Last year alone I save a whopping £468 by simple yet dramatic lifestyle changes. Although I bought most of these items, many of them pop up as freebies - so keep your eyes peeled for free coffee cups, totes & water bottles!
If you're feeling a little daunted by the Zero Waste lifestyle, here are my Top 5 swaps to get you started:
Many people still ask why anyone would want to go zero waste - I would say it's a win-win to buy less stuff AND to be keeping plastic away from our wildlife in the ocean & on land.
These 11 lifestyle changes are easy to make, and are guaranteed ways to save money. From your daily trip to Costa, to the inside of your make-up bag.
Read on to find out how you can have more money to spend on the things you love & enjoy, rather than blowing your hard-earned cash on mundane purchases. Many people still ask why anyone would want to go zero waste - I would say it's a win-win to buy less stuff AND to be keeping plastic away from our wildlife in the ocean & on land.
The answer? Kill two birds with one stone - cut plastic and buy less stuff!
1. Carry a Reusable Coffee Cup
Pret, Starbucks, Costa, Paul, Greggs and Café Nero all offer money off your drink or double your loyalty stamps if you bring your own reusable coffee cup. The best offering is 50p off your drink at Pret. If you’re a die-hard coffee lover and you buy two drinks out a day, that’s an extra £5 a week you will have saved!
To find your re-usable coffee cup in the first place, check out Greggs & Starbucks apps – they have given away free coffee cups to new app users. WH Smith’s also collaborated with the Daily Mail and Sainsbury’s to offer nectar points' collectors a free coffee cup reward.
To enjoy the full effects of your sturdy coffee cup, you might want to use it in conjunction with a loyalty card. There's a fab offering from Waitrose with their myWaitrose membership - you get a free drink every time you do a shop!
2. Invest in a Reusable Water Bottle
Stay hydrated on the go with a reusable water bottle! Shop-bought water in plastic bottles can cost anything from £1 to £2 - If you buy even just one a week, that's £52 a year for something you can get from the tap.
The Cupanion app is perfect for getting rewards simply for reusing a bottle or coffee mug. A great place to use this app is at Pret - as most Pret's now have a drinking water tap near the entrance so anyone can help themselves to free water! If you can't find a Pret and have run out of water, simply use the Refill app to find out the nearest location that will allow you to refill for free.
For pretty water bottle inspo, check out Chilly's Bottles! They are on a mission to get everyone on-board with living a reusable lifestyle.
3. Bag Yourself a Tote Bag
Are you guilty of having a special plastic bag at home, exclusively filled with other plastic bags? With the 5p bag tax, it all adds up and who knows if you’ll ever get through them all. Collecting free cotton tote bags at events, with online promotions, or just from a charity or second-hand shop can save you time, money and hassle.
Big Clean Switch and TK Maxx have run FREE tote bag giveaways in the past, so keep your eyes peeled! The Outdoor Guide were giving away canvas tote bags to those who were happy to pay for postage.
Cotton tote bags are much sturdier than plastic bags and they fold up neatly and can hide in your bag - ready to carry your food shop, latest retail therapy finds and everything in between. Better still – upcycle your plastic bags for FREE by weaving them together to make a sturdier bag! This is also a fun and free craft & rainy day activity to do at home.
4. Invest in a Safety Razor
These need only be bought once in your lifetime, saving you possibly hundreds, if not thousands of pounds on disposable razors that will never be bought again!
The safety razor is made from metal, is easy to clean, and uses a double-edged single blade that can be bought in bulk extremely cheaply. You can even buy something to sharpen the blades – prolonging their life and saving even more money.
Free safety razors can be hard to come by, so definitely keep your eyes peeled for amazing giveaways like this one from Executive Shaving. Check out this fab guide for how to make your own blade bank to safely store used blades.
5. Always have a Handkerchief to hand
Think of all those winter colds you’ve ever had, then think of how much you’ve spent over the years, stocking up on pocket tissues.
