Green living is all around us today, from sustainable buildings to Eco-friendly cars and so on. Everyone is worried about the environment and looking for new ways to protect it and to save money at the same time. Sometimes “going green” can mean spending more money on products and services than we’d like to. But you can save money while trying to go green!

There are ways to save money while helping out the environment. You just have to be a little savvy and shop around. You can still do your part to save the Earth while saving money for yourself. We’ll show you some ways to be environmentally friendly on a budget. Going green does not always mean investing in stainless steel drinking straws instead of the cheaper plastic straws. Saving the environment and saving money often goes hand in hand.

Here are some ways you can go green while also saving money:

1) Unplug and Turnoff – Your appliances still use power when you are not using them if you keep them plugged in all the time. So unplug your appliances until you really need them and you will save energy while also saving on your monthly energy bill. How often do you leave a room and the lights are still on? If you don’t really need it, switch it off. Many people will keep all the lights on even if they’re not in that room. Teach your children these habits and you’ll notice savings on your next electricity bill. Less energy consumption is always better for the environment!

2) Use Energy Efficient Appliances – EPA-approved EnergyStar appliances use between 10% and 50% less electricity than traditional home appliances. Although they carry higher upfront costs, Energy Star appliances quickly pay for themselves when you factor in your lower monthly electricity bills.

3) Decrease Hot Water Temperatures – For most home activities, hot water doesn’t need to be higher than 60ºC . Any higher than this threshold, and your plumbing system will have to add cold water to make your overheated water usable.

4) Turn Up the Temperature In Your Refrigerator – Having your refrigerator run too cold uses a lot of electricity and it makes your food spoil sooner. Excessive electrical use and food waste are serious environmental issues. They also cost you a lot of money. Cut down on both by adjusting the temperature. The ideal refrigerator temperature is 1.6° C.

5) Monitor production – Smart solar systems allow you to monitor energy production in real time via your smartphone or computer. This can help you work out which appliances to use and how much energy you’re producing.

6) Use your solar hot water system's timer and thermostat – You could reduce energy by lowering your hot water temperature at certain times of the day.

7) Take Shorter Showers – Too much water use causes drought in a lot of areas. With fresh water becoming more and more scarce, it is important to save it by taking short showers, no longer than ten minutes and ideally only five minutes. It is enough time to get clean without using too much water. Not only will you save water, but also save on your electricity and power bill. You’ll have to spend some money up front to purchase a low-flow shower head but you’ll see those savings coming back to you when you get your first water and energy bill. They reduce the amount of water you use to get clean and also reduce energy consumption. Low-flow shower heads usually run from about R360.00 upwards.

8) Don't crank the air conditioner – It’s more energy efficient to heat or cool your house slowly over time, instead of turning the air conditioner up for ‘quicker’ results.

9) Replace Light Bulbs – Use energy efficient light bulbs instead of the regular ones. They are reasonably priced with the average cost of around R21.00 per bulb. LEDs have a rated life of up to 50,000 hours. This is approximately 50 times longer than a typical incandescent, 20-25 times longer than a typical halogen, and 8-10 times longer than a typical CFL. Used 12 hours a day, a 50,000 bulb will last more than 11 years.