upcycle upcycling reuse repurpose reusing repurposing recycle recycling sustainability slideshow presentation

Upcycle, reuse & repurpose – Inspirational ideas

Making & DIY, Sustainability

Upcycle, reuse and repurpose unwanted items. Make the most of your rubbish and maybe even make something beautiful.

Take a look at these weird and wonderful ideas. Hopefully they will inspire you and help you to look at your rubbish in a whole new light.

Just click through each slide using the yellow boxes at the bottom of the pictures, or by clicking on the actual pictures. Enjoy!


Upcycling – by ThriftySustainability.net – Created with Haiku Deck

Why Upcycle?

Upcycling unwanted materials helps our environment, one repurposed item at a time. Creating something from our waste will save that waste from going into a landfill site. It will save the energy and transportation that would have been used to process the waste.

Repurposing can also save us from buying something new, if we can make what we need, out of what we already have lying around… we can save money as well as live sustainably.

Upcycled items can also make fantastic gifts, just take a look through the slides above for some great thrifty and sustainable DIY gift ideas. Or take a look at this previous post for another upcycling idea: DIY gift idea

Some of the most inspirational upcycling ideas are those which use our rubbish to create something beautiful and that puts something in the world that will cheer people up a little when they see it. That’s got to be worth the effort!

What will you upcycle? Do you have any upcycling ideas? Please feel free to share them in the comments section below.

Happy Upcycling!

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lemon lemons healthy thrifty cheap versatile sustainable saving money

Lemons – multi-talented, powerful… cheap!

Making & DIY, Sustainability, Thrifty
lemon lemons healthy thrifty cheap versatile sustainable saving money

Lemons – not just for gin!

Lemons, often only chosen in the supermarket as a companion to gin & tonic or perhaps for squeezing over a piece of fish, but this cheeky little fruit has so much more to offer as you embrace a thrifty and sustainable lifestyle.

Ahh, the humble lemon, look closer and you will discover, not only that it is cheap and tasty, but that it has many other uses for the house, garden, health, beauty and cleaning, uses that can save you money whilst helping the environment.

A few ideas for using lemons

spray bottle lemon cleaner thrifty sustainable cheap save money clean
Air freshener –
mix equal amounts of water and lemon juice into a spray bottle. You can re-use the bottle as many times as you like and the spray will last for ages. The lemon smell is fresh, disguises odours and you can rest assured that you will not be breathing in lots of the chemicals that you find in regular air fresheners. Not only does this air freshener only cost pence but it also cuts down on the amount of aerosols and packaging that you may use – this helps the environment.

 

Sink/bath cleaner – Lemons are a natural bleaching agent and can dissolve soap scum and limescale on baths and sinks. As the acidic lemon is also antibacterial and antiseptic, it disinfects as it cleans too! You can apply neat lemon juice on problem areas, using a sponge, leave for a few hours and then rinse off. If it’s only a light scum, you only need to leave the lemon juice to do its lemony magic for 10mins.

 

All-purpose cleaner – If you want an amazing all-rounder, look no further than this powerful cleaning solution: Mix together some bicarbonate of soda with lemon juice and some warm water to make a paste. This powerful cleaning paste will clean the oven, hob, microwave… any tough, grimy, greasy, built-up, caked-in dirt. The bicarbonate of soda (also known as baking soda) is an abrasive, the lemon juice has fabulous de-greasing properties and together they are a force to be reckoned with! Rinse the surface well after using, to remove any of the powdery residue.

 

lemons lemon natural stain remover clean clothes thrifty sustainability sustainable effective

A natural, effective stain remover

Stain-remover – If you suffer from sweat stains on shirts or tops, mix together half lemon juice and half water and scrub the stain gently to remove the marks before putting the shirt or top in the wash. This will also work for stains caused by fruit juice, tea, ink etc… if it’s a really bad stain, add a little salt into the mix as an abrasive. You can also add lemon juice to your wash if you are washing white clothes as the slight, natural bleaching properties of the lemon will keep your whites whiter for longer… at a fraction of the price of the branded whiteners… and using zero harmful chemicals.