Handkerchiefs are a wonderfully simple alternative. You just chuck them in the wash with the rest of your laundry and they’re ready to use again.
This can also make a fun craft project – use old cotton clothing to make handkerchiefs then spend time embroidering any design you choose, to make them unique!
Check out this guide from the lovely people at By Hand London. These also make a wonderful, super cheap personalised gift for a friend or loved one.
6. Look after your pearly whites with a Gum Stimulator
This is a long-lasting tool to clean the edges of your teeth and gums. This will save you from having to worry about restocking on floss.
Although floss is relatively cheap, these little costs all add up! For more information about this amazing tool, check out this post by Colgate.
7. Use dual purpose items
Coconut oil & apple cider vinegar are firm favourites when it comes to dual-purpose items. Both of these items can be used in cooking, cleaning, moisturising, and for hair care.
Cornflour makes a wonderful face powder for sensitive skin, and baking powder can clean just about anything! Take a look at this blog post from Expert Home Tips to find out just how versatile baking powder is.
These products can be bought in bulk very cheaply and save you from having to buy multiple items for singular uses. If you're concerned that your house will be clean enough, a quick google will reveal that natural products are considered much better for your health. There is in-fact, no need to kill 99.9% of bacteria - as this might be making us more prone to illness in the first place. Using dual-purpose items saves you time, money AND improves your health whilst looking out for the planet.
8. Rewards schemes
There are banks out there giving people rewards for switching to paperless billing, such as the Co-op. There are also new schemes in the pipeline to give people cash rewards for disposing of their litter properly. Check out the #DriveDownLitter campaign which has seen service stations installing special machines to recycle your items and you'll be issued with money off vouchers.
This campaign has launched in Kent, but if it is successful it will be rolled out across the UK! Keep checking Hubbub, the creator of this amazing initiative to see if this scheme is making its way to a town near you!
9. Health & Beauty recycle schemes
Check out some of the best health & beauty companies that give you great freebies and/or money off your next purchase, when you partake in their recycling schemes.
Lush are best known for this type of scheme. All you have to do is return 5 clean Lush product containers and they will reward you with a FREE Fresh Face Mask.
There is also the Back to MAC campaign, through which you can pick up FREE lipstick just for returning their product packaging.
L'Occitane now work in partnership with Terracycle to offer a FAB recycling programme. Simply bring empty beauty & skincare products from ANY beauty brand in-store, and you will be rewarded with 10% off a new full-sized product.
10. Invest in re-usable/more durable health & beauty products
The Silisponge appeared out of nowhere as a strange new beauty tool and was then swiftly forgotten. This amazing tool is extremely underrated - it is far more hygienic than makeup brushes because there are no crevices in which the product can hide. It is so easy to keep clean, and it also saves you money on makeup because it doesn't soak anything up. You will use every single drop of your foundation, rather than losing half of it to an absorbent sponge blender.
Mooncup & Lunette Cup are amazing companies that create just another great money and time-saving product! However, many people are unsure about menstrual cups and can often find them a daunting topic. Reusable silicone menstrual cups can last a lifetime if they are looked after correctly. Unlike pads & tampons, these cups are free from toxic chemicals, meaning girls & women can ditch products riddled with chemicals, AND take their lifetime period spend down from a whopping £18,000!
11. Upcycle wherever possible
Turn things you purchase in everyday life, into new things! This is much better than binning or even recycling items.
For example, some Nutella jars can be washed and used as drinking glasses. If you ever find yourself breaking glasses, these make really stylish replacements.
I loved this heron design candle holder so much, it seemed a shame to throw it out when the candle was finished. I put it in the freezer for a day, then scraped out all the excess wax, gave it a clean and it was ready to use. Now it holds all of my makeup products!
These are just a handful of easy and fun things you can do to cut down on your spending, whilst doing great things for the environment – it’s a win-win!
Have I missed anything out? Share your money & planet-saving secrets!