Ten easy eco friendly ideas to save money

I know I harp on about this, but it’s nearly always the case. A green approach saves you money! So, as well as feeling good about yourself for keeping control of your finances, you can help save the planet. Not a bad day’s work! Here are ten easy eco friendly ideas to save money.

1. Reconsider your heating

As the weather in the UK turns chilly, think about your heating bills. If you are one of those people who leaves the heating on 24/7, stop! No one needs to be that warm. Turn your thermostat down, set the heating to come on for an hour or two morning and evening and then switch it on as you need it.

A longer term plan should be to improve the insulation in your home.  Short term you can sew thermal linings into your curtains and use draught excluders at your doors. Long term you can look into improving your loft insulation and filling your wall cavities. You can find more information on home insulation here.

2. Lunch at work

Take a sandwich or salad to work. This saves money and packaging.

3. Don’t waste food

A shocking FAO statistic is that one third of the food produced in the world is wasted. If you plan your meals, shop using a list and make creative use of your leftovers you will avoid binning food will buy less.

4. Eat less meat

Meat is really expensive compared to vegetables and pulses and there are so many veggie options these days. According to this interesting article in the Guardian, “Behind most of the joints of beef or chicken on our plates is a phenomenally wasteful, land- and energy-hungry system of farming that devastates forests, pollutes oceans, rivers, seas and air, depends on oil and coal, and is significantly responsible for climate change.”

There is a lot of research on the health benefits of a diet that is rich in fruit and vegetables, so upping your intake can give you a boost physically too. You don’t have to go completely veggie. How about a Meat Free Monday?

5. Use your leg power

Walking is an eco friendly idea to save money. Picture of my walking route Walk or cycle instead of taking the car or bus on short journeys. They are free exercise! If you walk a few miles a day you could maybe jack in the gym membership or exercise classes. I am spectacularly rubbish at this, so it is something I am going to work on. Mr S loves cycling but I am not a fan and prefer to walk. I can’t walk to work as it is too far, but I can go out for a power walk at lunchtime and walk to the shops at the weekend.  We had a lovely long windy walk yesterday just for the fun of it and used Map My Walk to record the distance – 4.67 miles, which was a nice length.

6. Ditch the bath

Showering uses far less water. This will save you money on your water bill and heating, as you will have to heat less water! If you shower already, consider taking a shorter shower or even a cold one. There are apparently a lot of health benefits to taking a cold shower, but in this cold weather I don’t think I can bring myself to try this!

7. Power down

Don’t leave your appliances on standby. Switch off at the plug when they aren’t in use, including (and especially) your phone charger! This may not save thousands but every little counts.

8. Cut down the chemicals!

I hate to think of the chemical cocktail we used to breathe in and the nasty stuff I used to swill down the sink whilst I was cleaning the house. Nowadays I use mainly (although not exclusively yet) bicarbonate of soda  and white vinegar, and make this cleaning spray. This is very much cheaper than buying branded cleaning products too.

9. Turn off the lights

This is such a simple act that saves money and energy. Train the family to switch lights off behind them!

10. Buy second-hand

Be it clothes, furniture, tools or sports equipment, you can get almost anything cheaper second-hand or even free. Check out eBay, Gumtree, Shpock, Facebook Marketplace, Freegle and Freecycle, as well as your local charity shops of course. Reusing means another object doesn’t go to landfill.

These are only 10 ideas out of many eco friendly ideas to save money. Once you get started, you will feel the benefits in your wallet and the environment will reap the rewards too. Warm green glow all round!

11 thoughts on “Ten easy eco friendly ideas to save money

  1. All these are excellent ideas. It’s just such a shame that people need to be taught what to my generation of post-war children growing up in the 1950s was simply how we lived, it wasn’t considered ‘frugal’,it was what we all did – turned off lights, put on a pullover when it became cold (we didn’t have the luxury of central heating in the 1950s), took sandwiches to work and a flask of coffee, etc. As for not bathing, I’ve not had a bath in the last 13 years! Oh, I’m clean alright; I shower each day, but this is because with dodgy hips I can’t climb in or out of a bath. But I’d not get into a bath now and wallow in my own dirty water, I much prefer to have fresh, clean water gushing over me (and no, we don’t have a power shower.) Oh, and we don’t leave equipment on ‘standby’, we’re of an age when we didn’t want to use something we simply got off our backsides and switched it off. It is good of you to remind people, Jane, of these economies, but they’re simply common sense to us. Oh, if only common sense were common to all!
    Margaret P

      • I hate that comment about ‘wallowing in your own dirty water’. Blimey, you’d have to be black from going down a coalmine for the water to become dirty. I love relaxing in my bath, it’s a time for quiet contemplation, getting lost in my own thoughts, and feeling at peace with myself.

