Are you interested in lowering your waste as well instead of your bank balance? Marnie of One Big One Small tell us how shes done it. Read on to find out more...
“I would love to be more sustainable but I can’t afford it”. Needing money to live a low waste lifestyle is a common misconception, we are living proof of that. We are a low income family, scraping by from month to month, can’t afford luxuries, sometimes have to borrow money and I’m not ashamed to admit that cos lets face it, the truth is a lot of us are in the same boat.
We actually have more free money every month now since we changed a lot of our habits. I thought I’d share with you the things that have saved us the most money and maybe you could consider changing a few things too?
1. Switching to reusable water bottles
Switching to reusable water bottles has saved us a load of money. With disposable bottles being priced at approximately 50p it all adds up. If you buy 1 disposable bottle a day that works out to be approximately £182.50 per person per year! Ridiculous when you can buy a reusable bottle for as little as a few quid.
2. Taking our own bags to the shops.
With the average price of a throw away carrier bag now being about 15p its as good a time as ever to make the switch to reusable bags. If you buy 4 bags a week when shopping you are spending approximately £31.20 every year on bags that get thrown away after you use them. You may as well just throw away your money.
3. Drying clothes naturally
Our electricity bill has halved since we stopped using our tumble dryer and started drying our clothes on an airing rack or the line. We now only top our electric up with £10 a week rather than the £20 a week originally. That’s saved us a massive £520 a year.
4. Ditching ready made meals
By cooking our meals from scratch not only have we saved food waste and packaging from going to landfill but we have saved money too. We now only spend around about £40 per week feeding our family of 4 rather than the £80 per week originally. I plan our meals before I go shopping, always check what is in the cupboards and fridge before too so I don’t buy more of something we already have. I will use up leftovers first and then buy fresh ingredients, storing them correctly to give them the longest life I can at home before cooking. By planning our meals I only buy the ingredients we need which means everything will get used up and nothing wasted. We now enjoy a home cooked meal together every evening , it is the highlight of my day. Left overs get eaten as lunches the next day or get portioned up and frozen for another day. By doing this we have saved money by not over buying. Making things from scratch is not only better for you but saves you money on convenience ready meals.
5. Switching to a solid soap bar
We used to go through a plastic dispenser bottle of liquid soap once a week. Since we switched to bar soap we have saved money. The lovely handmade bars we use are £4.95 per bar and cost us around £30 per year as apposed to the £2 a bottle of liquid soap which was costing us £104 per year. That is a massive saving of £74 a year.
5. Switching to reusable menstrual products
I know it’s not for everyone, it freaked me out at first too. But buying plastic wrapped tampons was upsetting me and eventually I made the switch. I’d never go back now, I absolutely love my menstrual cup, it makes my periods much easier. It took me the whole of my first period using it to get used to it but it wasn’t as scary as I thought and they're super easy to clean and have saved me a fortune. Previously I was spending on average £6 per month on tampons. That’s £72 per year. Since buying my menstrual cup (about 18 months ago) I have spent nothing at all on menstrual products. If a menstrual cup is not for you look at reusable pads.
6. Ditching the disposable wipes
We no longer buy wipes of any sort. I have reusable make up rounds for removing my makeup. For household cleaning and the kids grubby little hands/faces we make our own wet wipes. Using fabric scraps and things we have in the home. We spend no money now on wipes. Previously we were buying one pack of make up remover wipes per week, plus 2 packs of baby wipes, and 1 pack of household cleaning wipes. So we were spending about £150 on baby wipes, £50 on makeup remover wipes and £25 on household wipes. Now we save £225 a year by not buying them!
7. Ditching disposable razors
I used to buy those plastic disposable razors, they were about £4 for a packet of 4. I’d use a new razor each week as after one or two shaves they were blunt. That’s £48 per year on disposable razors. For my birthday one year I asked my mum to buy me a safety razor as £26.99 for a razor was out of my budget at the time but I really wanted to stop buying disposables. I had read so many horror stories on how people cut themselves with them which did make me feel really anxious the first time I used it but it was much easier than I thought. I still (touch wood) to this day haven’t cut myself on it. I have been using this one for about 14 month and have only changed the blade twice. They stay sharp forever!!! The replacement blades are about £3.50 for 5 although you can probably get them cheaper elsewhere. So cost wise I am looking at around about £3.50 every 2 years or so for new blades which is a damn good saving if you ask me.
8. Switching to natural cleaning products
I fill a litre bottle of Vinegar up at our local refill store Buy The Kilo once a month which costs me about about £1.20 to fill along with a jam jar of bicarb which costs me about £2. I make my own apple cider vinegar and buy 1 box of citric acid at wilko which costs me £1.75. I make my own cleaners out of these items so my total cost a year now for cleaning is about £59.40 as apposed to approximately £142 for shop bought chemical cleaning products. You can find my diy cleaners here and here.
9. Switching to shampoo bars
We used to spend around £208 per year on shampoo and conditioner. Shocking isn’t it when you actually add these things up over a year? We ditched the conditioner all together and instead now use a homemade Apple cider vinegar rinse on our hair. Solid shampoo bars we have been using for almost 2 year now, they are a great switch but finding the right one for you might not be easy. I use the one pictured but Matt and the kids use a bar from Lush as this one leaves their hair looking greasy. The above block will last me 8 months if not more. The one Matt and the kids use will last them about 4 month. We now spend less than £35 per year on hair products. Saving us around £173 per year!!
10. Ditching disposable food wrap
We used to spend around £40 per year on cling film and tin foil for wrapping leftovers/ lunches. Now we spend nothing at all. We use reusable tupperware, place a plate over a bowl or use homemade bees wax wraps which only cost me about £3 to make about 8 wraps in different sizes. You can find my DIY Wrap tutorial here.
Just by switching to the above alternatives we have saved a massive £3710 a year!
Makes sense to switch don’t you think? we have also saved an extra fortune by not buying anyone cards, buying mostly second hand items and mending things we have instead of replacing them. So yes whilst buying some things is a little more expensive or is a slight investment to begin with there are so many savings to be made in the long run.
What have you saved money on by making the switch to something more sustainable? I’d love to hear from you.