Let’s face it: between soaring oil prices and rising food costs, it’s becoming harder to make those bills and still be able to go out with your friends, especially if you’re a poor college student. Here are a few easy ways to cut down on costs and feel good while doing it.
Main point: try to create little as possible and recycle what you can
- Recycle: The age-old saying reduce, reuse, recycle still holds true. By using sites such as Our Earth one can look up community recycling programs in their area.
How this saves money: Many of these locations will actually buy back your waste (like aluminum cans) for a set rate. A bit of research into where and what you can sell back could end up saving a few bucks a month. Put this money in a jar and on a rainy day treat yourself to a tasty meal, or put it towards the utilities.
- Donate used clothes, books,etc: While discussing recycling, many of the items that are too old or are too tedious to move into the new home can be donated at resale shops or thrift stores.
How this saves money: The very stores these items are dropped off at many times have hidden treasures that can save a buck or two.
Smart choices that save you money later
- Bring bag to grocery store: The little bags at the grocer can take up to 10-20 years to decompose and they aren’t that sturdy to begin with. Instead bring a bag that can be reused repeatedly.
How this saves money: Once having had to carry a heavier bag, those extra cookies aren’t as appealing, thus cutting down on extravagant consumption.
- Buy local: Especially when it comes to produce, many of your local vendors have the same items you are already buying at the grocer, but at a lower rate.
How this saves money: Establish a relationship with your local vendor to secure fresher, cheaper, higher quality food items.
- Look for the Energy Star label: Efficient dishwashers, washers and dryers, etc. equal reduced utility bills and are better for the environment.
How this saves money: While some of these appliances might cost more upfront, they save money in the long run.
- Change light bulbs: Replace your bulbs with CFL (compact fluorescent lamps). While a bit more at the onset, they have a much greater lifespan and use less energy.
How this saves money: Replace all your bulbs in the house and prepare for a drastic cut in your electric bill.
- Use hangers or clotheslines instead of dryer: Especially in the summer months. Just simply hanging the clothes to dry gets the same job done and costs absolutely nothing.
How this saves money: Less you use that dryer, the more you save.
- Wear more clothes when cold instead of turning on the heat: Chances are you already have a few comfortable sweaters and sweatshirts that you’re embarrassed to wear outside the house, here is a perfect solution. Another method is to cozy up with someone special.
How this saves money: Same goes with the air conditioning, less you use less you pay.
- Keeping track of those bills
- Unplug electronics when not in use: One of the greatest uses of electricity comes from our appliances when they are not in use. Just simply plug in your toys as you need them for a lighter electricity bill.
How this saves you money: get a longer shelf life out of your gadgets and lower the bills.
- Use fans instead of air conditioning: For those times when wearing less just won’t cut it. Fans use comparatively less energy (especially ones with Energy Star labels) to power and are easier to shut on and off. Cool trick-put the back of the fan facing an open window to get in some of that cool fresh air.
How this saves money: Pay to power only one electronic instead of air conditioning the whole house.
- Carry a water jug instead of bottled water: Having to keep replacing water bottles is expensive, tedious and produces more waste. In addition the plastic found in the bottles is made from the very oil that’s continually costing you more. Buy a one time sturdy bottle and have your drinking dilemma settled. As an added bonus you can transport iced tea, juice or anything else you would like.
How this saves money: Not having to lug those cases of water bottles every week will reduce stress on your back as well as your wallet.
- Turn off air conditioning and lights when leaving the house: Despite what some may think, it does use more energy to keep the air conditioning on all day instead of turning it on when you get home. While you’re at it, shut off those lights as well if you know no one is going to be home.
How this saves money: Not paying to keep your lonely home light and air conditioned through the day equals extra money at the end of the month.
- Shower shorter: Take your current shower time. Try to cut it in half.
How this saves money: shorter showers cuts down on the heat and water bills.
Offsetting rising gas prices
- Biking, carpool, public transport: all these options promote socialization, cost less, and are friendly to the environment. What more could you ask for?
How this saves money: by using your vehicle only when necessary you get the best bang for your buck when it comes to gas.