Eco Friendly Family Living Tips: 30 ways to save money & live sustainably!

Here’s how to live in a more sustainable way and save money – with my 30 simple eco-friendly family living tips!

If you’re looking to live in a more sustainable / green / eco-friendly way then you’ve come to the right place. Not only are these lifestyle changes great for our planet, they can absolutely save you money too. So keep reading to find out what it is, and why it’s so important, and take a look at my easy sustainable living tips for beginners that you can implement in your life with ease to make a real difference.

What is eco-friendly / green living?

Essentially, living a more eco-friendly lifestyle involves making conscious choices to reduce your environmental impact. Whether this be lessening your energy use, shopping sustainably or reducing your waste – it’s so important to try and make changes that benefit our beautiful planet.

You might be wondering what sustainable living looks like, and whether it’s a realistic goal in our modern / consumer-driven world, but the good news is that you don’t need to live off-grid on a farm (though that is definitely my dream!). Wherever you live, you can totally make small changes to live in a more green way – simply by tweaking your lifestyle habits and living in a more mindful way.

 

Is sustainable living expensive?

It absolutely doesn’t have to be, in fact lots of these tips will actually save you money – which is a total win, win! By reducing your waste, shopping in a more mindful way and learning to repurpose and repair, you’ll likely find you have more spare cash for a rainy day!

Some eco-friendly products may be more expensive, at least initially, but often investing in these long-lasting, re-usable items will be more cost-effective in the long-run. And the good news is that there are loads of brands, like Faith in Nature, who are committed to making affordable, sustainable products. Eco-friendly products will likely continue to come down in price too, as there’s more and more demand for a cleaner way of living.

Already there are loads of normally priced biodegradable products on our supermarket shelves, which was unheard of in the past, things like wet wipes and dog waste bags – slowly, change is happening in a more mainstream way.

 

Why is sustainable living so important?

Our planet needs looking after, and climate change is a real issue that can’t be ignored. When we shop locally, grow our own vegetables, buy less (therefore reducing landfill waste/gases) or simply take a walk instead of using the car we reduce our carbon footprint.

This planet is our responsibility – and, if we want to ensure that our children have a brighter greener future, action has to be taken and it starts at home. Living in a more sustainable way is absolutely possible – there are even people taking this to the extreme with ‘zero waste’ initiatives – but we can all start making a difference today, with do-able baby-steps, using my 30 simple tips.

 

Sustainable living for beginners:

As I said above, there are loads of easy changes that we can make to live a more green lifestyle, and save money too. Here are 30 simple tips for living in a more sustainable and eco-friendly way:

1. Invest in reusable items

Reducing our waste is a great way to do our bit for the planet, and it can be really cost effective too in the long run. Here are a few easy switches:

  • Ditch the sandwich bags in favour of reusable containers. Picnics, packed lunches, leftovers and baked goods can all be stored in reusable tubs so ditch those bags and reduce what goes to landfill.

  • Invest in some reusable cotton pads for removing make-up and cleaning up grubby little ones. Prices on Amazon start from around a fiver for a pack of 10-15 large pads – just throw them in with your washing and they’ll be good as new next time you need them.

  • Stock up on some reusable water bottles; fill them up before you head out to save money and reduce the need for single-use plastic.

  • Buy a cute fold up re-usable shopping bag and pop it into your handbag or store it in your car. That way, when you’re out and about at the shops, you’ll always have a bag handy when you need it.

food prepping, batch cooking image, Eco Friendly Family Living Tips, ways to save money & live sustainably

 

2. Shop locally

Check out what’s on your doorstep – items made locally will come without the big carbon footprint, and when it comes to food it’s usually more delicious too! Think about supporting local farmer’s markets or roadside stalls, check out the butcher’s nearby and buy the wonky veg that tastes no different but will otherwise be binned! Most butchers offer free-range meat and eggs, so let’s make cage farming a distant memory and eat meat in a more sustainable way.

