Many of us are becoming more concerned about our planet and what impact we are having on its environment. While most of us care about this, we can’t all afford to spend extra money on going greener; add to this the pressures of caring for a family, and it may seem too hard. I have listed some simple ways that I have found and used to save you money while being kinder to the environment.
Turn off lights, unplug appliances, and don’t leave things on standby.
This might sound really obvious but wasting electricity is a big problem in our house and most of us don’t even realise we are doing it. With seven people living under one roof we are forever going around turning off lights and unplugging things after our kids. Just by turning off the tv, laptops, and lights, it is surprising how much electricity we can save.
Ovo energy has written an article on what is known as vampire power, a term used for devices sneakily using power when on standby overnight but what might shock you more is the amount of power these devices use; games consoles are the biggest offender costing the UK households an extra £230 million pounds a year.
Thisismoney.co.uk has produced a great article on this which they have even included a breakdown of all the devices in your home.
|Amount in watts used when on standby mode or|
left plugged in and on but not in use
|Number of hours using unnecessary energy per day|
(either left on standby, left on but not in use, or left on charge while fully charged)
|Cost (£) per household per year||Total cost (£) for all households per year|
|Smart home device||2||21.53||£2.83||£29,436,747.82|
|Electric toothbrush (fully charged but on charge)||0.5||22.86||£0.75||£7,813,795.35|
|Electric shaver (fully charged but still on charge)||0.5||22.91||£0.75||£7,830,885.89|
|Printer, shredder, fax machine||0.5||22.71||£0.75||£7,762,523.72|
|Tablet/ iPad (fully charged but still on charge)||0.5||21.82||£0.72||£7,458,312.09|
|Mobile phone (fully charged but still on charge)||0.5||19.86||£0.65||£6,788,362.89|
Shop local and seasonal
This is an easy one, by becoming more aware of what food is in season we will not only save money and reduce our carbon footprint but we will enjoy better quality food. We pay extra for food that is not in season as it has to come from abroad.
Lidl is not only one of the cheapest supermarkets in the UK but it also pledges to sell locally sourced products so you can guarantee that if you buy from them your food will not have travelled far. If there is not a Lidl near you then you could try to pay attention to where your food has come from and only buy food that has come from the UK.
Car share if possible.
If you are travelling to work or school in your car every day then it is costing you money in fuel to get there and each journey is having an impact on the environment. If a few people are travelling to the same destination shared the journey in one car this would significantly reduce your impact on the planet and you can share the cost of the journey between you. Many companies have car share schemes, if your company does you may benefit from taking advantage of it.
Buy second-hand where possible.
We all like to get something new but does it always have to be brand new as long as it’s new to you? Second-hand is basically recycling and you might be surprised how much money you can save yourself over a year. You can buy second-hand furniture for a fraction of the price of what it would cost to buy new, if it needs updating you can always paint it to give it a new and unique look. Not only are you giving an old piece of furniture a new lease of life but you may be saving it from going into a landfill. Keep your eyes open on gumtree, Facebook marketplace, and charity shops for bargains and you can always join your local Freecycle network.
Second-hand clothes are an absolute no-brainer you can often pick up brand new with tags still on or as good as new in the charity shops for very little money. We all feel good about sending our unwanted and outgrown clothes to the charity shop but often we might feel less happy about buying from them. If you stop and look at it from a different angle then you might think differently. By buying second-hand clothes you are reducing your impact on the planet by recycling and you are also giving to charity! Why shouldn’t you feel good about it? If you still don’t feel that charity shops are for you, why not check out eBay or Vinted for bargains.
Use an eco egg Laundry egg instead of your regular laundry detergent.
This little beauty will make you a decent saving in your washing over the years, not to mention how many plastic bottles it will save you using.
The start-up kit consists of a laundry egg and enough laundry pellets to last 70 washes, which works out at 10p a wash. Next time you will only need to buy a refill pack for £3.74; this works out at 7p per wash, which would be £27.30 a year if you did one wash a day. Compare this to a large family-size bottle of Fairy non-bio at £7 for 54 washes. This would cost you 12p a wash and a plastic bottle to recycle. That works out at £47.31 a year if you only did one wash a day.
I use the eco eggs and have found that not only do they smell nice and are kind to sensitive skin, but it washes just as well as my old washing detergent. Ok, you might not be saving a fortune, but you are kinder to the environment, and I have found this an easy swap.
You can buy the eco egg starter kit from Amazon for £7.50, and they come in many different fragrances.
Invest in some dryer balls.
