10 ways to save money and help the environment

When I was in my early twenties, I didn’t really have a lot of disposable income so I would always look for ways to spend as little as I could to get what I needed. Fast forward to today and I am very grateful to have a bit more money to spend each month and I have been able to combine my passion for helping the planet with some of my frugal practices from the past. I’ve put together a list of my top ten things to save money but also help the environment. I understand that not everyone has the same level of income and spending money so I have tried to make my tips as universal as possible so that anyone can apply them to their lifestyle.

Use Less – My first tip is to simply use less, of everything. Use a little less shampoo when you wash your hair, a little less toilet roll, less of everything. Not only does this make your products last longer meaning you don’t need to buy as much, it also helps to reduce the amount of waste you’re throwing away. I also make it a challenge to see how much more I can get out of a seemingly empty bottle by cutting the tops off and scooping the rest out. I once managed to get an extra weeks worth of moisturiser out of a bottle that wouldn’t squeeze anymore out!

Declutter and sell online – Decluttering is not only good for helping to keep a tidy house but it’s also been proven to be beneficial for your mental health. Having an environment that is clean, tidy and free from clutter is calming and allows you to claim back your time that you might have been spending tidying or cleaning the stuff in your home. Once you have collected together all of the things in your home that you no longer want or need, you can sell them online to try and make back a little bit of money. There’s so many websites to use such as eBay, Facebook marketplace, Vinted, etc. A quick Google search will bring up some tips on how to make your listing great! It’s so much better for the planet to re-home your items yourself rather than just sending them to a charity shop or a donation centre because they get so many donations that they might not be able to sell everything and it will end up in landfill. So do your bit and find your old items a loving, new home.

Consider minimalism – Minimalism is something I only recently discovered and fell in love with but I really do wish I had found it sooner. Not only do I have to spend less time maintaining a collection of stuff in my home, but I am more intentional with how I do spend my money. With this intentionality, comes savings because a lot of the things I once thought I needed, I actually don’t. Bonus to this is that the extra time I have that used to be spent shopping or cleaning and tidying, is much better spent on hobbies and things I love and value.

Buy second hand – This is something that I have been doing for years. In my early twenties, the best days out for me were spent with my Mum in one of our local towns browsing around charity shops for a bargain. Fast forward to today and I still love doing this. Not only do you save money but you’re also giving an item that has already been made a new home instead of risking it going to landfill. By buying second hand, we reduce the demand for new clothes all the time which can only be a better thing for our planet and it’s resources.

Enjoy free things – Take a walk, play a board game, read a book, all of these things are free and a fun alternative to sitting in front of the television. Getting out in the fresh air and engaging your brain in something new are not only good for you and your mental health but also for your wallet! Have a look online for ideas of other fun things to entertain yourself and feel free to share in the comments below.

Meal plan and shop your cupboards – Part of my Husband’s and my routine is to plan our meals for the week ahead and make our shopping list. Being organised can take a bit of stress out of your day and it’s nice to know what you’re going to be eating for dinner each night in advance. Before we plan our meals, I like to take note of what we already have in the fridge, freezer and cupboards and make what meals I can from those ingredients first. By doing this, we reduce our food waste massively and save money because we have to buy less for the week ahead than if we planned a full weeks meals from scratch. Win win!

Buy just what you need and plastic free – Once we have made our meal plan and our shopping list, we hit the shops! We are very lucky to have a plastic free shop a short drive away from where we live so we can stock up on some things there. When we do buy our food, we only buy exactly what we need. So if for our weeks meals we only need two carrots, rather than just picking up a bag of them, we only buy two. This again goes a long way to reduce potential food waste and saves money because we’re not paying extra for unneeded food. It also helps to look for loose fruit and vegetables to stock up on just what you need plastic free, and buy anything else in packaging that can be recycled or reused such as tins and glass jars.

Eat one or two vegan meals each week – If you read my recent post where I reviewed the Deliciously Ella app, then you’ll know that recently my Husband and I have been trying to eat more vegan meals. At first I was happy enough but I think he was a little apprehensive but now he’s converted! We eat vegan meals about four or five times a week and he doesn’t miss having meat as often at all and neither do I! I’ve also noticed a drop in our weekly food shopping bill as well as having a much more colourful looking fridge! Eating vegan has a massively lower carbon footprint that eating meat every day and it’s so much better for your body too. Even just cutting out meat makes a difference so I really recommend giving it a try. Your bank balance, body and planet will thank you!

Grow your own food – There is a running joke between one of my friends and myself that I’m very good at accidentally killing the plants in my home. I will admit I have had a few fatalities since I started trying to keep plants but I’m still proud of myself for how well I’ve done overall. My most recent project has been to try and grow some herbs on our kitchen windowsill. I can’t explain how excited I was when I saw the first little buds popping up through the soil and there’s more and more every day! Growing your own food is really rewarding (you get to eat it), fun and saves you money. It’s also really good for the planet to grow food and plants in your garden or any outdoor or indoor space you might have!

Be mindful of your utilities consumption – When I was a child, we used to spend the summer holidays with my Grandma and Grandad. They were from the generation of make do and mend and making every pound count. They were also on a water metre which is something I didn’t really understand then (however I do now as we also have one). Whenever we used the toilet, I always remember hearing, “If it’s yellow let it mellow, if it’s brown flush it down.” They liked to save water where they could so their bills weren’t as high. This expression still sticks in my mind today however I’m not about to tell you to leave your waste sitting in the toilet. The way I use it now, is to think before I use water or electricity. For example, I don’t need to flush one piece of tissue straight down the toilet so I can wait until the next time I use it. I also think about whether or not I can use cold water for something instead of running the hot tap or if I really need to turn on the light to nip in and out of a room. Again this will help to keep your utility bills down and also save the Earth’s resources.

Let me know what you think of my tips and comment below with anything that you do to save money and help the planet.

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