 

Disinfectant – Pour the juice of a couple of lemons down the kitchen or bathroom sinks or drains to disinfect them and to remove odours. You can also spray a mix of lemon juice and water over kitchen work surfaces as the lemon has antibacterial and antiseptic properties that will keep your kitchen germ-free. The lemonine in the lemon is also toxic to insects so will help to keep flies from having a fly party in your food preparation area.

 

Natural insect deterrent – If you want to keep insects away from your plants, or from entering your home. Try leaving strips of lemon peel dotted around as insects can’t stand the smell of lemon. Try squeezing lots of lemon juice onto doorsteps or windowsills to keep insects at bay. Ants, flies, fleas and cockroaches all hate the smell of lemon.

 

natural weed killer lemon juice thrifty sustainable environmentally friendly

A natural weed killer

Natural weed killer – Soil becomes polluted with the harmful chemicals used in commercial weed-killers. Why not try using lemon juice directly on the weeds instead. Pouring lemon juice between paving cracks will prevent the weeds from growing. It’s a much cheaper solution and much kinder to our environment.

 

Skincare – Fill a bowl with boiling hot water, add the peel of half a lemon, put your head over the bowl, put a towel over your head to cover your head and the bowl, and allow the steam from the bowl to cover and clean your face. The lemony steam will help to clean out pores at a very deep level. This is especially good for greasy skin. It feels amazingly fresh and energising too. Afterwards you can tone the skin and close the pores by dabbing a mix of two parts cold water to one part lemon juice on the skin and allowing it to dry naturally, then wash off with tap water. You can even apply sliced lemons directly to the face as lemon acids are smoothing and moisturising for even the driest skin types. Lemons – Who knew?!

 

lemons lemon juice hair rinse haircare healthy shiny cheap thrifty sustainability

Shiny, healthy, natural haircare

Haircare – To treat damaged hair or to give healthy hair a fantastic shine: Rinse hair with water and the juice of half a lemon. The lemon juice cleans out any residual soaps or shampoos, encourages natural proteins in the hair which can repair hair damage and creates fatty acids which give your hair a natural shine. All for the cost of half a lemon!

 

lemon juice in water hangover cure thrifty health healthy vitamin c

A hangover cure! – You’re welcome

Health – Lemons are a great source of vitamin C, vitamin C encourages the body to make collagen. Having lemons in your daily diet will help your body to repair muscles and skin and will help you to enjoy the humble lemon’s amazing anti-ageing properties. Lemon can also help reduce the amount of cholesterol that we take in from food.

 

Hangover prevention – If you’ve had a heavy night of drinking and suffer from hangovers, try drinking a glass of water with the juice of a lemon squeezed into it before you go to bed… the lemon will help the liver to process the alcohol and will give you a dose of Vitamin C at the same time… you will have a much better time when you wake up – you’re welcome!

 

There are hundreds of similarly amazing uses for lemons and you can discover more by google-ing ‘household uses for lemons’ ‘uses for lemons’ ‘lemon uses’ ‘lemon benefits’ etc

You can, of course, also use the lemon in lots of delicious recipes such as lemon drizzle cake, lemon cheesecake or lemon and ginger tea.

If you discover a great use for lemons, please let us know in the comments section below.
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making a budget working out budget budgeting saving money finaces budgets

How to make a budget & save money

Cheap Food / on a Budget, Thrifty

Making a budget gives you a clear understanding of your finances. Some people get into all sorts of trouble with debt, simply because they spend more than they earn. Working out exactly how much money you have coming in and how much is going out each month, will give you control over your finances. Once you know the facts, you can see where you are wasting money or overspending without realising.

