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When I started Looking After Your Pennies, I always wanted it to be about money but with an eco-friendly twist. I believe there is power in how we use our money. We can use it to change the world for better or worse.
Therefore I love that so many frugal living tips work for the eco-friendly too. Literally, there is so much overlap. That said I thought it would be fun to compile my favourites into one big list.
Now if you would prefer not to read, then you can always check out my YouTube video of the same name.
Create green habits as a family
I put this one first as it is the most important. It is much better to have a few good money-saving eco-friendly habits that you all do together. Compared one person slogging at it whilst the rest are actively working against them. This could be any of the examples listed below, but make sure that you are on the same page about them.
The pandemic really helped with this one. When we weren’t allowed to travel too far suddenly we started walking and cycling everywhere. Our car sat on the driveaway full-time, aside from the weekly trip to Tesco to collect the food shopping. Any trips that you can do on foot, make the switch. It is good for your health too. Triple win.
Use a water bottle
If you are heading out for the day make sure everyone has a full water bottle with them. Not only is it good practice but it also means that you aren’t going to be heading to the shops to buy drinks in plastic disposable bottles.
Pack a lunch
It doesn’t matter whether you are heading to the office, sending the kids to school, or heading out for a day trip, taking a packed lunch will save you money and help the planet too. Many convenience foods are expensive and come in unnecessary plastic.
Grow herbs, vegetables & fruit
A great thing to do particularly if you have kids. This way you can grow your own food rather than buying it at the shops. If you are a newbie to growing food, then start with herbs. They are easy to grow and you can use them in all kinds of dishes.
Get a compost pile
If you are growing your own fruit and veg, then getting a composter or starting a compost pile is practically a necessity. It is a great way to deal with food waste, cardboards, and garden trimming and provides you with nutrient rich soils in return.
Repair broken appliances
When something breaks, the easiest thing to do is head online and buy yourself a new one. But this definitely isn’t the cheapest and environmentally friendly thing to do. Some appliances can be fixed by you. There are lots of YouTube videos out there that can guide you through most problems. But if in doubt, call an engineer.
It’s an obvious one but so few of us actually do it. This could work for clothes, furniture, toys, cars, all sorts really. It means that old items don’t get sent to landfill, limited the need for production of new items, and will save you a few pound too.
Dry clothes outside
Another simple one, particularly over the summer months, is to dry your clothes outside as much as possible. A washing line or an airer on your patio or balcony will do the trick. Tumble dryers are expensive and terrible for the environment, so this one is a real no brainer for me.
Upcycle old furniture
I regularly grow tired of the decor in my home and I’m slowly learning to turn what I have back into something I love. There are lots of tutorials online that will show you how you can upcycle old furniture and once again it will stop something good from going into landfill.
Do a toy swap with friends
A great one for those with kids. Rather than constantly buying your kids new toys, instead swap them with your friends. That way your children will get something new to play with and you can swap them back when they start getting bored again.
Eat less meat
A slightly controversial one this but I think that we can all agree that eating meat is expensive. Same with diary products like cheese. They also contribute significantly to climate change, so by cutting back (not necessarily eliminating completely) you can save money and help the planet.
Regrow your vegetables
I wrote a whole article about the food that you can regrow from the scraps in your fridge, and there are loads. You can take the ends of spring onions and even avocado seeds and grow them into a food producing plant.
Monitor energy usage
A simple strategy that will keep your energy bills low and do the same for your carbon footprint too. A smart meter might help with this, and if you speak to your energy provider this might be something that they can provide for you.
Ditch kitchen roll
We switched to using reusable wipes in our kitchen when the kids were little. They were better at cleaning surfaces particularly during the baby led weaning years. Since then we’ve never gone back to kitchen roll. It has saved us a fortune and reduced our waste too.
Ditch toilet roll
If you are feeling brave, then this could be for you. You can use reusable for cleaning yourself too. Just keep a stash of cloths next to the toilet and wash them in with your normal laundry. Even if you just make the switch for number 1s, you’ll cut back your loo roll usage significantly.
Go no poo
This is referring to the ditching of shampoo in case you were confused. Shampooing and conditioning your hair requires a lot of plastic bottles, which although recyclable are hard to clean and often end up in landfill. They are also very expensive. There is a whole movement of people that have stopped washing their hair and guess what? Their hair is better for it.
Wear clothes more than once
I’ve been sucked into this habit on many occasion. Wear an outfit, then want to wear something new the next day. This leads to more laundry, more water usage, and more energy consumption. Therefore, think carefully about how frequently you change your clothes. It is likely that they can be worn for a couple of days if not more.
Switch to online billing
Every bill has a carbon footprint. But you can reduce that footprint by switching to online billing. Some utilities companies even reward you for making this switch by providing you with a small discount on your bill.
Replace items with eco-friendly alternatives
It is far better to wait until you have used up your non-reusable items or wait for them to be worn out before you replace them. Throwing them away just because you want to make a switch to a more eco-friendly lifestyle is not ideal. But when that time comes, switch to something more eco-friendly.
Buy pet food in tins
Plastic packaging or foil lined bags are off course bad for the environment. They can also be expensive too. If you are happy for your pet to eat food that comes from tins, then you will be able to recycle them when you are done. Plus they are normally a bit cheaper too.
Use bar soap
Bar soap is very cheap, even if you buy the fancy stuff. It normally comes in minimal packaging too, which is typically recyclable. This is far better for the environment, and your bank balance, and does just as an effective job at cleaning you too.
Plan your meals
Food waste is a real problem. All food has a carbon footprint and if we purchase that food then do not eat it, it means that we are hurting the planet and wasting money. Planning your meals can help. You will know exactly what food you need for the week ahead and then will only buy what you need.
Use natural cleaning products
Chemical-filled cleaning products can damage our environments. Therefore, switching to natural cleaning products can be better for you, your home, and the planet. It doesn’t need to be expensive either. Most things can be cleaned with varying combinations of vinegar and bicarbonate of soda.
Repair clothes & shoes
When travelling I took a sewing kit with me and constantly repaired clothing to make it last longer. It worked wonders and meant we hardly had to buy any new clothes at all. We do the same at home. Replace buttons and patching up holes.