Here are a few top tips on how to survive the credit crunch and become greener during difficult times;
Many people leave their heating thermostat on the same setting all year round. It’s a good idea to adjust your thermostat to reflect the season. If your boiler also has a water thermostat, turn that down as well, it’s amazing how many people have their water heated to almost boiling level, and then use cold water to cool it down!
On fine days, put your washing outside on the line to dry. It’s tempting to use hot radiators to dry your washing, but if you end up opening the windows when the rooms become too hot, energy is wasted.
3. Put a Full Load In The Washing Machine & Dishwasher
Tempting as it may be to put the washer on half full, or half load the dishwasher to get cleaning tasks done, it’s more economical to wait until you have a full load. Another tip is to not spin your clothes on the maximum spin speed in the summer months. This will save energy and make your clothes last longer. Also try washing on a lower temperature, you may not notice the difference. The last tip here is to use less washing powder, this is better for the environment as well as your pocket!
4. Interlined Curtains
Getting interlined curtains is in effect like having a thin duvet hanging across the window, it will reduce the amount of heat that can get to the window and escape through it. A customer of ours once commented on the difference in temperature between the centre of the room and the gap between her interlined curtains and the window, and their windows were double glazed as well! Alternatively you can buy curtains with blackout or thermal lining. These linings will reduce any drafts that exist around the windows. Very useful if your windows are old original windows. Getting made to measure curtains is cheaper than new windows and they brighten up your house.
5. Get a Condensing Boiler
Old boilers can use a lot of power. To save money, and help the environment, take a look at newer boilers. You can now buy a brand new condensing boiler for relatively little expenditure, and you could see your energy bills decrease substantially as a result. Alternatively, make sure that your existing boiler is serviced on a regular basis.
6. Buy Energy Saving Light Bulbs
Energy saving bulbs can now be bought in many high street shops, they cost slightly more than an average bulb, but use a lot less power, so you will soon recoup the initial expenditure and end up saving yourself money.
7. Reduce Drafts Round Doors & Windows
This is especially important during the colder months – try to ensure that doors and windows are maintained, and that any gaps are filled in. Also consider using draft excluders behind your doors to keep the cold out of a room. In doing so, you could find yourself turning the heating down in your home.
8. Only Heat The Rooms That You Use
If you don’t use a room upstairs, make sure that the radiators in it are turned off. Also consider turning off radiators in bedrooms - extra blankets can be added to keep the bed warm, so a radiator is not always required in sleeping areas.
9. Water Reducing Shower Heads
Use a special water reducing shower nozzle – you can buy nozzles at a very reasonable price from many DIY or homeware shops, then you will save water every time you shower.
10. Wear a Sweater
Let’s face it - walking round in a t-shirt in January is illogical, especially if you have the heating on full blast in the house. Layer up and save on your bills.
11. a bicycle
Not only is a green alterative to cars, it also builds exercise into your daily routine.
12. Consider Getting a Wood Stove
If you live in the country and have a supply of wood, this could be a very economical and green energy solution.
13. Compost Your Waste
Instead of throwing your food waste into your bin, use it to make your own compost. Buy a cheap compost bin from a DIY or garden shop, or make your own.
14. Recycle Your Clothes
When you next drop your bag of unwanted clothes at the charity shop have a good look around. You may surprise yourself. Some towns have vintage clothes shops or even second-hand designer clothes shops. Ebay is a good alternative especially if you know exactly what clothes/shoes/accessories you are looking for. There are bargains to be had.
15. Get On Ebay
Liquidise your assets and create space by selling unwanted items on ebay, even the most unusual items could make you a few pounds! It really is amazing what people will buy.
16. Try Free Hobbies
Some of the best things in life are free, so why don’t you go for a walk in the country or take the kids to the library for a change?
17. Can’t Afford A Holiday This Year? Go Camping
Go camping- Why not try a great, cheap, environmentally-friendly holiday? Tent technology has progressed a lot in recent years - no more leaky tents and wet food! Borrow a tent and see how you get on. Look for camping sites that are local to you, to save on petrol costs.
18. Combine Car Trips
Plan your trips, and where possible combine trips. If you have to take the kids to a party, try and do the food shopping as well.
19. Walk To School
The UK is at the start of an obesity epidemic amongst children, with diabetes expected to rise significantly over the next few years. Children who exercise are more alert in class.
20. Modify Your Driving Style
Drive with anticipation, leave a bigger gap between you and the car in front. You will find that you do less ‘gas and brakes’ style driving, which is much more relaxing and less stressful. Rather than seeing how quickly you can get from A to B, play the ‘how many miles can I get from a tank of fuel’ game. All this will reduce your fuel bill put less wear and tear on the car (tyres last longer and so does the car).
