10 Easy Tips to Save You Money in 2009

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After the holidays, most of us are looking for ways to cut costs and pay for our seasonal ‘indulgences’ anyway, but with the recession looming, now is the time to really get serious. Painless measures can be taken in several areas of our lives, and this is the first of a series of helpful suggestions to get us started on the path to financial recovery and conservation. Personal financial health is just as important as planetary health, if we are to survive as individuals, a nation, and the world. (For more cost cutting measures for house and home, from food recipes, inexpensive homemade herbal remedies, and more, check the ‘category’ section of betweenclosefriends.com)

New Year’s Resolutions to Shed Extra Kilowatts

  1. Install a programmable thermostat in your home. Every degree you drop the heat in winter reduces costs by up to five per cent. Amazing results are seen when the thermostat is set back 3 degrees overnight. Bonus: in addition to saving money on heating, your family will enjoy a healthier and sounder sleep with the temperature set back as little as 3 degrees during slumber hours.
  2. Change your furnace filter regularly—dirty filters make the fan work harder. Similarly, a clogged clothes dryer lint trap uses more energy and cause your clothes to take longer to dry.
  3. Inspect all exposed heating ducts, and where you feel warm air leaks seal the ducts with special metallic tape. This keeps heat going where you want it to.
  4. Turn off all lights when you are not using them. Replace old, incandescent bulbs with compact fluorescent light (DFL) bulbs. CFL’s use 75 per cent less electricity and last longer. (By watching the papers and advertisements, several times a year these bulbs will go on sale, or manufacturer’s rebates are offered which will reduce the initial cost to almost that of the old incandescent bulbs! Double, triple and more, the savings!)
  5. Participate in Energy Conservation Week (May 17-23, 2009) and World Wildlife Fund’s Earth Hour on March 28, 2009. Dr. David Susuki, well world-renown conservationalist, has an immense accumulation of ideas and measure we can take on his website…. Check it out for further information, and perhaps even join his club!
  6. Pull the plug on your old fridge and call the Great Refrigerator Roundup. Older refrigerators can cost four times as much to run as newer ENERGY STAR models. (In Canada, call 1-877-797-9473) In the US, check with your city hall office to find out if you have a similar program….if not, President Obama has stated that he will help in any way possible to ‘turn our economy around’, so it is quite certain that this will be a favoured initiative local politicians will be eager to jump on the bandwagon to support.)
  7. Buy cold-water soap for doing laundry. 85 to 90 per cent of energy used by washing machines goes towards heating the water. These specially designed soaps are just as, if not more effective, than the regular detergents designed for use with hot water and are not more costly. Bonus: these cold water detergents are also better for our environment as well as saving our colours from fading and cottons from shrinking! (More double and triple savings here!)
  8. Dryers alone account for 6 per cent of total household energy use in most provinces and states, so….let take a lesson from our forefathers and use an indoor drying rack or an outdoor clothesline if possible. Bonus: besides saving electricity, we save money by not having to use ‘dryer sheets’ to obtain that coveted ‘fresh outdoor’ scent! (Not surprisingly, several people are beginning to develop allergies to the chemicals imparted onto and in our clothes from those same ‘dryer sheets’.)
  9. Install weather stripping and caulking around windows and door ‘sweeps’ that seal the bottom of your outside doors. This measure alone, can cut your heating bill by 10 per cent!
  10. Schedule a home energy audit. The auditor can tell you which home energy efficient changes are eligible for provincial and federal grants. (In Canada, call 1-888-668-4636 and make an appointment today.)

These 10 easy tips originated in Canada, but are just as valuable and applicable in all of North America.

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