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October, 07, 2013

10 Tips to Save the Planet and Your Bank Account


Name: Martha Stokes
Member of: Student Panellist
Joined: Dec 2012
Martha's Full Profile

It’s an issue that faces students every day – you want to save the world without spending all your measly student loan. Well have no fear: now you can walk past the fair-trade stall straight to the supermarket’s own brand without feeling guilty. Here are ten cost effective tips to help you be more eco-friendly:


Photo by Health Gauge

1)      Walk or cycle to university – It’s healthier. It’s better for the environment. It’s cheaper than the bus. With zero carbon emissions and a guilt-free alternative to joining a gym, you have no excuse not to.

2)      Recycle – If there aren’t already recycling facilities in your house or halls then make some. Everyone has leftover boxes from moving in, and if not local shops will have more than enough spare for you and your friends to take home. Put them in a shared kitchen and soon everyone will be recycling. A nifty, cost-free way to save the planet.


Photo by epSos .de

3)      Use a whiteboard and pen – A small investment that will save paper and your pocket. White-boards are re-usable unlike all those ‘to-do’ post-it notes plastering your bedroom walls thus saving your paper and money.

4)      Buy second hand goods – Buying second hand goods is a great way to significantly reduce your spending. Second hand shops have everything from your recommended French Dictionary to that D&G bag, all at a fraction of the price. Even better, locally donated goods have very low transportation costs, which is good news for your carbon footprint.   As well as re-using an item that might otherwise have gone to waste, you know that your money is going to a good cause.

5)      Buy locally sourced produce – Shopping at the local greengrocers, farmer’s market and butchers is a sure way to cut down your carbon footprint by getting rid of those air miles. As well as supporting your local community, the produce will be cheaper, fresher and tastier. Bargain.

6)      Replace meat with vegetable dishes – An old student trick to cut down on spendings, but one that is good for you and the planet too. The production of meats such as lamb and pork emits 13 times more carbon emissions than is emitted by growing fruit and vegetables. Replacing meat dishes with vegetable dishes can be better for your health, cost less and reduce your carbon footprint.

7)      Pair up for washing laundry –Washing machines use between 10-24 gallons per wash. More often than not, washing machines are only partially filled before being switched on, wasting water and electricity. Solution? Pair up for laundry. Doubling up with a friend to share the chore will half the amount of washing you do and save you time, water and money. You can save even more by turning down the temperature of your wash. This uses less electricity and makes your clothes last longer.

8)      Tinker with that toilet – This takes 20 minutes and saves the average person 2 gallons per flush, or 750 gallons of water per year. Wash out a two litre milk bottle and remove the label. Fill with water, several stones to weight it down and add a few drops of bleach. Screw the lid on and place the bottle in the cistern away from the flushing mechanism.  Check occasionally to assure the bottle has not shifted.


Photo by Elvert Barnes

9)      Unplug that charger! – Mobile phones take on average only two hours to charge yet thousands of Britons are guilty of leaving their phone on charge overnight. Overcharged mobile phones – a problem that comes second only to overcharged laptops. Together, mobile phones and laptops contribute to 83% total overcharged electrical devices. This wastes British households a staggering £134 million pounds per year and the problem is increasing.

10)   Join a committee – Find a charity or not-for-profit society and JOIN IT. Not only will it look great on your CV, especially if you stick at it long enough to become a committee member, societies are great places to meet new, like-minded people. And often there are pub nights out.



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  1. Alizee Bollen

    Unplug the Charger, brilliant idea, I have left my phone in all night many times ans it didn’t even need to be. Off to save so money!

  2. Deepa Dodia

    Better yet, use the toilets at uni!

  3. rennia richards

    this is some great ideas and advice. I will be using them

  4. danielle barker

    some of these ideas here are gonna be good for subtle money saves thanks

  5. Poppy Damazer

    Some great tips here, most of which I already follow. I know the phone thing is quite shocking, but common sense dictates once something electrical has finished charging keeping it plugged in is going to waste electricity and your money! One key money saving tip I think has been missed is to fix what is broken. If your jeans have a tear don’t throw them out patch them up and you’ve not only saved yourself some cash you have a unique new look all to yourself. I myself love bags, but when I was looking for a new one recently couldn’t find one right for me so got out the sewing machine and adapted an old one at the back of the wardrobe I hadn’t seen for years and now it’s my favorite, I’m not seen without it!

