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10 Easy But Effective Ways To Save Water

10 Easy But Effective Ways To Save Water

The recent popularity of the ice bucket challenge has spurned a lot of people to be more aware of water. Water from the challenges will evaporate back up in the atmosphere and be returned to the water table in the form of rain eventually and water we use at home is recycled eventually. However, it still costs us a lot of money. Here are some effective ways to save water.

1. Turn off your water when brushing your teeth

People don’t often associate wasting water with brushing your teeth but truthfully you can waste quite a bit of water this way. If you want to know how much, simply put a pot in the sink while you brush your teeth and see how much gets filled. Then multiply that by however many times a day you brush your teeth (usually two to three times). Then add in everyone else in your household. When it’s all added up you realize that you’re wasting a lot of water and that water costs you money. By turning off the faucet when you brush, you can save quite a bit.

2. Take a shower instead of a bath if you’re keeping it short

save water

    A bath typically uses around 40 to 50 gallons of water while a 10 minute shower usually breaks about 25. To get those kind of water savings, you’ll need a low flow shower head and to shorten your showers to about 10 minutes but the savings are palpable. You can also put your watering can in the shower while you wait for the water to warm up and use the excess water to water your plants or lawn thus lowering the amount of water you waste.

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    Part two of this is something you don’t hear very often. If you actually plan on washing yourself for an hour, take a bath. There comes a point where you shower for so long that you go from saving water to wasting water. How long that is depends on how large your tub is, how much water you use in baths, and how much water comes out of your shower head. However, after about 30-45 minutes, there’s really no set up out there where taking a shower is still more efficient. If you’re going to be in there for an hour, take a bath. You’ll actually save water that way.

    3. Fix any and all water leaks in your home

    A leaky faucet or pipe is literally dripping money all over the place. You can usually see a faucet leaking because it’s right there above the sink or tub. A leaky pipe may be a bit harder to spot and you may have to go rooting around underneath your toilet, bathroom sink, kitchen, sink, etc to make sure they’re not leaking water. A little drip doesn’t seem so bad but when it drips three times a minute, that’s 20 times an hour or 480 times a day. That’s 175,200 drips per year. It adds up quickly doesn’t it?

    4. Shower with your partner

    save water

      If you and your partner shower every day then the two of you shower 60 times a month or 720 times a year total. You can cut that number literally in half by showering together. Given that we know that a 10 minute shower takes 25 gallons of water, you can do the math and it comes out to about 9000 gallons that you save every year. Realistically you’ll probably take a bit longer if you’re sharing but any savings is good savings!

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      5. Turn your toilet into a low flow toilet

      A fun DIY hack for this is to fill up a decent sized water bottle with water and rocks and then drop it into the back of your toilet. It will displace water meaning your toilet requires less water to fill. It’s a cheap thing to do, it doesn’t affect the usefulness of your toilet, and you can get a drastic amount of water savings that way.

      6. Don’t flush anything down the toilet that didn’t come from a human body

      save water

        People will do things like blow their nose and toss the tissue into the toilet and flush it away. That’s insanely wasteful. There are also things you shouldn’t be flushing down the toilet anyway like q-tips and tampons. Unless it’s #1, #2, or something used to clean up after #1 or #2, use the trash can to throw it away. You’ll save 1-2 gallons of water for each time you don’t flush.

        7. Figure out a new use for that leftover pasta water

        Whenever you have to boil something (eggs, pasta, etc) keep a large container around. When you drain the pasta into the colander (strainer) put the container underneath to catch the water. Use that to water your plants or your yard. This not only gives you a use for the excess water you’d otherwise waste, but also saves you water from your backyard garden hose. That’s a win-win.

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        8. Wash only full loads of things

        save water

          You can save a bunch of water by only doing full loads of laundry or full loads in the dishwasher. This is especially true for the dishwasher which uses the same amount of water no matter how many dishes are in it. You can adjust the washer based on load size but chances are that it uses too much water even on smaller loads so you’re probably better off waiting until there is a full load.

