Oil is going up, electricity is rising and food prices are on the up. Sometimes trying to find the balance between making an eco swap and keeping our cost of living down can be tough. Let’s be honest, the price of everything is going up in general and some eco swaps can feel super expensive but this isn’t always the case. This week I have been chatting with a few other business owners, looking at the eco swaps we can make that will also help reduce our cost of living. Great news is we came up with quite a great list to get you started!
Refill to get exactly what you need!
Alice from Refill Quarter in Belfast pointed out that sometimes recipe will require ingredients we just don’t use very often and by opting to refill you can buy the exact weight you need to avoid spending more on a larger
pack from your supermarket that will go to waste. I would also like to point out that while some foods may be more expensive in a refill store, items such as spices are much cheaper. So get saving your jars and planning a trip to your local refill store next time you are heading past, you will be surprised how much it could save you as well as the planet.
Reduce your dryer time:
Tumble dryers can be a necessary evil during the winter months for some families but they cost a LOT of money to run. The average dryer now costs over £1 per hour to run but adding the Ecoegg dryer eggs in with your load can reduce the drying time by up to 28%. Over time those savings will soon mount up and your dryer balls are expected to last 10+ years so will more than earn their money back. The ultimate eco money saver would however be to air dry when possible and you can give your laundry the “heated airer” effect by popping a sheet over the top of your airer and drop it down behind your radiator. This traps the heat so that it heads into the airer to get those clothes drying quicker.
Change how you buy your clothes:
This suggestion was inspired by Cathy over at Lily Loves and the swap strides multiple levels. Over consumption is killing our planet and hitting our wallets hard, you can try A, buy less clothes fullstop and be more conscious about what you need. B, switch to buying second hand or C, buy grow with me clothes which last children much longer (you can check out the Lily Loves range of grow with me clothes here).
Back to pack lunches:
Okay, some of you may never have stopped with pack lunches (I never did) but for those of you who often grab lunch on the go this is a super easy money saver to embrace. Even with meal deals enticing us as the cheap option, they will never compare to how little it costs to prepare a sandwich and some snacks. If you want something more substantial then I suggest cooking an extra portion of dinners to freeze and bring to work as and when needed.
Drinks on the go:
Get yourself a good flask and even treat yourself to the fancy packet of coffee if you like – it will still cost you substantially less than buying a coffee on the go! Personally I am a hot chocolate fan and this same rule applies, we make hot chocolate before heading to the markets and it stays hot for hours in our flasks from Global Wake Cup.
Natural DIY cleaning:
Natural cleaning is a non toxic way to keep your home sparkling without harming the environment. As a starting point, citric acid can work wonders when it comes to DIY cleaning and costs as little as 15p to fill a 500ml bottle. Mix it with water to create a spray to use on surfaces, sinks, showers, baths etc. Just avoid using it on marble or stone surfaces. Vinegar is another great multi purpose product for cleaning and can be infused with citrus peels or rosemary.
Say bye bye to cotton wool:
If you own a pack of reusable makeup wipes and a pack of reusable nail polish remover wipes then its conceivable you may never need to buy cotton wool ever again. With the average woman in the UK spending £18 per year on cotton wool rounds, switching to these reusable face wipes and these nail polish remover pads will be saving you money before the year is out.
Find your fellow bookworms:
Books can cost quite a bit so why not swap with your family and friends? This way you call get to read some great books without buying as many. You may also be lucky and have a book swap or library near by to check out. For anyone who lives near me, Rushmere Shopping centre has a book swap cart you can trade books at for free and there is also a little book swap cupboard in Scarva outside the tea rooms.
Keep your fruit and veg in season:
Logical when we think about it really but out of season fruit and veg costs us more to buy as it travels further to get here. You could also be extra good and try a suggestion from local jam makers The Lush Larder which is to have a go at growing some of your own in pots on the patio or if you have a large garden you could create a great vegetable rotation using the “Veg in one bed” book by Huw Richards.
Periods are pants:
Periods are unavoidable for many of us but what is avoidable is disposable sanitary products. Why not switch to reusable pads, try a Mooncup or even switch your pants for period pants a few days a month. All of these options will last years and save money in the long run although they can be a bit expensive initially.Personally as a Mooncup lover I used my first cup for 10+ years meaning my initial £20 investment worked out at less than £2 per year for the duration of the product. I did buy a new cup after 10 years and expect it to last me until I no longer require period products!
Go Sweedish (and I don’t mean to Ikea!):
Sweedish dishcloths were invented in the 1940s and are an amazing swap for kitchen roll. Each cloth should last around 6 – 9 months with good care and will absorb up to 20 x their own weight making them perfect for any countertop spills.
The list could go on and indeed I will keep adding to it so I’d love to hear what your favorite money saving eco swaps are over on Facebook or Instagram but for now I hope you found some useful swaps that will help you cut costs in keeping with your own sustainable ethics.