We all know that using a tumble dryer uses a lot of energy and this means they can be expensive to run especially in the current energy crisis. The cheapest and most environmentally friendly thing to do would of course be to hang your washing on the line but that doesn’t help us on rainy days. The solution is to get yourself some dryer balls. I use dryer balls made out of wool, they are slightly bigger than a tennis ball. You put them in the dryer with your washing and they bounce about separating the clothes making them easier and quicker to dry. It also makes your clothes softer and reduces the number of creases so you don’t need to use softener and have less ironing to do! I have found that using these dryer balls has drastically cut down my drying time, therefore, reducing the amount of electricity I use which is better for my pocket and the environment. You can buy the woollen dryer balls from Amazon.
Ditch the baby wipes.
To anyone who has young children, this idea may fill you with absolute horror but I promise you it can be done! When I had my youngest, I was determined to reduce the number of wipes I was using, so I came up with a system that worked and saved me money in the long run.
You can buy reusable baby wipe kits in the shops, but I found the initial outlay to be a bit too expensive, so I made my own! I bought some cheap facecloths from savers for about £1.20 for a pack of four and cut them into quarters. To make them last longer and so they didn’t fray in the washing machine, I trimmed the cut edge with some ribbon. I now had 16 reusable baby wipes for the price of £1.50. These will work perfectly well with water, but I might not always be able to get to a tap I invested in a spray bottle. Wilkos do a perfect sized one for 50p. You can fill your bottle with just water or add a little Aloe vera gel if you want. Keep it all in a Tupperware box or a recycled baby wipe box, and you are all set. Don’t forget you will need somewhere to put the dirty wipes until you can put them in the washing machine. I used a washbag but a box would do the same job. The average value range pack of baby wipes would cost you about 80p so it wouldn’t be long before you were saving money and massively reducing your plastic waste.
Make your own cleaning products.
These are the three ingredients you will need for my natural cleaning product recipes. If you click on the links below the pictures it will take you to where you can find them on Amazon.
We all want a nice clean house but how can we achieve that with minimal impact on the environment without paying extra. There are some fantastic eco-friendly cleaning products on the market now but you generally have to spend a little more on them so when money is tight we tend to think we can’t afford to be eco-friendly. What if I told you that you can make your own cleaning products with everyday ingredients and that it would only cost you pennies? Not only will you be saving the environment but you will save yourself some money too. Here are some simple but effective recipes for natural cleaning that are cheap and don’t contain chemicals that could have an effect on allergies or on our pets.
To use this you will need a spray bottle, you can always recycle an old bottle or there are plenty to choose from in the shops.
- 125ml White vinegar
- 1 teaspoon of baking soda
- 1/2 teaspoon of washing up liquid or castile soap
- Essential oil of your choice ( This is optional, I like to use tea tree oil or lavender oil )
Pour the white vinegar into your bottle and add your baking soda. Once it has stopped fizzing, add your dish soap and essential oil and top up your bottle with water. Give it a shake, and you are ready to go. This is a perfect cleaner for cleaning your surfaces in your kitchen or bathroom and even for wiping down your dining room table. This recipe costs about 10p to make and has saved your plastic use.
This window cleaner is not only cheap to make but will make your windows look sparkling.
- Spray bottle (You can recycle an old one)
- Two tablespoons of white vinegar
- Lemon juice
Fill your bottle almost to the top with water, pour in your white vinegar, and squeeze in some lemon juice. Shake the bottle, and it’s ready to use. This cleaner costs pennies takes seconds to make and works just as well as anything you can buy in the shops.
Natural toilet cleaner.
Let’s be honest no one enjoys cleaning the toilet, but it’s a job that needs to be done. Most toilet cleaning products not only give off toxic fumes but are pretty pricey. This all-natural recipe is very quick and cheap to make and works just as well as the big brand cleaners without any of the toxic fumes.
- 125ml Castile soap
- 8 tablespoons of bicarbonate of soda
- 250ml boiled water
- 20 drops of essential oil of your choice
- A small funnel
- A recycled squirty bottle
Open your squirty bottle and place the funnel inside the neck. Pour in your bicarbonate of soda and then the water. Once it has stopped fizzing, add the Castile soap and essential oil. Put the lid on your bottle and give it a good shake. Your toilet cleaner is now ready to go.
This cleaner works out at about 50p to make, so a fraction of the price of the leading brands and works really well.
I hope that you have enjoyed this post and it has given you some food for thought. If you would like to share any ideas or comments you can leave them in the comments box below and we will get back to you.