With modern life being so hectic and demanding, it’s easy to forget that there’s an alternative. Going green can relieve a lot of the pressure on you in terms of environmental concerns, but it can also be a more relaxing and rewarding way to live. Many people think that in order to make the transition to a more green lifestyle, you need to spend more, but that just doesn’t have to be the case. If you’re savvy with your spending, you can go green without breaking the bank. Here are 10 tips for going green on a budget.
1. Make use of any cash available to you
First and foremost, you need to make sure that whatever sources of income are available to you are in use. That means any income you’re getting, any cheques or back payments you’re owed, and any debts you can call in should all be present and accounted for in your bank balance. External financial aid can also be a good way to shore up some money; even £500 loans can help with the costs associated with going green if you’re struggling for a little cash.
2. Cut down on your meat
Meat can be incredibly expensive, especially if you buy the high-quality stuff (which you should if you’re conscious of your health). You can swap meat and animal protein for plant-based alternatives, which will save you a significant amount of money both in the short- and long-term. Beans, chickpeas, and other pulses can all be readily used in place of animal proteins, and they’re often better for you as well, especially if you find that you consume a lot of red meat.
3. Ditch your car
There’s a growing school of thought that says you should ditch your car and cycle as much as you can instead. Of course, if you have a lengthy commute, this may not be possible, but you could always cycle to the train station and hop on a train with your bike (assuming this is allowed, of course). By taking public transport or walking to your destination wherever possible, you’ll be saving on costs, looking after the environment, and improving your physical health, too.
4. Cook more meals at home
By swapping your takeaway meal for a home-cooked alternative, you’ll be saving more money than you might think. Buying the ingredients and spices to make your favourite meals is almost invariably cheaper than buying the meals pre-made, whether that’s as a takeaway meal or as a ready meal from a supermarket. Cooking has also been proven to boost mental health, so start planning some plant-based meals today. You won’t believe how cheap they can be!
5. Stop buying water bottles
Bottled water is one of the biggest contributors to plastic pollution in the world. You don’t need to continuously buy bottled water; instead, try buying a single plastic bottle and re-using it, or better yet, buy yourself a reusable bottle specifically made for the purpose. The environment will thank you, and so will your wallet; bottled water can actually be pretty expensive, especially if you plump for the big brands. Fill up on tapwater instead; you won’t regret it!
6. Go paperless
This one shouldn’t cost you a penny; many companies will, in fact, incentivise you for doing this (or disincentivise you for not doing it). Ditch paper wherever possible in your life. Go paperless with your bank statements and any other bills you receive on a regular basis. Don’t ask for a receipt unless you absolutely need one, and if you do, ask for it to be emailed to you rather than sent on paper. There are plenty of places you can ditch paper in your life, and it won’t cost anything.
7. Drop the tumble dryer and the AC
Many electronic devices in your home could be taking up monstrous amounts of electricity, thus using power you don’t really need. Instead of a tumble dryer, try drying your clothes on a drying rack. While this is common behaviour in the UK, there are still many people who prefer to dry with a tumble dryer, so try it without. Similarly, unless you’re absolutely baking hot in the warm weather, try living without your AC for a while; you’ll save money on electricity this way!
8. Buy as much as you can second-hand
A lot of the goods we buy can be bought second-hand, reducing the cost massively. Doing this is also kinder to the environment, as you’re reusing something that someone else has already recycled. Cars, musical equipment, entertainment (like video games), and clothes are all great examples of things you can buy second-hand, and we’re sure that there are plenty of other specific examples in your life. The next time you’re out shopping, ask yourself if you really need to buy what you’re buying new.
9. Sell things you don’t need
When you go green, you’ll probably find that there are appliances or other items that you used to rely on but no longer need. You can and should sell these things, because you’ll make a little extra cash and also send the item to someone who actually needs it. Don’t just leave it lying around your home accumulating dust, and don’t throw it away; instead, sell it, and if you absolutely can’t sell it, make sure you responsibly recycle it. You’ll almost always find someone who has a use for your old stuff, though!
10. Add timers to your heating and hot water
Think about the times during the day when you’re most in need of your heating or hot water. There are going to be moments when you don’t really need these things to be on, but they’ll be on anyway, draining resources unnecessarily. If you can, install a thermostat that can be programmed, so you can tell your system when to switch on the hot water and the heating.