4 ways to go green and save money at home
I’m feeling more and more that this site is turning into a frugal blog!
Food and fuel prices are rocketing, and although I’ve been reading about it for a couple of years, it’s not been until this year that I’ve really started to notice it myself.
When money is tight, the danger is that people can become less green in their shopping habits. Organic food costs more money, supporting local suppliers is often more expensive than the supermarkets, and it can be cheaper to hop on a plane abroad rather than enjoy a stay-cation.
For the rest of the year we’re definitely going to have to tighten our belts and here’s some of the things I have in mind:
Use it up!
I began the month with a ‘Use it up!’ challenge. This meant I scoured my freezer and cupboards for all the foods I’d forgotten about and needed using up. Not only did this prevent food waste but I reckon I’ve halved this month’s grocery bill.
You can continue the ‘use it up!’ theme to other areas at home too such as toiletries and cleaning products.
I love multi purpose products. Many years ago I began researching the ingredients that were in every day cleaning products I used. Not only was I shocked to find pretty toxic things in there, but I noticed how similar all the recipes were! I was buying floor cleaner, bath tub cleaner, another product for sinks, another one for tiles… The reality was I only needed one decent product.
Now I use white vinegar, essential oil and bicarbonate of soda (baking soda) for pretty much all my cleaning – it’s cheaper, healthier and better for the environment
Some things you can’t change – without alternatives such as solar and wind power, we all need to rely on our utilities companies for the services we need. But you can compare the market by using comparison sites to shop around for the best deals.
Many utilities companies have green tariffs and we saved a lot of money by cancelling our pet insurance because we realised they were already covered on our home insurance!
Turn it off!
I say this ad nauseum because it’s a bad habit I keep slipping into. After five years of publishing ‘green content’ on the web, we STILL leave lights on, the computers running and the peripherals on. So I’m reminding myself as much as you!
When I’ve made a concerted effort to turn things off standby and monitor our electricity usage we’ve managed to slash our bills by around one third. Using a real-time electricity monitor takes away the ‘out of sight, out of mind’ aspect to flicking the switch and keeps you on your toes.
What about you? How do you save money and stay green at home?
A lot of the more environmentally-friendly things you can buy are very expensive. And I think that sometimes you have to accept that you cannot do everything that you would do in an ideal world. However, a key part of being green is to consume less, and the less you consume, the less you spend. We have turned down our heating thermostat and reduced the number of hours a day the heating is on. This not only reduces our gas consumption in the winter but reduces the number of days each year we have the heating on. We have also turned down our hot water thermostat, and I have cut down the amount of hot water I use by putting less water in baths and sinks. We have reduced electricity consumption by turning off lights when they are not needed, turning off the television, etc. at the mains instead of leaving it on standby, avoiding leaving battery chargers plugged in once the batteries are charged, shutting down the computer when it is not in use, only putting the minimum amount of water we need in the kettle, avoiding the use of the tumble drier, and inserting low energy bulbs in all except infrequently used lights. For the rarely-used lights, it was not really cost-effective to change the bulbs, and I concluded that, taking into the account the low usage and the impact of manufacturing new bulbs, it was unlikely to be green to change the bulbs either. We have got rid of one of our cars and have reduced our overall mileage. I only buy clothes new if I cannot get what I need second hand, and only buy new clothes if the old ones have worn out. I also mend a lot of clothes and household linen that in the past I would have considered too worn out to mend. We end up buying a lot of wrapped vegetables now as they are cheaper than the loose ones. (It would be ridiculous to travel further afield in a car to buy cheaper unwrapped vegetables.) Although we recyle the packaging, this is not ideal. Therefore, we are growing a lot of vegetables this year, and this is not only much greener but also cheaper. Another thing I do that saves money as well as being green is to use smaller amounts of cleaning products, and, where possible, to clean with just water and elbow grease. We have also saved a lot of money using resuable products instead of disposable ones (e.g. cloths instead of paper towels, cloth table napkins, washable sanitary protection, and cloth toilet wipes), and these are also much nicer to use than the disposable ones. We now also use loose tea instead of tea bags. Loose tea tastes much better and is cheaper. It also has less packaging and avoids the unecessary waste of all the paper tea bags.
Loads of great points here in the article and the comment above! I have spent the last year cutting expenditure in an eco-conscious way and writing about it on my blog http://www.ecothriftyliving.com. I used to think being ‘green’ or eco-friendly meant spending more money, but actually I think it can save you money in so many ways, many of which have been covered above. Something I keep meaning to try out is doing houseswapping holidays which can save huge amounts of money and if you do it in the country you live in, is much more environmentally friendly than flying overseas.
Most things I do in the name of the environment I find save me money – making my own cleaning products, using coconut oil as a moisturizer and eye makeup remover, turning down the heat, and consuming less in general as the Jane points out. Here are a few of my tips: http://thegreeningofwestford.blogspot.com/2011/04/15-ways-to-save-green-while-going-green.html
Hopping over from the Monday Meet & Greet. I have started making my own laundry and dish soap, all-purpose cleaner, dog shampoo and am saving money that way. I use less paper products and plastic, dragging hubby along with me, tho’ he is reluctant. We are taking baby steps to improve our green living.
Huge green hugs,
Pat @ Green Living Thrifty Frog blog