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So you want to be green but feel you can’t afford it? Well that’s where you are wrong, you can actually SAVE money by being green! It’s easy and, sometimes, fun too.
There are lots more green gadgets around now to make being green even easier too.
Here are some easy tips and great gadgets to save you money and make you feel smug!
1. Save money on your phone and broadband. Use our comparison tool to find the best phone and broadband for you.
2. Check out the Eco Friendly Shop. For eco friendly products which help save you cash AND the environment, look no further than the Eco Friendly Shop. This website stores everything from groceries and everyday items to plastic-free and household objects. Get clicking and see what takes your fancy. Another alternative is the Eco Shop UK, which also sells a range of green and eco-friendly items.
3. Use energy-saving light bulbs They’re a lot more glamorous than they used to be and generally give a really decent level of light. Switching over to energy-saving light bulbs means saving money on expensive electricity bills as you can see in our article here. The bulbs themselves are roughly the same price as conventional ones, but they last much longer and are cheaper to run.
4. Avoid tumble dryers These sap energy quicker than daytime TV shows drain you of the will to live. A clothes line, if you have space, is still the most efficient option. If you don’t have outside space, get this fantastic heated airer from Lakeland which costs less than 6p an hour to run and dries your clothes really fast. It will save you £100’s in powering the tumble drier, it’s kinder to your clothes and it gently heats the room its in as well. We love it!
5. Save money with your fridge Try to keep it full so that it stays cold and runs more efficiently. Lots of stores run take-back schemes where customers buying a new fridge can offload their old ones. Alternatively, you can take your old appliance to a local recycling centre to be recycled free of charge (visit Recycle Now to find you nearest site).
6. Wrap the back of your radiator Put aluminium foil, shiny side out, behind radiators to reflect heat back into the room rather than out through the walls.You can pick up some specially-designed radiator foil for just over a tenner.
7. Use a Remoska electric oven It uses 80% less energy than most standard ovens and is so compact you could scoop it up and take it with you on your travels. What’s more it cooks just about anything to perfection and can even be used to bake cakes and bread. Buy your Remoska electric oven from Lakeland for £149.99 and have it delivered to your home for FREE.
8. Get eco-friendly broadband Green ISP provides low-cost, high speed broadband – and offsets the carbon footprint created by your internet use. What’s more, their package is as good value as it is green: you can get home and business 20Mb broadband for up to £14.99 a month. That includes upload speeds of 2Mb.
9. Keep the lid on When you’re cooking keep all lids, covers and oven doors closed. More than 20% of heat can be lost each time you open the oven door. Similarly, water boils up to 6% faster with a lid on the pan, so making this tiny change will cut your energy bill on a daily basis.
10. Use the ‘off’ switch Leaving appliances (e.g. TVs, PCs, DVD players and set-top boxes) on standby is believed to waste an estimated 15% of the world’s domestic electricity per year – so make sure you turn things off when you aren’t using them.
11. Clear out the boot We all have stuff in our car boots that doesn’t really need to be there. This means you use more fuel and is an unnecessary waste – so clear it all out.
12. Use Ecoballs They’re a much cheaper and often gentler alternative to washing powder. Just pop a couple of these refillable balls into your washing maching and your clothes will come out clean and soft. So soft in fact that there’s no need for conditioner, so you can skip the rinse cycle and save money and water. You can get a pack for £21.99 and that will give you up to 1,000 washes.
13. Ride a bike Riding a bike is much better for the environment than driving and it costs a great deal less. You can get a cheap bike at police auctions or on eBay and then when you’re ready to brave the British weather, you can start saving money. Remember to lock it up safe and get insurance in case your bike is stolen.
14. Install cavity-wall insulation About 40% of all heat loss is through the walls of the average home. Insulation usually costs less than £500 and the average energy saving per year is £130-160. You may even be able to get a government grant to help pay for it.
15. Join a car sharing scheme Save money by sharing a car to work with another person, it’s so much cheaper than owning your own vehicle. Look at Liftshare, Blablacar and National Car Share. Gumtree often has lift-sharing opportunities, too. Liftshare lets you register your journey and see others who are traveling the same way. Then all you do is contact them, organise to catch a lift and then share the costs. It’s like a 50% discount and you get to reduce CO2 at the same time. Here are some more ideas on how to cut the cost of driving.
16. Buy loose fruit and veg Loose produce is nearly always cheaper and better for the environment because there is no packaging.
