by Michael Smith (Veshengro)
The short and long answer to this is yes, and if you can't then you are doing something seriously wrong.
In an uncertain economic climate we are all conscious of how much we spend, or at least we should be, thus many people believe that they cannot “go green” because they have to save money. However, “going green” should save you money and not cost you money.
There is an almost inherent belief amongst many people that “going green” means that one have to buy this or that green product, lots of different ones, in fact, otherwise the “going green” just does not work. But that is a fallacy and brought to us via the medium of greenwashing and advertising.
In the current economic climate – yes, and let no one con us into believing that it is all over; there is more to come yet and that might then be never ending – it is important to look how we can save money, and at the same time we can also do our bit, so to speak, for the Planet.
Let's get the priorities right and think about where you can save money and at the same time be kinder to our Earth.
Do you really need to run a gas-guzzling car when a smaller one would do? A smaller engine means lower fuel costs and could cut your road tax too. The other question may also have to be: Do you really need a car at all or would a bicycle do?
Do you really need to buy a new sofa? Before making any major purchase give yourself a 30 day cooling off period. It will allow you to decide if you really need it and give you time to find a better deal if it is essential. And the same goes for almost anything.
You could also consider buying second hand. Charity shops, local newspapers and the internet are all good places to start and there are many places on the web where you might find what you need for free.
Use tap instead of expensive bottled water. It is sort of free and helps you reduce your carbon footprint. It is also far more rigorously tested than is any so-called spring water that is put into bottles. If that is, indeed, spring water and not just bottled tap water that may just have been filtered.
Plan food shopping carefully. Each family in Britain throws away £400 of good food every year. If you buy what you will use you could drastically reduce that. Lean what the various dates on the packaging means and understand that “Best Before” means that the product is considered at its best before that date. It does not mean that it has to be thrown out if it is a day or even a week or even a little longer “out of date”.
Turn down thermostats. Simple, but it could slash more than £200 off your energy costs each year.
Don't buy recycled glass storage jars, for instance, even though your peers may do so. This is not the green way to go. Reuse glass jars from produce, whether pickles or whatever instead. Our grandparents did this all their lives. They did not buy storage jars and other storage containers if they could help it. Instead they used what came to hand, from glass jars, over biscuit tins and – in those days wooden – fruit crates to shoe boxes, and anything and everything that could be used for such a purpose.
Learn to cook from scratch, if you don't already, instead of buying ready meals or take outs. That way you can also safely make use of any leftovers that there may be. It saves money, food waste, and reduces your environmental footprint.
I know that this list is far from complete and that there are many other green and money saving ways that could be included, but then this would very well turn into a book, and books of this nature are about aplenty already.