Understanding and having control over your finances will not only help you to steer clear of debt, but it will empower you and give you an extra boost of self-confidence.

If you are already in debt, taking a good honest look at your spending habits and working out a plan of action to change those habits, is a strong first step in getting out of debt.

If you have tried working out a budget before and found it unsuccessful, it may be because you were purely focusing on the monthly spend and forgetting to look at the big yearly picture also.

making a budget working out budget budgeting saving money finaces budgets

Grab a cuppa and a calculator…

Often there are things we spend money on which happen at different times throughout the year and not in any set month, for example, holidays, dentist appointments, gifts for friends and family, house or car repairs etc… and whilst you cannot always know how much these extras may cost, you can at least allow a portion of your monthly spend to go into a saving pot, which can help to pay for those events throughout the year.

Life is full of surprises and if you need to pay for an unexpected repair, or move home in a hurry, having savings put by for an emergency can make all the difference between getting things sorted or getting into debt. I know that building up savings is way easier said than done, but using the strategy below is a good solid start.

It’s going to take a while, but it is worth your time. Grab a cuppa, grab a calculator and start on the first step to taking control of your finances.

Making a budget:

1) To start off on the right foot, it is really worth being as thorough as possible. Collect as much information about your finances as possible. Gather at least three months of recent bank statements, or even take a look over the past year’s spending to see where the unexpected spends occurred. If you have credit cards or store cards, collect the statements for those to see how much you are spending there. Collect your payslips and information of any money that is coming in. Gather all the details that you have of household bills, council tax, tv licence etc. Gather any receipts that you find lying around too, as these may help you to break down further how you are spending your money when shopping.

2) Often, just looking at where you are actually spending money will be a real eye-opener. You will probably be surprised at just how much money is being spent on impulse buys, a coffee in town, a quick supermarket trip where you went in to buy one thing but came out with a basket full, a night out, energy bills at different times of year etc.. These things all add up over time and starting to have a conscious awareness of where and how you spend your money will really help you to get into a money-saving, low-cost, thrifty lifestyle mindset.

Once you stop spending so much on things that you don’t need or use, you can start to put your money towards things which make your life more worthwhile.

make making a budget working out budget budgeting saving money finaces budgets

Work out where you are overspending

It can be quite upsetting when you see, for the first time, where you are overspending. You may be tempted to ignore certain areas, like credit card spend or how much you spend on alcohol and luxuries. It is really important to be totally honest with yourself when creating your budget. If it helps, just keep it to yourself and remind yourself that no one will read it but you. It may help to create it on the computer and make a password-protected file. Do not be ashamed of where you are overspending, just be aware of it and make the decision that you will now be in control of how you spend and that in a year’s time your finances will be in a much better state.

3) To build a picture of monthly spend, make a list of all the regular, known outgoings that you have, such as rent/mortgage, council tax, contact lenses, any debt repayments etc. Work out the average monthly energy bill – do this by adding the last 12 months of energy bills together and dividing by 12 to get an average monthly bill – Do the same thing for your food shopping as well. Keep working out and adding the average monthly spend for things like gifts, christmas, clothes, holidays, car tax etc.

There are many templates for creating a budget online if you do not want to make your own – here is a good tool from the money-saving expert website: https://budgetbrain.moneysavingexpert.com/budgetplanner or simply Google ‘Budget Template’ to find something to suit your needs.

Now add up all the monthly outgoings and put it at the bottom of the list as your outgoings total. Finally take a look at all your income from employment, benefits, selling online etc, put that total on the budget aswell.

If your outgoings are more than your income… don’t worry, don’t feel ashamed, it’s completely normal and completely fixable. You’ve taken the first step, discovered that there is a problem and now you can take positive steps to fix that problem over time. Keep reading for a few ideas to get your outgoing spend right down.

If your outgoings are less than your income, well done indeed! Perhaps your next step would be to look at where you are overspending so that you may put more of your income into savings and into enjoying new life experiences.

