4 ways to save money AND help the environment!

money_versus_environmentHave you noticed an increase in the price of food recently? Only last week the orange juice we normally buy suddenly went up from £2.65 to £3!

Yesterday I came out of our local shop having spent £80 on food and I felt like I hadn’t bought enough to last us more than a few days.

It seems we fill the car up with fuel more and more frequently and our utility bills are increasing from one month to the next.

But it’s not all bad news.

Changes like these give us choices believe it or not! We can choose to complain about the prices and get anxious and worried about how we will cope or become resourceful and look at areas in our lives where we can take back our power and make positive changes.

Even better is that many of these changes can help not only our wallets, but the environment too.

I’ve been thinking about some of the changes we’ve made at Chez Green and I’d love to hear your suggestions for combining a frugal lifestyle with a green one:

Buy in bulk

Get together with like-minded families and buy food in bulk from a whole foods co-op. This is a great way to eat more healthily, support a local co-operative, reduce packaging AND save money!

Prices from a co-op such as Suma are typically one third less than retail prices and you can buy most household staples such as grains, dried fruit, flour and even eco friendly cleaning products.

Switch suppliers

Some people believe switching utility suppliers is difficult or complicated, but it couldn’t be further from the truth. All you need is a few details from recent bills to make the switch online. Most suppliers offer green tariffs sourced from renewable energy so you can make the right choice for the environment too.

Check out the interesting graph below showing the changing costs of utility prices for gas, electricity, coal and water in the UK. Gas prices have nearly doubled and coal prices have increased by two thirds in the last six years, so it’s worth checking the competition every 6 months or so to ensure you’re getting the best deal.


Infographic provided by Castle Cover

Shop once a month

How many times have you popped into a supermarket to buy one item and returned home with £20 of stuff?

By reducing the amount of times you shop, you’re less likely to buy things you don’t want or need. You can then use a local farm shop or green grocers to buy all your fresh produce as and when you need it. This will help you to eat more seasonally and support local growers.

Combine errands

According to the Department for Transport, 21% of car journeys are less than one mile. If you can’t walk or cycle then think where you could combine errands.

For example we know which recycling banks are en route to the library and post office so we leave five minutes early and drop off the recycling at the same time.  When Little Miss Green goes to kick boxing, we use that time to visit a friend who lives nearby. When we go to our nearest town once a month we use that journey to visit the bank.

Carpooling is a brilliant way to share the cost of travelling, reduce your carbon footprint and can work well between work colleagues.

What about you? What small changes have you made to your lifestyle that has saved you money and helped the environment?


  1. Good Girl Gone Green on June 5, 2012 at 2:04 am

    I love my bulk food- we are saving 50% off the retail price of all the nuts, seeds and dried fruit we buy because we are purchasing right from the supplier! 🙂

  2. Jane on June 10, 2012 at 8:39 pm

    We do what we can to help the environment, but, like many people, we also need to save money. I try to walk for short journeys rather than take the car, and my husband and I combine errands whenever this is practical. Shopping monthly is not practical for us, as we eat mainly fresh food but I now do the weekly shopping on the way past on the way home from work, rather than making a separate journey on a Saturday. We have cut our weekly shopping bill by 40% compared with 2 years ago, despite the rise in prices. Some of these savings have helped the environment, for example, using reusable products instead of disposable, not drinking bottled water, and using smaller amounts of washing powder. However, unfortunately, unless we go much further afield, many vegetables cost more loose than in packaging. To save money, we are now having to buy the cheaper versions in packaging. Although most of the packaging is recyclable, I would obviously prefer to avoid this. Therefore, this year we are attempting to grow a lot of our own vegetables, which will be both cheaper and more environmentally-friendly. I wear my clothes until they are completely worn out, and mend clothes, bed linen and towels, etc. that in the past I would have considered were beyond mending. If I need new clothes, I try to buy what I need second-hand, either in the local charity shop (within walking distance, unlike any shops that sell new clothes) or on e-bay (delivered by Royal Mail rather than me making a separate car journey). We have also reduced our consumption of electricity (by 40%) and gas (by 60%) and are continuing to look for further savings on these, to benefit both the environment and our finances.