I've just sat down and done our household finances (as I do every month) and it got me thinking. Money is a huge factor in the choices people make and people are feeling the pinch more than ever. I always assumed we couldn't afford to buy eco-friendly products because we were on such a tight budget. Our foray into sustainability was coupled with 2 new babies in just over a year, dropping to part-time work and a redundancy, oh and house move to top it all off! So what do we do to balance saving money with saving the planet? My 3 Rs around this are Rethink, Refuse, Reuse. This comes with a bit of hesitation but I'm going to say it. There are tons of eco-choices out there, but I will admit to rolling my eyes or biting my tongue when I see people buying LOTS of eco products (lots of cloth nappies and CSP, tons of secondhand clothes and toys, the latest gadgets and beauty products and ♻️#reducereuserecycle) and this is what makes people (like me) think eco-living is expensive and for middle class people. That's just not true. Even if you LIKE it but don't need it, why not consider reusing something you already have first. We don't live like paupers, but in my experience the best way to be sustainable is just to buy what you actually need and save as much resource as you can.
We cloth bum full-time (and 2 overnight) with around 20 nappies and wipes and 3 wetbags. Our stash cost less than £100. I have 5 CSP and 3 pairs of period pants. This cost me less than £40. We switched to natural cleaning products that cost a fraction of shop bought cleaners and it's fine, and we actually used to HAVE a cleaner (different lifetime 😂). This costs us less than £20 a month.
For laundry we have an Ecoegg Laundry Egg which we refill and we use Bio-D Non Bio powder. We try to limit to 3 or 4 washes a week too, so this is much more economical. Total cost is around a fiver per month.
We always think secondhand first; almost everything of the kids' is preloved, our 'new stuff' is stuff we bought 10 years ago (that I pretend I'll slim into) and the odd pair of pants or socks, but we still limit how much preloved we buy so we don't take it from other people who might actually need it. At home, we use as little water and energy as possible. All devices on eco-mode and saving as much money and resource as possible. Our bills are below the 'low' usage. Meal planning is one of my favourite topics (as you will know if you've followed us for a while) but coupled with reduced/free foods/foraging/batch cooking and freezing as much as possible, you will save a fortune and also reduce food waste. Fun is free: we go on lots of days out (especially pre-Covid) but they'd often involve a beach/woods/museum/library/park and a picnic. Homemade fun is puppet shows, games, crafts, sensory play or cooking. I've said it before and I'll say it again... The most sustainable items are the ones you already have (and they don't cost you a penny!). 21st Century 'one click' culture means we want everything now, why not wait, come back in a week and see if you actually do still want it? My guess is maybe not. Yes we're running a business. I should be saying buy buy buy, but it doesn't sit comfortably with me. Balance spending a little more on amazing eco-friendly products you need with not buying all the other stuff and you'll save a fortune and still help the planet.