4) Now that you have your budget list of exactly how much you are spending each month on average, it’s time to go through each item on the list and consider if you can make a saving.

make making a budget working out budget budgeting saving money finaces budgets save pounds

Each small monthly saving adds up over a year

Examples of where you might save:

  • could you live somewhere cheaper or move in with someone to split bills?
  • If you own your home, could you get a lodger to help boost income?
  • If you buy contact lenses and pay monthly, could you make significant savings by purchasing them, in bulk, online, or wearing glasses for half the week and buying half as many contact lenses? If you pay £30 per month and reduce this to £15 per month, that’s a yearly saving of £180
  • Could you set yourself a lower allowance for monthly food shopping, and stick to it? If you can cut down on your food shopping bill by £30 a month… that’s a yearly saving of £360 – You could cut down much further by bulk buying approved clearance food or by switching from brands to non-brands
  • Could you cut out one of your morning coffees on the way to work and make a free one when you get to work instead? If you cut out one £2.30 coffee per week, that’s a yearly save of £119.60
  • Could you switch energy providers and save money there?
  • Are you on the cheapest phone tariff for your mobile?
  • If you pay for a gym subscription but rarely go, could you cancel it and exercise by going for brisk walks and practising yoga or weight training in your living room instead? Cutting back on the average gym membership of £20 per month, could be a yearly saving of £240
  • Can you cut back a little on spends such as cigarettes, beauty products, magazines, take aways, nights out, cinema trips, extravagant gifts etc.
  • Can you reduce the cost of your fuel bill by switching appliances off and wearing a jumper? Check out the article Switch it off: Smarter use of energy for ways to save on household bills


Every little saving that you can make will add up significantly over time.

5) Keeping the achievable cut-backs in mind, draw up a new budget plan that you will do your best to stick to. Keep going back to it every week to make sure that you are sticking to it and to consider where there may be potential to cut back further, or to switch provider and save.

make making a budget working out budget budgeting saving money finaces budgets piggy bank-savings

Take control of your spending & start saving

Once you have a budget to follow, and when you are honest about where you are spending your money, you have control over your finances and can start to steer them in the right direction.

If you have trouble sticking to a food shopping budget, it may be because you are paying for food, as and when, on your card, and not realising that you are overspending. At the beginning of the month, take out the allotted amount for the month’s food shopping in cash. Divide it between 4 envelopes, one for each week, and don’t spend more than you have in the envelopes!

6) If you have a low income and the money going out is way more than the money coming in, it’s time to start thinking about ways to change that. As well as saving on the amount that you spend, there are lots of positive steps that you can take to increase your income.

Long-term financial security and peace of mind is achievable if you can just get a handle on your budget. Each time you go to spend money, check-in with yourself – do I really need it? Can I find it cheaper elsewhere?

Making a budget and sticking to it, is well worth the effort. Over time, having conscious control over what you are spending will change your life for the better.

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blackberry forraging forrage for free food in the wild pick free food foraging forage find edible

Foraging in September – Free food in the wild

Free

Foraging for free food in the wild is a fantastic way to bulk out your meals for free.

blackberry forraging forrage for free food in the wild pick free food foraging forage find edible

Blackberries

It’s also great exercise, great for connecting with nature and great for boosting your self-esteem as you start to discover the wealth of free food that’s just poking out of the ground or dangling off a tree in your local area… if you only know what to look for!

Below is a short list of the kinds of foods that are ready to find and pick in September, each item in the list is a link that will show you a description on Wikipedia, so that you may identify the food correctly before you pick and eat it.

Be safe when foraging, make sure that you are picking something edible and not something poisonous! It is a good idea to use a guide book or to research online before you go foraging. For example, try looking up each of the below on Wikipedia to find an accurate image and description.

