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10 Green Living Ideas for Frugal Families

Watch Your Hot, Wash in Cold

For some households, it's the eternal debate: How do you keep the house toasty enough for those chilled folks or bearable for those who prefer not to perform their daily activities in a sweat lodge?

Turns out that who wins the argument might save you quite a bit of money and help protect the environment. Lowering your thermostat a bit in the winter and raising it a few degrees in the summer will save you energy costs, of course, but it also promotes environmental causes. Fewer household energy demands mean fewer carbon dioxide emissions and greenhouse gases.

Another easy solution for lowering household costs is to reduce your hot water use. According to the Worldwatch Institute, a whopping 85 percent of the energy used when doing laundry is simply going to heating the water [source: Worldwatch]. Wash your clothes in cold water as often as possible and line dry them. While a dryer is efficient, it's also a very convenient way to watch moisture disappear from clothes -- and money disappear into electric bills.

If you really want to see money disappear, tally up the dough your family spends on beauty and toiletry products. Find out ways to cut down on those expenses -- while reusing common household materials -- on the next page.