Guest Post Author Bio: Kylie Ofiu is the author of 365 Ways to Make Money. She blogs about ways to make and save money as well as what she is up to at her blog www.kylieofiu.com
A lot of people think being environmentally friendly costs a lot. If you get the big things like solar panels and water tanks, they do cost initially, but if you are staying in your home for a long period they are worth it. But besides the big expenses there are many eco friendly products and different ways to be green that can actually save you money.
1.) Make your own cleaning products
It is actually really easy to clean lots of things without using harsh chemicals. Using just bi-carb soda and vinegar there are a range of things you can do from cleaning the bathroom right through to the oven. You can find lots of recipes online for your own cleaning products such as vinegar for floors and windows and for more reasons to make your own check out this post.
2.) Use up all your food and reduce waste
It seems the more affluent a society becomes the happier we are to throw away food. Many reports have suggested that we (most Western countries e.g. USA, UK, Australia etc.) are throwing away one fifth of the food we buy each year. So instead of menu planning, buying what we need and eating it, we are buying what we feel like, cooking too much and throwing away the rest instead of eating the leftovers.
Considering many people I know spend on average $150+ a week on food that would mean they are throwing away $1560 worth of food. You may as well flush that money down the toilet. If we all planned our meals properly, ate proper portion sizes instead of cooking thinking our stomachs are the size of Texas, only cook what we can or will eat. If we didn’t buy everything that is reduced at the supermarket just because it is a great price, but instead thought about if we would actually use it, we would reduce a lot of waste and save more than $1500 a year!
3.) Reduce waste = reduced land rates
In my area and many others we have different sized bins. The largest bin is what most seem to opt for, yet if you are more careful with what you bring into your home so you don’t need to throw away excess you could get a smaller bin. In my area a smaller bin equates to a smaller land tax bill. It can range from $50 – $300 a year depending on your area.
4.) Using your own shopping bags can save 10cents or more when shopping
Many shops now charge you for bags which can be anywhere from 10cents to $1 a bag. If you used 10 bags a week, even at 50cents a bag that is $5 a week or $260 a year. Ny taking your own bags, reusing plastic bags you already have or even sewing some fabric bags from old t-shirts and things you can save a lot.
5.) Reducing electricity/gas and water usage
This is an obvious one, yet so many people still leave lights on in rooms not being used or leave chargers plugged in when they are not charging anything. Many appliances are still using 10-15% power when in standby, so if you are not using it unplug it. As for water take shorter showers and reuse water where possible, such as collecting the water from your shower to water the lawn. Just a few simple changes to your daily routing can produce a significant drop in your bills.
6.) Use the car less
This is easier said than done for many people, but there are often ways we can all use the car less (if we own one that it). If you can walk somewhere or ride a bike instead it will save you considerable money in petrol and car maintenance. Combining errands so when you are out in the car, it is all done in one trip helps reduce costs and wasted time. Cars can be very expensive but for some people are a necessity. Reduce the reliance on the car if possible.
7.) Buying used
You can save a lot of money on virtually anything by purchasing the used version. Often you can find used versions that are near new having only been used a handful of times. A car is a perfect example; once driven off the lot, the value drops by $10,000 on many models. Buying a car 1 pr 2 years old can save you thousands and it still has a warranty. With eBay, Craigslist, Amazon, Gum Tree and more similar sites, if you look around you are more than likely able to find exactly what you need for much less. Buying used stops the item going to landfill and reduces the need for new items to be made.
8.) Grow your own produce
If you look at the cost of setting up a full vegetable garden system it is not very budget friendly, especially if you have no experience or a black thumb. Starting out with some herbs or tomatoes in pots does not cost a lot (you can often get pots free from garden centres) but can save you a few dollars each week. Then as you gain experience and expand you can eventually provide most of your own food from your garden.
9.) Buy what you need, use what you buy
We live in a time when people buy for the sake of buying. We have whole TV shows about hoarders and people actually dying by being crushed from all their stuff. Why do we feel the need to have everything? By only purchasing what we need and using what we buy we reduce the consumer demand for things, we save money by not spending on things we do not need and we reduce the clutter in our home. Have you ever looked around your home and thought “If we had less stuff, we could live in a smaller place?” I have lived with my husband and 2 daughters in a 1 bedroom unit. The less stuff you have, the less space you need. Whilst I love having more space now, I can also see how easy it would be to fill that space.
Everything has another use is a saying often heard in regards to recycling. Years ago our parents and grandparents used things as much as possible, found another use for it and did not rush out to the shops to buy a replacement or throw it away because they just could not be bothered. We live in a throw away society and it is killing the planet. Reduce what you consume, reuse what you can and recycle the rest.
Hopefully these 10 tips will help you think a little about what you can do to save money and live more environmentally friendly.
So, what eco friendly methods have you put in place and how did they save you money?