It’s official, Ireland’s back in a recession…here are 7 recession busting actions to stay within budget:
You may wonder how to stretch that budget while still living within your means. Resource efficiency is the best way to save money while saving the environment and its valuable natural resources.
The EU Commission has stated that ” ’resource efficiency’… means producing more value using less material and consuming differently. This will limit the risks of scarcity and keep environmental impacts within our planet’s natural limits.”
Currently, we are consuming 1.5 Earths worth of natural resources. This is just not sustainable. We are running out of rare earth elements which are essential for the manufacture of electronic goods such as mobile phones, tablets and laptops. Once we extract and use them without adequate methods to recapture these elements, they are lost in the waste stream.
These are non-renewable resources.
Additionally, we are overusing our renewable resources such as food and water in a way that the whole system is under huge stress.
What does this have to do with stretching our budget?
If we can change our consumer habits, we will find more money in our pockets while protecting valuable resources.
When we repair or reuse what we have or buy something already refurbished, not only do we wisely use extracted natural resources, but we save money at the same time. Here are some handy recession-busting ideas:
1) 1) Use what you buy: We are all guilty of going to the supermarket and buying special deals, overbuying when we are hungry and splashing out on apparently good two-for-one offers. However, often that second item goes unused or goes bad before we have a chance to use it. Before going food shopping, try making a menu, bringing a list and only buying what you will need for the next few days. DON’T FORGET TO EAT YOUR LEFTOVERS or take them to lunch the next day! This will save you money both in the purchase of food and in rubbish bin fees. See www.stopfoodwaste.ie for some helpful hints.
2) Refurbish what you have: Have a tired piece of furniture that you want to throw out before you traipse down to Ikea? Why not paint that table or wardrobe and add some new handles or knobs. Often, those old pieces of furniture are better made than the flat pack ones. Additionally, you can get old furniture at house auctions, www.buyandsell.ie and www.donedeal.ie. You can get an even better deal through www.freetradeireland.ie where you can get all sorts of things for free, from cookers to gardening equipment. You just have to pick the item up.
3 3) If you want to paint your old table, you can purchase inexpensive paint through a paint membership from www.rediscoverycentre.ie where for €30 per annum, you can choose up to 50 litres of reclaimed paint. Paint your house while you’re at it!
4 4) On your bike: Biking around to shops, school and work saves money that would have been spent on petrol, bus/train fares and fitness clubs. Cycling is great exercise and if you don’t have a bicycle, you can find second hand bikes through the above websites, or wander over to Rothar, which recycles and refurbishes unwanted bicycles into custom-made ready to go bikes. They have three shops around the Dublin area in Dun Laoghaire, Fade Street in the city centre and on Phibsborough Road on the northside. Get a coffee while you wait in their café. See www.rothar.ie.
5 5) Car Boot Sales: I have been to many car boots sales this Spring and have seen incredible deals to be had. You can furnish your whole kitchen, library and playroom for a nominal sum if you buy wisely. You can find out where the sales are each weekend by checking out http://collectireland.wordpress.com/car-boot-sales/. Additionally, if you have items clogging up your house, why don’t you pack up your car and try your hand at selling to make a few bob. Whatever you don’t sell can be donated to a charity shop or put on the freetrade Ireland website.
6) Don’t Buy Bottled Water: This is the biggest waste of money and resources. For the most part, Ireland has good drinking water (except when cryptosporidium creeps into the Galway drinking system). What do most people do when they have finished their bottle? Throw it away! Not only are we buying something we get for free out of the tap, but we promote the use of a petro-chemical product which is later (about ½ hour later!) discarded. This is a complete waste. Try investing in a BPA-free water bottle and keep it with you. Most shops or cafes will refill when asked nicely. Ask for tap water when in restaurants…cheaper and easier on the environment.
7 (7) Repair: If you have a broken screen on your i-phone or your hoover is not sucking up the dog hairs, instead of buying new, take these items to be repaired. There are repair shops all around the country. This way, you spend less, provide employment and do your part for resource efficiency. How about trying that repair yourself? Youtube is an incredible source for do-it-yourself instruction videos. The element in my cooker burned out and the manufacturer was going to charge me €75/hour plus parts. I decided to buy the parts myself, looked at Youtube, and with the help of my capable brother-in-law, installed the new element and the cooker is working as good as new. Give it a try, what do you have to lose?
There are hundreds of ideas on how to save money while protecting the Earth’s valuable resources. I have mentioned but a few. Anyone want to add to the discussion?
Photos from www.flickr.com (Cautionboy69, Something to See, Mark Russell 123)