Sustainability on a budget

With climate change a reality and energy bills going through the roof, we are all trying to do our bit to save money and the planet.
But if funds are limited, what can you do to make a difference without breaking the bank?



Insulation is key when it comes to reducing energy bills, but you don’t have to spend loads to achieve a lot. Available from all good hardware shops, self-adhesive draught-excluding tape is cheap to buy and easy to use to seal any gaps around doors and windows. If there’s any spare cash it’s worth buying insulation material to lag the loft, and, if you have one, the cellar. Another tip to stop the drafts is to invest in heavy curtains for the front door and windows.


Turning off standby

It may seem obvious but do you really  need your TV, hi fi or even your microwave or oven on standby all the time? Keeping things on standby requires energy which in turn costs you money, so with the exception of your fridge freezer, switching all your electrical appliances off at the wall when they are not in use is an instant saving for both your wallet and your energy consumption.


Bathroom savings

Bathrooms are often forgotten when it comes to reducing our environmental impact but they can offer great savings. For example, take showers rather than run baths. This reduces the amount of water you are using and in turn the amount of energy required to heat the water. Take short showers and don’t feel you need to shower every day – unless it’s really hot or you’ve been exercising. Other useful hacks include restricting the flow of your shower and reducing the amount of water you use each time you flush the toilet by getting a toilet hippo.



Washing your clothes less often and at lower temperatures will help reduce energy bills. And make sure when you do put clothes in to wash, you fill the machine to make it a full load. The same goes for the dishwasher if you have one.


Buy second-hand

New kitchens, bathrooms and furniture are expensive. So why not buy second hand? There are plenty of places to buy new, unused, ex-showroom or second hand items which can save you a fortune. Ebay, Freecyle and Facebook Marketplace are a great place to start, but try contacting retailers to see if they are selling off ex-display stock. You can also approach builders of large developments to see which company they use to sell off ex show home stock. You will be surprised at how many bargains are out there.


The great outdoors

With Christmas coming up, you may want to put some lights outside to decorate the house. Instead of plugging them into the mains, think solar. Solar powered lights are easy to install, are available online and at all good garden centres and can be used all year round. They also remove the need for cables and outside sockets so represent a win on many levels. Plus, they look great!



And talking of Christmas, to save on the cost of a wreath for the door, baubles for the tree, cards and wrapping paper for the presents, why not go foraging and make your own? If you are lucky enough to have a garden, why not use some of the free foliage in your green space to make your own garlands, wreaths or floral decorations? You can also channel your inner Blue Peter presenter and make your own decorations and cards. There are plenty of tutorials on YouTube – all it takes is a bit of imagination and not only will it be cheaper and more sustainable than buying new, you will have a sense of satisfaction at having made your own! And to save on the cost of wrapping paper, you could always buy a roll of brown paper and decorate with ribbon or your own hand drawn or painted artwork.