16 Ways to Live More Sustainably and Reduce Expenses

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7. Prepare food mindfully

Eating at restaurants less frequently is a huge money-saver, but making food at home can also help you prevent waste. So if you have the time or ability to cook meals for yourself, be mindful of how much you make and save any leftovers. Seek to reduce the amount of trash you produce, and compost food waste for re-use in a vegetable garden. An incredible amount of edible food ends up in landfills each year, and being personally accountable for cooking and eating the food we buy is a great solution.

8. Consider solar power

Residential solar power systems aren’t as expensive or complicated as you might think, and nothing is more sustainable than reducing your reliance on the local power grid—or disconnecting from it completely! While it sometimes takes several years to recover the initial investment in solar panels and batteries, harnessing the sun’s natural energy will save more, long-term, than most energy-conservation tactics.

9. Turn off interior lights and the TV

Lighting makes up about 9% of residential electricity usage, so simply turning off the ones you’re not currently using can have an immediate impact. As for the television, modern flat-screen LED units don’t use as much energy as those old tube models, but even the most efficient model won’t save much money or electricity if it’s left on all the time in the background. If you’re not actually watching it, turn it off.

10. Unplug devices and small appliances

Many of the devices in your home consume power even when turned off, just by virtue of still being plugged in. This phenomenon is called “phantom power” or “vampire power,” and it adds up: sleeping devices may account for 5–10% of household power use. How many are plugged into outlets at your home right now? Consider your coffee maker, Blu-ray player, phone charger, toaster, hair dryer, and blender—how many of those can be unplugged when not in use?

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