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Cheap and Easy Ways to Live Green and Save Money

Cheap and Easy Ways to Live Green and Save Money

Living green isn’t always synonymous with saving money, but thanks to innovation and new technology, living green and saving money can go hand in hand. It is absolutely possible to commit to a life of living green while not compromising a monthly budget. Many times, living green is actually better for your wallet because it is not always necessary to invest in expensive equipment to get you started on the right track.

Change Your Habits

This is quite possible the easiest way to save energy. You should begin by remembering to turn electronics off when they are not being used, especially if they are plugged in. This can include televisions and computers, which use up a lot of energy even when they are not being used. In addition to this, there are items that are “phantom loads”. These are the things that seem to be turned off but still draw power. The television remote and entertainment system are examples of these leeches.

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Easy Swaps

Often times, there is a more efficient alternative to an appliance that you already own. A simple toaster uses much less energy than a toaster oven (900 watts compared to 1300), so opt for the toaster if you are just making a few pieces of toast. Instead of using your regular oven, opt for a slow cooker. This is more energy efficient and you won’t have to worry about burning the meal. It also takes much less tending to. When using a computer, choose a laptop over a desktop. This will not only save on space, but also on energy. Interestingly enough to go with your computer, an internet USB stick can plug into the computer and will use less energy than a modem and router setup.

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New Appliances

When the time comes that you are in the market for buying a new large appliance, look at the energy that it uses as well as other features that it may have. Many time you can find how many kWh they use per year. Choose the lowest number on the appliance that has all of the features that you need. There have been major changes made in appliances being energy efficient since 1992.

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Other Tips

  1. It is very important to remember not to waste energy while you aren’t home. This means heating and cooling an empty house is a no-no. In the winter, 68 degrees is sufficient while you are home, and 55 degrees while you are away.
  2. You can make your refrigerator more efficient by cleaning the coils. Vacuum the dust out and then wipe with a damp cloth.
  3. Carpool with neighbors or coworkers. This will not only save you money, but on the days that you are not driving, you can actually relax on the commute.
  4. Start your own compost pile in your backyard. There are lots of items that can be made into compost, so it will also cut down on your overall garbage.
  5. To go paperless, read your news online, and cancel subscriptions to magazines and newspapers.
  6. Start using cloth napkins rather than paper, file taxes electronically, and opt to receive bills via email rather than snail mail.
  7. Talk to your power company about installing solar panels for energy. This is not a totally cheap option, but it can give you a tax credit and cut back your monthly electric bill. It is something that will pay off over time.
  8. Pack your lunch in a paper bag rather than plastic, and choose foods with minimal packaging that will end up in the trash.
  9. Save water by repairing leaky faucets and installing water saving toilets and shower heads, and only running the washer and dishwasher when they are full.

The end result of utilizing these cheap and easy ideas is that you’ll be operating a house on about a quarter of the power most households use.

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Last Updated on October 23, 2018

Science Says Knitting Makes Humans Warmer And Happier, Mentally

Science Says Knitting Makes Humans Warmer And Happier, Mentally

My mother was a great knitter and produced some wonderful garments such as Aran sweaters which were extremely fashionable when I was young. She also knitted while my father drove, which caused great amusement. I often wondered why she did that but I think I know the answer now.

Knitting is good for your mental health, according to some research studies. The Washington Post mentions a 2013 survey of about 3,500 knitters who were asked how they felt after a knitting session. Over 80% of them said they definitely felt happier. It is not a totally female occupation as more and more men take it up to get the same benefits. Harry Styles (One Direction) enjoys knitting. So does Russell Crowe although he does it to help him with anger management!

The Neural Knitwork Project

In Australia, Neural Knitworks was started to encourage people to knit and also become aware of neuroscience and mental health issues. Knit-ins were organized but garments were not the only things created. The knitters produced handmade neurons (1,665 of them!) to make a giant brain. The 2015 project will make more neural knitted networks (neural knitworks) and they will be visible online. You can see some more examples of woolly neurons on the Neural Knitworks Facebook page.

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While people knitted, crocheted and crafted yarn, they listened to experts talking about mental health issues such as addiction, dementia, depression, and how neurons work.

The knitting and neural connection

The human brain has about 80 billion neurons. Learning new skills, social interaction, and physical activity all help to forge neural connections which keep the brain healthy and active. They are creating networks to control movement and make memories. The knitters learn that as they create the woollen neurons, their own neurons are forming new pathways in their brains. Their creations are mimicking the processes in their brains to a certain extent. At the same time, their brains are registering new and interesting information as they learn interesting facts about the brain and how it works. I love the knitworks and networks pun. What a brilliant idea!

More mental health benefits from knitting

Betsan Corkhill is a physiotherapist and has published some results of completed studies on her website, appropriately named Stitchlinks. She conducted some experiments herself and found that knitting was really helpful in reducing panic and anxiety attacks.

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“You are using up an awful lot of brain capacity to perform a coordinated series of movements. The more capacity you take up by being involved in a complex task, the less capacity you have for bad thoughts.”- Betsan Corkhill

Knitters feel happier and in a better mood

Ann Futterman-Collier, Well Being Lab at Northern Arizona University, is very interested in how textile therapy (sewing, knitting, weaving and lace-making) can play an important role in mood repair and in lifting depressive states.

She researched 60 women and divided them into three different groups to do some writing, meditating and work with textiles. She monitored their heartbeat, blood pressure and saliva production. The women in the textiles group had the best results when their mood was assessed afterwards. They were in a better mood and had managed to reduce their negative thoughts better than those in the writing and meditation groups.

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“People who were given the task to make something actually had less of an inflammatory response in the face of a ‘stressor’.” – Dr. Futterman Collier

The dopamine effect on our happiness

Our brains produce a chemical called dopamine. This helps us to feel happy, more motivated, and assists also with focus and concentration. We get a boost of dopamine after sex, food, exercise, sleep, and creative activities.

There are medications to increase dopamine but there are lots of ways we can do it naturally. Textile therapy and crafting are the easiest and cheapest. We can create something and then admire it. In addition, this allows for a little bit of praise and congratulations. Although this is likely not your goal, all these can boost our dopamine and we just feel happier and more fulfilled. These are essential in facing new challenges and coping with disappointment in life.

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“Sometimes, people come up to me when I am knitting and they say things like, “Oh, I wish I could knit, but I’m just not the kind of person who can sit and waste time like that.” How can knitting be wasting time? First, I never just knit; I knit and think, knit and listen, knit and watch. Second, you aren’t wasting time if you get a useful or beautiful object at the end of it.” – Stephanie Pearl-McPhee, At Knit’s End: Meditations for Women Who Knit Too Much.

If you thought knitting and textiles were for old ladies, think again!

Featured photo credit: DSC_0012/Mary-Frances Main via flickr.com

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