This post takes a look at just a few simple gadgets and ‘things’ you can use to cut costs and help reduce your carbon footprint.
While they’re all obvious and quite trivial devices, that doesn’t mean to say we’re all using them.
Here are 5 simple things you can do to save money as well as be eco-friendly.
1. Wind-up Flashlights
A wind-up flashlight is great to have in the car, around the house or if you go away on vacation. As the name suggests, you don’t need expensive batteries which are costly to keep and harmful to the environment upon disposable.
The added benefit with a wind up flashlight, of course, is that you don’t have to worry about whether or not it has enough power left in the same way you do with a battery-run one; a few turns of the handle will have your power-cut-struck house or dark tent illuminated in no time. As wind-up flaslights use LED lights, they’re also very efficient and bright – so don’t think they won’t do an adequate job just because they’re run off the humble power of the human arm!
Wind up flashlights come in a range of sizes (which roughly correlates with their power) meaning you can buy a little key-ring sized one or a larger one depending on what you need to use it for. They’re also inexpensive and also make great gifts for the gadget lover or outdoors-type.
2. Clothes Racks
Tumble dryers are not only expensive to buy in the first place, they’re also one of the most demanding electrical appliances in the house making them bad for the environment and expensive to run. They’re also liable to break down leaving you with the cost of replacing it or fixing it.
Clothes racks, on the other hand, will cost you no more than $20, they’re unlikely to break and you’ll be able to dry your clothes without having to worry about the extortionate running costs.
Many of you may already have one of these but, if you don’t, then they’re definitely worth a purchase. Unlike a purpose built, spinning washing line for the garden you can put a clothes horse both inside and outside the house as they’re small. What’s more, you can usually fold them up so you can tuck them in a cupboard and keep them out of sight when not in use.
If you happen to live in a cold climate and fear you need the drying capabilities of a tumble dryer then don’t be put off however. This is because you can buy clothes racks which are designed to hang over the radiator and clothes rack which run off electricity to emit a small amount of heat at a very low running cost.
3. Reusable Water Bottles
Bottle water has to be one of, if not the most, deplorable products of modern society. In countries where there is a clean and plentiful water supply, it really is a sorry sight to see people not only handing over their cash for something as basic as water, but then having to dispose of the plastic bottle it comes in.
Sure, we need to have water when we’re on the move or out and about, but why not buy a proper re-usable water bottle that you can keep for years. And before anyone asks why not just re-use plastic water bottles, it’s worth noting that after a few uses they become germ riddled and harmful to drink from. Proper water bottles are also sturdier and less likely to leak and break.
4. Energy Saving Light bulbs
In many countries energy saving light bulbs are the only type available to buy in shops now. However, if you are still using the old, inefficient filament type then swap over and start saving!
While it’s hard to accurately say how much the average household will save if they swapped all their light bulbs to energy efficient ones, savings of around the 50 dollar a year mark are a reasonable estimate. That’s not a huge amount, but it’s quite a lot when you consider it doesn’t cost more than a few dollars to swap over.
Energy saving light bulbs have received a bad press in the past as people have found them to give off a dimmer and less vibrant light, however, they have improved significantly over recent years and now they’re really is no excuse not to switch.
5. Insulated Thermos
Insulated thermoses have the same green credentials and cost saving benefits of re-usable water bottles except they’ll keep you away from expensive coffee shops and un-environmentally friendly disposable coffee cups. The price of insulated thermoses varies quite significantly; this reflects how long they will keep your drink warm, their size, and – let’s not forget – how likely it is that it is going to leak. A half-decent thermos will keep your coffee, tea (or soup!) warm throughout the day though, saving you dollars as your local Starbucks loses a customer.
About the author: Julian Blackwell manages and writes for the blog at frugaal.com which is a user driven review and comparison site focused on helping people find the right financial products.