Recently I have started to look at how to go green and incorporate more eco friendly ways into my thrifty lifestyle.
For a long time we were a frugal family and I was always on the look at for things to help me live simply and cheaply.
I sought every possible way to living within our means and save money. Like you I sought out value for money, not always buying the cheapest but what I didn’t consider was going green.
I didn’t think about why going green is important for us all.
These days there are so many more things to consider with a thrifty lifestyle. You don’t want to be super frugal at the expense of the environment, you want environmentally friendly thrifty living on a budget.
Why ‘Go Green’ Is Important
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You cannot help but see pictures and documentaries about the build up of plastic in the sea and you don’t want to be adding to that seascape.
Yet so many more things we now buy are now either made from plastic or wrapped in plastic. We can choose to shop differently in the grocery store but how to go green at work or in our homes on a bigger scale?
How to live simply and cheaply whilst still ensuring we do our bit for the environment by going green wherever we can?
What can we do at home to embrace eco thrifty living?
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How To Go Green At Work
Quite often your environmental footprint at work is dictated by your employer and how they operate.
Getting involved with your employer and setting up a knowledge base of helpful ways to be environmentally friendly at work is a great step when your employer is receptive.
But as an individual how can you go green at work is something you can work on regardless of how receptive your employer is.
10 Ways To Go Green At Work
- walk to work, take public transport or car share
- create your own work uniform to keep your work wardrobe small
- take your own coffee in a hot drinks flask to stop using non-recyclable coffee cups
- make your own coffee and tea whilst at work – don’t use vending machines
- take your own lunch in beeswax wraps or a lunchbox
- don’t print copies of emails
- wear an extra layer in the winter and request the heating is turned down
- don’t crank up the air con in summer, allow yourself to acclimatize to a slightly higher temp
- suggest meetings by video conference or skype
- take your own food rubbish home and recycle or compost what you can
Go Green At School
Many go green ideas for school and your kids are very similar to to the ideas for you at work.
Walking to school, taking their own lunch in reusable containers are just a couple of the ways your children can take baby steps towards being more eco friendly.
How To Go Green When You Live A Thrifty Lifestyle
Not buying too much stuff is a great start but, when you do buy stuff, what eco friendly products can you buy that help you in your quest to learn how to go green and leave a lighter footprint upon this planet?
These products are my favorites that I have slowly incorporated into my thrifty lifestyle whilst still living a frugal life and enjoying it.
How To Go Green In The Kitchen
I used cling film for years but recently made the decision to invest in beeswax wraps and have never looked back. The wraps are made from organic cotton, are covered in beeswax and come in a multi size pack of 3 or 4.
They last for at least a year as long as you don’t wash them in hot water, or put them in the microwave! Hint: heat melts wax – ask me how I know.
The heat from your hands helps to mold the wrap over your produce or bowl and as it cools it tightens to form a good seal. Wash in cool soapy water.
Just last month I invest in the bread size wrap as I’m so impressed with how they work. I really like how it molds itself to the bread size so forms a neat package in my cupboard.
Choose your favorite pattern of beeswax wraps and enjoy their look every time you use them.
I try to reuse the plastic containers that some products come in, like ice cream or the odd take out but they eventually wear out and I don’t buy these products that often.
I am trying to embrace as many going green examples in my thrifty lifestyle as I can so I have invested in these BPA free reusable food bags.
They are freezer, microwave and steamer safe so perfect for everything you would use them for. Being reusable you don’t need loads of them, just enough so you have a few spare.
One of the easiest ways to live simply and cheaply every day is to not buy paper towels or wet wipes. I stopped buying these products years ago as part of my frugal and simple life here in the UK.
I made do with old clothes rags for a long time but finally gave in to microfiber cloths. What a difference!
They rarely leave smears and dry as they wipe, they are so much more effective than cotton cloths, I wish I had bought some a long time ago.
I also love the bright colors which allows you to color code their use e.g. bathroom, floor, work surfaces, if you prefer.
A maslin jam pan is an essential item for everyone keen on being more green and eco thrifty.
Being able to make your own jams, chutneys and pickles not only saves you money in your kitchen, it’s a perfect way to make home made gifts at Christmas and other times.
Whether you grow your own veggies and fruit or buy cheaply from the grocery store, a maslin pan helps you turn them into the perfect gifts for your whole family.
This is the maslin jam pan I have and I love it. It was a Christmas gift from my Dad so making it that little bit extra special.
If you don’t have one yet, why not put it on your birthday or Christmas list?
