If you are on a budget or live a frugal life, can you be eco friendly too?
Being environmentally friendly is very much more in favour these days. Yet if you are on a strict budget can you afford to be eco friendly too?
We are all more aware of the damage done by plastic not being biodegradable. I think most of us must have seen the pictures from the Blue Planet series with Sir David Attenborough and the albatross parents feeding their chicks plastic.
It was difficult to watch and not be moved by it. This has really brought home to many of us the need to do something more than what we are currently doing to reduce our use of plastic. Recent newsworthy items include:
- The UK government has announced its 25 year plan for a greener future
- Iceland supermarket has announced plans to remove plastic from own label products by 2023
Lets hope other supermarkets follow suit and don’t wait the full 25 years of the governments plan.
As a result of the increased awareness of plastic floating around our oceans there was much noise on social media and in the press about buying more sustainable products that don’t use plastic.
Reducing your plastic use
I applaud many of these ideas but their cost in comparison to their plastic equivalents can be off putting. Especially if you are in debt and have a budget to stick to. Items such as:
- bamboo toothbrushes
- soap bars
- bamboo drinking straws
- shampoo bars
But what if you are on a budget and can’t afford to buy the more sustainable product? What if there isn’t a choice between plastic and non-plastic in your local area?
Fear not, you may well be pretty eco friendly already. Being frugal entwines itself very nicely into the eco friendly scene.
Many of the aims of frugal people directly link to that of being environmentally friendly. Aims such as:
- Not buying new cars, drive your old one for as long as you can
- Reduce your utility bills by reducing your energy/water consumption
- Reduce your new clothes buying and use charity/thrift shops
- Saving money by growing your own garden
These are frugal living tips for people to save more money, make their money go further.
If you are concerned about the environment and want to do your bit, these are exactly the same tips you could chose to fulfill that aim.
I want to reassure you that being frugal doesn’t mean you can’t be eco friendly too. Indeed if you look through the list below you will probably recognise many things you do naturally as a frugal person.
But you are also doing your bit for the environment by being frugal. Its a win win situation.
Lets look at this list and give yourself a green star for each of the following things you buy or do:
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50 eco friendly frugal habits
Transport and travel
- If its 30 mins or less, walk don’t drive – you will also gain the health benefits of free exercise and fresh air – a triple win
- Don’t leave your engine running when stationery – it’s nice to keep the heat or air conditioning running whilst you are stationery but it’s not necessary. 5 minutes without the heat/aircon won’t hurt you, reduces carbon emissions and saves you petrol/diesel
- Drive more slowly and more efficiently
- Don’t leave the house without your (full) reusable water bottle – keep yourself hydrated and away from pricey bottled water
- Pack your lunch every day
- Recycle everything you can – keep your bins near the back door so your family do use. I resorted to going through DD2s bin bags as she was NOT good at recycling. Yes, she should do it but if she didn’t I wasn’t prepared to allow recyclables in the rubbish bin.
- Donate to charity – if you are having a clear out, don’t bin your stuff. If it is in good condition donate to charity where someone else can make good use of it
- Create a compost pile for veg peelings
- Recycle paper scraps and envelopes into your to-do and shopping lists
- Reuse your own grocery bags – give yourself an extra green star if you use cloth bags
- Don’t buy new books – use the library or buy used via charity/thrift shops
- Daily newspapers – no need to buy the paper version you can usually read them online for free these days
- Cut down on buying new clothes – wear what you have or buy from charity/thrift shops
- Buy fruit & veg at your local market – if time allows, cheaper than the supermarkets and usually not wrapped in plastic
- Don’t buy and pay for air fresheners – fresh air is free to use by opening a window
- Paper towels – don’t buy or use these, you can use upcycled rags or your usual dishcloth instead
- (Extreme) Do the same but for toilet paper – if you use rags in place of toilet paper award yourself 100 green stars!
- Buy cat/dog wet food in tins not sachets – half the price per kg and recyclable
- Don’t use or buy plastic straws – for an extra green star ask for no straw if buying a drink in a bar/restaurant
- Fix things that get broken rather than buying new – you can use Youtube, Google and Pinterest to find tutorials for almost anything these days
- Borrow specialist items from friends and neighbours – return the favour with your equipment
- Repair and re-heel your shoes – Use a local shoe repairer to extend the life of your shoes, keep them out of landfill and keep money in your pocket
- Repair your clothes, don’t replace them – sew on that missing button, learn how to replace a zip using Youtube tutorials
- Re-purpose old sheets & towels – turn them into rags, napkins and handkerchiefs to keep them out of landfill
- Use cloth napkins not paper ones – wash and reuse
- Reuse plastic food bags & ties – don’t bin existing bags, make them last and reuse them
- Meal plan before you shop – you only buy what you need and you avoid food waste
- Cook the right portion amount with no leftovers
- Don’t waste leftovers, use them to make another meal
- Use a microwave or pressure cooker instead of your conventional oven – both use less energy
- Eat more vegetarian meals
Heating and cooling
- Keep your room thermostat higher in summer and lower in winter – in the UK it’s rare to have air conditioning installed but we definitely make good use of our central heating. Dialling back on your thermostat can really reduce the energy you use as well as your bill
- Make use of curtains to keep your house cool in summer – a tip from Mediterranean countries, stop the sun from heating up your house by blocking it out on sunny days.
- Open windows to cool your house, don’t crank up the air conditioning
- Wear a sweater and/or use a blanket before putting the heating on – I love getting cosy with my blanket!
Washing & cleaning
- Turn the tap off whilst brushing your teeth
- If it’s yellow, let it mellow! – Don’t flush your toilet unless you really ‘need’ to see here for more water saving ideas
- Always run a full dishwasher and washing machine
- Use natural cleansers like vinegar and baking soda – for all your cleaning needs
- Alternatively use a concentrated cleaner for all your cleaning if you don’t want to do the above, decant and dilute into a spray bottle
- Use large bottle of bath bubbles to refill kitchen hand soap
- Using bar soap in the shower and bathroom – supermarket bars have 1 wrapper for 4 bars and are much cheaper than shower gel in plastic bottles
- Use big box washing powder instead of liquid tabs or liquid – both have much more plastic packaging
- Implement the sniff test and wash clothes only when they fail the test! Clothes don’t automatically need washing after just one wear
- Line dry clothes your clothes (inside & out) throughout year – I have been known to hang washing out when there is a frost (your washing can still get 80% dry on a winters day)
- Online billing for your utility bills and bank accounts
- Use a handkerchief – negates the need to buy paper tissues
- Plant a garden and grow your own – even if it is just herbs on windowsill
- Use ecofriendly LED lightbulbs – replace as and when old lightbulbs die
- Unplug & turn off electrical appliances when not in use – the standby button still uses energy, make sure you turn your computer off as well!
As you can see, being frugal and careful with your money has the added benefit of being environmentally friendly as well.
Next time someone asks you why you are careful with your money you can tell them truthfully you are doing your bit for the environment.
Here’s another post on being green to save your green
So how many stars did you award yourself? Do you have a tip that can be added to the list above?