These days, many homeowners are interested in going "green." But can you protect and preserve the environment and save money too? Although many eco-friendly improvements (like buying new energy efficient appliances) can be expensive, there are many ways to "green" your lifestyle that can actually save you money. While some may involve a small investment upfront, they'll pay off quickly. Here are some ideas on how to get started.
Get a Home Energy Audit
What better place to start your new green living than at home? After all, it's probably where you and your family spend most of your time. And a quick walk through the place may clue you in to a few simple changes you can make that will save you cash.
To maximize your savings, you could hire an energy auditor, a professional who comes to your home and evaluates its energy efficiency. The auditor will help you locate weak weatherstripping, ineffective insulation, and more. While energy audits usually cost $300-400, they can pay for themselves over time as your energy costs decrease.
Even without a professional, you should be able to do an audit yourself....
Your Prescription for Lasting Happiness
Many people believe happiness is a feeling of pleasure based on some external happenings -- you got the raise you wanted, you ate a fabulous meal.
"But true happiness isn't contingent on circumstances; it's a sense of contentment that exists independently of the good or ill fortune that might find you," says M.J. Ryan, author of 365 Health and Happiness Boosters.
According to Ms. Ryan, you can be happier no matter who you are or what challenges you face by changing your attitudes and learning specific behaviors....
Friends are Good for Your Health
Everybody needs friends, but not everybody knows how to make friends and keep them. Demands from job and family can leave many people with little energy for bringing new people into their lives or for nurturing the relationships they already have. But friends are important to your health.
"Research has shown that people who do not have strong support from friends and family live shorter lives and suffer more from stress," says Cheryl A. Richey, Ph.D., professor of social work at the University of Washington. "Support from friends can give people the strength to make positive changes in their lives, like staying away from drugs or leaving an abusive relationship."
Some people may find it difficult to make friends because they lack the skills needed to interact effectively with other people and build supportive social contacts. People are not born with these skills; they need to learn them....
How to Use Your EAP
When help is needed call 800-433-2320. The intake counselor will ask for your name, employer and a brief description of your presenting concern. If an emergency exists you will be given immediate assistance. If your situation is not an emergency, you will be offered telephone assistance and/or in-person sessions to complete an assessment and make a referral for treatment if needed.
Meetings with your counselor are completely confidential. Your employer will not know you have used the EAP. No one will be provided any information about you without your written consent. Exceptions would occur only in the event of you being considered dangerous to yourself or someone else.
At the first appointment you should be prepared to give the counselor some background information to assist in formulating an action plan. Many people find it helpful to prepare a list of things they wish to discuss at each session.
Download the entire copy of the Summer 2015 Newsletter under “Downloads” to the left.