Save money and energy

Our friend Amanda from Australia posted a recent piece called “Changing the Material World” (see link below) written by Megan Tennant on taking strides we can do to save the environment and help do a small part in fighting climate change. I recognize fully we must do far more, so these steps are not panaceas, nor should be they be considered as such. We need to advocate for so much more and tell folks to stop listening to folks who have a vested interest in getting you to use more fossil fuel powered energy or buy more wasteful product.

The purpose of this post is to simply say, if you take steps to save on energy consumption and lessen product waste, you can also save money. And, to be frank, saving money has been at the heart of some of the major initiatives to combat climate change as the cost of some renewables is on par or better than some fossil fuel energy sources. For example, Walmart, IKEA, Amazon, Google, Facebook, etc. have all led the way with renewable energy sources as it was both good for the environment, but made their cost models look better.

Here are a few ideas, but I welcome more suggestions. These won’t solve the problem, but the additive impact will help some and get people more motivated.

  • Turn all chargers off at night for phones, laptops, – you will save on energy cost and defer product degradation with it being on at all times.
  • Turn the thermostat down in the winter and up in the summer when asleep – it is easier in the winter to throw on an extra blanket, but harder in the summer, as many folks like a cool room to sleep in, but still pays dividends. It also helps to do this during the day.
  • Walk more, use more mass transit – these save on petrol and energy to charge electric cars and avoid the concern that most car accidents happen within one mile of your home, while helping with your health. Plus, grabbing one or two tote bags as you walk to the store limits your grocery purchases, which saves by itself.
  • Be zealous with eating leftovers – this will save a large chunk in your food budget and will reduce land fill methane. I will usually eat leftovers longer than my wife, but she will do her part, usually for one (or maybe two) extra meal.
  • Buy fewer plastic items and use filtered water pitchers – we have an ocean of plastic that rivals Texas and may eventually rival the size of Australia. Getting people to buy water may be one of the greatest marketing successes ever.
  • Buy ugly produce, as it will go to waste – there are some websites that promote less pristine looking food that got passed over. Ugly food is cheaper and if we can keep good food out of landfills it will reduce methane.
  • Be careful but many expiration dates are “best by” dates not “throw away” dates – this is easier said on non-perishables, but it is not uncommon for all of these dates to be set early for you to buy more product.
  • Eat less meat, as livestock eat carbon absorbing grass and produce methane – other foods are much cheaper, plus less meat will help you live healthier and longer if replaced with other proteins.
  • Use rain barrels, compost heaps, and gray water sources to repurpose waste. An increasing number of buildings are reusing rain fall to provide water inside.
  • Print fewer items and do two-sided printing – this will save money and carbon eating trees.

Please offer some of your ideas. None of the above is rocket science, but understand that some of these suggestions are an effort to run counter to companies wanting you to spend more. No matter the product, they have marketing and sales people whose jobs are to get you to buy more. Altruism is not universal, so we must guard our energy use and money. As my wife and I have told and still tell our now adult children, people want your money.

And, again, this does not replace advocating for a conversion to better energy sources to reduce carbon and methane emissions and greater planting of trees, nurturing of coastal mangroves, and production of kelp farms, et al, which are natural carbon eaters. We are past time to take greater action. If we don’t, we are creating a different future for our children, their children and ourselves.

14 thoughts on “Save money and energy

  1. Note to Readers: Thinking of leftovers, Sandra Lee, who used to have a show called “Semi- homemade,” she would advocate making more spaghetti noodles, rice, potatoes et al than needed on Sunday and use the staple throughout the week for planned meals, as a budget saving tool. We also do the same with pre-mixed and washed salads, which stay fresher when you don’t have to rinse them again. As we have reduced our portions, my wife and I will either split take-out entrees or eat single entrees for one or two additional meals.

  2. Leftovers are my favorite meals! Less time to prepare and fewer dishes. Fortunately, my husband is a big fan too. Now, if only I could figure out a way to get leftovers without having to prepare the original dish 🙂 We do many of the things on your list but avoiding plastic is a tough one. We bring our own bags to the market and I have purchased little mesh bags for the individual produce we buy. But plastic seems to be everywhere. We also drive an electric car. It may not be practical for everyone, but we hardly ever drive the gas-powered car.

    • Janis, well done. I guess the leftover prep can only be avoided by buying the first round of the meal from a restaurant. When you remove the requirement that breakfast need not be just traditional fare, everything opens up. I had leftover spaghetti for breakfast this morning, e.g. Good job on the electric car. Keith

  3. All good suggestions! Since we can no longer dine out on Saturdays as we used to, daughter Chris orders take out and picks it up on Saturday evening, usually from either P.F. Chang’s, Red Robin, or TGI Friadays, and I find that one order from any of those places lasts me for about 4 meals! Since my illness began, we have been cooking much less and therefore eating more leftovers thus throwing away far less! And … I only drive my car 2 miles per week now, to pick up my online grocery order on Thursdays! Covid has made a significant dent in the amount of travel people are doing … a positive for the efforts to combat climate change, though perhaps a negative for some people’s mental health. My only other suggestion is light bulbs … switch to energy efficient light bulbs and see a significant reduction in your electric bill, as well as helping the environment.

  4. Good share Keith.
    We’re trying. Sheila has IBS and some dietary problems so once we find something suitable for her we stick with it, Volvic water from France being one; thus there are a lot of plastic bottles, but they all go into the local town council’s recycling system (for good measure to save space in our box I stamp on them, imaging they are various folk with high media profiles I do not care for)

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