 

3. Recycle the unrecyclable

The good news is that it’s becoming so much easier to recycle the ‘unrecyclable’ items. You can now recycle soft-plastics (bread bags, wrappers, crisp packets etc) at most supermarkets, along with batteries, ink cartridges, light-bulbs, tetra packets and other things. Places like Superdrug also have boxes for recycling medicine packaging too. And, your local tip will likely have somewhere to recycle most things, including bigger items like white goods.

For anything else you can’t find a place for – take a look at the Terracycle website. Just search for the item you would like to recycle and it will tell you the nearest place at which you can do so. Their recyclable items include things like: baby food pouches, oral care products, beauty product packaging, pens and coffee pods.

recycling logo

 

4. Turn it off

Make sure that your lights and electrical items are switched off when you leave a room – your monthly bill will thank you for it too. Things like sweeping hard floors instead of hoovering, or letting your hair air-dry to avoid the hairdryer are small, simple changes that can really impact your energy use.

You could switch things like Kindles for library books, treadmills for a run outdoors, electric food mixers for a wooden spoon, and online games for board games. Think about your typical day, and which small lifestyle changes would work for you. We are so reliant on technology, but a few simple changes can really reduce our energy usage and save us money too.

 

5. Reduce oven usage

Batch cooking is a great way to save time, reduce your food shopping bill and cut your energy use / costs. Chop once, cook once and freeze for future meals. Similarly, be smart and use your oven space wisely – for instance, put a tray of flapjacks into the oven whilst dinner is cooking, rather than cooking at separate times.

You could also avoid the oven completely where possible, and heat things quickly in the microwave. If you’re using the hob, lids on saucepans will encourage things to cook more quickly. Easy changes can be great ways to lessen energy usage.

woman cooking in kitchen, Eco Friendly Family Living Tips, ways to save money & live sustainably

 

6. Check your purchases

Lots of the things that we buy have more eco-friendly options now. For instance, make sure your cotton buds have paper sticks – most shops are doing this now so check the ones that you’re purchasing don’t use plastic. Look for bio-degradable, plastic free products when purchasing things like baby wipes or doggie poop bags, and look for products with the least amount of non-recyclable or re-usable packaging.

 

7. Turn the heating down

Turn the heating down by just 1 degree (or more) to be more eco-friendly and slash your bills. The Energy Saving Trust estimates that having your heating just one degree cooler could reduce bills by up to 10% – which (based on the average £2,500 yearly energy bill) would save households £250 per year, or approximately £21 each month. So turn it down a little and, most importantly, put a jumper on!

woman carrying jumpers

 

8. Love your leftovers

In the UK, we throw away a shocking 7 million tonnes of food and drink per year! Not only is this bad news for our bank balance, it’s also awful for the planet. A recent article reckoned that the average British household bins more than £65 worth of food every month – around £800 annually – time to book a holiday instead!

Soups, sauces, quesadillas and curries are great ways to use up any leftovers. For lots of ideas, make sure you read my post on how to make the most of your leftovers, and check out the yummy recipes I’ve included.

 

9. Grow your own

Growing your own vegetables is actually really simple, plus it can save you money and it’s good fun. Seeds are usually very inexpensive for the amount of produce made, and my kids really enjoying the process of growing their own.

It’s really handy too; when we need lettuce or radishes for a salad we pick them. Plus we know that there has been no plastic nor transportation involved, and that the veg has been grown naturally without chemicals. If you don’t have room for a veggie patch, a lot of produce can be easily grown in pots.

Home composting is a great way to improve soil quality and make your plants happier. On top of this, it’s a really environmentally-friendly way to make the most of your kitchen and garden waste. Composting can be done all year round, whenever suitable materials are generated in the garden or home – giving you fab soil for free! Read my post on making your own compost for more information. And, you’ll want to collect rainwater for watering plants too.

frugal mum child gardening, grow your own vegetables

 

10. Donate

Think about what you take to the tip – could something you no longer need be donated to charity or passed on for free using social media swap pages, or an app like Olio? There’s always someone looking for what you are getting rid of. I’ve had a lady collect half-used paint tins before; don’t chuck it, give it away!

