The kitchen is one of the most used rooms in the house. In ours it is probably the busiest room and I can never seem to get out of there enough!
There’s always cleaning to do, food to cook, lunchboxes to prepare, laundry to tackle, recycling, waste to dispose of and cupboards and draws to sort out.
It’s never ending, especially as a family of four. I expect it’s also the most expensive room in the house!
There’s always something switched on whether it’s the washing machine, kettle, extractor fan or our water distiller. The fridge and freezer are always plugged in zapping energy all day.
In this blog post I am going to share with you how to start saving money in your kitchen whilst being more eco-friendly too. Win-win!
13 eco-friendly ways to save money in the kitchen:
1. Wash by hand
Hubby and I debate this all the time, but I’m certain it’s better to wash by hand. We used to have a slim dishwasher as that's all we could fit in our kitchen and it didn't fit much in at all. We could only fit one family meal’s worth of washing up in at a time and it ran for almost two hours! I can’t see how that is cost saving as it is using electricity for two hours. If I wash the same amount up I will use one or two hot soapy bowls of water and no electricity, perhaps a tiny bit of gas for the hot water, but we get some hot water from our solar panels.
According to this statement I would definitely be saving money by washing up - ‘One cycle in a typical dishwasher costs the same in energy and water as heating between four to six washing-up bowls of water in the kitchen sink’ - Source
I guess it depends on how much you can fit in your dishwasher and how many bowls of washing up you would do, but for us I’m certain it’s cheaper to wash by hand as I never use 4-6 bowls per load. Since we got rid of our dishwasher to make way for a fridge, we now do all our washing up by hand. We use plant based liquid and often pour the used water over our garden plants so it's not wasted.
2. Break dishwasher tablets in half
If you do use the dishwasher then try breaking your tablets in half. Hubby used to always do this and it washes everything just as effectively whilst making our tablets last twice as long. Plus there’s less of the tablet getting washed into the environment each time. We'd also make sure to buy plant based dishwasher tablets to reduce our chemical waste.
3. Use Eco-Eggs
Save time and money on your laundry by using Eco-Eggs. These are egg shaped cases that are filled with pellets made from minerals. Chuck them in with your wash load and you’ll not need to use any detergent. They come in various sizes that can last one year or more before you need to replace the pellets!
The dryer balls have fragrance sticks to make your clothes smell nice, reduce drying time and soften the clothes to stop fabric softener use in the wash. Just replace the fragrance sticks every now and then.
Using both of these will stop you from buying detergent and softener, reduce your drying time which will save on energy costs and it’s much better for the environment.
We've been using them for years and haven't spent money on washing powder or fabric softener for several years now!
4. Use cloths instead of wipes
Cleaning wipes may be convenient, but they are terrible for the environment. If you must buy them then choose eco-friendly options, instead of non-biodegradable versions that are smothered in nasty chemicals.
Try using a plant based kitchen cleaner spray instead with cloths that you can wash and reuse time and time again. Much cheaper than wipes, nontoxic and there’s no waste.
We use bamboo muslin square cloths which I buy in packs of 12 from Amazon. They last for ages and we use them as flannels in the shower, to clean the house, as face wipes with a bit of water and instead of washing up scourers. They last ages and we just wash them again and again!
Instead of constantly buying kitchen spray and surface spray, we use Iron and Velvet dissolvable sachets which are non-toxic and mean we can use the same spray bottle over and over.
5. Make tea with a teapot
Do you always put a teabag in each cup when making tea for everyone?
Invest in a teapot and you’ll be able to use one teabag to make four or five cups of tea! I regularly do this with green tea bags and have even got six good tasting cups of tea from one teapot.
Previously I used a bag per cup so this would have wasted six tea bags! Less waste and more money in your pocket as you need to buy less teabags over time.
6. Cook from scratch
Making homemade meals is much more cost effective than buying expensive readymade meals and it’s healthier. There’s a lot of debate online about which is really cheaper, but I definitely believe cooking from scratch is.
Just take a look at the price of a potato compared to a part baked one in the chiller section. Just bake it yourself and save pennies or even pounds.
Another comparison is to look at the price of a readymade pizza. It’s easy enough to make a thin dough base with water, oil and flour, then top with tomato puree and grated cheese. You’ll have loads of flour left over and tomato puree and cheese… enough to make even more pizzas another day. I’m sure making your own food can be much cheaper, just less convenient.
Plus there’ll be less packaging waste when cooking from scratch and buying cupboard staples in bulk.
7. Meal plan
Meal planning can help to save money by reducing food waste. If you’re buying random items each week not knowing what you’re going to be cooking then there’s a higher chance you’ll waste some.
If you plan your week’s meals in advance then you’ll shop for exactly what you need and use everything.
Be flexible though. If food is turning then use it first instead of wasting it!
8. Never throw away leftovers
If you have left overs then save them to use the next day for another meal. Throwing them into the bin is just throwing money away!
If you have pets then they may appreciate the leftovers and this can reduce how much pet food you need to give them.
Compost peelings and any food that can't be eaten at a later date. This will save you buying compost from the garden centre and make good use of any food waste.
9. Bulk buy
Buying in bulk or larger sizes is a great way to save money. Just check the labels in the supermarkets for the ‘price per’ to see which size offers the best value for money. It can also reduce the packaging waste too. It may be more expensive upfront, but will save money in the long run.
10. Batch cook
Batch cooking is a great way to save time and money! You can buy ingredients in bulk which will save money, you’ll be doing the majority of the chopping/cooking/food processing and so on in one go which will save on energy costs, plus you can divide the food into controlled portion sizes to reduce waste.
It’s also a brilliant way to use up veg that will turn if left for another day or two and so prevents food waste.
11. Freeze browning fruit
Don’t throw away browning fruit, especially bananas. Peel and freeze bananas to use at a later date in a smoothie or dessert. Frozen bananas make the best milkshakes when blended with your favourite milk. We love almond milk for a sweet taste and adding a scoop of raw cacao powder to make it into a healthy chocolate shake!
12. Distil or filter water
We were buying mineral water at first as our tap water tastes so horrid and isn’t very clean at all. I actually measured it with a TDS meter to see how many dissolved substances were in it and it read 200ppm. That’s 200 parts per million. 200 different little things floating in the water that I don’t want to consume regularly!
Plus I was concerned about the amount of plastic waste from the water bottles.
Oh and it was expensive to buy mineral water for our whole family!
So after looking into the water thing more I decided I wanted to distil our water at home and invested in a home distiller for around £150. This means we get pure water to drink and cook with and over time we’ll make our money back compared to buying high quality bottled water.
If you’re regularly buying bottled water then look into buying your own filtration system or a water distiller. It will save so much plastic waste.
13. Change energy supplier
One of the best money saving things we did was to switch energy suppliers, saving ourselves over £250 in a year.
We switched to Bulb who use renewable energy sources. They are much cheaper than the main energy suppliers and greener!
There are so many ways to start saving money in the kitchen and be more environmentally conscious too. Just start looking at where most of your money or energy usage is going and see if you can make a change.
First posted on Tuesday 10th Jul 2018. Updated on Friday 19th June 2020.