Happily, lots of things that save you money are also good for the environment. Simply consuming less, wasting less, holding onto things for longer, repairing rather than replacing, buying second-hand, etc, will give you a greener lifestyle. Getting off the treadmill of working to buy stuff and then more stuff pays dividends to the state of your bank balance and the planet.
There is so much you can do to get a warm green glow…
Don’t waste food. Plan your week’s meals and then go shopping with a list. Stick to the list!!! Watch your portion sizes too. This will help your waistline as well, so double bubble.
If something stops working get out the manual to see if it is something simple. Look on the Internet to see if there are any suggestions. Get a quote for repair.
Likewise, repair your clothing and get your shoes mended rather than throwing them away.
If you need to replace an expensive item check Freecycle or Freegle first. Then the noticeboard at the local shop, Ebay, charity furniture shops, etc. If you really need to buy new, look at as many reviews as possible and buy energy saving devices – they are cheaper to run.
If you have a garden, make your own compost. Don’t throw peelings, apple cores, teabags, eggshells, etc in the bin. Mix them with your garden waste and compost them. Save as much as possible from going to landfill.
If you like crafts check out websites like pinterest. They have a whole section of ideas for recycling: https://www.pinterest.com/search/pins/?q=recycled. Check out the fabulous planters made from old tyres above, and also these brilliant Christmas tree decorations made from old lightbulbs.
Eat less meat – firstly it is expensive, and secondly, according to Donnachadh mcCarthy in ‘Saving the Planet without Costing the Earth’, one acre of land can produce 30,000lb of carrots but only 250lb of beef. Also 15% of methane, a gas that contributes to global warming, comes from farm animals.
Let your garden be a bit untidy – don’t waste money on chemicals, and create a wildlife friendly garden. Gardening costs very little, is good exercise and a great stress buster.
Grow some of your own food! I can’t afford to buy organic in the shops, but everything from the garden is chemical free. Packets of seeds cost just a few pounds and produce masses of delicious vegetables.
Use vinegar and bicarbonate of soda to clean your house. It is extremely cheap, plus do you really want your home to be full of chemicals?
Buy large containers of washing up and laundry liquid. This produces less plastic waste and usually works out cheaper.
When you need new items for your home, buy second-hand. Most of my furniture, curtains, bedding and rugs has come from the charity shop, Ebay and auctions. If you are a creative sort you can shabby chic a solid piece of furniture and make it a work of art.
Forget nasty chemical air ‘fresheners’ and plug ins. You are literally inhaling pollutants! If you want fresh air, open a window.
Insulate your house – check to see if you are eligible for any grants. Your energy supplier should have information on this, or try the Energy Saving Trust.
If you exercise, try to resist the urge to buy energy drinks and bottled water. Invest in a sports bottle and fill it from the tap.
Train your family to turn off lights, PCs, TVs and DVD players. Don’t leave items on standby.
Don’t buy clothes that need to be dry cleaned. This is expensive and the dry cleaning process uses toxic chemicals.
If you like to read, use the library or buy second-hand from the charity shop. You can also use GreenMetropolis.com, where you can buy or sell books and the site supports the Woodland Trust.
If you have a baby check out reusable nappies rather than disposables. This saves so much money!
This one will separate the greenies from the dark greenies! Consider using washable sanitary towels or perhaps a Mooncup instead of tampons.
Keep a scrap paper box. The back of junk mail letters and the envelopes they come in are good for list writing!
Re-use wrapping paper.
Save water – if you are on a water meter this makes financial as well as economic sense. Shower instead of bathing, but put the plug in and use the ‘grey’ water to water your plants in the garden.
If you buy fruit in the supermarket, save the plastic bags it comes in and reuse them as sandwich bags.
Keep your accelerator foot light and save petrol. Boy racers must all live at home with their parents – once they have to pay their own rent and bills they may slow down a bit…
These are just a few ideas. There are so many other things you can do once you start to think about it. I would love to hear your suggestions.