It’s a common misconception that doing the best thing by our planet will be expensive. While there certainly are ways being eco friendly can cost you more, there are just as many things you can do to save money!
Here are 10 ways that you can be more green, and more thrifty:
- Carry a water bottle: Not just because we sell them here! 7.7 billion single-use plastic water bottles are bought in the UK alone each year; that’s around 120 bottles per resident, per year. If each bottle costs a pound, well that’s an average saving of £120 each a year!
- Bring your own bag: with the introduction of the 5p bag tax, and many supermarkets phasing out so-called ‘single use’ bags in favour of ‘bags for life’ with prices from 50p to a couple of quid, you could save money each time you shop by bringing your own. Keep a bag in your handbag or rucksack, tuck a couple into the boot of your car, and you’re ready to save some money and be a little greener.
- Wash at lower temperatures: modern detergents are far more efficient at cleaning our clothes, so we really don’t need to wash hotter than 40, and for everyday clothes, we can wash at 30 or even on a cold setting. Cooler wash cycles use far less electricity and often take less time. Your bills will thank you!
- Line dry your clothes; around 58% of U.K. households own a tumble dryer, costing an average of 35p to run for an hour. This may not seem like much, but compared to 10p for an hour’s use of the washing machine, it really does use a lot of energy! You can save electricity and money by drying your clothes on a line or clothes horse. If you dry inside, don’t forget to open a window to prevent condensation.
- Cook from scratch; when life is busy and you’re tired, it’s easy to turn to ready meals or a takeaway to help you out. But if you take a little extra time to cook for yourself at home you could save as much as £12 a meal! Not to mention there’s less packaging to throw out, it’s healthier (no added sugar, salt or preservatives) and of course if you make more than enough, you can have home made leftovers at lunchtime too.
- Repair, don’t replace: get out your needle and thread, invest in a set of micro screwdrivers, watch some YouTube videos. The cost of repairing your broken things is only your time (and maybe some minor parts). If you're really stuck, you could always reach out to your local repair cafe for help. Only throw items away if they are really truly broken, and repurpose or recycle as much as possible.
- Buy secondhand: we are spoilt for choice when it comes to second hand buying options! There’s charity shops, eBay, Depop, local car boot fairs, Gumtree, and you can even get freebies from sharing sites like Freegle and Freecycle. Second hand options give a new lease of life to clothes, furniture and so much more, keeping items in circulation and out of landfill. Plus, second hand is always far cheaper, and in the case of sharing sites; free is the best price ever!
- Walk, cycle or use public transport: while train journeys aren’t always the cheapest; using the bus, cycling or walking to get around is a much cheaper option than a car. When you take into account tax, insurance, permits and parking fees, and fuel, cars start to become very costly. If you need to have a car for work for example, try to limit your leisure driving. Get a shopping trolley and take your weekly shop on the bus, walk to see your friends, go out for a cycle on a nice day instead of a drive. Globally, around 15% of CO2 emissions come from cars, trucks and planes, so let's do our bit to help reduce that number.
- Use less water: it’s an oldie but a goodie. Using less water around the home is relatively easy to do and saves money as well as resources. Turning off the tap when you brush your teeth can save you 12 litres of water. Take fewer baths; the average bathtub can hold up to 80 litres while a shower can use as little as 6 litres a minute. The average person takes 8 minutes in the shower, but by taking a little less time, we can use less water. Put a flush saver in your toilet to reduce the amount of water used each flush. Use the water efficient settings on washing machines and dishwashers, and save washing up or bath water to water plants and gardens.
- Reduce or cut out meat and animal product consumption: typically meat is one of the most expensive items at the supermarket, and rightly so; the cost of farming animals is huge. Meat items are also among the most heavily plastic packaged things we buy; with much meat packaging not being recyclable. By reducing how much meat you buy and eat, you’ll reduce your packaging waste as well as your shopping bill. Regularly cutting back on your meat consumption with an initiative like Meat Free Mondays is a great place to start, and if you feel like a challenge why not try a Veganuary?
Can you think of any more ways that an eco friendly lifestyle saves you money? Please let us know in the comments below.