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19 November 2020

How to save money and the environment at the same time

According to 2019 research UK residents are more worried about the environment than ever before, with this study showing that 85% of Brits are now concerned about climate change.

Thankfully, there’s a range of ways that you can help the environment, while also building up your bank balance at the same time.

You might not think that small swaps will make a difference, but think about what would happen if just a few thousand people did the same. In fact, 75% of Brits are already planning to make lifestyle changes to help the environment in the next year, so you’re not alone, and together your impact could be huge.

Why not take action today and start integrating the following simple, eco-friendly habits into your daily life to make a change – and you could free up some spare change, while you’re at it.

Lifestyle changes to transform the environment and your bank balance

The UK uses and bins 2.5 billion coffee cups annually. As an incentive to stop using the single-use cups, did you know some high street coffee shops offer discounts when you bring your own cup? You can get up to 50p off your next caffeine hit by providing the barista with your own reusable cup. Coffee shops such as Costa, Starbucks, Gregg’s and Pret a Manger have offers in place.

You can find reusable glass or stainless steel cups from online retailers or on sale in the coffee shops, themselves.

Buying bottled water every time you’re out and about can also add up, and the plastic consumption isn’t good news for the environment. Fortunately, this is a super-easy habit to ditch and will save you plenty in the long-run. Simply get yourself a reusable water bottle, ideally glass or metal, that you can carry with you and fill up for free at most coffee shops and Refill points across the UK – downloading the app will show you the closest Refill station.

Another way to save money when you’re out and about is by bringing your own bags with you. Many shops and supermarkets now charge between 5p to 10p per bag, which can add up if you’re doing a big food shop.

Keep a stash of tote, jute or old plastic carrier bags handy and in a place where you are unlikely to forget them. Alternatively, buy a bag for life and the majority of supermarkets will always replace yours with a brand new one, once it’s too tatty to use.

Tips for sustainable living and saving from home

There are countless ways to save money and look after the environment from the comfort of your own home, and while some may be minor adjustments, they make a big difference.

You can begin with the literal foundations of your home, which may not sound very budget-friendly, but could be a way to save thousands of pounds.

Energy efficiency grants in Wales are not as available as they once were, but there are still some sources of funding. Energy grants can help you transform your abode, from roof and wall insulation to energy-efficient heating systems and replacement boilers.

If you are looking to improve your home, Welsh Energy suggest getting in contact with Nest, operated by the Energy Saving Trust and the Welsh Government. Visit the Nest website for information about the funding sources available and whether you are eligible to receive them.

Now the groundwork has been done, it’s on to the instantly-actionable tweaks you can make day-to-day inside your home.

Try to make tumble driers a thing of the past. They’re incredibly energy-consuming and their usage can rack up hefty energy bills annually. Instead, use a clothes horse indoors to allow your clothes to air dry or, when the weather allows for it, opt for an outdoor clothesline.

Your bills will also look a lot brighter when you make changes like switching the lights off in rooms that you aren’t in. You’ll also burn through electricity (and your money) if you don’t switch plugs off and turn your TV off standby when you aren’t using them.

Energy-saving light bulbs will also save you money in multiple ways. Not only do you typically save double the value that they cost in a year, but they are meant to last longer than regular light bulbs (five to eight years), while also cutting the cost of your energy bills annually. They now come in an array of colours, levels of brightness, shapes and sizes, compared to the limited options when they initially came out.

Another home alteration that could save you substantial money long-term and avoid up to 1.6 tonnes of carbon dioxide emittance annually, is by having solar panels installed. While they are costly to have fitted, you are likely to save hundreds of pounds on your annual bill and you’ll be doing wonders for the environment too.

Some bonus tips and tricks to save your money and the environment

If you’ve been looking to learn a new skill, now could be the perfect time. From furniture to clothes, why not give upcycling a go. YouTube is brimming with tutorials on how to turn old flatpack pieces into chic, envy-inducing furnishings for your home.

And think twice before you throw clothes away, because you’ll also find endless inspiration on Instagram, Pinterest and TikTok to help breathe new life into clothes you’ve not worn for years. An estimated 350,000 tonnes of clothing goes into UK landfill sites annually. Whether you’re using the scraps from items at the back of your wardrobe to create something new, or embroidering and embellishing them to make them on-trend again, there’s endless ways to recycle your clothes when you get creative.

You could also try to plan your journeys a little more carefully, so that you can switch driving or public transport for walking or cycling to your next destination. Doing this even once a week could make a big difference, plus it’s a far more scenic way to travel.

Try not to get overwhelmed, every change makes a difference – no matter how big or small it may be. Looking after the environment and your finances is a gradual process and while you may not be able to implement the larger swaps instantly, it’s good to keep them in mind on your sustainability journey. So, try to have fun while you’re heeding our eco-friendly advice, and enjoy watching your bank balance grow at the same time.

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Published: 19/11/2020

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