This article was written by By Simon Migliano of VoucherCodes.co.uk
A green lifestyle often leads naturally to money-saving but sometimes the green choice can seem to be the more expensive, creating real dilemmas when finances are tight. However, with the help of some useful online resources, clever technology and a little innovation, you should rarely be forced to blow the budget for the sake of the planet.
From fair-trade fashion and organic food to green gadgets, a whole industry has sprung up to cater to ethical consumers. Prices can be higher than at mainstream retailers and while often justified, it can sometimes put such products out of reach.
A smart way to makes this type of purchase more affordable is with online discount codes. Despite the recession, it’s a great time to be a consumer as more and more retailers are turning to discount codes to attract new customers.
Entered at the checkout, these codes offer an instant discount. Popular deals include money off, free delivery and free gifts.
A handy place to look for them is money-saving website VoucherCodes.co.uk. It gathers together all the best discount codes from leading green retailers such as Ascension, Nigel’s Eco Store, So Organic, Abel and Cole, Planet Organic, Ethical Superstore, Green and Blacks, Big Green Smile, Gossypium and Ecotopia.
Grocery shopping presents a tangled knot of green choices that must be unpicked every week, from where the broccoli was grown to how you get it home and everything in between. Most can’t shop at organic farmers’ markets but online shopping offers plenty of environmental benefits. Home delivery keeps cars off the road, cutting carbon emissions and cutting petrol costs.
Food waste is less too. Planning meals and sticking to shopping lists is much easier online than at the supermarket. For the less talented in the kitchen, it opens up the possibility of experimenting with meals based on seasonal produce and discounted products thanks to the array of online recipes just a mouse-click away.
Online grocery shopping also allows you to ensure you get the best deals by using price comparison sites like mysupermarket.com and by searching for discounts, such a Tesco voucher codes, for as much as £15 off or free delivery. Beware of carrier bags however – opt out or you will be swamped in plastic.
A cheap, green alternative to supermarkets are fruit and vegetable boxes. With over 600 schemes in operation in the UK, there are many options. Sites like vegbox-recipes.co.uk can help you find something suitable in your local area. Local councils also run schemes, which are often a bit cheaper.
Another core element of green living involves energy consumption. What many people may not realise is that choosing a green energy tariff can often be slightly cheaper than a mainstream tariff. Green Electricity Marketplace is a dedicated green energy switching site that does the hard work in comparing the options while offering specialist insights into how green each tariff really is.
While buying energy efficient appliances is extremely important, you can go even further with some clever gadgets. The EON Powerdown , for example, eliminates standby on TVs, PCs and peripherals. Free for EON customers and some public housing tenants, it’s £15 new but can be found on eBay for as little as £1 plus postage. It might seem trivial but this can cut 8% from the average family bill.
Transport is another significant green issue. Streetcar is perfect for environmentally-minded city dwellers who want the convenience of a car without the hassle of owning one. Book online and then hop into one of the many cars dotted around British cities. It’s cheaper than hiring car as you pay as you go from less than £4 an hour, which includes London’s congestion charge and petrol, and discourages unnecessary driving.
Alternatively, sites like liftshare are very useful at bringing together people to share journeys.
One of the principles of sustainable living is reuse. Sites like Freecycle along with council-organised Give or Take Days are a fantastic way to keep things out of landfill and save money at the same time. Many local councils also have furniture re-use schemes.
Clothes-swapping is also on the rise thanks to the social networking capability of the internet. Events can be organised online through sites such as Twiggy’s Frock Exchange or Swishing, or swaps done entirely online through sites like whatsmineisyours.com.