          9. Put water in the fridge

          This actually serves two purposes. The first being that you always have cold water to drink whenever you need it. The second is that you don’t have to turn on the sink faucet and wait for the water to get cold to fill up your glass. A lot of people use gallon jugs leftover from milk or juice (cleaned out of course). You can go all out and get one of those water filter containers like Brita and filter the water as well as store it. It doesn’t have as much water savings as these other things but every little bit helps!

          10. Invest in low flow and water efficient alternatives

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          save water

            Things break down which means you’ll eventually need to replace almost everything you own. Next time you get a washer find a water efficient washer that uses less water. You can always get a low-flow shower head because they’re relatively inexpensive anyway. There are also low flow toilets, water efficient dishwashers, and you can even replace your faucets to more water efficient options. Some of it is expensive so we don’t blame you if you want to wait until your appliances break before buying new ones but if you invest and get water efficient things then you’ll start saving water instantly without changing any of your other habits.

             

            At the end of the day, saving water is all about paying attention. Don’t leave water on when it doesn’t need to be on. Don’t flush things that don’t need flushing. By saving water, you’re lowering your impact on the local water table and you’re saving yourself money on your water bill every month!

            Featured photo credit: Philly.com via philly.com

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            Last Updated on January 2, 2019

            How Personal Finance Software Helps You Get More Out of Your Money

            How Personal Finance Software Helps You Get More Out of Your Money

            Do you know what mental health experts point to as the biggest cause of stress in the United States today? If you said “money,” then ding, ding, we have a winner!

            Three out of four adults today report feeling stressed out about money at least part of the time. People are either worried about not having enough money or whether they’re putting the money they do have to use in the best possible way.

            Your money is either in charge of you or you’re in charge of it, there’s no middle ground. Using some type of personal finance software can help alleviate some of that money stress and better allow you to manage your money effectively. Without it, you may just be setting yourself up for constant financial worry. Life is already tough enough and there’s no need to make it more difficult by simply hoping your money issues will all work out in your favor. Hint: they won’t.

            This guide will help you to understand how personal finance software can better assist with both accomplishing long term financial goals and managing day-to-day aspects of life.

            Whether it’s tracking the savings plan for your child’s college fund or making sure you won’t be in the red with the month’s grocery budget, personal finance software keeps all this information in one convenient place.

            What Exactly is Personal Finance Software?

            Think of it like the dashboard in your car. You have a speedometer to tell you how fast you’re going, an odometer to tell you how far you’ve traveled, and then other gauges to tell you things like how much gas is in the tank and your engine temperature. Personal finance software is essentially the same thing for your money.

            When you install this software on your computer, tablet, or smartphone, it helps to track your money — how much is going in, how much is going out, and its growth. Most personal finance software programs will display your budget, spending, investments, bills, savings accounts, and even retirement plans, levels of debt, and credit score.

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            How It Leads to Financial Improvement

            It shouldn’t come as a surprise, but people who regularly monitor their finances end up wealthier than those who don’t. When you were a kid, keeping track of all of your money in a porcelain piggy bank was pretty easy. As we get older, though, our money becomes spread out across things like car payments, mortgages, retirement funds, taxes, and other investments and debts. All of these things make keeping track of our money a lot more complicated.

            Some types of personal finance software can help make things a little less complicated, setting you up to meet financial goals and taking away some of the stress associated with money.

            Even if you already have a Certified Financial Planner (CFP) some type of personal finance software can be of great benefit. Whereas CFPs focus on the big picture of your money, they don’t handle the day-to-day aspects that determine your overall financial health.

            It’s also not nearly as complicated as you might think and can take out a lot of the tedium that comes with doing everything on an Excel spreadsheet or with a pad and pencil.

            Types of Personal Finance Software

            When it comes to personal finance software, it generally fits into two categories: tax preparation and money management.

            Tax preparation software such as Turbo Tax and H&R Block’s software can help with everything from filing income taxes to IRS rules and regulations and even estate plans. Plus, there’s the benefit of filing online and getting your refund check a lot faster than if you were to mail off your forms after waiting in line at the post office.

            For the purpose of this article, however, will be focusing more on the personal finance software that aids with money management.

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            Money management personal finance software will help you to see the health of your cash flow, pay down debt, forecast for expenses and savings, track investments, pay bills, and do a host of other things that 30 years ago would have practically required a team of accountants.

