Can Yorkshire families save money whilst being on a budget and being eco-friendly?! Yes they can! And here’s how….
With the weather giving us a glowing staycation vibe, as we make the most of the outdoors, itâ€™s easy to forget our carbon footprint in favour of focusing on some much-needed freedom from restrictions. At times I have felt like a rebellious child as I roam free and explore my area with new founded appreciationâ€¦ thatâ€™s until my moment of peace is cut through with the familiar jingle of the ice cream van and the following cry â€œma-ma!.â€
Suddenly, the cost-cutting picnic and snacks I had planned on at least attempting to allure the kids to consume, instead of spending the usual extortionate amount on days-out snacks, look even less appealing to my daughters practically salivating at the thought of a sherbet dipped mr Whippyâ€¦ there is now no such thing as a â€˜99â€™ ice cream which actually costs that (donâ€™t get me started on penny pic n mixes!).
But as the summer holidays draw to a close, a lot of families will be facing the debt and financial burden of caring and entertaining loved ones. Not to mention the spiralling debt of lockdown and many families living in fear and some in denial as debt collectors were temporarily halted from knocking at peopleâ€™s doors.
But as the ice-creams melt away, now we turn to forking out on school uniform or budgeting for home school activities.
Yet as a money-saving mama who desires to be ethicalâ€¦ How do we save money and be eco-friendly?
â€œWhen youâ€™re in survival mode itâ€™s hard to think about cutting 50p of your bills,â€ explains debt advisor and my church friend Sarah Cutts.
I nod my head like a Churchill dog as I was brought up in an impoverished community of people with incredible intentions but with benefits cuts, mental health problems rife amongst people facing debt as well as disability and unemployment issues faced by many ex-mining communities such as mine.
I know how saving the odd pence and being eco-conscious can be a headache one too many when facing life changing issues however .
So the right support is key, whether it be via Citizens Advice Bureau, Debt Line or grassroots focused charities such as Homestart and Christianâ€™s Against Poverty, who Sarah works for.
When we are in a position to, here is my simple practical and accessible guide to cost-cutting and being as eco-friendly as possible:
- The three main principles are reduce, reuse and recycle. So reduce what we consume from food to electricity, reuse rather than replace with new and where possible recycle.
- Food waste is one of the main factors in causing climate change. But you can save money and prevent some of our carbon print by buying a food box and other surplus foods from surplus food enterprises such as The Real Junk Food Project, based here in Yorkshire. TRJFP pops up every week at a variety of locations such as The Ridings Shopping Centre near me. Their main â€˜storehouseâ€™ is in Leeds. You can order a box in advance or pick up the odd bargain on the day. You can book via the Too Good to Go app, on which you may even find a surplus bargain from a range of places and locations.
- Clothes Exchanges: If youâ€™re looking to swap a like for like pre-loved item of clothing â€“ book on to a local clothes exchange or check out facebook groups for clobber swaps and exchanges. Debt advisor Sarah runs our local one and there are ones for good quality toys and possessions too. That way youâ€™re exchanging something quickly with a like for like outfit without spending money on fast fashion.
- Community allotments: Learn to grow your own herbs and vegetables or even acquire your own urban green space. These are the perfect hybrid for those who want fresh herbs and vegetable but may not have a garden or knowledge to do so. Incredible Edible, your local council or charity may have shared spaces you can use or learn for free.
- Libraries, book clubs and free libraries: Now things are opening back up donâ€™t miss out on the free fun you can have at a library or by borrowing a book to escape into.
- Toy, Baby, Breastfeeding and there are even Tool Banks.
- Rather than buy endless new toys and plastic tat kids get bored of and thatâ€™s not to mention the harmful impact on the environment. Or if youâ€™re struggling to buy equipment from breast pumps to cribs. Search for a local toy or baby bank. Such â€˜banksâ€™ which work like community libraries, except you borrow items for free instead of books, such as DIY tools, not only save money but it means motivation to finish a household job by a certain return date! Also, ask in community groups if there are no â€˜officialâ€™ banks near you. Most of us are willing to share and lend to neighbours. I made the most of West Yorkshire Sling Library when carrying a newborn and FAB charity for breastfeeding essentials. I am yet to use a tool bank like my step dad used to run, instead I use the power of persuasion to get a relative with the right tools to do a job for me.
- Charity Shop Finds: From eco-fashion hauls for shopaholics like me: I regularly share my #charityshopfinds on Instagram where I go on shopping hauls if Iâ€™m in need of a new outfit or even furniture. I happily browse Charity shops, car boot sales and markets for second-hand items. Better still, you can donate any items back once you have done with them or swap with a friend, upcycle or recycle. I tend to save time and I am realistic by buying already upcycled furniture from Wakefield Hospice.
- Markets: Sadly the number of markets have been in decline but where you can, shop local and grab bargains at the end of the day from independent traders as well as supermarkets.
- Free (ish) days out on public transport or by foot where possible: There are so many free days out which you can discover via local groups and websites. Not to mention if youâ€™ve time to pre plan â€“ you may also be able to hop on a bus or explore on foot.
Being environmentally friendly and eco-conscious can save time and money, not to mention help to protect our planet as much as possible from climate change. But there are a range of accessibility issues such as transport, knowledge, time, and disability to name but a few, which is why I founded yorkshirefamilies.co.uk to help find solutions as a whole Yorkshire family built on an array of communities.
All we can do is our best each day to make small changes from turning off the lights to recycling paper and eating less meat.
So whether youâ€™re grocery shopping, youâ€™re selecting an outfit for a long-awaited night out or you want to save some cashâ€¦ Protecting the planet and your purse neednâ€™t come at a cost.
Being environmentally friendly and eco-conscious can save time and money, not to mention help to protect our planet as much as possible from climate change.