Can you be green and frugal?
What’s not to love about saving money AND doing your bit for the environment?
You can be forgiven for thinking that a green lifestyle requires huge investments in solar panels, hybrid cars and expensive handmade clothes, but nothing could be further from the truth.
Here are some of the ways we combine sustainable living with a healthy bank account here at Chez Green:
Did you hear the one about the man’s shirt that became a shopping bag?
If you are handy with a needle and thread you can get a second and third life out of clothing. You can mend or embellish clothes to bring them up to date or turn clothes that are way past their best into something new, such as a reusable shopping bag. Morsbags is a great website which has a free tutorial for making your own reusable bags.
Bicarbonate of soda and white vinegar can be bought in bulk and used for most cleaning jobs. You can use them to clean glass and mirrors and to remove limescale from taps and sinks. You can even use bicarbonate of soda as a gentle exfoliator on your skin and to whiten your teeth!
Grow your own
You don’t need to own a huge garden or even rent an allotment to be self sufficient. I maintain you can grow food without a garden!
How about herbs on the kitchen windowsill, hanging baskets full of tumbling tomatoes or strawberries or a window box filled with dwarf beans and salad leaves?
Separate wants and needs
Let’s face it, we live in a consumerist society where millions of pounds is spent on marketing designed to make us want things. We’re told we can’t be happy, healthy or sexy without the latest TV, pair of shoes or gadget.
Give yourself thinking time – a fortnight perhaps – to see if you really need something or whether it was a whim. Once you’re in the habit of saving money, invest wisely and earn tax-free interest with sustainable isa accounts.
Which disposable item could you swap for the reusable counterpart?
Old t-shirts cut into cloths can be used instead of kitchen towel, treat yourself to a fountain pen and ditch the disposable plastic biros, or swap your disposable batteries for rechargeable ones.
How many packages and envelopes do you get through the door each week?
By carefully opening envelopes and packets you can store the packaging for your own use later on. I don’t think I’ve bought a single envelope, including the expensive padded ones, for about five years now and I’ve had so many I’ve given away several large boxes full on Freecycle!
Turn off the lights
…And the battery chargers, and the computer peripherals and the TV from standby and, and…
Walk around your home and see what you’ve left on; everything left on at the wall is pulling a small amount of electricity that you are paying for. Save resources and you’ll save money too.
What about you? How do you show people that being green can save them money?
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