Lifestyle

I've saved £21k by going green – here’s how I did it

A THRIFTY mum has revealed how she has saved a whopping £21,000 in just three years by going green.

Sian Young, 47, says simple swaps have helped her save – and shared her tips for how anyone else can give it a go too.

She has implemented a series of sustainable living hacks which she says have helped her to save the impressive sum.

This includes upcycling items they find secondhand and even having a DIY wedding at home.

Sian, who lives with her husband James and their two-year-old daughter Analicia in West Sussex, says green living hacks have helped her save the impressive sum.

“I was always buying cheap because I had no money and I thought buying cheap would stretch what little money I had,” she said.

"But the things I bought would be so out of shape on the first or second wash, or broken if they were toys.”

The mum of three started researching ways of living more sustainably, and when she s tarted to follow the practices that were suggested, was surprised at the results.

Sian, who is the boss of the Centre for Sustainable Action, said: “When I started buying with more thought to my environmental cost, it made me really look at why I wanted to buy what I was buying and also lots of relatively cost-free alternatives.

“The healthier and happier I got and the more money I saved, the more enthused I became about living sustainably.

“It didn’t just start with money – it all started with a desire to have less chemicals affecting our health and planet – but the more I learned, the more I noticed how much money it was saving us.

“Our health kept getting better too, and we got slimmer and more vibrant.

“We have turned the financial savings into income too by using it to invest in our business.”

Instead of buying new, they have bought secondhand from online market places and upcycled furniture.

Over the past three years that includes TV cabinets, coffee tables, dining table sets and other assorted furniture

The couple spent only £2,500 on their wedding, including making decorations themselves – far cheaper than the average £12,000 cost of a ceremony.

Sian estimates the family have saved £21,000 in total since cutting back on costs three years ago. 

The savvy mum has shared her top sustainable living tips that could help you save too.

Go back to basics

"I decided I could not risk having poisonous chemicals in my home so I started to make my own cleaners and they have been highly effective and so incredibly cheap to make," says Sian.

"We are talking back to basics with bicarbonate soda and essential oils with good old boiled water.

"When I was broke, I started with water, bicarb, lemon and tea tree oil.

"This would last ages and allow me to make as and when I needed it – this also stopped me from going to the shops, often saving me money.

"We use cloth nappies for our baby and this saves over £1,475 per year."

"If you started using reusable nappies you would reduce your personal environmental footprint by 25%.

"I also use sustainable sanitary wear, saving me £87 per year and dramatically reducing my impact on the environment."

Get crafty

"We have upcycled or found most of our furniture for free,’ she says. "For the screen we used on our wedding day, I found it online for £10.

"I stripped the old stale paper that was there, cleaned it, painted it with chalk paint, and three layers later I used a furniture wax to give it a protective coat. 

‘I bought some linen cuts from another online marketplace for £3 and staple-gunned it across each screen section.

"There you have it – a new screen that would have cost me hundreds cost me £30 all in.

"I love the creativity of upcycling and the fact you can get something that someone else no longer wants a makeover and it looks amazing."

Buy second hand 

"I am upgrading by having a stylist use my old clothes and material I have around my house to redesign a custom-made wardrobe,’ she explains.

"I’m happy [buying my clothes from charity shops] because I know this is me doing my bit to solve the water shortage issues we have and the pollution issues.

"If you do buy new then make sure you put money aside and buy a quality item that is sustainably sourced that will last you years."

Plan ahead

"I eat locally sourced organic veg boxes which are delivered to my door each week and for only £12.50 a family of three can have main meals and some lunches for the week," she says.

"I also order organic meat once per month and spread it out. It saves me money on impulse shopping and buying food that goes to waste – the UK throws away around 9.5 million tonnes so this is also a good thing.

Change your mindset

"The decision to spend money first starts in your mind, we buy stuff for two main reasons: we think we need it, or we think we ‘should’ get it,’" she says.

"[We have to] question where this need comes from – did you just pass an advert or see something on social media that placed the thought in your mind?"

"Never buy something because you think it will impress someone else. When you are happy, you just don’t need to buy senseless purchases – and often ones that you can’t afford.

"You reflect on the outside what is going on inside, and when your mind isn’t happy you tend to buy things which you perceive will make you happy."

"Living sustainably is our way of life," she adds.

 

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