8 products that save you money, save the environment, and make life easier.




Environmental productsI’m constantly on the look out for products that will make life easier and save money. The following list of products not only makes life easier and can save you money, but they can also help the environment. I remember seeing a Wal-Mart video that mentions if everyone bought and used one energy-saving light bulb, there would be a huge reduction in energy use. One small change if made by enough people can make a huge difference.

1. Motion Activated Wall switch. I’m a big fan of motion activated sensors. I use them anyplace that we use light in short bursts and then forget to turn them off; in our garage; in our pantry; in our walk-in closet. I’ve been tempted to put them in the bathroom but it’s harder to gauge how long to set the shut-off timer. I’m so used to walking into these places and just having the lights turn on automatically that when I go to someone else’s house I think there’s something wrong when the light doesn’t turn on. You can set the lights to go on anywhere from a few seconds to several hours, depending on the switch. I don’t necessarily have a favorite brand. As far as I know, they all perform about the same. If anyone’s had a particularly good or bad experience with a brand or model, please leave your thoughts in the comments.

2. Motion Activated Electrical Outlet. I’ve never used one of these but, as you know, I’m a big fan of motion sensors. I would use this for lamps, fans, heaters, radios, or even power strips connected to electronics.

3. Motion-activated flood lights. Yes, another motion-activated product. We use these around the outside of our house; one on each side and two sets in the back. Not only are they great for conserving energy, they are also incredibly effective for burglary prevention. You couldn’t break into our house on any side without being in the spotlight.

4. Kill A Watt energy tracker. This device shows you how much energy other electronic devices use in kilowatt-hours. It can also monitor voltage, line frequency and power factors. I’m a little nervous getting one of these because I would spend too much time testing all our appliances. But that’s a good thing, right? By finding energy-guzzling appliances you can be more aware to use them conservatively or turn them off when not in use. A couple of common energy leaks are leaving electronics plugged in even when they’re not in use and leaving your computer turned on at night.

5. Renu-it battery charger. I go through a lot of batteries. My three-year-old boy loves trucks that make noises and take 4 C batteries. Add to that my extensive use of portable electronics and I go through batteries like crazy - AAs, AAAs, and Cs, you name it. I’ve used rechargeable batteries before but the cost of them is high and they wear out over time. The other problem is that batteries tend to disappear around my house and I don’t want expensive rechargeable batteries walking off.

Enter the Renu-it battery charger. It charges regular alkaline, titanium, and rechargeable batteries safely. It has built-in mechanisms to prevent overcharging, overheating, and short-circuits. I’ve never used this product but I love the idea. This is definitely on my shopping list.

6. Valve cap pressure indicators. Not all the products on this list are for electronic devices. These clever units replace the existing valve caps on your car tires and constantly show the tire’s pressure making it easy to know when to add a little air. According to the EPA, you can improve your car’s gas mileage by more than 3 percent simply by keeping its tires inflated to the proper pressure. In addition, keeping tires inflated properly can extend the life of your tires so you’re saving money in more than one way. Keeping your tires properly inflated is also safer since under-inflated tires are less responsive, particularly in the rain and snow. One word of warning: a few Amazon reviews indicated that some defective valve caps may cause the tires to leak slowly.

7. MagLite LED bulb-replacement kits. It’s now common knowledge that LED lights use a small portion of the energy of regular incandescent lights and last way longer. LED lights are increasingly common in flashlights, electronics, and are even available as replacements for household light bulbs. These clever kits allow you to replace the bulb in a Maglite flashlight with an LED or luxeon light bulb. Most people I know have a number of old Maglites lying around. Now they can be updated and brought into the 21st century at about half the price of a new Maglite.

8. Energy-saving light bulbs (LED or florescent). According to one Fast Company article compact fluorescent light bulbs emit the same light as classic incandescents but use 75% or 80% less electricity. Florescent bulbs are now commonly sold at major retailers. Another benefit is that the bulbs are supposed to last much longer, even for several years. Over the lifetime of the bulb you will easily save more money than you paid for the bulb.

We use florescent bulbs in several places in our house. I must admit I don’t like the light they produce as much as incandescent bulbs, but the right color lamp shade can remedy that for the most part. Less common (and much more expensive) are LED household light bulbs. There are currently LED bulbs available on the market but they are still too high priced for most consumers. I’m anxious to see what kind of light LED bulbs produce in a household light.

Do you know of any other energy-saving or money-saving products? Leave them in the comments below!


Posted in Saving, Shopping |

17 Comments to “8 products that save you money, save the environment, and make life easier.”

  1. peripateo Says:

    I’m a little skeptical of the battery charger. The Amazon product page says that it takes 72 hours to recharge. I’d like to have the kw-per-hour measurer to measure how much it costs to actually recharge them. Still likely a lot cheaper than buying new ones… assuming that it actually works. I’d like to see some reviews on the product.

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  3. Improve Your Home And Garden Blog Says:

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  5. Mark Says:

    If I had to get this granular with my life I would lose my mind….