 

11. Reduce packaging

If you’re shopping in store, buy loose fruit and veg to avoid unnecessary packaging – take your own paper bags or tuppaware if you would prefer. This also helps to reduce waste (and save you money!) – if you only need one red onion, for example, you are not wasting the rest of the packet either.

loose veg stall, Eco Friendly Family Living Tips, ways to save money, live sustainably

Try to avoid items with excess packaging too. You could also take your own tubs and stock up your pantry at a local weigh-your-own shop. We find that the dried fruit is actually cheaper (and tastier!) than what is on offer at the supermarket.

 

12. Brush sensibly

Changing the way you brush can really lessen wastage, and it’ll save you money in the long run too. Biodegradable, bamboo toothbrushes can be purchased for around £1 each via Amazon; making them an affordable, planet-friendly option. But if you want to stick with plastic, use an electric brush so that the head can be swapped when needed.

Rechargeable, electric toothbrushes with changeable heads can be found for about £20 via Amazon – and the new heads are really cheap to replace; we use the unbranded versions which are compatible with our branded brushes. Oral care products can also be recycled through Terracycle, so you can make sure the used heads avoid the rubbish heap too!

 

13. Go green

Whilst we’d all love to have solar panels, it’s a huge financial commitment at the onset. So in the meantime, switch to a green energy provider – some providers offer electricity that’s 100% renewable; from solar, wind and hydro sources. With most companies making an effort to convert to green energy, do you research and find a company with good values.

solar panels in field

 

14. Shop second-hand

Shopping from charity shops and online selling sites can save you money, plus you’ll be giving things a second chance which reduces waste. When buying new furniture, a hundred quid might get you something cheaply made or wood veneer, whereas a hundred quid spent on a second-hand items could get you some well-built solid wood pieces, which will last for years to come.

Selling websites and social media pages have lots of bargains from clothes, furniture, to curtains, to rugs, to kitchenware! So always take a look before you buy new, as well as being better for the environment, it could save you a small fortune! Join Preloved today to get started on your second-hand adventure!

 

15. Eat less meat

Reducing your meat intake to just a few meals a week can make a big difference, and will probably reduce your shopping bill too. A varied diet is always good, and plenty of other foods can provide protein too, so think about what you put on your plate. Try my vegan lentil curry – no meat and so tasty!

vegetarian food on a plate

 

16. Fix it, don’t throw it

Fix what you can to avoid unnecessary waste – this applies to everything from appliances and furniture, to sewing up holes in your clothes, or using a fabric shaver on old knitwear to give it a new lease of life. Last year we had a broken dishwasher and an oven blowing out cold air. Both things were fixed for about £30, by purchasing the parts ourselves and fitting them following youtube videos.

Upcycling is great way to give your old furniture, kitchen cabinets or fitted wardrobes a facelift too.  A fresh lick of paint can transform what you’ve got with very little expenditure; it’ll save your old bits and bobs from heading to landfill and it’s actually pretty simple to do! To get started, check out my post: Budget DIY: How to paint / upcycle furniture for beginners.

 

17. Rethink your washing

Washing at 30 degrees rather than 40 degrees (or higher) can help to reduce your energy usage. The Energy Saving Trust estimate that washing at 30 degrees can reduce laundry costs by 40% each year! Plus, if you can cut out one wash cycle per week you’ll save money too – so wear your clothes a few times (underwear excluded 😂) before you throw them into the laundry bin.

This applies to towels and bedding too – which can often use up full loads in the washing machine and are hard to get dry in the winter without using the tumble dryer. Extending the time between changing beds, and re-using towels for a week, will save you money – and less housework is always a good perk! Switching towels from bath sheets to smaller bath towels will help too, as will choosing a shorter wash cycle for lightly soiled clothes.