        • I love a bath when my bones are cold from walking or gardening but never have time in the morning so a quick shower does me most of the time. A bath feels like a bit of luxury

          • Please see my remarks to you and Ilona, Jane … and yes, if I could climb into a bath I think I might, on occasion, so this, and blow the amount of water, ha ha! Candles and lovely Floris bath oil, a glass of something nice to sip … what could be nicer? But for day to day ablutions for me consist of a quick shower each morning (and often at bedtime too, to warm the ancient bones!)
            Margaret P

        • My apologies, Ilona and Jane, and perhaps a warm bath is nice to have, and of course, I’m actually being just a little facetious – people who bath daily are clean, I do know that. But I just love clean water pouring over me even though I admit I’d like to be able to bath occasionally, but as I say, my dodgy hips prevent this but I don’t want to install one of those baths with doors, perish the thought.
          Margaret P

  2. I like all your suggestions – common sense yes, but all too easy not to get round to implementing them. I’ve been trying to improve the green credentials of my kitchen habits this year and pass on a few that I’ve found have worked, in addition to your really good list. One is attempting to reduce drastically the amount of disposable paper towels I used to use by using clean tea towels (for drying things like fruit or vegetables) and washable rags (for cleaning jobs or minor spills). I’ve found I do still use paper kitchen roll occasionally but it’s rare and when I do, I often only use half a piece. Haven’t bought any for months. On the same score I’ve been avoiding using cling film which can’t be recycled as far as I know, in the UK. I’ve taken to using upside down bowls and plates and saucers to cover food in the fridge and put picnic food in washable boxes or recyclable old-fashioned grease proof paper like my grandmother always did. Haven’t bought any cling film for a year. I no longer buy freezer bags and instead rinse out the bags frozen vegetables come in as they only need a quick rinse and hang up to dry, before reuse and they are made of quite tough, freezer-proof plastic. ( obvs!) I line bins around the house with recyclable newspaper not plastic liners which I also no longer buy. My final tip is about trying, for preference, to drink water from the tap (we are lucky in the UK that it’s such high quality) and avoiding drinking anything if it comes from a bottle, can or carton – I don’t always manage this but I try, as it’s very good for your skin, your hair, your weight and your purse as well as the environment! Thank you for all your inspiration, Jane! E X

  3. yes, great post, green is the way to go, Jane. I do not replace most light bulbs, so my homes are a tad dark at night, which I feel is more in keeping with nature. I do agree with Margaret – a lot of ‘things’ that someone of her and my generation were taught to do, put on an extra jumper, turn off lights, etc, are good for everyone to do, and really, I feel that they teach respect for not being wasteful. Plus I too turn everything except my fridge, off at the wall. I have very small power bills! ps I had to stop going to second hand shops, as I kept accumulating………

  4. Doesn’t turning everything off at the plug reset pre-programmed things such as clocks and timers – or is that just something that has long since been overcome? 😀

    • I think it has Julia. I always turn off the tv digi-box and it doesn’t seem to hurt it. However it stops recording so I have to watch that!

    • Julia, I don’t turn clocks off (not that we have an electric clock, only the clock that is part of the oven) and I don’t switch my computer off at the mains, but I switch the computer off each night, and I switch the TV off at the mains (the Fire Service, on a programme I saw once, recommended this) and it re-sets itself once on again. If you want to record a programme when you have gone to bed, or something like that, of course, you can’t switch it off, but we err on the side of safety every time. No, what I mean is, switching the TV off rather than leaving it on standby, and switching off lights when you leave a room.

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