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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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Sasha Brown

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Last Updated on March 13, 2019

How to Get out of a Rut: 12 Useful Ways to Get Unstuck

How to Get out of a Rut: 12 Useful Ways to Get Unstuck

Have you gotten into a rut before? Or are you in a rut right now?

You know you’re in a rut when you run out of ideas and inspiration. I personally see a rut as a productivity vacuum. It might very well be a reason why you aren’t getting results. Even as you spend more time on your work, you can’t seem to get anything constructive done. While I’m normally productive, I get into occasional ruts (especially when I’ve been working back-to-back without rest). During those times, I can spend an entire day in front of the computer and get nothing done. It can be quite frustrating.

Over time, I have tried and found several methods that are helpful to pull me out of a rut. If you experience ruts too, whether as a working professional, a writer, a blogger, a student or other work, you will find these useful. Here are 12 of my personal tips to get out of ruts:

1. Work on the small tasks.

When you are in a rut, tackle it by starting small. Clear away your smaller tasks which have been piling up. Reply to your emails, organize your documents, declutter your work space, and reply to private messages.

Whenever I finish doing that, I generate a positive momentum which I bring forward to my work.

2. Take a break from your work desk.

Get yourself away from your desk and go take a walk. Go to the washroom, walk around the office, go out and get a snack.

Your mind is too bogged down and needs some airing. Sometimes I get new ideas right after I walk away from my computer.

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3. Upgrade yourself

Take the down time to upgrade yourself. Go to a seminar. Read up on new materials (#7). Pick up a new language. Or any of the 42 ways here to improve yourself.

The modern computer uses different typefaces because Steve Jobs dropped in on a calligraphy class back in college. How’s that for inspiration?

4. Talk to a friend.

Talk to someone and get your mind off work for a while.

Talk about anything, from casual chatting to a deep conversation about something you really care about. You will be surprised at how the short encounter can be rejuvenating in its own way.

5. Forget about trying to be perfect.

If you are in a rut, the last thing you want to do is step on your own toes with perfectionist tendencies.

Just start small. Do what you can, at your own pace. Let yourself make mistakes.

Soon, a little trickle of inspiration will come. And then it’ll build up with more trickles. Before you know it, you have a whole stream of ideas.

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6. Paint a vision to work towards.

If you are continuously getting in a rut with your work, maybe there’s no vision inspiring you to move forward.

Think about why you are doing this, and what you are doing it for. What is the end vision in mind?

Make it as vivid as possible. Make sure it’s a vision that inspires you and use that to trigger you to action.

7. Read a book (or blog).

The things we read are like food to our brain. If you are out of ideas, it’s time to feed your brain with great materials.

Here’s a list of 40 books you can start off with. Stock your browser with only the feeds of high quality blogs, such as Lifehack.org, DumbLittleMan, Seth Godin’s Blog, Tim Ferris’ Blog, Zen Habits or The Personal Excellence Blog.

Check out the best selling books; those are generally packed with great wisdom.

8. Have a quick nap.

If you are at home, take a quick nap for about 20-30 minutes. This clears up your mind and gives you a quick boost. Nothing quite like starting off on a fresh start after catching up on sleep.

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9. Remember why you are doing this.

Sometimes we lose sight of why we do what we do, and after a while we become jaded. A quick refresher on why you even started on this project will help.

What were you thinking when you thought of doing this? Retrace your thoughts back to that moment. Recall why you are doing this. Then reconnect with your muse.

10. Find some competition.

Nothing quite like healthy competition to spur us forward. If you are out of ideas, then check up on what people are doing in your space.

Colleagues at work, competitors in the industry, competitors’ products and websites, networking conventions.. you get the drill.

11. Go exercise.

Since you are not making headway at work, might as well spend the time shaping yourself up.

Sometimes we work so much that we neglect our health and fitness. Go jog, swim, cycle, whichever exercise you prefer.

As you improve your physical health, your mental health will improve, too. The different facets of ourselves are all interlinked.

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Here’re 15 Tips to Restart the Exercise Habit (and How to Keep It).

12. Take a good break.

Ruts are usually signs that you have been working too long and too hard. It’s time to get a break.

Beyond the quick tips above, arrange for a 1-day or 2-days of break from your work. Don’t check your (work) emails or do anything work-related. Relax and do your favorite activities. You will return to your work recharged and ready to start.

Contrary to popular belief, the world will not end from taking a break from your work. In fact, you will be much more ready to make an impact after proper rest. My best ideas and inspiration always hit me whenever I’m away from my work.

Take a look at this to learn the importance of rest: The Importance of Scheduling Downtime

More Resources About Getting out of a Rut

Featured photo credit: Joshua Earle via unsplash.com

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