As soon as the weather allows, get your washing outside on the line. If the weather’s unsettled, use drying racks in the garden so you can whisk them inside quickly if needed – even getting washing partially dry (and then finishing it off indoors) will help to reduce energy use.

washing on line, Eco Friendly Family Living Tips, ways to save money, live sustainably

 

18. Build a sustainable wardrobe

When clothes shopping, try to pick items that can be mixed and matched. For instance, if you have three skirts and three tops that all go nicely together, you can mix and match to make 9 outfits!

Think about which pieces will compliment each other, or pick new items that could team up with other clothing pieces that you already own. Check out my 10 ways to create a sustainable and affordable wardrobe to reduce your spending and help the planet. And, don’t forget to shop Preworn too!

 

19. Travel more efficiently

To reduce your emissions and slash petrol costs, think about which short journeys could be walked or cycled and get some exercise instead. If your journey isn’t easily walked or cycled, could you car share with friends on the school run, or colleagues for work? According to liftshare.com, car sharing could save you up to £1000 each year in fuel costs, alongside the obvious benefits for our planet.

frugal mum family, children cycling in amsterdam

 

20. Participate in community initiatives

See what’s happening locally and get involved. For instance, you could take your kids litter picking – mine adore doing this and it’s a great thing to promote. In fact, I’ve never met a child yet who doesn’t love the litter pincher, and starting conversations about the planet and showing them how to take action from an early age is so important.

You might want to volunteer for things like planting new trees, or a local ‘grow your own’ effort. Doing your bit, and meeting with likeminded individuals to educate yourself and your family, and raise awareness, is always a great place to start.

 

21. Cut down on shower time

We’ve all heard the advice about swapping a bath for a quick shower but research shows that our showers can be far from quick, and modern shower heads often have really high water usage. So reducing your shower time can make such a difference to your water consumption and your bills.

Water Wise say, ‘It is estimated that Britain ‘showers away’ more than 2,000,000,000 litres of water each day. If every home in the UK took one minute off their shower every day it would save £215 million on our collective energy bills every year.’ So, it’s definitely worth rinsing a little quicker!

shower head with water coming out

 

22. Switch to LED lightbulbs

Electric bills can rocket during the winter – with lights on much earlier in the day. Replace bulbs with LED equivalents; they’re much cheaper to purchase than they once were and a good investment.

Switching to LED can save you a lot of money over time as they use far less energy than traditional light bulbs, which is much better for the planet too. The bulbs also last longer, so they’ll need replacing much less frequently – which is also a win for reducing waste whilst helping your bank balance!

 

23. Declutter your home

Think about a more minimalist lifestyle – living with less is a great way to reduce your carbon footprint whilst avoiding unnecessary contributions to landfill, and it’ll save you money too. So, have a clear out and list things you no longer use on selling pages and websites – it’ll give you a little spare cash for a rainy day, and they’ll get a second lease of life.

Once you get into the ‘less is more’ mindset, you’ll be reluctant to re-introduce clutter into your life; ending the cycle of unnecessary impulse buying. To get started, check out my article – Cleaning, decluttering & organising? Use my free, printable 30 day checklist!

clutter

 

24. Rent or borrow

Don’t buy things that you won’t need for long. For instance, if you’ll only read a book or watch a movie once; rent it from the library or borrow from a friend rather than buying something that you’ll soon no longer want.

Similarly, if you need an outfit for a special occasion or a night out, see if you can borrow something from a friend instead of splurging on something you’ll only wear once. To be more eco-friendly, think wisely about how much use your things will get, and watch your bank balance grow too.

