Financial Fitness Task 17: Give Your House a Financial Makeover #30DaysofGOOD

A few tips on how to make your home more energy-efficient and, in turn, more cost-effective.

Things are easier said than done, or so the old adage goes, and we couldn't agree more. That's why we do The GOOD 30-Day Challenge (#30DaysofGOOD), a monthly attempt to live better. Our challenge for January?Financial Fitness.

Today's task: Give your house a financial makeover.

Today, let's make a few changes around the home to make it energy-efficient and, in turn, more cost-effective. Here are a few tips to minimize those bills and save money.

Don't forget to turn off those lights! Turning off the lights when you leave a room will help bring down that electricity bill. You should also try letting in as much natural light as you can before resorting to light bulbs. Replacing incandescent light bulbs with compact fluorescent lamps is another easy options: they'll save you three-quarters of the electricity used by incandescents and last up to 10,000 hours.

Turn down the heater (to a reasonable temperature). Living in Los Angeles, we're spoiled with warm winters. But wherever you are, try layering up with warm sweaters and socks before cranking up the heat. You can also use a doorstop to keep the draft out. You'll be amazed at how much this reduces your heating bill.

Disconnect the landline. If you still have a landline, let me introduce you to your cell phone. Additional phones can rack up huge bill.

Make your own cleaning supplies. There is no need to stock up on expensive home cleaning products that pollute the environment with chemicals. Instead, make your own cheaper and cleaner versions with ingredients like vinegar, baking soda, and tea tree oil. Here's how.

Stop wasting water. More water is consumed per person in the United States than in any other country. The toilet is the single largest user of clean drinking water inside the home, and it is also the easiest place to conserve water. Before you run out and replace your existing toilets, try these simple and effective measures to force your old toilet to use less water, from flush adapters to flusher adjustments and tank tricks. And when the time comes to replace your working toilets, make sure you buy a low-flow or dual-flush model.

Showers add up to nearly 20 percent of all indoor water usage, and they are the largest users of hot water. By simply installing a low-flow showerhead, you can save up to 4,000 gallons of water annually, and every gallon of hot water saved means gas or electricity you don’t need to use to heat it.

Eat less meat. Replacing your filet or chicken with a vegetarian option like legumes could help cut down on the cost of home-cooked meals. This chart looks at the cost breakdown of a days worth of food for meat-eaters, pescetarians, vegetarians, and vegans and concludes that vegans spend the least amount of money on their meals.

Come back tomorrow for the next task in our financial fitness challenge.

Propose an idea here for a project or workshop that promotes financial fitness in your community. The top-voted idea will win $500 to implement the project!

Photo via (cc) Flickr user birdies100

via Barry Schapiro / Twitter

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