Our planet is under tremendous pressure. The latest coronavirus, COVID-19, has led to a serious global health pandemic. On top of that, it has also caused financial concerns for many Canadians and people across the world.

You may find yourself wondering how to keep yourself and your loved ones healthy. Or, you may be worried about paying your bills during quarantine.

With so many things to think about these days, being eco-conscious may be the last thing on your mind. But living a little greener may actually help you save money right now. Here’s how.

Easy green step #1: Get smart with your energy

The easiest way to live greener – and save – is to use less power. By doing so, you can decrease demand for energy while fattening your wallet.

  • Turn off the lights. Get into the habit of lighting only the rooms you’re currently using.
  • Unplug your electronics. Beware “phantom power” hogs. This includes everything from computer monitors to cell phone chargers that draw energy even when they’re not turned on. Unplug them and you could potentially save up to $50 a year on your energy bills, says B.C. Hydro.
  • Lower your thermostat. Turn down the heat by 5°C at night and save you 10% on your energy bills.
  • Tweak your water heater. The optimal range is between 55°C and 60°C. Shortening those showers and washing your laundry in cold water will also curb your energy bill.
  • Take advantage of time-of-use electricity rates. These are another opportunity to conserve energy and your bank account. Make sure you know when the cheapest rates are – usually evenings and weekends – and plan ahead to save.

Check with your local utility provider for more helpful tips.

Easy green step #2: Reduce food waste

We all know the cost of food is rising. That’s why it’s now more important than ever to stop wasting it.

The environmental cost of all this wasted food is also enormous. Just think about all the energy and natural resources required to grow, process, package and transport food, and you can begin to get the picture.

  • Think before you buy. The easiest way to stop wasting food is to plan ahead. This may mean planning your meals a week ahead of time. Or, shopping more mindfully by sticking to your grocery list and taking a pass on those unplanned bulk “bargains.”
  • Ditch the fossil fuel-derived plastic wrap. Plastic waste damages and pollutes the environment. Try to reduce your plastic use by keeping your food fresh in reusable glass storage containers instead.
  • Freeze your leftovers. Leftovers can last anywhere from two to six months in the freezer, but only two to four days in the fridge.
    • For example, cooked meat, stews, egg or vegetable dishes may last up to three months in the freezer, but only four days in the fridge.
    • And, cooked poultry and fish may last up to fix months in the freezer, but only three or four days in the fridge.
    • For more information, check out the Government of Canada’s page on Food Safety and Fridge and Freezer Storage.