbs. But, with a limited budget, I can only buy so many at a time, and I'm replacing them in order of most used to least used. The master bathroom is the biggest culprit, with ten bulbs above the mirror. While we can get by with the one bulb that's in there now, it does make it a little harder to do my makeup and shape my eyebrows in the dim lighting. 

If you're not sure which bulbs you need, GE has a great tool to help you find the right energy-efficient bulbs for you. The lights on the left are a cheap replacement for my bathroom vanity, and the lights on the right are the ones I have been buying slowly. The price different is pretty big, but the savings turns out to be much better if you go with the energy smart bulbs. I did a little math (scary, I know) to show the difference. This is just for my master bathroom, based on the two choices of lights above. The regular bulbs have a one year life span, thus needing to be replaced eight times before having to buy more energy smart bulbs.

If that seems a little confusing, GE also has bulb comparisons and a savings calculator on the GE website. And keep an eye out in your April 14th newspaper for a GE coupon that will help save you even more. This video helps show how much you can save just by making a few small changes in your lighting.

Along with making smarter lighting choices, I also employed a few other techniques to help lower my energy bill. Not only does it save me money, but it also lessens the impact that my family makes on the environment. And the electric company actually recognizes our efforts and rewards us with small credits every now and then, saving us even more money. Over the past couple of years our average bill this time of year went from $125 down to it's lowest this year of $71.

Programmable accessories for lights and timers on outlets help me conserve energy on things like the porch light, and the lights for our reptile cages. A few cheap power strips placed strategically around the house make it much easier to unplug things when we're not using them. I like to think I'm saving as much on our electric bill as possible without making us sit in the dark for hours. While I'm passionate about greener living, I'm not over the top crazy - yet. 

Here are some more tips to help you save money and "green your life."

Use it up, wear it out, make it do, or do without. Yes I realize this kind of makes me sound like a hoarder, but I promise I'm not. Most people throw things away that still have years of use left in them. 

For example, holes in clothing, lost buttons and missing embellishments are usually easily fixed for a mere fraction of the cost of buying a new item. A lot of waste happens in the clothing industry, so it's best to buy well-made classic pieces and repair as needed. Outgrown clothes can be handed down, or with a little craftiness you can re-purpose them into new items. 

Rethink your packaging. Do you need to buy that three-pound bag of onions for $3.00 just because it's easier to grab? Or will a few loose onions to the job? When I shop I think about how much trash is going to come from my haul. I tend to un-packaged items and things from the bulk bins rather than paying extra for convenient packaging. If I have to choose between a glass or plastic container, I always choose glass. Not only is it easier to recycle, but I can reuse it many times before that.

Be sustainable. Choose reusable as much as possible, and when you can't choose reusable, choose recyclable. Plastic baggies are certainly convenient, but most people just toss them when they're done, as they're not easily recyclable. Paper and aluminum are cost-efficient and recyclable, but glass is 100% reusable, and at less than $1.00 a jar, you can get all kinds of different sized containers to meet any storage need you might have.

Baby steps. Starting small is the best way to make any major changes in your life. Bring your own bags to the grocery store, try to use up all of your leftovers before grocery shopping, and walk or ride a bike instead of driving if you can. These are all simple ways you can start saving the Earth, and your wallet too. 

For more tips, check out my Google+ story.

Disclaimer: I am a member of the Collective Bias®  Social Fabric® Community.  This shop has been compensated as part of a social shopper insights study for Collective Bias®  and GE Lighting #cbias #SocialFabric


Amy Fulcher said...

I suddenly feel much better about the four empty light sockets in my bathroom. Every.Single.Morning I am in there wondering why I haven't put in new bulbs yet! ;)

Jeffrey Helfrich said...

We'd add that you should really consider recycling in the bathroom. We were so frustrated by piles of recyclables in ours that we designed our own trash/recycle bin for rooms that usually only have a trash can. Check it out at Happy recycling!