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Economical, practical energy saving tips

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We all know there are certain things we can do to help preserve our natural resources. We can turn off our lights when not in use, make fewer car trips, recycle, etc. Here are a few practical tips for saving energy that won't require a big up-front investment or remodel.

Grow your own vegetables using organic methods.

A vegetable garden saves many trips to the store. It provides you with fresh, delicious, homegrown produce. Using organic methods like composting insures that you are not causing harm to the environment. Share your extra produce with neighbors or local food banks so nothing goes to waste.

Purchase used rather than new.

This cuts down on waste from manufacturing. It makes for one less item in the landfill. You should also remember to donate your used items or clothing rather than just throwing them away. Many thrift stores have programs where they recycle unusable clothing and other items. Even if the clothing is stained or the product is not working, it will be put to use rather than thrown away.

Switch to those funny looking light bulbs.

Compact fluorescent bulbs are slightly more expensive than regular light bulbs but they have worthwhile benefits. They last up to five years with average usage, which saves you time and money. They also use up to 70% less energy than regular bulbs. That means a reduction in your energy bill as well as less strain on resources. Use care when disposing of them, though. They contain mercury.

Unplug it!

Many people don't realize appliances, chargers, computers, etc. use energy as long as they are plugged in. This is true even when they are turned off. Save yourself and the planet some energy by unplugging electronics when not in use. While you are at it don't forget to turn off that light when you leave the room like your mother taught you. Every little bit helps.

Save fuel by keeping your car well maintained.

Any strain on your engine will cause higher fuel usage. Be sure your tires are properly inflated, your brakes in working order and all fluids are fresh and full. If you have extra cargo in the trunk remove it. The more weight you carry around the more fuel you use. When it's time for a new vehicle make sure it's energy efficient. Size matters too. Choose the smallest vehicle that meets your needs.

Please note: This article was previously published by this author on Yahoo! Voices under the title "Surprising Energy Saving Tips."

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