Foraging in September:

Beech nuts     Bilberry     Black mustard     Blackberries     Blewit     Cauliflower fungus     Cep     Chanterelle     Clover flowers     Crab apples     Dandelion roots     Elderberries     Fairy-ring Champignon     Field mushroom     Giant puffball mushroom     Hawthorn berries     Hazelnut/Cobnuts     Heather flowers     Hedgehog fungus     Honey fungus     Hop fruits     Horse mushroom     Inkcaps     Jack-by-the-hedge     Juniper     Parasol mushroom     Poppy     Raspberries     Rosehip    Rowan berries     Saffron milk cap     Sea beet     Shaggy cap     Velvet shank     Wild service tree     Wild strawberry

 

I recommend the following books about foraging for free food – they help you to identify, harvest, prepare and then preserve your findings:

My favourite is ‘Food for Free‘, because it is a pocket-sized guide that you can take out foraging.

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approved food clearance food cheap food breakfast cereals thrifty sustainability shopping cheaper save money

Cheap food – approved clearance food

Cheap Food / on a Budget, Sustainability, Thrifty

approved food clearance food cheap food breakfast cereals thrifty sustainability shopping cheaper save moneyHow can we save up to 70% on the weekly shop & help the environment at the same time? Make use of the cheap food that is available for everyone, if you only know where to buy it.

In the UK we throw away a tremendous (and disgustingly wasteful) amount of food and drink each year – 7.2m tonnes – most of which could have been consumed. When you think of the energy put into making, packaging and selling that food, you can begin to see why stopping that waste is a sound idea for an eco-freindly, sustainable lifestyle.

One way to cut down on the UK’s food waste whilst also saving yourself a lot of money is to buy Approved Clearance Food.

If you look at food packaging there is usually a ‘use by’ date and a ‘best before’ date to advise us when to eat it by. It is not advisable to eat anything after it’s ‘use by’ date, however, you CAN safely eat food that has passed it’s ‘best before’ date. Best Before dates are only there a guide to advise that  after a best before date the colour or texture might not be immaculate.. but the food is still completely safe to eat and what’s more… it’s a fantastic way to buy very cheap food in bulk and make huge savings on your food bill!

approved food clearance food cheap food save money grocery shopping thrifty sustainability

Visit the Approved Foods website now to discover how you can cut your food shopping bill right down by buying approved clearance foods. You could bulk buy and stock up on store cupboard essentials such as tinned foods, dried foods and cleaning products at a fraction of the price!

approved food clearance food cheap food tuna thrifty sustainability shopping cheaper save money approved food clearance food cheap food sweets thrifty sustainability shopping cheaper save money approved food clearance food cheap food cleaning products thrifty sustainability shopping cheaper save money approved food clearance food cheap food tinned beans thrifty sustainability shopping cheaper save money

 

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thrifty sustainability make Pizza do it yourself DIY pizza toppings save money on takeaway food cheap

Make it: Home made pizza

Cheap Food / on a Budget, Making & DIY

Let’s face it, pizza is the food of the Gods and you’re thinking… no way can I make a pizza that tastes as sublime as my usual take-away favourite. Well, not only can you make your own perfect, divine, exquisitely delicious pizza, but you’ll have the added satisfaction of knowing that you’ve saved yourself a tenner (this recipe only costs £1.50 – £3 per pizza) and you can be as picky as you like with the toppings.

thrifty sustainability make Pizza do it yourself DIY pizza toppings save money on takeaway food cheap

Save at least £10 – every time you make your own pizza from scratch

If you are interested in healthy eating, making your own pizza allows you to have total control over the ingredients, perhaps use whole-wheat organic flour instead of plain white flour, use gluten-free flour if you are a celiac and choose toppings which are in-line with your dietary requirements. If you are vegan, use vegan cheese or just a tomato sauce based topping and forget the cheese. Further topping suggestions below.