  6. Emmie Says:

    I like all 8 mentioned products but mostly item 8. Energy-saving bumbs can really save. I am so tired of paying huge bills

  7. Rich Says:

    Here’s another way to save money on ink and toner and to help save the environment. If we print we then need to purchase ink so why not do it in a way that will benefit the environment, and it is easy.
    First the idea of common sense is false because it is based on a person’s life experiences, education etc. Now recently I came accross information through a business customer and looked further into it. Here is what I found, ”
    Over 700 million cartridges were thrown away world-wide in 2003 - and since more and more people use inkjet cartridges this amount will continue to grow year after year.
    Empty cartridges contain residual toner powder, ink, a plastic casing, aluminum and other parts. These parts are all non-biodegradable and they will take more than 1000 years to decompose in landfill sites.
    The remanufacturing of cartridges as an alternative to producing new ones currently reduces world demand of oil by 300,000 barrels and saves 17,000 tons of aluminum as well as 10,000,000 tons of timber. Besides helping to reduce carbon emissions, a major cause of global warming, it conserves resources and reduces waste.
    1.5 pints of crude oil are needed to produce one cartridge. In the last 6 months alone inkjet cartridge recycling has saved more than 50 million liters of oil, more than the Exxon Valdez oil spill in Alaska’s Prince William Sound in 1989.”
    Wow, so my whole point is this client twotonellc.com remanufacturers ink and toner cartridges and considering the above information it only makes common sense to buy remanufactured ink and toner cartridges. You save money, get a higher yield (more prints) and save money.
    Check out twotonellc.com, and use common sense.

  8. Shaun Rosenberg Says:

    Saving money and helping the enviornment is something we should all be consered with.

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  9. Pamela Grundy Says:

    The motion sensor lightswitch idea is terrific. I will be checking this out ASAP, what a great suggestion.

    Recently I saw a guy on TV talking about vampire energy users like cell phone chargers and timed coffee pots, and the possibility of putting them all on a single timer switch, just like a programmable thermostat only with vampire energy loss. I thought that sounded great too.

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  11. Goldie Says:

    I’ve just replaced ALL the lightbulbs in the house with energy efficient ones, my back/neck hurts and I’m really angry, but its worth it.

  12. Tim Says:

    I recently got a Discover Open Road credit card that gives me 5% cash back on Gas and i switched to purchasing everything online. I save money by finding the best bargains online and on top of that discover gives me 5-20% cash back. Time to save! I found the card here: http://www.cardz.com/Compare_Credit_Cards/Cash_Back

  13. myinvestorsplace10 Says:

    Thank you for sharing useful information.This is what I do because I have a hard time not spending money that I try and save. Get either a 5 gallon water jug or something similar that can hold a lot of change. Add all of you change to it that you get back from purchasing items that you pay cash for. I also make a habit of asking for rolls of quarters from the bank. About every week I usually get 4 rolls (40.00) and it to the jug. This works well for me because I wont spend it unless I got into a serious bind and would then be desperate enough to take it all into the bank to cash it in.

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  14. MaximizingMoney.com Says:

    Thanks for the info. Just wanted to let you know that you can also print out coupons for GE Energy Smart light bulbs right now from the GE website and save up to $2 with 2 $1 coupons. You can check out my website link for the direct link to GE.

    I’m also very interested in the motion sensors, as my wife and I are always arguing over who left the lights on, so that would probably be a good solution as well as saving us the energy.

    Thanks again, Max

  15. Loan Modification Says:

    Wow these are really great tips. I am going to apply this. Thanks for sharing these and hope to read more in the future from you.

  16. personal finance deals Says:

    I have already bought environmentally friends AC units and other things for the home, I recycle newspapers, clear glass bottles and aluminum cans. Those things are recycled in my area.

    As a home owner I tend to look at the price tag and also ways to save money. I even tend to buy degradable trans-bags to help the garbage in my area since the bags I have used will take 1,000 of years to degrade due to the plastic used.

  17. Aymee Says:

    Some other things I’ve found that save money and are environmentally friendly are;

    1) Crystal deodorant- it might not leave a flowery smell but it keeps odor away great. Plus, it lasts so much longer than regular sticks of deodorant.

    2) Biowash balls- These combined with fabric softener balls save a lot of money over a three year period since that is how long they last. You don’t have to buy fabric softener or detergent so long as you have them. Again, no pretty smell but they get clothes clean and feeling soft.

    3) Low flow toilets- instead of using about 8 gallons per flush these use about 1.6 gallons saving you money on water and saving the environment.

    4) (For women) Diva cup- This cup used during your period may be a bit gross at first but then so are pads and tampons. The good thing is you don’t have to buy pads or tampons or worry about running out. It can last for years which will save you big bucks in the long run

    5) Home-made cleaners- using items such as vinegar, baking soda, distilled water, lemon juice, tea tree oil, and peroxide. Mix in some reusable containers and you don’t have to buy expensive cleaning products again.

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