Saving The Planet = Saving Cash

17 Apr
A car boot sale gets its name from the way goo...

A car boot sale gets its name from the way goods are sold out of the back of a car. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I haven’t posted tips for a long time.  I think these bear repeating.  Just because I’m not here, doesn’t mean I can’t make myself useful.

Partly due to personal circumstances; partly due to witnessing people scrabble around in my bins for food when I lived in South Africa; partly due to a desire to save the planet; and partly due to natural parsimony, I am a keen recycler and money-grubber.  Why not join me?


  • Wash everything except very dirty things on a cold wash; modern powders and liquids are strong enough.  You don’t need to be at 30 degrees
  • Never wash a half-load, only a full one
  • Only fill the kettle with enough water for the number of cups you require
  • Use carrier bags for indoor bins instead of buying bin liners
  • Cut up old sheets, towels, clothes, etc. for dish cloths and dusters
  • Pour unused water  into your plant pots  – better still, buy a rain barrel
  • FREECYCLE/FREEGLE!  You can give away your old junk and receive somebody else’s.  It’s a worldwide thing so there’s probably a group near you.  It’s free.
  • If you are a UK book reader there’s also readitswapit, which is great for swapping books.  All it costs is second class postage.  It’s easy to list your old books (it must be, because I did it).  My one piece of advice would be: don’t list heavy or hardback books unless you don’t mind mortgaging the children to cover the postage.
  • Use rechargeable batteries
  • Buy refills whenever possible
  • Put stale bread out for the birds
  • Save soap scraps and make your own block of soap (having said that, I’ve only managed three blocks of soap in five years, but every little helps)
  • Cannibalise furniture, appliances, etc: when we redecorated our living room, the Hub took apart our old wall unit and used the wood to make shelves in a cupboard; he also took out all of the screws to re-use
  • Defrost food in the fridge overnight, rather than in the microwave
  • Ensure leftover food has cooled down before putting it in the fridge
  • A fridge will work more efficiently if it is well stocked, but not over full or practically empty

And one more: recycle clothes.

  • Swap with friends – my friend and I estimated that on average six children (including our own) shared any one garment.   The more people you share with, the more clothes there are to choose from, and therefore the less worn out each garment becomes.
  • Donate unwanted clothes to charity shops – they will collect if you can’t carry them
  • Sell them by the bag load on a car boot sale or through the free ads
  • If you can’t sell it or give it away because it’s too old, cannibalise it: cut off all buttons, take out cords and shoelaces, then use what’s left as rags
  • Buy from charity shops, car boot sales and jumble sales – the more we do that, the less consumables will eventually be produced


Many of these tips might seem obvious but you’d be amazed at how few people are aware of them – do your children and the planet a favour, and pass on the message!

Have you got any tips to share?  Despite what the Hub keeps saying, I don’t know it all.

31 Responses to “Saving The Planet = Saving Cash”

  1. viveka April 17, 2012 at 10:17 #

    Do you know that the microwave with a digital watch is the biggest energy thieve you have in your home – printers not in use – but switch on comes second in a home, and mobile phone chargers too.


    • Tilly Bud April 22, 2012 at 10:38 #

      Good reminder. I always switch appliances off at the wall when not in use.


      • viveka April 22, 2012 at 10:46 #

        Tilly, yes … good on you – because we should do what we can to save, both for our own bills and mother Earth. Every little helps, We need to unplug more too – love the system they have in UK and Ireland with a switch by every wall plug.


        • Tilly Bud April 22, 2012 at 10:49 #

          That’s not universal? I’m surprised. I thought it was a safety thing.


          • viveka April 22, 2012 at 10:58 #

            No I have only come across it in UK influenced (old colonies) countries. Rest of Europe don’t have it.
            Don’t think US has it – can’t remember.


  2. vivinfrance April 17, 2012 at 10:25 #

    Great. Extra tip: become a quilter. Nobody could use all my discarded stuff as cleaning rags! Buy clothes in natural fibres: polyester etc is no use for patchwork!


  3. jmgoyder April 17, 2012 at 11:17 #

    Oh this sounds difficult but thanks for the challenge!


  4. laurieanichols April 17, 2012 at 13:35 #

    Excellent tips and even if you “know” it is good to be reminded so that it comes back to the forefront of your thinking process, it gives a good push to actively engage in saving the planet. Thanks Tilly!


  5. sarsm April 17, 2012 at 13:44 #

    One of the things I most love about living in Germany is the recycling culture.

    We take all old furniture/boxes/glass/broken electricals etc etc to recycling centers. We have two special bins for recycling paper and plastics. ALL bottles are recycled. Some traffic lights switch off at less busy times to save energy. Lights in corridors turn off after a short time (there are switches that glow in the dark dotted all over if you get stuck). Solar panels and windfarms are well used.

    I should improve my washing habits. You’ve encouraged me!! Our machine weighs the clothes then uses the appropriate amount of water but I could definitely turn down the temp.!

    I didn’t think of cutting up old towels – but I have always recycled them. There are organisations that take even damaged material/shoes and recycle them. The whole usuable items they give on to charitable organisations and the holey/stained stuff they recycle. I know that’s the case in Scotland too. They took our holey tights too!