If you are interested in thrifty living because you are trying to clear a debt or save money, this could be an excellent opportunity to do just that. Every time you crave a takeaway pizza, take the time to make your own and put the £10 that you save in a ‘pizza savings’ jar and after 10 home-made pizzas you’ll have £100 to put towards paying off debts or to put into a savings account.

Yes it’s more effort to make it yourself.. but yes, it’s so worth it! Give it a try and have fun with it. If you have children, this can be a fun, messy and creative family activity!

If making your own pizza seems daunting, or a bit complicated, just give it a go, stick with it and after a couple of times you’ll get used to it and… you’ll get to love it.

Simple pizza base ingredients

  • 375g Plain white flour
  • 1 tablespoon of caster sugar
  • 1 teaspoon of salt
  • 7g of dried active baking yeast (you can buy these in a box of 8 x 7g sachets to save further pennies)
  • 2 tablespoons of olive oil
  • 225ml (8fl oz) of warm water

How to make the simple pizza base

1) put all the ingredients in a mixing bowl and mix until you get a dough
2) knead and stretch the dough for a minute or so
3) spread or roll out the dough into a pizza shape on a large pizza pan or baking sheet (avoid a sticking pizza base later by sprinkling a little flour onto the baking tray first)
4) add your pizza topping (details below)
5) put your pizza in a pre-heated oven at 190 degrees or Gas mark 5 and bake for 20-25 mins

If you want to mix it up a bit when you make your base, you can swap whole-wheat flour for the plain flour, you can add herbs such as oregano to the dough and you can get a real take-away pizza style if you roll your dough out for an extra few centimetres and put chopped up mozzarella around the rim and then pull the dough back over the mozzarella to form a stuffed crust. Yum.

Pizza sauce

If you’re in a hurry, you don’t need to make pizza sauce, you can just squeeze tomato purée onto your pizza base and spread it all over before adding your toppings.

But, if you want something a little tastier, here is a really great recipe:

Pizza sauce ingredients:

  • ½ tin tomatoes (or equivalent finely chopped fresh tomatoes)
  • small onion finely chopped
  • thrifty sustainability make Pizza do it yourself DIY pizza square toppings save money on takeaway food cheap

    Get creative! – who says a pizza has to be round

    2 garlic bulbs finely chopped

  • pinch of salt and pepper
  • 1 teaspoon brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon oregano
  • 1 teaspoon basil
  • tomato purée to thicken

How to make the pizza sauce:

1) Fry the onions and garlic until soft
2) Add the tomatoes, sugar and herbs
3) Heat through and simmer for 10 mins to thicken, or add tomato purée to thicken
4) Spread it all over the pizza base

Pizza Topping ideas…

  • mozzarella and spinach or rocket or fresh basil is delicious and simple
  • chopped onions, mushrooms and peppers with grated cheddar cheese and… yes… tinned anchovies!
  • cheddar, mozzarella and red Leicester cheese
  • tinned pineapple pieces with chopped up ham and cheddar cheese
  • mozzarella and pepperoni
  • slices of cooked sausage with red onion chutney and cheddar cheese
  • goats’ cheese with red onion chutney

Be creative with the toppings, this is your chance to put your own stamp on things.. make a pattern, write your name, make a smiley face, or create your own weird concoctions and flavours. No-one said a pizza had to be round..

Have a think about what other favourite takeaway meals you could make for yourself and save yourself a small fortune!

Enjoy!

Have you got a great pizza topping idea or recipe to share? Let everyone know in the comments section below…

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thrifty sustainability energy saving switch off standby appliance low energy sustainable cheap low cost

Switch it off / Smarter use of energy

Sustainability, Thrifty
thrifty sustainability energy saving switch off standby appliance low energy sustainable cheap low cost

Don’t leave gadgets on standby, it wastes energy – switch them off when not in use

Did you know that appliances still eat up power when they’re on standby and every time you remember to switch them off, you save pennies on your electricity bill, which over the year will add up to pounds. If you are not using your TV, Laptop, Cooker, phone charger etc – don’t leave them plugged in and on standby with the little red light showing – switch them off or unplug them until you do need to use them.

