An eco-friendly home will save electricity and energy which in turn will lower your expenses towards it – that much, I know is true. Begin by looking into a few areas where you think you can make the biggest difference; remember that the smallest changes can sometimes have some of the biggest impact.

The best way to save money this winter is to constantly monitor the levels of your home’s monthly energy consumption. While we depend on our electronics and other appliances for our daily living, all of these contribute to carbon footprint and are the biggest drains on our wallet. You have the option to choose the more eco friendly and energy efficient alternatives. The less energy you use in your home, the lesser bills you have to pay, and ultimately, you’ll be doing your part for the community and the environment.

Here are a few ideas to have an eco-friendly home, keep warm this winter, and still save money:

LIGHTING. If you are you using standard light bulbs in your home, replace all of them with energy efficient bulbs when they burn out. It consumes less electricity and it will last longer. For Christmas and other decorative lights, choose those that are using LED lights- they are less likely to cause fire because they don’t heat up like regular bulbs. They are safer to touch and they consume far less energy too.

Always think of ways to use only as much light as you need it. For instance, if you’re reading a book in bed, use a small desk lamp instead of turning on the ceiling light. If you are leaving lights on in the house all day, it might benefit you to install motion sensors. This way, your bulbs can last a little longer, your electric bill will go down, and you won’t have to fumble in the dark for the light switches.

ELECTRONICS. It should already be a common practice to switch off anything that runs on electricity when not in use; however, most people still forget or are complacent about it. For instance, if you need to leave your computer for awhile, save all your work and switch off your computer; it is better than letting the screen saver run for many hours.

If not, put your computer on hibernate. This will not only increase the life of your computer but also save electricity and reduce your monthly bill. Only switch on decorative lighting during night time, and switch them off again before you go to bed.

HEATING. In the winter months, heating appliances use up large quantities of energy, and drains the money out of your pocket. It is advisable to reduce your thermostat by one degree in winter. This small change can help reduce your monthly bills when it causes your heating units to run less often.

Wear as much clothing as you can feel comfortable inside your home. The added insulation will help you tolerate to turn down your heating by a few more degrees, and lower your energy consumption. Make sure that your home’s doors and windows don’t have air leaks around them.

Cold air must be sealed out so that your heating unit won’t have a hard time maintaining its temperature. And if you like to cozy up next to the fireplace, avoid burning wood by using a natural gas fireplace. It will help a lot in reducing your carbon footprint and pollution contribution. Close the fireplace damper when you’re not using it in order to stop warm air from escaping through the chimney. But make sure to open it when you use the fireplace.

WATER. The goal in mind here is to conserve water and use less water heating as much as possible. In your home, try to use cold water when washing them. This goes the same when washing dirty dishes- make sure that you don’t let the water run when you’re rinsing. If you are using a dishwasher, scrape dirty dishes rather than rinsing them before putting them inside. Also, skip the heated dry cycle and just air dry your dishes. Take shorter showers instead of the usual long bathtub soaks. And if you can, install low flow shower heads to save water and money.

ACTIVITIES. Stay active! Moving around produces body heat, and if you are more active, your blood circulation will be improved. Exercise or get in shape whenever you can; it can warm you up, even well after the session, by getting warm blood reach your fingers and toes. Besides, a healthy body is in general more tolerant of the cold.

And if you really want to save a significant amount of money during the winter, get out of the house! Visit some of your friends’ houses or participate in other activities outside of your home – church, movie theaters, shopping malls, libraries, and so on. This way you won’t have to use energy in your home, and you get to socialize as well.

Ultimately, there are numerous ways to turn your home into an environment friendly place that can save you money even in the winter. It will take dedication on your part to always do what is needed and help cut back on your house expenses.

The changes that you make, no matter how simple it is, are going to be those that have a direct impact on both the environment and on your savings.

The more you consider your actions to benefit your finances, and its effect on other things, the better you will be able to apply them in every aspect of your life and help make the world greener one day at a time.

Our guest post is by Andre Pinantoan

Andre is part of the team that manages Australian Credit Cards, a free credit card comparison service that also maintains a personal finance blog based in Sydney, Australia.

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