20 tips to a greener lifestyle

Can you get something for nothing? Course you can

  1. For one journey a week, don’t use the car. Cycle or walk instead and get some exercise. Average cost of a gym session – £3.80. Cost of pedalling fast to work – nothing.

  2. Save cash with each cuppa. Just boil the amount of water you need for one cup of tea, rather than half a kettle full.

  3. Share tools and DIY equipment with your neighbours. Does every house in your street need a £70 lawnmower, a folding workbench for £30, and a steam cleaner at £100?

  4. Carry out a financial health check: could your money be doing better financially and ethically? You could be banking with an ethical institution and getting as good a deal.

  5. Rather than searching for a present that may never be used, could you give your time – helping with decorating, gardening or a big clear-out?

  6. Stick at 70 mph on motorways instead of cruising at 80–85 mph. Not only is it illegal, but fuel costs can go up by as much as 4p a mile for small cars. According to the Slower Speeds Initiative, driving at 50mph instead of 70mph can reduce fuel consumption further by 30%.

  7. Use a lid on saucepans and save energy and money with every meal.

  8. Make your own compost. Shop-bought costs about £2.50 for 20 litres. A heap in your back garden is absolutely free.

  9. Start a walking bus group to get children to class on time without having to do the school run twice a day. Contact us for a free guide.

  10. Become a skipoholic. Rather than spend, spend, spend at the DIY store, use what’s in skips in your neighbourhood. Ask the owner of the contents before taking from any skips.

  11. Cut the cost of cleaning. Add lemon juice (59p for 250 ml), soda crystals (51p a kilo) and bicarbonate of soda (44p for 200g) to your shopping basket to get your taps sparkling, dissolve grease, and shift stains on your work surfaces. All for £1.54.

  12. Get your children into gardening by giving them their own little veg patch and enjoy the cheap food. A bunch of radishes costs about 45p. A packet of 1,000 radish seeds costs about £1.

  13. Libraries don’t just loan books. Lots of them hire out music cassettes and CDs, movie videos and DVDs, and even PlayStation games. Use your library to save yourself the cost of building up your own collection. Sample prices: CD – £1; PS2 game £2–4.

  14. Switch to energy-saving light bulbs. They cost £3–9, but save up to ten times their price over their lifetime.

  15. Ditch disposable nappies and switch to reusables. This could save you up to £600 in total. A set of ten reusable nappies with simple Velcro fasteners costs about £70 new.

  16. A typical fencing panel costs £25 for just under 2m, excluding the cost of posts and concrete. For £25, you can buy 50 hedge plants (40–60 cm high) that will give you 10m of thick hedge. Takes time to grow, but a lot nicer.

  17. Babies don’t need special baby food at 50p–£1 a jar. Buy a handheld blender for a £5 and purée ordinary, UK-grown organic food, such as potato, carrot, cauliflower and pear.

  18. Make sure your hot-water tank is dressed correctly. A British Standard lagging jacket costs £10 and the insulation for the pipe leading to the hot-water tank from the boiler costs £3 a metre. The yearly saving on your bill: £15–20.

  19. Stop your heating bill going through the roof. If you don’t have any loft insulation at the moment, you could expect to see savings of £80 – 100 for an outlay of £170 upwards if you do the work yourself. Or £220 – 250 upwards if it’s done professionally.

  20. Flag up money-saving opportunities to save energy and water and cut waste. At the twelfth-century Red Lion Hotel at Dinas Mawddwy, water use was halved. A continuous flushing urinal was replaced with a Waterless TM urinal, the volumes of cisterns were reduced, a leaking tap repaired and push-on spray taps installed. The saving: £1,414 a year.

This is an extract from Save cash & save the planet.