Photo by Fabian Blank
Sometimes, saving money in your home isn’t just about making sure that you budget your expenses, or avoid paying extras for luxuries. While it’s important to think carefully about how you spend your money, it’s also to consider how you use the things you purchase too.
Today, we’re going to be looking at just some of the ways that you can save the planet, and protect your bank account at the same time, by cutting down on waste. From making sure you reuse those old carrier bags, to ensuring that you’re smart about unwanted possessions, you’re sure to find a few smart ways to change your spending habits on this list.
1. Be Smart With Your Bags
Throughout the UK over the last couple of years, people from all backgrounds have started to think more carefully about the way they use their shopping bags. In an attempt to protect the environment and reduce the amount of plastic waste in landfills, the government has placed a price on all the bags you need to buy at your local store; so it’s a good idea to avoid spending extra on those one-use options and invest in a reusable carrier instead. Make sure that you buy something big enough to fit all the items you usually have on your shopping list and remember to take it with you whenever you go out.
2. Forget Single-Use Items
One of the biggest ways that families waste money today, is by purchasing single-serve items; like plastic cups filled with a single serving of coffee, or plastic plates for a fun picnic with the kids. Even paper towels can be a waste of money if you’re not running a business. Think about whether you usually buy any one-use items for your family, and try to find alternative options instead.
3. Buy More Freezable Food
If food waste is a big problem in your household, then why not dedicate yourself to getting more use out of your freezer? Your freezer can help you to take advantage of BOGOF deals in the supermarket, and it can even be a place for you to store leftovers if you end up making too much food for a single meal. Just make sure that you know how to store freezer food safely, and remember that even the best items won’t last forever just because you freeze them.
4. Check Your Cupboards
Before you go to the supermarket to pick up all the items you think you need for dinner, make sure that you take the time to look through your refrigerator, freezer, and cupboards for anything you might have forgotten about. This way, you’re more likely to spot products that are nearing their use-by date, and you can make sure that you make the most out of these items, instead of wasting them.
Photo by Linh Pham
5. Make a List for Shopping
One of the best ways to make sure that you avoid doubling-up on items that you don’t necessarily need is to create a shopping list before you go to the supermarket or store. It’s tempting to buy anything that jumps out at you when you go shopping without a list, but having exactly what you need to buy written down will make shopping cheaper, and easier for everyone involved.
6. Plan Your Meals
If you’re not making the most out of the food you already have in the house, then you might need to think about how you can shop more efficiently. One of the easiest ways to save money and reduce waste at the same time is to simply plan a week’s worth of dinners and lunches for your family, then make a detailed shopping list to stop you from over buying. For instance, could you save extra by purchasing a bigger bag of potatoes and making both home-made chips and jackets in the same week?
7. Stop throwing money down the drain
We’re all culprits of leaving the tap running when we brush our teeth or spending overly long in the shower, but you’ll probably be surprised to learn that flushing the toilet accounts for the most household usage, approximately 30%. Being mindful of how much water we use and making some simple rules can save you money on your bills and help the environment. To reduce water used in your toilet consider replacing the flush mechanism with one that has a half flush and full flush option.
8. Hard water is hard on your wallet
Another water related issue that can save you money in many ways is to install a water softener. In the UK, 60% of homes suffer with hard water. Hard water may not be harmful to us, but it is to our homes. As hard water is heated it evaporates leaving behind limescale on our taps, surfaces and appliances which cost you money in products and time to remove it. But it’s what you can’t see is where the real damage is being done. Your pipes, boiler and heating system will be full of limescale, reducing the efficiency of the water flowing around your home and your boiler’s ability to heat the water quickly. The end result, your boiler uses more electricity and gas to heat your home and water for washing. Installing a water softener removes the minerals in hard water that causes limescale, this will free you from the issues it causes and over time it will help dissolve the build-up in your pipes and heating system, making your home more efficient and eco-friendly in the process.
9. Understand How Much You’re Wasting
It’s tough to make a sustainable change in your habits if you don’t understand how much you’re wasting in the first place. The truth is that in 2015 alone, the UK wasted about £13 billion worth of good food, that could have been used to feed starving families. Not only can coming to terms with your wasteful habits help you to support the environment in a more meaningful way, but could help you to save more money for your emergency resources too; because you’re spending less cash on replacing items that you’ve forgotten about, or buying stuff that you simply don’t need.