17. Buy online Buy as much of your shopping as you can in bulk (which is much cheaper) and online and get it delivered. One van can then drive around with several people’s shopping rather than lots of shoppers driving around town. For a really ethical online shop, try the Ethical Superstore.
18. Carpet your home Swap wooden floors for carpet and help insulate your house. What’s more, carpets are often easier to clean and can completely transform a room.
19. Bring your own shopping bags Don’t use the free plastic bags offered – bring your own instead. If you shop regularly at Tesco, you’ll earn one green Clubcard point for every bag you re-use.
20. Use up those leftovers In the UK, 6.7 million tonnes of household food waste is thrown out every year. If you’ve cooked too much, save the extra in the fridge and use it up the next day. Recipes like stews, bubble and squeak, stir fries, curries and omelettes are great ways to use up leftover vegetables and cooked meat.
21. Keep food fresh for longer Keep your leftovers in airtight containers and try klippits and stayfresh bags from Lakeland which will keep your fruit and veg and packets of crisps or cereal going for much longer.
22. Make a food shopping list When doing your weekly shop make sure you have a list of all the meals you’re going to cook that week and don’t buy anything you won’t use. Also check use-by dates to make sure you use things before they go off. Shopping like this will save you a lot of cash.
23. Grow your own food Save on travelling costs to the supermarket and get the pleasure of watching your food grow. You can buy seeds at online stores like Greenfingers. For more tips on growing your own food, read our full article.
24. Service your car Driving isn’t exactly the green way to travel but if you need your car then make it as eco-friendly as possible. Get it serviced regularly and check the tyre pressure. It can actually cut fuel costs. Make sure you’ve got the right level of oil and coolant and that the car’s air filter is clean – a clogged up filter can really hamper your car engine’s efficiency.
25. Use rechargeable batteries These batteries cost a little more than normal batteries initially but they’re much cheaper in the long run because they can be charged hundreds of times. Go for a larger capacity battery (check the milliamp hours) which won’t need recharging as often. For everyday battery use, Amazon offer great value.
26. Insulate your fireplace Whatever you do – don’t try this if you actually use your chimney. If you don’t use your fireplace, all you need to do is stuff the opening in your room with newspaper or cardboard to stop draughts from creeping in.
27. Go for locally-grown food If you live in a city try to go to farmers’ markets near you – you can save up to 30% off your bill. It supports small farmers and cuts down on pollution caused by transporting food from other countries. Find your nearest farmer’s market here.
28. Switch your energy provider Switching can save you hundreds of pounds every year. Try our comparison tool to find the best value green energy tariff.
29. Get thermal curtains These are special curtains that make it virtually impossible for heat to escape. You can make them yourself by simply lining your curtains with an insulating material. A really cheap way of doing this is to sew a cheap PVC shower curtain (these cost about a fiver) to your existing curtains, and then sew some lining over the top. For added insulation you can replace the shower curtain with foil insulation.
30. Insulate your windows and doors Use a draught excluder seal around your windows and doors to get rid of chilly draughts running through your home – and shave around £25 off your annual fuel bill!
31. Get double glazing Small chinks in windows are responsible for up to 20% of a home’s heat loss. The cost of installing double glazing will be recouped in the next few years’ heating bills.
32. Wash at 30 degrees Higher temperatures use more energy and cost you more in the long-run so don’t wash any higher than 30˚. Running your washing machine at 30 instead of 40 degrees can save you money and it’s better for the environment.
33. Set up zonal heating Central heating can be a bit like having just one light switch for the whole house. Zonal heating is simply heating your home the same way you light it – only using light (and heat) in the rooms you’re actually in. Fit thermostatic valves to your heaters and you’ll use energy much more efficiently, stop some rooms being too hot or too cold, and help reduce that heating bill!
34. Cheaper and environmentally kinder stain removers Chocolate stains can be removed by mixing egg yolk with lukewarm water and rubbing it on the stain. To remove coffee stains from cups or counters, rub with baking soda paste. Cold soda water is ideal for removing pesky wine stains and if it’s a red wine stain try pouring some white wine on it. For mildew pour strong soap and salt on the spots, or spray with vinegar and place in sunlight. Keep the spots moist and repeat as often as necessary. Lemons are also great for cleaning surfaces, or try cutting one in half and leaving it in the fridge to absorb smells. You can also mix it with salt to clean copper and brass, or with water to whiten whites and brighten colours.
