Guest Post by Beth Kelly
Many people view the onset of the holiday season with ambivalence. While they enjoy the festive spirit and cherish spending quality time with loved ones, they’re put off by the expenses and waste that typically accompany preparing for the holidays. By doing things for yourself, instead of making costly purchases, and conserving resources, you can fully partake in the spirit of the season without breaking the bank. Here are six tips for celebrating a “Green Christmas” while saving some money at the same time:
6. Use LED Christmas Lights
LED lights are marvelous devices that allow you to achieve bright, vibrant, colored lighting with a fraction of the energy consumption of ordinary light bulbs. Not only are they cheaper to run, but they also tend to last longer than regular lights before burning out. They’re less prone to breakage and generate less heat than traditional lights, so you can reduce your electric bill and lower the chance of accidents with LED lights.
5. Send Christmas Cards Via Email
There are plenty of places online where you can create cards and then send them via email, and most of them are completely free. Besides costing less, you’ll have the advantage of tailoring each card to the receiver. While your choices for Christmas cards are limited in a brick-and-mortar store, when you work online, you’re limited only by your own imagination.
4. Save Energy While Cooking
If you’ll be baking many foods for family and friends, it’s a good idea to place more than one item within your oven at the same time. In this way, you’ll have to warm up your oven only a few times rather than wasting time and energy waiting for your oven to reach the target temperature again and again. You can achieve even more efficiency by using your microwave, toaster oven and other small appliances to heat up certain foods instead of your oven.
3. Make Your Own Gifts
Rather than spending lavishly during the holidays and thereby lining the pockets of retailers, you might want to consider handcrafted presents this year. From baked goods and preserves to small articles of clothing and ornaments, there are plenty of options for simple gifts that you can make yourself without too much time, effort or cost. The recipients will also appreciate the personalized touch of a gift you made yourself.
2. Purchase Goods in Bulk
If you’re planning on doing a lot of entertaining this holiday season, you may be able to achieve significant savings by buying supplies in bulk. Rather than purchasing napkins, soft drinks, condiments and foodstuffs on an as-needed basis, you can buy in large volumes at a reduced price per unit. Another benefit of doing so is that you’ll only need to make a few trips to the store instead of flying back and forth many times. You’ll thus save time as well as money. Due to having fewer empty packages to dispose of, you’ll also be helping the natural environment.
1. Improve Energy Efficiency
It’s important to get your heating system carefully checked out to make sure there are no problems, like a dirty air filter or holes in your vents that could increase your energy consumption. You should also examine your doors and windows to verify that there aren’t any air leaks. By setting your thermostat carefully or purchasing an automatic thermostat, you can reduce the temperature at certain times of day when your rooms will be unused. Finally, checking with your energy provider could reveal savings and deals you weren’t aware existed. Most energy companies have renewable energy plans, as well (or you could invest in your own), which would reduce your home’s footprint at a time when electricity and heating usage is high.
|Beth is a freelance writer and blogger from the heart of the Midwest. She graduated from DePaul University in Chicago, IL before spending several years abroad teaching English. Her primary interests include analog photography, vintage fashion and Japanese cinema. You can find her on Twitter:@bkelly_88|