    Certain doctors/pharmacists/optitions also take old glasses or medicines too and give them to people who need them in the third world. (Also done in the UK)

    We swap clothes too. To each other and to friends with kids. It makes a massive difference to your bank balance. Here clothes are generally quite expensive.

    Great post Tilly!!


  6. terry1954 April 17, 2012 at 14:30 #

    i love tips. i often wonder why i don’t think of them myself. keep posting them!


  7. justbetweencousins April 17, 2012 at 14:33 #

    Excellent! Thank you!
    Peach State


  8. Pseu April 17, 2012 at 17:04 #

    May I refer you to my Compost Corner?


    • Pseu April 17, 2012 at 17:11 #

      Cut buttons off clothes that are beyond passing on and save them: white school shirts rarely survive more than two boys I find. It’s so useful to have a full button box.

      Save the lower legs of jeans that have to be thrown away… the fabric below the knee is usually fine for patches of another pair.

      turn down the thermostat and put on another jumper.

      Ban the dryer except for emergencies. Mine has gone out inot the garage and is only used about twice a year.

      Old bread makes marvellous bread pudding. (I use Delia Smith’s recipes with half her prescribed amount of sugar)

      Old bread crumbs mixed with grated cheese makes a good alternative topping for a fish pie.

      Save old egg boxes and give them to the lady down the road who keeps chickens.

      Make ‘pots’ for seeds from newspaper. They can be planted out without disturbing the roots then.


      • Tilly Bud April 22, 2012 at 10:42 #

        I don’t own a dryer. If the weather is really bad, I do a couple of loads and take them to the laundrette for drying. A couple of times a year; mostly, I just pace the washing.


        • Pseu April 22, 2012 at 13:08 #

          good point.


  9. Hattie April 17, 2012 at 19:07 #

    All these things, small as they seem, make a huge difference when widely practiced. We reuse, recycle, and hardly ever buy anything new.


    • Tilly Bud April 22, 2012 at 10:44 #

      If only we all did the same, what a massive difference we would make.


  10. Gabrielle Bryden April 18, 2012 at 00:31 #

    Great post Tilly. Saving energy also saves money – low energy bulbs, turn off appliances at the wall, turn off unnecessary lights etc.,


    • Tilly Bud April 22, 2012 at 10:45 #

      Even closing the doors to keep the heat in helps.


  11. benzeknees April 18, 2012 at 06:32 #

    We use CFL (compact fluorescent lighting) or LED lights everywhere in our suite; we always set our thermostat no higher than about 62 & use afghans for when we are sitting watching TV at night; we unplug all appliances not in use (it’s amazing how much electricity is used by your kettle or coffee maker sitting idle on your counter); we use plastic containers to take our sandwiches to work or if we have to use a plastic baggie, we wash it & re-use it; we save all our cardboard & recycle it; all eligible plastic also goes to recycling as well as glass & tin cans, even milk jugs & pop cans are recycled. We don’t have recycling right in our building & we don’t have curb side pick up either, we haul all of our recyclables to a recycling station (only in full loads to make sure we don’t waste gas). I use public transportation whenever possible. We donate all our used clothes & linens etc. Back when we lived in our house we were very upset when the local curbside recycling company refused to pick up recyclables in blue boxes & only wanted them in blue bags – to me this is still adding plastic to the land fills, so we started toting our own recyclables in blue boxes.


    • Tilly Bud April 22, 2012 at 10:53 #

      You are doing a good thing. I love to read about people like you 🙂


      • benzeknees April 23, 2012 at 08:02 #

        Thanks! Unfortunately it isn’t universal to have switches by your plugs to turn things off in North America. And there are so many appliances which use instant on (which means they are always drawing electricity), if we were just a little more patient we could save a lot of electricity by unplugging these appliances.


        • Tilly Bud April 23, 2012 at 15:34 #

          Something to lobby your congressperson about 🙂


          • benzeknees April 23, 2012 at 20:24 #

            Sorry, no congress people in Canada – do you think the Queen would intercede? 🙂


  12. eof737 April 18, 2012 at 17:56 #

    We must all do our bit even a little of it would go a log way. Great post!


  13. Perfecting Motherhood April 23, 2012 at 07:04 #

    I do most of the things on your list, so I’m glad to do my part. Even though I live in the US, the land of clothes dryer, I now hang dry all our clothes. We have sun almost every day, so it’s the perfect setting. I only throw them in the dryer on low for 10 minutes at the end, to remove most wrinkles, so I don’t have to iron (and therefore I save electricity).

    I also wash all the produce I buy in a large bowl, then dump the water on my plants in the garden. I don’t dump it on my produce because it’s organic and the produce I buy is not always, but at least, I’m reusing a few gallons every time.

    I also use a large bucket in my shower, where I dump the water as it warms up for my shower. I then use the water to flush the toilet. This is a great tip more of us should use if they can.


I welcome your comments but be warned: I'm menopausal and as likely to snarl as smile. Wine or Maltesers are an acceptable bribe; or a compliment about my youthful looks and cheery disposition will do in a pinch.

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: