It’s Earth Day. Get Some Real Green

Not really into saving the environment? Then focus on saving cold, hard cash.

Ease up on the hot water usage. Don’t use the dishwasher if it’s not full; wash dishes in the sink by hand. Only wash full loads of laundry. And instead of long baths, take short showers. Check the thermostat on your hot water heater; keep it under 120 degrees Fahrenheit. Estimated savings: at least $200 a year.

powerstripGo out and buy some surge protector power strips. Instead of plugging your home electronics (TVs, DVD players, digital recorders, etc.) into wall outlets, plug them into the strip. When you’re not using you’re not watching, listening to and/or playing with your gadgets, hit the off strip on the power strip. You’ll save on the electricity that your home electronics use when they remain plugged in even when they are turned off. If your house is like mine (three TVs, a DVR, a DVD player, a VHS tape player, a CD player), this tip is good for at least $300 a year.

Let’s see: Changing just four habits equals close to $2,000 saved. Hey, if you make $40,000 a year, that’s a 5% raise! Go talk to your boss (if you still have a job) and see if they are planning to hook you up with a 5% bump in salary this year. And that’s just for starters: there are plenty of other environmentally friendly, cost-saving energy tips on the Internet. Start at the U.S. Department of Energy’s Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy web site. Also check our BEing Green section at BlackEnterprise.com, where it’s Earth Day and Financial Literacy Month all year round.

And will you please turn the lights off when you leave the room? (By the way, switch to energy efficient fluorescent bulbs to save even more money.) You heard what mom said: we don’t own the electric company!

Alfred A. Edmond Jr. is the editor-in-chief of BlackEnterprise.com

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