The same goes for light bulbs, do you need every light in the house on if you are only using one room? For an added bonus, instead of using regular light bulbs, switch to energy-efficient light bulbs or LED lighting which drains less power, costing you less money and they’re better for the environment too. If you want to

thrifty sustainability energy saving lightbulb light bulb low energy sustainable cheap low cost

Energy saving light bulbs – conserve energy and save you money

get into super-thrifty mode, use all those candles that you’ve been given as gifts to light your home for a few nights – cosy ambience and zero energy cost.

You might like to consider your water usage, aside from a small cost saving when we reduce the amount of water that we use, we also help the environment by conserving our water. A few ways to reduce your water use… a quick shower rather than a fill a bath tub… don’t leave the tap running whilst brushing your teeth… if you have a garden that needs watering, consider getting a water-butt so that you can use the rainwater that is collected instead of tap water.

Heating the home is usually the largest chunk of our energy bill so this is where you can really save some money whilst reducing your carbon footprint. If you are feeling a bit nippy, rather than reach to turn up the thermostat or to put on an electric heater, why not add another layer of clothes, a hat and a pair of socks does wonders to keep you warm as does a onesie.. or add an extra blanket to your bed. Even if you just do this for a couple of hours before putting the heating on, over the year, you will save pounds. You will also be conserving energy.. another eco win! If you do need to have the heating on, try turning the thermostat down a little, and for the hot water too – again, this will save you money.

thrifty sustainability affordable saving energy bills save heating hat jumper conserve energy

Stay toasty! – Wear a hat and a jumper – to save money on your heating bills

Just as popping a hat on your head keeps you nice and toasty and keeps your body heat from escaping quite so quickly, you can insulate your home to ensure that heat (and the energy that you pay for) does not escape willy nilly. If you have a loft, lay down thick insulation up there (a nice warm hat for your home). Check windows and doors to ensure that no draughts are coming in, if they are this is where heat can escape, so apply foam insulation tape to plug the leaks or use draught excluders to reduce heat-loss in the home. It’s worth being thorough because every thing you do to reduce heat loss in the home will save you money when it comes to the heating bill, and every energy conservation step that you take will help the environment too.

If you have central heating and do not need to heat every room in the house, turn the radiator right down, or off, in those unused rooms. If you find you have a radiator positioned directly under a window, this can be pretty ineffective and a big energy-loss. If this radiator is being used, close the curtains and tuck them in behind the radiator to push the heat back out into the room, there are also heat-reflecting panels which you can put behind and above radiators to produce the same result. Or simply fit a shelf above the radiator and below the window.

Being thrifty is all about looking for those small opportunities – When cooking, if you are going to be using the oven to bake something, what else could you bake at the same time to save using the oven for twice as long? If cooking potatoes and vegetables on the hob, why not get a stacked saucepan/steamer and cook both on the same ring to save using two – and save yourself from using twice as much electricity or gas.

If you have a washing machine and tumble dryer, these are both big energy users – consider hand-washing every once in a while, or drying your clothes on a washing line or dryer frame. Try washing your clothes with a 30 degrees setting instead of 60 or 90 degrees, that alone could halve the cost and amount of energy used! The same goes for dishwashers, if you use one, try to cut back on using it every time you have had a meal and wait until you have a full load or wash by hand instead, every little change helps you to save money and to conserve energy.

If you need to buy a new appliance, you can compare the energy ratings of each appliance to see which will be the most energy-efficient and cost-effective for your needs.

You may also be eligible for an energy-saving grant from the government – check here to see if this applies to you – http://www.energysavingtrust.org.uk/ – the Energy Saving Trust website also has plenty of advice for those wishing to conserve energy use in the home.

Do you have any tips to share, that will save money on household bills? Please feel free to share them in the comments section below. Thank you.

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