Just like people and cars, homes leave a carbon footprint. However, a homeowner doesn’t need to be Julia Roberts and pony up millions of dollars for a home that boasts clean energies. Every little bit helps, and making a home greener is an ongoing process.

However, it can also be affordable with the right approach and the added bonus of getting tax write-offs. Here are 5 ways easy and cost-effective ways to decrease the carbon footprint of a home.

#1. Turn Down the Temperature

No solar panels or roof remodeling is required here. The vast majority of wasted energy is due solely to thermostats. Close off rooms that aren’t being used, put on a pair of socks instead of raising the temperature and turn down the thermostat when nobody’s home. If someone is wearing shorts and a tank top indoors during the winter, the temperature is too high. Not only does temperature control reduce the carbon footprint, it can save a lot of money on bills.

#2. Reduce Water Consumption

There are three simple ways to reduce water consumption: don’t be wasteful (ahem, turn off the flow while brushing teeth), install an aerator on faucets to reduce consumption by 50 percent, and install a low flow toilet which can also save 50 percent of water. Aerators and low flow toilets can be tax credits.

#3. Choose Natural Cleaning Solutions

The chemicals most people use to clean their homes aren’t just expensive–they’re also toxic. There’s a plethora of natural solutions available, from mayonnaise to remove water rings to a basic soap and water solution for most cleaning activities. Reduce the harm to the environment and everyone in the house while saving money by going a little more natural.

#4. Recycle Like it Matters…

…because it does. Start a serious home recycling effort and recycle absolutely everything possible. The only investment might be a few bins to separate recyclables and a monthly trip to a recycling center for those products that aren’t picked up by the local garbage company. Designate a separate bin to compost, and very few things should end up in the trash.

#5. Check the Insulation

Heat and cool air likes to escape, and it’s easy to do so with poor installation. Every autumn, check attic spaces and other areas where air might be escaping. Invest in high-quality, thick pipe insulation sleeves. Ideally, a contractor should check a home for insulation and safety every year to maximize energy saving measures.

Most of these solutions are free or very affordable. They save homeowners money and, just as importantly, can vastly lighten carbon footprints. Today is a great day to get started on implementing them.