Friday night takeaway was a staple in the Tuppenny household but that is not healthy, not very green and doesn’t fit with a thrifty lifestyle.
The containers are usually plastic, it costs a lot more than home cooked food and there is always too much so it gets thrown away.
If we want takeaway food we make it at home.
This book is great for all your classic takeaway recipes.
These days plastic shopping bags cost money and of course are bad for the environment.
Reuse the bags you have until they fall apart and then invest in something like these cloth shopping bags which can be washed and reused many times.
Brownie points if you make your own cloth shopping bags!
Increase Your Knowledge Of A Thrifty Lifestyle
As a frugal family you are always learning. Learning what works for you and what doesn’t. Learning how to go green whilst still maintaining your thrifty lifestyle can be a bit trial and error.
You can get ahead of the game by investing a little money in a couple of frugal books that can provide you with a multitude of ideas on how to live simply and cheaply.
My two best books on simple frugal living, with an eco twist are:
This is a brand new book by Amanda who is able to tell you all about how to make your house green friendly.
She and her husband lived on just $16,000 in their first year of marriage whilst paying down student loans, being pregnant AND supporting 2 children through a monthly sponsorship program.
She shows you how you can live green on a shoestring, with some really simple and cheap recipes to make your own toothpaste, shampoo and other cleaning products. All of which are very eco friendly.
You can buy Dirt Cheap Adult here.
This book is my all time favorite frugal book. It’s a little dated but the near 1000 pages contains a goldmine of useful tips on following a thrifty lifestyle.
Most of which are very much relevant today when you are keen to go green but on a budget.
You can buy the Tightwad Gazette here.
Go Green Thrifty Help Around Your Home
Keeping your energy bills low is also a green and eco friendly thing to do. It also saves you money – double win. My post on how to keep your house warm in winter has lots of tips to help you do just that.
Thrifty lifestyle tips that help the environment are always good to know. You might not be able to do all of them depending on your circumstances but embrace the ones you can and aim for the ones you can’t.
Rain water is free and capturing it enables you to use less of this precious commodity from the taps. Thereby conserving water.
A water butt can be as little as £25 brand new and will provide you with a regular supply of free water during the year. Use rain water to wash your car and water your garden.
In the UK you can get reasonable priced water butts from your local water company as they are keen for you to reduce your consumption.
These can work out cheaper than those available at garden centers so do make sure you check out your water company first.
Related post: 10 Ways To Save Money On Your Water Bill
Buying coffee on the go, in those non-recyclable plastic coated cups is just not green or thrifty.
Buy yourself a decent drinks flask, one that will keep your coffee hot from more than 30 minutes and watch your savings and your going green credentials grow.
Investing £10 in a quality flask will pay for itself within a week or two, I have probably save thousands with mine.
I’ve had this one for 7 years now and it still keeps my tea super hot for hours.
A tap aerator can reduce the water flow in your taps by up to 50%. With water being in scarce supply around the world, whether you pay for it or not, it makes sense to be more thrifty with water.
Waste not, want not as my Grandma used to say. Fitting a tap aerator is one of the going green examples I would strongly encourage you to embrace.
We all have a multitude of electronic equipment with the result that many are left on permanent standby.
All very convenient but standby still means you are paying for some electricity and risk a power surge which could destroy your appliances.
An energy efficient power strip does it exactly what it says. It saves energy so it saves you money and saves you from the risk of an outage.
Plug all your games, TV and entertainment equipment into one of these and you can switch them off in one fell swoop.
Most modern power showers shoot out the water at such a fast speed that you are literally washing money down the drain.
Water is a scarce commodity even if you do live somewhere it rains too often for your liking. (Hello UK!)
An energy efficient shower head reduces the rate at which water is dispensed thereby being more eco friendly and saving your money too.
6. Pack You Lunch
Packing your own lunch and taking it to work each day in a pretty lunch bag is a great way to be more eco friendly and green. Especially when you combine it with using beeswax wraps to wrap your lunch in.
Making your own lunch rather than buying it daily is a cornerstone of a thrifty lifestyle. Lunch doesn’t need to be boring when you pack your own. Take leftovers, wraps, sandwiches, a salad, in fact anything you want.
You can buy a lunch bag like this here.
Thrifty Life and Going Green
As you can see it is totally possible to have a thrifty lifestyle and embrace going green at the same time.
If you are on a super tight budget then why not add your favorite items from above to your birthday or Christmas present list? Your family will thank you for the great ideas and you get your favorite presents.