Save Money Long-Term with These 10 Efficient Products

If you're looking for more ways to save, these ten products can help you reduce your energy bills and your spending at the grocery store.

If you’re looking to lower your energy bills or save at the grocery store, there are products that can help. Upgrading old products to new, more energy efficient versions is one way to save, but there are also simple tools you can purchase that will help you cut costs.

From high-tech smart thermostats to old-fashioned drying racks, these ten products can help you save money in the long term.

Low-Flow Showerhead

One of the best ways to save on your water bill is to replace traditional showerheads with low-flow versions. Low-flow showerheads use much less water – up to even a gallon less of water a minute – than older, traditional models. 

Some low-flow showerheads create a misty spray, while others produce separate streams like traditional showerheads. Whichever type you prefer, you can expect to see savings if you do decide to buy this product. By going low-flow, you can decrease your home water bill by 40% or more. You’ll waste less water, helping the environment, and enjoy the savings!

Shower Timer

Shower timer
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Spending a lot of time in the shower may be relaxing, but it also leads to high water usage, and therefore, high water bills. A 15-minute shower with a traditional (not low-flow) showerhead will use 37 gallons of water. According to the American Water Works Association, most people take an 8-minute shower on average, which uses 20 gallons of water. 

This means that one of the best ways to decrease your water usage is to take shorter showers. A shower timer will help you do just that, especially if you have long hair and you find it hard to take quick showers, or if you lose track of time easily. Setting up a shower timer and knowing exactly how many minutes are left will help you make more efficient use of your time.

Smart Power Strip 

Smart power strips (which are also called advanced power strips) are a relatively new product on the market that can help you reduce your electric bill. Many devices use energy even when they’re turned off, in what’s called “vampire mode.” So, even if you hit the power button, those devices are still using energy.

This standby mode can add up to a significant energy drain – and it can definitely hurt your wallet.  On average, vampire loads add up to about $200 extra spent on energy bills per home every year. That’s a lot of wasted energy that you’re paying for and not using. But advanced power strips can help. A smart power strip helps recognizes when devices are in vampire mode and cuts them off. They’re a smart long-term investment!

LED Light Bulbs

LED and electric light bulbs change
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You probably don’t think about your light bulbs until they go out. We take our electric light for granted, and many people leave lights on all the time, whether or not they’re actually in the room. They might not even pay attention to whether the lights are on or off until it’s summer and the air conditioner has run up the electric bill so high that they look for any way to cut back on electricity usage. 

You don’t have to wait until summer to start working on your electric bill savings. LED light bulbs can help lower your electric bill by decreasing your energy usage. They produce light up to 90% more efficiently than incandescent light bulbs and 80% more efficiently than compact fluorescent light bulbs. 

LED lights are also less expensive than they were in the past; however, they are still more expensive than traditional light bulbs in upfront cost. But remember, LED light bulbs more than pay for themselves over the years in energy savings. 

Motion Sensor Light Switches

Replacing your traditional light bulbs once they burn out with LED bulbs is one great way to lower your electric bill, but it’s not the only way to save through your lights. Another smart option is installing motion sensor light switches instead of a traditional flip switch.

Motion sensor switches can reduce energy consumption typically by 35-45%, but they may be able to save you up to 75%. If there’s a room in your house where multiple bulbs are regularly left burning, that wastes a lot of energy and money. 

A motion sensor switch can help you limit this unnecessary spending. If you don’t own your home, you may not want to invest in them. However, if you’ll be renting the same space for years, then you should consider installing them and watching your savings stack up. It’s an especially smart decision for people who have a lot of lights!

Everything Solar

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Solar panels are all the rage for a very good reason. They’re extremely sustainable and renewable sources of energy that can generate excellent savings on your electric bill. Some homeowners who install solar panels collect so much energy that they can actually sell it back to the local power company. 

Solar panels are upgrades that will most likely increase the value of your home. However, the initial investment can be very expensive, so you should look at all the options that are out there so that you’re positive you’re getting the best deal. You can even lease a solar panel system if you don’t want to put up the funds to purchase it. 

If you don’t own your home or aren’t sure about investing in a solar panel system, you can still take advantage of the power of the sun. There are many solar-powered outdoor lighting options on the market that you can install in your yard. You can also invest in solar-powered flashlights, radios, and generators, in case the electricity goes out!

Smart Thermostat

The concept behind a smart thermostat is simple: the thermostat will take the temperature of your home and adjust the heating or cooling system settings so that they are at the most energy-efficient levels. 

You can monitor and adjust the temperature at home from anywhere through the smart thermostat’s app because it is connected to the internet. You can also set a schedule through the app, which is useful if you leave home and return around the same time every day. Some smart thermostat products will use machine learning to find out your schedule and adjust the temperature accordingly. 

It’s also useful if you’re leaving your home for a while (like on a business trip or a vacation) and you don’t have a house sitter, family member, or friend coming by to check on your home. 

One other major benefit is that some smart thermostats will search for your mobile devices, and if they’re not nearby, the thermostat will automatically adjust the temperature so that it’s most energy efficient. That way, you’ll save even if you don’t remember to adjust the temperature on the thermostat itself or in the app! 

Drying Rack

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Unlike smart thermostats, drying racks have been around for ages. They’re an old-fashioned product, but that’s no reason to dismiss them as a smart saving device. Simply put, using a drying rack instead of a dryer will help you cut down on your electric bill. Depending on your dryer, you could spend between 24 and 72 cents per one hour of drying time. If you do lots of laundry, that number can add up!

Drying racks are also better for the environment because, unlike a dryer, they don’t release carbon emissions. There’s an additional benefit for people who live in tiny homes and small apartments or houses: a drying rack takes up much less room than a dryer. 

While we’re on the subject of laundry, here’s another tip: using cold water instead of warm or hot water will help you save on your energy bill. Much of the energy that a washer uses comes from heating up the water, so try to avoid it if you can.

Soda Stream

Here’s a product for sparkling water lovers. If you can’t go without your bubbly water and you’re regularly purchasing it by the carton (or even the case!), it might be time to invest in a Soda Stream. These fizzy water makers help your wallet and the planet by cutting down on the plastic, cardboard, and aluminum needed to produce cartons of sparkling water. 

One of the carbonating cylinders makes up to 60 liters of fresh sparkling water. You can exchange and refill the C02 cylinders by mail. Soda Stream also states that you can reuse one of their plastic bottles for up to three years. Just like cooking at home, making your sparkling water at home can add up to serious savings!

Food Storage Solutions

Glass containers and bread
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Food waste is a major problem and a major money waster. According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, in 2010 food loss and waste at the retail and consumer levels equaled almost $162 billion. That’s a ton of money, and every household can take some of that money back by learning how to store food properly so it doesn’t spoil.

Investing in glass storage containers is a great first step. They’re much more durable than plastic and they’re typically easier to clean. Leftovers that have been stored in glass will taste better than leftovers that were stored in plastic, too. If you cook a lot of fresh food or meat, you may want to spring for a vacuum sealer, too.

Saving money in the long-term might mean spending now to upgrade to a better product. But in the end, the initial investment in these products will pay off either on your energy bills or in the checkout lane.

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