            When to Use Personal Finance Software

            So far we’ve gone over what exactly personal finance software is and how it can be a benefit to your money. The next logical step in this whole equation is determining when it should be used and how is the best way to go about getting started using it.

            Below are four of the most common and practical ways to use personal finance software. If all or any of these apply to you and your money, then downloading some type of personal finance software is going to be a smart move.

            1. You Have Multiple Accounts

            There’s a good chance that when it comes to your money, it’s in more than one place. Sure, you probably have a checking account, but you may also have a savings account, money market account, and retirement accounts such as an IRA or 401k.

            If you’re like the average American, you probably have two to three credit cards as well. Fifty percent of Americans also don’t have loyalty to just one bank and spread their money across multiple banks.

            Rather than spending hours typing in every detail of every account you have into a spreadsheet, many programs allow you to easily import your account information. This will help to eliminate any mistakes and give you a bird’s eye view of everything at once.

            2. You Want to Automate Some or All of Your Payments

            Please don’t say that you’re still writing out paper checks and dropping each bill in the mailbox. While it’s noble that you’re doing your part to keep postal workers employed, we’re 18 years into the 21st century and you can literally pay every bill online now.

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            There’s no need to log into every account you have and type in your routing number either.

            With personal finance software you can schedule automatic payments and transfers between all of your imported accounts. Automatic transfers will help to make sure you have the necessary funds in the right account to ensure all bills are paid on the appropriate date. Late fees are annoying and do nothing but cost you money. It’s time that you said goodbye to them once and for all.

            3. You Need to Streamline Your Budget

            Perhaps the best feature of personal finance software is that it allows you track everything going in and out of your virtual wallet.

            Nearly every brand of personal finance software out there has easy-to-read graphs and charts that allow you track every cent you spend or earn, should you choose. You might be pretty amazed when you see just how much you spent on eating out last month or if you splurged a little more than you should have on Christmas gifts last year.

            Every successful business on the planet has a budget and using personal finance software can help you trim the fat on your spending in ways that affect your everyday life.

            4. You Have Specific Goals to Meet

            Maybe it’s paying off debt or saving for up something like a European vacation. Whatever your financial goal is, whether it’s long-term or short-term, personal finance software programs are one of the savviest ways to go about reaching those goals.

            You can do everything from set spending alerts to notify you when you’re over budget to automating what percentage of your paycheck goes to things like retirement investments. The personal finance software that you choose should show you exactly how close you are to hitting those goals at any given time.

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            How to Get Started

            From AceMoney to Mint and Quicken, there ’s no shortage of personal finance software apps out there. Many of these programs are free to download and will allow you to pay bills, invest, monitor your net worth and credit profile, and even get a loan with the swipe of a finger.

            Other programs may only offer you limited services and will require a one-time fee or subscription to unlock all that they offer. These fees can often vary from as little as two dollars to 50 bucks a month.

            It’s best to start off with the free version and then gauge whether you’re able to accomplish everything you’d like or if it’s worth exploring one of the paid options. Often times the subscription programs come with assistance from financial planning and investment experts — so that can be a real benefit.

            When deciding which personal finance software program to use, it’s also important to look at how many accounts you wish to monitor. Certain programs limit the number of accounts you can add. Be sure that if you have checking, credit card, and investment accounts to monitor, that you choose a service that can monitor them all.

            Finally, when looking around for the right personal finance software that meets your needs, make sure that you’re comfortable with the program’s interface. It shouldn’t be expected that you recognize every single feature instantly, but if the features don’t seem readable and manageable to you, then you’re not as likely to use it and get the full benefits.

            Final Thoughts

            Personal finance software can go a long way in helping you to take control of your money and meeting your financial goals. It’s important to note, however, that some focus more on budgeting and expense tracking while others prioritize investing portfolios and income taxes. Explore several different programs and read reviews to find the one that’s right for you.

            In this day and age, managing one’s personal finances in a secure manner that allows the user to have a real-time visual representation of their money is easier than ever before. With the numerous applications that are out there — both free and subscription-based — there’s no reason that every person can’t take control of their money and ensure they’re making smart money moves.

            Featured photo credit: rawpixel via unsplash.com

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