Protecting the environment and saving money actually go hand in hand. Think about it – if you’re using less of the planet’s resources, you’ll pay less on things like your utility bills.
And once you start saving money, you might consider paying this ‘freed up’ cash towards clearing your debts (like credit cards, overdrafts and personal loans) more quickly.
Repaying your debts more quickly not only means you’ll be debt-free sooner, it also means you’ll pay less interest in the long run.
Here are five easy ways you could save (or even make) money while staying eco-friendly:
Walk or cycle to work instead of driving. Or if work is too far away, consider taking public transport, which is usually cheaper and more environmentally sustainable than driving.
According to the RAC, the cost of owning a car in 2012 stood at around £7,000 a year – so using your car less, or getting rid altogether, could free up a significant amount of money to put towards your debts.
Grow your own… Go for salads that can be grown on windowsills and will grow back when you snip off a few leaves. Chili and herb plants can all grow happily on a kitchen work top and will stop you having to buy herbs every time you shop, which in turn will lower your food miles. If you’re wanting to grow anything more substantial, you might find that unless you have a big garden and a lot of time on your hands, you could end up producing the most expensive vegetables you’ve ever tasted. This is because unless you have a home compost system going, you’re probably going to have to fill containers with shop bought compost, and you could be disappointed by the yield you get from container plants.
Use less energy in your home. Turn the thermostat down by a few degrees (and set it on a timer), put your large kitchen appliances on ‘eco’ mode if possible, fit light fixtures with energy-saving bulbs and ensure that your walls, windows and loft are properly insulated.
Buy second-hand. Whether it’s your clothing, household furniture or a car, buying second-hand can cut down on your carbon footprint – and save you money. Charity shops and vintage stores are good places to start. You can’t guarantee that the item you buy was made in a sustainable way – but you can keep it out of a landfill and extend its usefulness.
Sell your unwanted stuff to a recycling service. One way to make a bit of extra money is to sell some of the things cluttering up your home that you no longer want or need – for example CDs, DVDs, games, clothes and electronics. If you send your stuff to a recycling service, you might get a bit of cash for your trouble – and you’ll stop your stuff going into a landfill.
After you’ve been ‘eco-friendly’ for a few months, you might start to see the savings building up – and you’ll have more money to put towards repaying your debts. And once your debts are cleared, you could start putting this spare ‘green’ money into a savings account, so you can avoid debt in the future.
Go green and get back in the black!