Costing the Earth

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How to save money AND the planet

By Jo & Carl Violeta

There’s a common misconception that being environmentally conscious costs a fortune. The opposite can actually be true with plenty of eco and budget-friendly choices being one and the same.

We chatted to eco-friendly business owners Tammy and Sarah (The White Pidgeon Said) and blogger Andrea from Unwasteful to put together 10 eco-friendly ways to save money.

1. Ditch plastic bottled water

Bottled water often costs up to $4 per bottle, so at three plastic bottles of water a week, you’re looking at a whopping $624 per year.

If you’re concerned about the quality of your tap water, look into investing in a water filter for your tap.

Although most plastic bottles can be recycled, some studies estimate that producing and transporting bottled water uses up to 2,000 times the energy required to produce and distribute tap water. Invest in a good quality reusable bottle for when you’re on the go and you’ll never look back.

2. Turn off electronics

When you’re not using an appliance, turn it off at the outlet. Leaving the room? Switch off the light. If your device is fully charged, unplug it and turn the charger off at the socket.

These small changes will reduce your carbon footprint, as well as chip a little bit off your electricity bill.

3. Use rechargeable batteries

You’ll quickly recover the initial outlay and never be caught without batteries again. You won’t have to pay to replace dead batteries and you’ll keep them out of landfill, along with all the packaging.

4. Cycle or walk on your daily commute

Beneficial for your wellbeing and savings on transport costs and emissions. What’s not to love?

5. Eat seasonal fruit and vegetables

Buying food when it’s at its peak supply usually translates to affordability.

“You’ll be surprised at how affordable your local farmers market is and just how long the fresh produce will last you compared to the supermarkets,” says Sarah. “Shopping locally and in season also reduces the distance food needs to be transported.”

Andrea suggests slashing your grocery bill by growing your own fruits and veggies.

“Growing your own food is a great way to save money,” she points out “Even if you have limited space, it is possible to grow herbs and smaller crops. Swap excess produce with family and friends or within the local community.”

Composting food scraps also reduces waste and helps your beautiful veggie patch to flourish.

6. Air dry your clothes

We know this can be difficult in the Winter months but avoid using expensive tumble dryers to dry clothes. Air-drying clothes indoors or outdoors is free and uses less energy.

Tammy explains that hanging clothes outside has other benefits. “UV does kill (some) bacteria that it directly contacts. Ensure there are no creases or crevices that the sunlight can’t hit and be sure to only bring them in once completely dry.”

7. Think before you buy

Lowering your consumption for things is one of the most significant ways to reduce your carbon footprint, and of course, save a lot of money.

Find out whether you can borrow something rather than buy. Our daughter recently rented a gorgeous dress for her year 12 formal at a fraction of the cost it would’ve cost to buy.

And clothes aren’t the only thing you can share around. Street libraries are community-based book exchanges and several have popped up on the Mornington Peninsula in recent years. The miniature libraries (built using recycled materials) operate on an honesty system allowing people to borrow from the library and donate their pre-loved books.

If your child is starting high-school soon, the Sustainable School Shop is a cost-effective, eco-friendly place to source second-hand text books.

8. Make your own cleaning products

Commercial cleaning products can be full of toxic ingredients and are usually packaged in plastic. “Research some great DIY recipes for cleaning products and buy the raw ingredients in bulk,” says Sarah “Split the cost with a few friends and spend an afternoon together making them.”

9. Reduce your waste

We want to preface this by saying be kind to yourself. No-one expects you to be perfect and although aiming for zero waste would be the ideal, making small changes every day will make a big difference to the environment and your wallet.

“Less landfill equals less toxic gas emissions and water pollution, recycling and buying recycled products lessens the need to draw on our Earth’s natural resources,” explains Andrea

Roving Refills Frankston is a refill service for, amongst other things, your used shampoo and cleaning product bottles. The best part? You’re refilling them with environmentally-friendly products.

10. Plan out your eco-friendly purchases

You don’t have to change everything all at once.

“Eco-friendly products are an investment that will soon pay themselves off and start saving you money. Make a list of what changes you want to achieve and, week by week, tick one-off. That way you won’t feel like you are blowing the budget,’ recommends Sarah

So, going green and making more environmentally-friendly choices doesn’t need to cost the earth. A few simple practical changes can make a big difference.


Jo and Carl Violeta are self-confessed numbers nerds, parents of an energetic toddler and a super switched-on teenager, and co-founders of the award-winning business, Violeta Finance. They are a husband and wife team who are passionate about empowering their community with financial education, love the odd glass of wine, and get a kick out of helping families achieve their homeownership and financial dreams.

Peninsula Kids – Spring 2019

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