 

25. Love the outdoors

Make the most of nature. Days out and weekends don’t need to cost a penny, nor do they need to impact the planet in a negative way. Being outside in the fresh air is great for our health, so hike the hills, go for a bike ride, feed the ducks, roam the woods, have a day at the beach or meet friends at a local country park for lots of free fun. Read my post on 12 free days out for frugal fun this school holiday to get started.

frugal mum children at brockhill country park, Eco Friendly Family Living Tips, ways to save money, live sustainably

 

26. Buy efficient appliances

Lots of the appliances that we use every day really vary in how much energy they use. So shop smart and look at the running costs before you make any new purchases. Even on our previous energy tariffs, an A+++ fridge freezer was expected to save around £320 in energy bills over its lifetime compared to an A+ model.

So, when you need to replace fridges, dishwashers, tumble dryers, washing machines, ovens and even your boiler – make sure that you check out energy efficiency to be more eco-friendly and save you hundreds of pounds in the long run.

 

27. Reduce food waste

Freeze leftovers and products nearing their use-by dates rather than binning them. We love yellow sticker bargains and freeze meat, cakes, bread… and anything else we come across!

Frozen veg is brilliant too – it’s cheaper, already pre-chopped and you won’t waste what you don’t use. (Taken from recent prices at Tesco: An 80g pack of fresh green beans will set you back £1.05 – but for just £1 in the frozen aisle you’ll get a whopping 900g!)

If you sign up to the Olio app, you can get plenty of free food to stock the freezer, whilst becoming a food waste hero. We save around £10-£20 each week using Olio; just plan your meals around the freebies you collect. Check out my Olio post for more info: What is Olio? Stop waste and slash your food bill with the free food app!

olio food waste app advert

 

28. Insulate your home

Buy some cheap draught excluders, line your letterbox and block off un-used fireplaces to reduce your energy wastage and make sure your home is toasty! Seal around windows and skirting boards, and if you’re replacing windows make sure they’re double glazed.

If you have a hot water cylinder, using an 80mm insulation jacket could save you £70 per year, according to the Energy Saving Trust – such a simple change for a significant saving.

Insulating your loft would cost several hundreds of pounds, but it could save you around £300 off of your energy bills each year, based on a typical semi-detached house. The general advice seems to be that it would pay for itself in just one year – so if your loft isn’t insulated this could be a great place to invest a bit of cash to make your home more energy efficient.

 

29. Check for sustainability

Choose sustainably sourced seafood if you include it in your diet – though I have seen some information about companies advertising this and then not fulfilling it. So, if in doubt, local smaller companies are usually the way to go.

Many businesses now go out of their way to highlight their sustainability too, so it’s easier than ever to find the ‘good guys’. These are the companies planting trees, reducing their packaging, using natural ingredients and thinking about their impact on the planet. All of these eco-friendly companies are typically producing products that are usually better for our skin, bodies and homes too – bringing the benefits closer to home as well.

Look for certifications such as Fair Trade, Organic and FSC (Forest Stewardship Council). There are so many great cosmetic brands now which don’t test on animals, nor contain harsh chemicals. I have trouble with sensitive eyes and skin, so I love Natorigin, Faith in Nature and The Body Shop.

faith in nature beauty products

 

30. Have an eco-friendly Christmas

Christmas is such a brilliant time of the year, but its impact on the planet is not so amazing! We produce an insane amount of extra waste during the festive period, along with additional pollution from the manufacturing and transportation of the gifts we buy.

On top of this, in the UK alone, we are expected to throw out over 200 miles of wrapping paper! Add this to the 125,000 tons of plastic packaging we will be binning, and Christmas starts to look a lot less merry. It’s not just our bank balances taking a massive hit, but our planet too. So let’s rethink our festive bad habits – to get started, check out my article: 25 ways to have an eco Christmas – and save money too!

 

You might also be interested in…

The Ultimate Family Frugal Living Guide: 25 simple tips to save you money!

ultimate family frugal living guide, frugal mum tips, 25 ways to save money, simple lifestyle

 

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