Money saving tips - for you and the planet

Many of us are financially stretched these days, but the golden rule ‘reduce, reuse, recycle’ will often cut waste and cut your bills.

How? These tips are taken from 'Look After the Pennies: 100s of money-saving tips and tricks’ by Tess Read (Michael O'Mara Books).


  1. Generate your electricity: and get paid. Feed-in tariffs may pay for electricity you generate, even if you use it yourself.
  2. Unplug electricals: most electrical items use nearly as much power on standby as in full use. They still use some electricity when plugged in, even if switched off. Try to unplug things you're not using.
  3. Save water: water hippos sit in your toilet cistern and save you a litre or more per flush.


  1. Fruit and veg: it’s much cheaper to buy in season – as is buying from market stalls and farmers' markets.
  2. Freeze that fruit: soft fruit, like raspberries and blueberries, freeze extremely well. Frozen fruit also makes a refreshing snack on a hot day.
  3. Date line: keep an eye on when food in the fridge is about to go out of date; then freeze it.
  4. Dregs to riches: don’t throw away the last dregs of wine – freeze it in ice cube trays, then use it to flavour soups and more.
  5. Stale bread and savoury biscuits: these make great breadcrumbs. Store in an airtight container.


  1. Swish your clothes: invite friends to bring their unwanted clothes to a party and swap with others. The remainder can go to charity shops. Or try to see if someone else is organising a party near you.

Cleaning your home

  1. Ovens and lemons: to clean your oven fill an ovenproof dish with water. Sqeeze several lemons into it. Heat the oven to medium and when the water boils, turn to simmer. When nearly evaporated, turn heat off. Clean with damp cloth.
  2. Clean your drains: pour 16 tablespoons of bicarb down the sink, and then pour down 120 ml of white vinegar. They will fizz up and then you can rinse with water.
  3. Clean tile grouting: sponge the grout with white vinegar, leave for a few minutes and scrub off with an old, soft toothbrush.

Home improvements

  1. Skip diving: look out for useful items thrown away in skips. You can get wood for shelving, old tables and chairs to do up, and other DIY materials free. Always ask permission before taking anything.
  2. Declutter: it's a chance to sell something on Amazon or eBay. And you may find something useful like pots of paint or rolls of wallpaper.


  1. On your bike: if your workplace has a Cycle to Work scheme, your employer can lend you a bike, tax free, to cycle to work. Cycling to the station, and continuing to work without it, counts as ‘work travel’.
  2. Cheap train tickets: book 12 weeks early. Rail companies usually release their cheapest seats at this time. Two single tickets are often cheaper than one return.
  3. Green driving: the AA says smarter driving can save 10% in fuel. This includes regular engine servicing, cutting the weight the car carries, and planning journeys so you don’t get lost.
  4. New cars: electric and hybrid cars are exempt from road tax. Vehicles emitting under 100g / km of carbon dioxide are exempt from London’s congestion charge, if you register with Transport for London.


  1. Natural moisturiser: olive oil is great for the skin; add a drop of lavender oil for scent.
  2. Skin like honey: smooth some good-quality honey on to your face and leave it there for 15 minutes. This acts like a face mask, soaking deep into the skin.

Find out more

Buy the book 'Look after the pennies' or find out what you can do to slim your bin in our free download Waste.