  6. Kristie Wilson

    These are great tips! I don’t spend much on clothes and food anyway and I’m literally so scared about how much money I need to live at the end of this year when I go off to Uni!! … £4+ for chicken eeeekk, Quorn for me!

  7. Vikki Greenlow

    Good tips, will be putting a few of these to good use!

  8. Weronika Harrison

    Helpful tips! Looking forward to university this year… but dreading it financially haha

  9. april leafe

    nice one

  10. Ibrahim Younis

    I will be going to university this year and these tips are gonna be so helpful!

  11. Naomi Carter

    I love the Whiteboard idea, I’ll definitely have to try that!

  12. Harriet Lucas


  13. Sahil Bagga

    cool ideas

  14. Arielle Valuckas

    Had no idea about the cell phone, thanks!

  15. Aanisah Zaman

    Great tips!

  16. Stacey Samson

    Great tips! X

  17. Ade Banjoko

    Cool Article!

  18. Chloe Gill

    I’m going to university this year and this article is full of such good ideas and I will take them on board for cheaper living!

  19. Tammy McCrum

    White board is such a brill idea, will be investing in one :)

  20. sergio nunez

    Great ideas , I’m going to give it a go

  21. Ella Dee Fusco-Fagg

    Good tips! I didn’t think of using a whiteboard, thank you.

  22. Mark Globe

    Thanks for such an insightful article.

  23. Claire Friar

    I’m always looking for new ways to save and this was really helpful

  24. Samantha Casey

    apart from 1 & 5, already do all this and still need to save more money! 1 is not possible as I could not get 2 children to school and to college on time if I was reliant on public transport or walking. 5, I have tried but local farm shops may have better quality food and reduce carbon footprint, but my experience is that they are more expensive than larger food chains.

  25. Lauren Hughes

    The toilet one really did make me laugh. However simple things such as walking and recycling make such a difference. I was shocked about the phone charge thing too!

  26. Megan Ross

    Some very good tips – I especially like the whiteboard idea and joining a charity! :-)

  27. Arran Stewart

    Good Ideas, will consider it next time.

  28. Fatima Din

    Some great tips :)

  29. ANIEKA

    These are some great tips

  30. jade watson

    This is very good to know, sometimes I find myself a little short of cash! this makes me walk to work and stuff which helps keep me fit haha.. I have started to recycle aswell. Hopefully by September I can follow all these tips!

  31. Hannah Hillstead

    These are very good ideas that have been put forward, however I don’t feel that a number of them are possible at all for a lot of people. For example, walking or cycling to university. If a student lives a long distance from university this idea is not available, therefore the only other options are costly i.e public transport or having your own car.

  32. Amy Burton

    I’ve been a vegetarian since I was 4, I ate meat for a year but it was damaging my body so I’ve gone back to being an veggie again and just have vitamin tablets

  33. Tomas vaickus


  34. Brindley Jones

    Becoming a vegetarian won’t necessarily make you more healthy. It can be very hard and expensive to get some nutrients without eating meat.

  35. Andre F Sousa

    I do some of that. I’m guilty of not unplugging my charger though…
    And the charity or non profit society… good tip!

  36. Sophie Duong


  37. Nicole Bateman

    Good tips – which I already do and it does save money :)

  38. Rebecca Rees

    Especially with Christmas coming, I have found making my own hampers such as buying a mug and filling it with little bits cheaper than buying a pre-made one and instead of wrapping it up, I’ve shoved it in a bag :)

    • Martha Stokes

      Great tip, Rebecca!

  39. Bilal Qureshi


  40. Mateusz Przeciszowski

    didnt know that thing about charger :)

  41. Martha Stokes

    No worries, thanks for reading!

  42. Gail Wilson

    Great advice here (especially ‘Join a Committee’). Did not know that about overnight mobile phone charging and I do it all the time – but no more. x

  43. Alina Timofte

    I didn’t know about the phone chargers neither! Thank you for the tips

  44. Jo

    Some really great tips here – I had no idea about how bad phone chargers were!