There is a good reason millennials are making such a big deal about the perils of “adulting”. The cost of living is steadily on the rise for most of us and maintaining a functional household is becoming increasingly difficult. Changing just a few things in your daily routine or how your household runs could end up saving you big bucks in the long run.
Use the sun
Cooling your home in the summer can be just about as expensive as it is to heat it in the winter. Start throwing in your water heater and other major appliances as well as your media devices and the power bill very quickly starts racking up significant figures. You can offset part of or even completely eliminate your electricity bill by opting for solar energy as an alternative. Once the solar panel installation is complete, the monthly cost of running and maintaining your solar energy system is nominal compared to that of running on grid power.
Use a bucket
Even if the costs of water and sanitation were removed from considerations, we should all be more conscious about our water usage and how we can reduce our use of fresh water. Watering your garden and plants, flushing the toilet and rinsing outdoor areas do not require fresh water and you should ideally be using collected rainwater or grey water from your shower and kitchen and bathroom basins instead. These solutions don’t need to be expensive, a simple plastic or PVC pipe from our rain gutter to your garden will channel rain water without any work from you and eliminate the need for sprinklers and irrigation systems in the wetter months. Collecting the water used to shower or wash your hands can be kept in the bathroom and used to flush the loo when needed.
Grow your own
Now that you’re using free rainwater and reusing grey water to water your garden, why not plant a few fruits, vegetables and herbs to subsidise your weekly grocery run. Think about the sunlight, moisture and soil conditions in your garden and look for plants that will grow well. Also look for produce you will use often to reduce waste. If you’ve had a bountiful harvest and find yourself with excess produce, consider setting up a barter club with neighbours or friends and family. You may just surprise yourself at how much free fruit and vegetables you find yourself with each week.
Reuse where you can
Instead of just throwing away things that you’ve used, try to find new uses for them. For example, empty wine bottles make great candle holders and will save you from having to buy them at the store. Plastic bags from the grocery store make great liners for smaller bins or can be tied to a leash and used to pick up after your dog on your walk. Don’t throw away old t-shirts and cut them up for use as dust clothes and cleaning rags. Empty egg cartons make excellent planting vessels for seedlings, for garden and they hold their shape for long enough to protect the root system, but are biodegradable and safe to plant in the soil.