Times of late are harder, and there is a groundswell embracing thrift as never before. ‘Make do and mend’ was the way our parents were brought up; with collars being turned, clothes and shoes being mended, toys doing the rounds of the extended family, but who darns a sock these days? When they can be bought for peanuts, imported from Bangladesh, no one is going to waste time darning.
There isn’t a need to completely revert to our grandparents era and habits, but we would do well to adopt a few of their practices. My grandmother had salted away a small fortune – enough to buy a house in some parts of the country – saved just from her housekeeping money each month during her marriage. She and my grandfather never wasted a thing.
Waste of food, money, energy and resources is all too common these days. Food waste has fallen – FALLEN! – to just over 7 million tonnes, a value of over £12 billion per year. We leave lights on, appliances on standby, the average number of chargers for phones, mp3s and laptops etc in each house must be into double figures. We could certainly manage some small changes to save our own money and energy into the bargain.
If there is time to shop around, then often local shops are cheaper for individual items than supermarkets with their misleading special offers. This is not an option for many full-time workers, so plan your shop – make a list and stick to it.
Using leftovers has become more fashionable, and meal planning for a week in advance will help a family cut down on supermarket spend. Use the same ingredients in a couple of meals, rather than throwing out half tubs of yoghurt or cream – even the hard bits of cheese can be put into savory puddings or used in omelets.
Some waste can be used as domestic compost for the garden and, on a much larger scale, by using an anaerobic digester, one council has plans to turn waste food into fertiliser and electricity, but the bottom line is to not buy what you don’t need.
Gas and electricity prices almost never go down and last winter’s freeze hit everyone hard. It’s easy to stay with the same old suppliers but making a small effort to change to green energy can have a great impact on the environment and it also feels good to know that you’re doing your bit to make the world a better place! There loads of renewable energy companies in the UK!
As well as changing to a greener supplier, you could also think about boiling the kettle with only as much water as you need, switching to low energy light bulbs, turning off lights when not using the room, and the thermostat down a degree or two. Televisions and the paraphernalia of digi-boxes, DVD players and surround-sound system need not be left on standby all day and night.