How going green saves you (and me) money, every day

Written by Rebecca O'Connor on 10th May 2018

There are a gazillion brilliant reasons to be that bit greener – planetary betterment being the obvious one. But quite selfishly, it also saves you money.

I don’t mean saving in that self-denying, frugal banishment of the joys of modern life kind of way – that obviously would reduce your personal CO2 emissions and individual waste mountain, but you’d also be pretty miz.

No, there are ways of going green, saving money and still not denying yourself too much.

There are both quick wins you can make today, and some bigger ticket items that will reduce your CO2 emissions significantly. Some changes might cost more upfront, but over the long term, there are big savings to be made.

Here are 10 ways you can save money by going green, but without giving up on good things you like:

  • Switch to a 100% renewable energy supplier. They often come in cheaper than the dirty great fossil-fuelled Big Six, because the suppliers are smaller, nimbler and tend to also offer better customer service too. So you won’t be scrimping on either the quality of your electricity (because electricity is electricity, wherever it comes from) and you won’t have to sacrifice good service either. Plus, it’s dead easy. Here are some we like.
  • If you are in the market for a new car this year, make your next vehicle an electric (or at least a bit electric) one. There are some decently-priced second hand electric vehicle options with realistic mileage ranges, now that they have been around a while and there are lots of new models coming out. The money-saving beauty of electric cars is that you can avoid the cost of petrol, which, you might have noticed, is rising. Pure electric cars are about 10 per cent cheaper to run overall, according to research. Here are AutoExpress’s top picks for 2018.
  • Hankies. Not a glamorous conversation point, but worth spending a bit more on now for long term cost savings.These fetching Liberty print hankies cost £13.95. I don’t know about you, but in hayfever season, I could spend that in one month on boxes of tissues (typical cost: £1 from Ocado). Hankies: lovely squares of delightful fabric.. and also way cheaper over the long term than a few boxes of Kleenex.
  • A bamboo toothbrush subscription service from The Pearly White Club. £30 for a year – you get a new bamboo toothbrush every six weeks. An electronic toothbrush with a two-year warranty from John Lewis costs around £90 – it also uses electricity to charge and requires refills. So getting a nice new biodegradable toothbrush every six weeks could actually work out cheaper over the long run.

Me plus bamboo toothbrush from The Pearly White Club

  • If you are using a tumble dryer now, when the weather is sunny, warmer and a bit breezy, then frankly, what’s wrong with you? Get a washing line or clothes airer if you don’t already have one, and get that washing outside (sounding like my mum there). If you do half as much washing as me (I do about one load a day), you’ll save around £5 a week by taking a few extra minutes to get real fresh air on your clothes. And for some reason, it makes them smell amazing too.
  • Reuseable sandwich bags. Check out these on Amazon. A pack of 2 for £7.99. The saving over time here happens only if you prepare a lot of packed lunches. You can get 100 plastic ones for 79p. So the reuseable ones would have to last for 1,000 sandwiches to get your money’s worth! In my house, where one child has a packed lunch three times a week, that would mean they’d have to last about three years. I’m afraid I haven’t been using them long enough to know whether that’s the case (fingers crossed).
  • The war on cheap, non-recycleable plastic is everywhere – and thank goodness for that. Metal drinks bottles, stainless steel cups, bamboo straws… all these things are on Amazon, therefore, there is no excuse not to buy them.
  • Sustainable fashion brands are everywhere, too. The H&M Conscious collection is my go-to for kids’ basics (and my own, in fact). Timberland boots and shoes are my fiancé’s top choice and my last coat was from Patagonia. None of us look like hippies (no boho styling anywhere), all of these brands and ranges are comparable in price with their less sustainable counterparts. Lasting “forever” clothing, such as Tom Cridland’s jumpers and trousers, might cost a tad more at first, but the idea is you will keep it for a lifetime.
  • Start an ISA that invests in an ethical fund. If you are 40 or under and want to use your ISA to save for a first home or retirement, make it a Lifetime ISA and get a government bonus of 25 per cent too. Here’s the Good With Money Good Investment Review, where you can check out star ratings of top ethical and sustainable funds. And here’s our Good Guide to Stocks and Shares ISAs, in association with EQ Selftrade, which explains your ISA options.
  • Lastly grow your own herbs. I’ve got more sage, rosemary, mint and chives than I know what to do with at the moment. Growing your own fruit and veggies can be a massive cost-saving too, but if you don’t want to go the whole DIY-farmer hog, then herbs are a good, low cost, low space first step. A pack of rosemary from Sainsbury’s costs 70p. I reckon I’ve got about 10 packs growing next to my patio right now. The Green Seed Co has seed packs priced at 85p. If you’ve got some pots and a bit of compost and can remember to water things – this is a no-brainer.


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