Most people want to be kind to the environment but it’s sometimes convenience that make us choose less eco-friendly options. Sometimes we opt for a cheaper product that is not so environmentally friendly only because we prefer not to spend any extra cash. I have given this a lot of thought and I have come up with many different ways we can save money while being eco-friendly. We can very easily make choices that are kind to the environment and also good for our cash flow.
1. Instead of buying cleaning rags, start cutting up all those old towels, t-shirts and other clothes that are not quite wearable anymore and use them as cleaning rags.
2. Upcycle all the clothes that are too good to make into rags but don’t quite fit anymore. Make dresses into skirts, t-shirts into aprons, create scrunchies, pillow covers, kids toys, book covers and so much more.
3. DIY laundry detergent and other cleaning products. With some baking soda, castile soap and vinegar you can make pretty much any cleaning detergent you will need for a fraction of the price of standard detergents.
4. Give up sandwich bags and plastic wrap once and for all and get yourself some reusable beeswax wraps. They are also quite easy to make.
5. If you buy bottled water, consider getting yourself a reusable water bottle and start filling it up with tap water.
6. Find some local thrift stores and start shopping second hand clothes. This is great for kids, since they usually grow out of their clothes quicker then the clothes get worn out. Even for adults, it’s not necessary to spend a fortune on clothes when you can find some unique items for a minimal fee. Plus, second hand clothing encourages and develops a recycling community.
7. Grow your own food. However much or however little garden space you have, you can grow something. Even if you have no garden space at all, it’s possible to grow herbs and some vegetables in pots. You won’t save a fortune, but if there is something that you and your family eat a lot of, then plant mostly that. It also doesn’t have to cost anything to get started. We have a full vegetable patch in our garden that we started growing mainly from seeds taken from vegetable scraps. The only plants we bought were egg plants, zucchini and cucumbers (still need to work out how to get seeds out of those).
8. Stop buying single use straws and get these reusable stainless steel straws. So many straws get into our oceans and are destroying the sea life. These straws are reusable and will last you years!
9. Cook and bake from scratch. It’s a little more time consuming then buying ready made food. But it’s so worthwhile. Considering the environmental issue and health benefits. To save a little time, when you cook, make double the quantity you need and freeze half for another easy meal. Same goes for baking, bake in large quantities and have some home baked bread, muffins and biscuits in the freezer for whenever you need.
10. Ditch disposables. We used to spend a fortune on disposable bowls, cups and cutlery. With five kids in the house, it is very easy to go down that route. I switched to eco-friendly disposables, which is fine for the environment but it is still like throwing money away. So as hard as it was, we are trying to ditch disposables all together. We take turns to do the washing up and the big kids need to be responsible for washing their own dishes. Like in the good old days I suppose (when did disposables become so mainstream anyway!?)
If you are drying your clothes in a dryer, start air-drying. Air-drying clothes uses less energy, which saves money and makes less of an impact on the environment. Air-drying also extends the lifetime of clothing by reducing wear and tear in the dryer.