35. Swap your clothes Get all your friends round and tell them to bring any clothes they don’t wear anymore. Save on your new summer wardrobes by swapping clothes with each other. Alternatively, you could sell your clothes online and make some cash in the process.
36. Make use of your old clothes Cut up your old T-shirts into squares and use them as cleaning cloths, or washable painting rags. Resist the temptation to just chuck everything out when it gets a hole – get the sewing kit out and mend, mend, mend. John Lewis sells sewing machines from just £49.
37. Recycle your printer cartridges Make huge savings and do your bit to avoid the estimated 57 million cartridges that end up in UK landfills every year. You can either go to a store like Cartridge World and have your inkjet cartridges refilled for about half the price of a new cartridge, or sell your used ink cartridges to a company such as Cash for Cartridges.
38. Send an e-card Save some trees and your money with e-cards. They don’t have to be naff – go to Jacquie Lawson for some really lovely cards. For £9 – the price of about two or three shop-bought cards – you can send as many e-cards as you like from the entire gorgeous collection.
39. Bring your own lunch to work Save hundreds or even thousands of pounds a year by bringing your own lunch to work. You’ll also find it much easier to be healthy and you’ll be saving on packaging and waste. If you just can’t resist eating out then compromise by checking out our article on how to get the best restaurant deals.
40. Turn the tap off and make the most of rain Why keep the tap running while brushing your teeth or shaving? Stopping such bad habits will save you money on your water bill. Plus, thousands of litres of rainwater fall on your roof for free every year – so why not install a water butt and put it to good use watering your plants or garden? Your local council may be able to offer you one at a subsidised price.
41. Recycle your mobile for cash Make money from going green. Recycle your old or broken mobile phone and, depending on the make, earn yourself a nice little pot of cash. Use our comparison tool to see how much you can get for yours.
42. Only fill the kettle with what you need It’s so easy to just fill the kettle up to the top without thinking, but if just 15 families filled their kettles with only the amount of water they need they would save one tonne of carbon every year. There are even eco-friendly kettles available to help you measure exactly how much water you need!
43. Make your own compost Get a wormery – use up kitchen waste and feed it to some worms. They can then eat it, digest it and hey presto you’ve got some free compost! You can buy a compost bin from your local council and then just fill it with your vegetable peelings, tea bags and grass cuttings and let the worms at it!
44. Holiday at home Reduce your carbon footprint and your holiday costs by staying in the UK this summer. Okay, so the weather can’t always be relied on to stay sunny – but there are still plenty of fun things to do. Get some ideas from our article on great days out.
45. Leave the car at home Using public transport is much kinder to the environment and with rising petrol prices it’s more expensive than ever to drive a car. Make big savings by booking train tickets as early as possible.
46. Be a Freegan This involves rifling through bins at the back of supermarkets to get a hold of munchies destined for the scrap heap. Supermarkets chuck out about 5% of their food each day because they’re required to by law, not because it’s bad or harmful. Most of the stuff thrown away is perfectly alright to eat, just past its sell-by date – so why not save on waste and your food bill? See our article on foraging for more ways to eat for free.
47. Insulate your loft With electricity prices on the rise, you can’t afford to lose lots of heat through your roof. Loft insulation can save you hundreds a year and is better for the planet because you won’t need as much heating to keep you warm. There are great discounts from DIY stores like B&Q, but you may be able to get a government grant to help cover the costs.
48. Recycle your cans and computers and make money If you can’t get enough of the fizzy stuff go to Thinkcans.net to find your nearest recycling centre who will pay you a small amount (around 40p) per kilo. If you’re a business (say a restaurant) with a lot of cans they may well send a van round to collect the cans. And should you have an old PC knocking around – even one that doesn’t work – it could be traded in for around £50, or for a discount on a new computer. Try your local independent electronic retailer (if they don’t take old computers, they’ll probably be able to give you details of a company that does).
49. Get cheap books and save trees Go to World of Books, who buy all their paperbacks from charity shops. The website points out that this prevents the charity shop from having to destroy the book. You could alternatively sell your book to Ziffit, who will give you cash for it.
50. Drive more efficiently Drivers who are clued-up about fuel efficiency spend up to 20% less on petrol – so why not become an eco-driver? Learn how to get the most out of your car. Be aware that cars become far less fuel efficient when exceeding 55mph, and try to change gear before your car reaches 2,500 revs.