Spring is here! It’s time to put away some of the nasty energy consuming and waste-centric habits we picked up while we were trying our hardest to survive winter. If you live in Canada like me, that’s no joke sometimes [ although I consider myself lucky to live in Kelowna with one of the warmest climates in the great white north ]. If you’re not sure what to do – you’re in luck; We’ve got 7 [ relatively easy and simple ] savvy ideas for you to save money while living green again this spring.
1. Turn your lights off & turn the heat down – Spring comes with longer daylight hours which typically means, if you have windows, you can see. Some light bulbs are long lasting, LED, energy efficient, but why would you wear them down with use when you don’t have to? Longer hours of sunlight also means warmer days, and more opportunity for the sun to warm your home. Save your change and let the sun shine in.
2. The weather is warmer so put your winter coat away and get ready to wear less clothes, allowing you to wash less clothes. Our biggest energy suckers in our homes are any appliances that heat [ heaters, dryers ] or cool [ air conditioning, refrigerators and freezers ]. Our biggest water wasters are typically showers, laundry machines, and running or leaking plumbing. I read that Mark Zuckerberg wears the same outfit every day because he doesn’t want to have to waste time making decisions that don’t matter. I prefer the liberation that spring and summer brings when you can wear less clothing – goodbye socks, jeans and sweaters – in favor of simple comfortable garb. Save money on energy and water costs, and save on consumption. When you get to wear less, you get to buy less too. The other added bonus is, with the sun out and the weather warming, you can dry the clothes you do wash outside.
3. Take shorter showers [ I know sometimes you are just standing there trying to warm up ]. Even if you don’t pay for your water, you pay for the energy it takes to heat it. With spring here, no more need for a toasty bath to keep you warm. If you are super brave, take a note from Vanessa Farquharson in her book Sleeping Naked is Green [ check out my review of her book here ] and shower in the dark. The one room in my home without windows is the bathroom so I’ve not been brave enough to try this one yet. I also have a friend who moved into an unplumbed cabin for the spring and summer and does his bathing in the lake, getting a nature fix at the same time as he gets his suds on.
4. Grow some vegetables. Spring is when everyone believes they can be a gardener with all the hope that is possible cropping up around each corner. So use that hope, find 5 seconds of bravery, get your hands dirty and plant something. Try to keep it alive. Growing your own food can cut down on environmental waste in a few ways:
- seeds cost pennies compared to the dollars you pay for vegetables in the grocery store
- it’s very local and doesn’t need to be transported across the country in a refrigerated truck [ which means you don’t need to pay hidden costs associated with getting your produce from the farm to your grocer ]
- you don’t have to pick it until you are ready to eat it so it’s less likely that you will be wasting good food
- all plants help to filter our air [ including veggies! ]
- no packaging is required
- often – no cooking is required. As the weather warms up we are more likely to eat raw food since we don’t need soups and casseroles to warm up our bellies. Save the energy and time and save a few dollars while you’re at it.
Disclaimer – I am terrible at growing vegetables. I am amazing at forgetting to water them and accidentally killing them. Any tips for me?
5. Trade in your hotel pass to take a camping vacation in a tent under the stars. Spending time in nature is good for mental health, and good for your soul. Spring is when we start to get brave again and ‘rough it’ the way people did way back when we were wild and free. Getting back to nature reminds you of how precious it is, and how little of our modern amenities we truly need. And best of all – it’s free!
6. Walk or bike more and drive less. Get in some fitness, get a mental health boost, save money on gas and car maintenance and give the environment a break from exhaust.
7. Cancel your gym pass and play outside. Children get it – Nature is effing incredible. But somewhere along the line most of us forgot. Now is the time to cancel the gym pass [ save that $30 – $50 per month for at least 4 months : Hello $120 – $200 extra dollars! ] and rediscover outdoors. Go hiking-biking-swimming-kayaking-paddleboarding-skateboarding-justplay! If you’re looking for somewhere to get started, try the David Suzuki 30×30 Challenge – 30 minutes outdoors every day for 30 days.