Savvy retirees can find many ways to lower their monthly bills and stretch their retirement savings. Fortunately, many budget-friendly lifestyle changes are also good for the environment. If you want to go green, and save money, consider these simple strategies.
Eat at home
With the high cost of restaurant dining, eating at home is one of the easiest ways to save money. You save on the cost of food, as well as the cost (and pollution) of transportation to the restaurant. Eating at home also makes it easier to choose organic or locally grown groceries.
Grow a garden
Organic and locally grown produce is expensive, but you can save money by growing your own. Start a vegetable garden in your backyard or sign up for a plot at a community garden. Joining a gardening club can be a great way to get growing tips or arrange to trade excess crops.
Adjust your hot water heater
The energy it takes to heat up your hot water tank adds to your utility bills each month. Turning down your hot water heater saves energy and helps protect you from scalding water at the taps. If you are ready to replace your hot water heater, choose an Energy Star rated model or look into either a tankless water heater or one that is solar powered.
Wash your clothes in cold water
Switching your washing machine from "hot" to "warm" water saves energy and money, but switching to "cold" saves even more. Newer laundry detergents are designed to get clothes just as clean when washed in cold water. For the best results, look for detergent that is labeled for cold water use.
Line dry your laundry
If you have a sunny backyard, line drying your laundry is an easy way to save the cost and energy of running your clothes dryer. You can also dry smaller batches of clothes indoors with a folding rack or a hanging space in your laundry room. Line drying may also be more gentle on your clothes, giving them longer life.
Go to the library
Instead of buying books or magazines, take a trip to the library. A library card is free, and most libraries let you borrow movies and music in addition to books. For added convenience, find out if your library has a website. Many library websites let you search, reserve and renew books online.
Borrow and rent
How many times have you bought a tool for a job and never used it when the project was over? If you need a special item, like a power washer or a power tool, try borrowing it from a neighbor or renting it from your local hardware store instead of buying.
Use energy-efficient light bulbs
Replacing traditional incandescent light bulbs with energy-efficient options can lead to significant savings on your annual electric bill. Long-lasting CFLs and LEDs are great choices for energy savings, even if they cost more at the store.
Plug into power strips
Leaving items plugged into your electric outlets can waste energy even if the power is turned off. Items like smartphones, TVs and set-top boxes go into a "standby" mode when you turn them off, yet still draw power in what is sometimes called a phantom load. You can stop wasting this energy by plugging items into power strips, then turning the power strips off when they aren't in use.
Switch to paperless billing
Paper statements from banks, utilities and other bills waste a lot of paper. You also spend the cost of a stamp each time you mail in a bill. Companies prefer paperless billing and they may offer a small discount or other perk for turning off your paper statements. Have you tried any of these tips for going green and saving money? Do you have additional tips you would like to share? Let us know in the comments below.