February 07, 2023 4 min read

Despite the common misconception that going green has to be expensive, it is possible to be eco on a budget. In fact, while it is true that sustainable practices and products often cost more, it is a cheaper investment in the long-run as the products can be reused — sometimes for years. And you don’t have to do it all at once. Taking small steps towards a more eco lifestyle is the best way to implement a long-term change when you're on a budget. 

To help you get started, we’ve compiled our top seven tips to help you be eco-friendly on a budget. 

1. Buy Less, Invest More

Lots of green “costs” are actually investments. Instead of buying single-use, disposable items, invest in products that you can use more than once. Better yet, make sure these are recyclable or biodegradable at the end of their life. 

When you spend more on a reusable product, you’re investing in an item that will last much longer and won’t need to be replaced as fast as its single-use counterparts. Take a dish brush as an example; a plastic one will be cheaper, but will have to be replaced much faster. A reusable dish brush, on the other hand, will last longer, offers cheaper replacement heads, and can be composted when it’s at the end of its life — years down the line, and with no impact on the planet. This ends up being the more affordable and sustainable option. 

The even better news is that, from coffee cups and straws to your razor and toilet brush, there are reusable alternatives to almost everything now. 

Remember: when in doubt, don’t buy it. If you’re not sure that you need something, you probably don’t. Ask yourself:

  • Do I want this? 
  • Do I really need this?
  • Can I afford this? 

And then ask yourself again before you make a final decision. 

2. Buy Second-Hand 

If you do need to make a purchase, why not buy second-hand? Join your local Facebook group for buyers and sellers, or browse eBay, Depop and your local charity shops to find what you’re looking for. This is often cheaper than buying new, and better for the environment as you’re saving resources, reducing carbon emissions, and preventing old clothes and items from ending up in landfills or incinerators.

You might even find that people are offering things for free; in our local Facebook group, you’ll often find second-hand furniture and clothes that just need to be collected. As the saying goes, one person’s trash is another person’s treasure.

3. Reduce Energy Consumption

Turning off your lights when you leave a room, unplugging standby appliances, cutting down on your shower time, and not overfilling the kettle are all simple ways to reduce your consumption for free. In fact, you’re making a "profit" as this will reduce the amount you have to spend on bills. 

If you have the budget, filling draught-proof gaps, installing a smart thermostat and a new boiler, insulating the roof, and investing in double-glazing in your home can also help you save energy in the long-term. You should also look to invest in energy-efficient bulbs and appliances when the time comes to replace your current ones. As above, these reduce your carbon footprint and the cost of your bills. 

4. Restrict Shower Flow

Invest in a flow-regulated shower model. As Victoria Harrison of Houzz writes, ‘standard showers tend to deliver a flow rate of 13.5 litres per minute, while flow-regulated ones reduce this to 10 litres per minute.' Although this can translate into significant water savings over the year, Harrison continuer, 'the difference in the shower performance is barely noticeable.’ 

Further research by Resi suggests that you can limit the amount of water going down the drain by up to a huge 50% - helping reduce your water use, and saving you money when your next water bill arrives. 

5. Wash at a Lower Temperature

The Energy Saving Trust reports that washing at 30 degrees uses around 40% less electricity over a year than washing at a higher temperature. In addition, research by Which? found that turning down your washing machine from 40 degrees to 20 degrees reduces running costs by an average 62%. 

It’s simple then: washing your clothes at a lower temperature will reduce your energy use and costs. Not to mention that a colder wash prevents your clothes from shrinking and fading over time. 

Want to learn more? Read our full guide on how to perfect a Sustainable Laundry Routine for a cheaper and greener clean. 

6. Drive Less

Cut down on your vehicle costs and carbon emissions by driving less, and walking or cycling more. 

Road transport is responsible for around 20% of all emissions, making it one of the biggest sources of air pollution. As well as depleting natural resources and disrupting vegetation and wildlife, this can contribute to health problems, such as heart or vascular disease. 

If you need to drive, as well as making the switch to an electric (EVs), plug-in hybrid electric (PHEVs) or hydrogen-fuel-cell vehicle in the long-term, you can drive in a more fuel-efficient manner. This might include,

  • Avoiding sharp acceleration, heavy braking and "stop-go" driving.
  • Emptying the boot when it's not in use.
  • Switching off the engine when you're stationary for more than a couple of minutes.
  • Planning your route to avoid roadworks and congestion.
  • Not "warming up" your car before you drive - modern cars don't need to be warmed up before use. 

7. Reuse and Repurpose

Last but not least, reuse and repurpose what you already own. Whether that’s repairing a pair of jeans instead of buying new ones, or "upcycling" existing furniture to update a room in your home, get creative with what you’ve got around you. 

 You might also want to consider selling, donating or (re)gifting things you no longer need, instead of just throwing them in the bin. 

Got other tips on how to go green on a budget? Share yours below. 

Wild & Stone's mission is to create stylish, easy to adopt and usable alternatives to common plastic products around the home. We source all our products sustainably, from raw material to final delivery. Shop our home & lifestyle products on our website.

Share your plastic-free swaps with us at hello@wildandstone.com or tag us on Instagram #wildandstone.

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