Going Green: How to Save Money by Being Eco-Friendly
Earth Week was two weeks ago now and since then we have been researching ways to become more environmentally friendly. In our research we found a Times article that gives tips on how to do this with the added bonus of saving us money. We know a lot of you will already be putting massive amounts of effort into protecting the environment, but we thought we would pass on some of the advice just in case anyone isn’t aware of these points. Also, it is perfect for a financial education company to promote money saving while also saving the planet.
The tips they give can be split into 3 categories lifestyle changes, product use and company choices.
Lifestyle changes are something we can change about our behaviour. Product use is how some of our most commonly used items negatively affect the planet but have better and cheaper alternatives. Finally, company choices, we use different company’s services all the time and often don’t have much control over what they do with our money but there are some eco-friendly choices that may also be cheaper. This last one is hard as we have less control over it and switching can be difficult, but I will add them anyway.
Let’s start with lifestyle changes:
- Cut down on eating meat: This is an obvious one meat as is often a more expensive option. But also has high energy costs to produce. The meat industry uses lots of water, heating and fuel to get to our plates. A lifestyle change that can greatly help is to have one meat free day a week or more if you feel inclined. This can save some money but also some energy every week.
- Turn up the temperature on your fridge to around 5ᵒC: This means less energy is used to cool it so helps the planet but also will reduce your energy bill. This will also not generally affect the food in the fridge.
- Hanging up clothes instead of using a tumble dryer when possible, especially for bigger items: Again, this means less energy is used so money and fuel saved. However, an added bonus of doing this is that the sun breaks down the bacteria in clothing to make them even more fragrant.
- Use a pan lid when cooking: this can reduce energy consumption compared to normal cooking habits by 80%! This is because less energy is lost into the air when cooking.
- Use a dishwasher: This one may sound counter-intuitive especially after the reading the part about tumble-dryers. But in this case the easier option is actual the best. Tumble dryers when full use less energy than washing up by hand.
- Drive Less: We’ve all heard this one, but we thought we’d add it anyway. The effects of pollution from cars is well documented. There is a clear money saving benefit of spending less money on fuel.
Moving onto product use:
- Use less clingfilm and single-use plastics: these can’t be broken down naturally when thrown away. So they end up in waste dumps or in areas where they can be harmful to the environment. A good alternative is beeswax wraps. As the name suggests they are made from beeswax and can be used multiple times when wrapping food. This saves money as they are reusable. But they are also bio-degradable so are better for the environment.
- Buy a better razor: this one also seems counter intuitive when you see how cheap disposable razors are but when you buy a quality razor it can last long enough to counter the initial cost. This is especially true of razors where only the head is replaced. When doing this, you will throw away less non-reusable plastics, so it is more environmentally friendly. There is also added motivation to do this as it means you get to use a higher quality product.
- Use fewer plastic water bottles: buy a reusable bottle and fill it with filtered or tap water when you want a drink. This means you save money as you buy less water (and tap water is cheaper) but it also reduces the amount of plastic you throw away.
- Use fewer plastic bags: We are sure you are aware of the plastic bag charge by now. So the money saving aspect is obvious especially as the charge is set to increase to 10p. Get a reusable canvas one so that again. You throw away less plastic.
Use soap blocks instead of shower gel: Soap blocks are often the cheaper option when compared to squirty hand soaps or shower gels. But they also last longer giving you more bang for your bucks. We’re sure you are tired of hearing this now but by using soap blocks you will cut down on the amount of plastic you throw away.
Finally, company choices:
- Change energy provider: some energy providers will only use renewable energy. Alternative energy sources are becoming so popular now that they can even be cheaper.
- Switch bank: banks will lend money out but we have no control over who receives this money. Some banks however will only lend to sustainable businesses and can be a cheaper option.
- Switch pension/ ISA provider: many pensions and ISAs will invest money for you. You can pick an environmentally friendly provider that will only invest in sustainable companies. As renewable energies and businesses become more mainstream you can get good returns from this sector too.
We don’t expect anyone to go out there and do all of these all the time, but every little helps! We’ve tried our best to add alternatives instead of just telling you to stop doing things. Hopefully you find this more constructive than a lot of articles. This article is a two-parter so if you are a property investor or want to start being one then check out our article on how to make a home more ecologically and investment efficient.