21. Cold Tap or Hot Tap?
It is almost habit to use the hot tap for things like rinsing a plate or doing your teeth. Most of the time running the cold tap will do the job. Every time you turn the hot tap on you are using not only the hot water that gets to your plate or tooth brush and filling the pipes with another load of hot water that will be wasted.
22. Internet Shopping
As crazy as this may seem, I suspect that this is the greener way of shopping. There are no retail premises to build, heat or staff. There is no ‘trip to the shops’. The distribution is more efficient as the courier van is delivering to other addresses in your neighbourhood. Internet shopping can be time efficient too. You can spend less time working/shopping/food shopping and more time enjoying leisure activities or just hanging out with family or friends!
23. Pay Off Your Mortgage Early
Use the money you save from all the above to reduce your mortgage. Paying off your mortgage faster than planned will reduce the amount of interest you pay for the lifetime of the mortgage. Evan better get an offset mortgage, your savings are combined with your mortgage balance when calculating your interest which means you end up paying less.
24. Start Gardening Or Get An Allotment
There is nothing like seeing the seeds you put in the ground growing into vegetables that end up on your plate. It’s quite primal, sort of up there with lighting fires or sleeping under the stars! Its also a good, low intensity form of exercise and allotments are a great way to meet people who live in your neighbourhood.
25. Mobile Phones
Do you need that expensive contract? For a lot of people pay as you go will be cheaper.
26. Credit Cards
If used properly they are not the bogeyman that people make them out to be. When purchasing online always use a credit card as you are insured via the credit card provider for any fraud that may happen. But always make sure that you pay the card off each month.
27. Shop Around
Use online price comparison sites such are Google shopping or Price Runner to compare prices. Don’t automatically renew your car or house insurance each year, go online and compare. Insurance companies rely on customer inertia to make profits. They will typically make a loss the first year with a customer and make a profit in subsequent years.
28. Check out sites like Money Saving Expert
They have a great forum for all sorts of issues.
29. Get a Water Meter
Unless you have a swimming pool, most people will end up saving money and using less water.
30. Turn It Off
Leaving electrical appliances on standby uses electricity. It is forecast that 10% of the electricity is consumed this way. It will also reduce the risk of fire. You don’t need to make your house look like a Christmas tree. If you are not in the room, turn the light out. Does your house need to be visible from outer space?
31. Shut The Door
Shutting the door of the room you are in means the heat will not escape to the rest of the house. Conversely, shut the doors of the rooms you are not heating e.g. bedroom doors during the day. It all adds up!
32. Buy Quality
Good stuff lasts and looks better. There is nothing worse than buying something that lasts a couple of washes and then loses its shape or falls apart. The rise of ‘Primark’ type stores has led to a proliferation of cheap clothes with questionable ethical credentials.
33. Fix It
Don’t bin it, repair it. Try gluing that broken toy, there is a glue for most jobs, sew that button back on, upgrade that old computer. It’s what your grandparents did (ok not the computer).
34. Don’t Throw Food Out
Put it in the fridge and eat it later. Put less on your plate. Make it into something else.
35. Buy Local and Seasonal Fruit & Vegetables
It has always struck me as slightly crazy buying new potatoes in February that have been grown and flown from Egypt. Rediscover old favourites, such as locally grown cox apples or rhubarb.
36. Use Natural Cleaning Products
Advertisers would like us to become obsessional about cleaning. Most of the time natural cleaning products will do as good a job. Do we really need to banish all forms of micro organism from our house? The rise of medical conditions such as asthma and allergies has been linked back to our increased exposure to chemicals in our day to day life.
37. Draw Up A Budget
Go through your bank and credit card statements and look at where your money goes. List out your outgoings. Create a savings plan. In an age of economic uncertainty savings are a must.
38. Take a Pack Lunch To Work
How much money do you think you spend on your lunch at work each day. Does not seem much, then multiply it out to get the cost for the year. Now we are starting to talk real money! Make your own pack lunch, save money and eat healthly. Think how much packaging waste you have saved!
39. Ditch The ‘Take Out Coffee’
Skip the coffee and enjoy the walk to work without the risk of spilling coffee down your leg! Just like the bought lunch the morning coffee aost adds up over the year!
40. Get an Energy Metre
A lot of energy companies are giving away energy metres for free now. Its a great way to get 'real time' information on the electricity you are using.
41. Defrost Frozen Food In The Fridge
By defrosting frozen food in the fridge will help keep the fridge colder without running the fridge motor.
42. Microwave The Water for Your Tea or Coffee in a Cup
By doing this you only heat the water you need. After a couple of goes you will know extactly how many minutes and seconds to set the microwave for. A top tip is to get a glass beaker like the ones Bodum make and then pour the water into your normal cup. This is because the handles on normal cups get quite hot.
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