Many of us feel we haven't got the money or time to be as green as we could be. That's why we've come up with Budget Busters, to show you that helping the environment by following simple, no-cost steps, can actually save you money!
We've pulled together 6 green initiatives that can help you cut your household bills by as much as £1000 a year!
Use our Budget Busters calculator below to work out how much you could save. Simply fill in your 'target' boxes with what you feel you can realistically achieve, and then scroll to the bottom of the calculator to find out how much you could save, in total, over a year. Click the green links to read more about each section, including our top tips.
Top tips and savings
Here's some information on each of the initiatives:
1. Your laundry – wash low, spin fast, tumble less
You can save up to £38 a year, that's around 40% of your laundry energy bill, by following these simple steps:
- Wash at 30°C wherever possible – always check your clothing care labels first
- Set your washing machine to a high spin setting (1200 rpm or over)... this will reduce the time needed for your clothes to dry
- Try tumble drying 50% less, maybe only in the coldest 6 months of the year, and air drying indoors and out when possible
For further ideas on how to save money and do your bit for the environment go to www.together.com
2. Love Food, Hate Waste - Reduce the amount of food you throw away
Did you know we throw away a third of all the food we buy? Imagine buying six bags of shopping in the supermarket then chucking two of them in the bin! This adds up to £600 every year for the average family in the UK.
According to the Love Food Hate Waste campaign, aiming to reduce food waste by 40%, can save about £20 per month for the average family – here are some tips:
Click here for additional practical advice and play our Love Food Hate Waste game
- Plan meals in advance, check what's already in the fridge and cupboards before you shop and stick to a list – that way you only buy what you mean to.
- Keep an eye on 'use by' dates so that you eat the food which needs eating first – remember many foods can be frozen to keep them longer.
- Be store cupboard savvy – the M&S “Ingredients” range is perfect for helping to make great meals out of leftovers
- Fruit and vegetables keep much longer in the fridge (except bananas!)
Did you know 10,000 items are sent to landfill every 5 minutes in the UK?
We think that old clothes shouldn't just be thrown out, they should have a future.
We're working with Oxfam to resell, reuse or recycle your unwanted clothes and support people living in poverty
- Next time you pop in store to buy something new, drop an old item of clothing into a Shwop Drop. It's called Shwopping.
- Click here to find out more about Shwopping
- M&S customers who have taken part in the Shwopping have saved around 5,500 tonnes of clothing from going to landfill and helped to raise over £8 million for Oxfam!
4. Switch to M&S Energy
- Sign up to M&S Energy for electricity and gas, and you'll get £20 worth of M&S vouchers, just for joining! (or £10 M&S voucher for electricity only customers)
- Sign up to paperless billing and you'll get another £10 M&S voucher (or £5 M&S voucher for electricity only customers)
- Stay with M&S Energy for a year, and we'll give you a further £10 M&S voucher (or £5 M&S voucher for electricity only customers)
- Cut down your energy usage by turning appliances off standby, using energy-saving light bulbs and energy-efficient appliances (all M&S appliances are EU A rated or above)
- When you cut your household energy use by 10%, we'll give you a £30 M&S voucher (or £15 M&S voucher for electricity only customers who reduce their electricity consumption by 10%)
- A typical M&S gas and electricity customer who cuts their energy use by 10% over the year stands to reduce annual energy bills by around £127.†
- For tailored advice on which home improvements can save you money and carbon, please visit the M&S Energy website and fill in our energy efficiency survey
5. Save energy around the home
- Only fill the kettle with as much water as you need
- Turn the lights off when you leave a room
- Turn down your thermostat by 1 degree
- Following these steps could help you save around £70 a year
- Log on to www.energysavingtrust.org.uk for more great ways to save energy around the house
6. Energy efficient driving practice
According to the Energy Saving Trust, a commuter doing 12,000 miles a year can save around £200- £250 using more fuel efficient driving practices. You could make similar savings by following these top tips:
- Check your revs - change up before 2,500rpm (petrol) and 2,000rpm (diesel).
- Anticipate road conditions and drive smoothly, avoiding sharp acceleration and heavy braking. This saves fuel and reduces accident rates.
- Use air conditioning sparingly as it significantly increases fuel consumption.
- The most efficient speed depends upon the car in question but is typically around 45 - 50mph. Faster speeds will greatly increase your fuel consumption.
- Drive away immediately when starting from cold - idling to heat the engine wastes fuel and causes rapid engine wear.
- Accessories such as roof racks, bike carriers, and roof boxes significantly affect your car's aerodynamics and reduce fuel efficiency, so remember to remove them when not in use.
- Avoid short journeys - a cold engine uses almost twice as much fuel and catalytic converters can take five miles to become effective.
- Plan your journeys to avoid congestion, road works and getting lost(!)
- Check your tyre pressure regularly - under-inflated tyres are dangerous and can increase fuel consumption by up to 3%.
- If you're stuck in a jam, switch the engine off if you expect to be there for more than a minute or two. Cutting the engine will save fuel and reduce emissions.
For further energy saving advice contact the Energy Saving Trust visit www.energysavingtrust.co.uk
All savings shown are monetary savings except those marked ^, which are in the form of M&S vouchers
Laundry savings are based on the average number of wash and tumble dry cycles in a UK household. Figures have been provided by the Energy Saving Trust
The Love Food Hate Waste figures are from research carried out by WRAP (Waste & Resources Action Programme) based on a UK family household with children.
Saving of £120 for a 10% reduction are based on gas and electricity costs for the average UK household. For M&S electricity only customers, we have assumed that they will save 10% of their total household gas and electricity bills. However to receive the £5 reward, customers will only need to reduce their M&S electricity bill by 10%. Fuel figures provided by Scottish and Southern and all energy savings verified by the Energy Saving Trust. †Based on the bill for an M&S Energy dual fuel No Standing Charge customer averaged across Britain with annual mains gas usage of 16,500kWh and annual Standard Rate electricity usage of 3,300kWh, who pays monthly by Direct Debit.
The Other Household Energy Savings are based on figures from the Energy Saving Trust.
The Good Driving Practice Savings are based on a commuter driving 12,000 miles a year. Figures provided by the Energy Saving Trust.