Could you save money being more sustainable?

Try our tips that could help you save money and live more sustainably

Live a more sustainable life and you could also save money, spend less and cut back on energy use. We’ve put together a list of ways that you could consider to help your money go greener; for some of the content, we’ve taken guidance from Energy Saving Trust.

  • Small budget tips

    Take simple steps to save energy at home

    Challenge yourself to a month of chipping away at your daily energy usage. That could mean swapping old lightbulbs for energy-efficient ones, switching electronics off at the plug or trying to use the tumble dryer less. If you’ve got a smart meter, you’ll be able to see if you’re saving money – it could be a great incentive.

    Dial down your temperatures

    Would you notice if your thermostat was one degree cooler? Or if your washing machine was set to 30ºC, instead of 40ºC? According to Energy Saving Trust, your room thermostat should be set to the lowest comfortable temperature, which for many is between 18ºC and 21ºC.  And doing laundry at 30ºC (instead of higher temperatures) could save you £14 a year from your energy bill and reduce your washing machine use by around one run weekly for a year. 

    Get help to make your home greener

    If you’re a homeowner and claim certain benefits, you might be able to get help from any gas or electricity company for energy-saving improvements. That could mean cavity wall or loft insulation, or a new or repaired boiler – all of which could help you save energy and money. Have a look at the Government website to see if it’s an option for you.


    Watch your water usage

    It’s easy to forget that using hot water contributes to your energy bills. It’s estimated that about 12% of the average household’s gas bill comes from heating water for showers, baths and washing dishes. Water-efficient shower heads, shorter showers and hot tap aerator devices can all help save money on your hot water bill. If you’re on a water meter, even the simple step of being more frugal with cold water could help you save money too. Watering plants, washing the car or even just brushing your teeth – when you take care with how much water you’re using, you could help to reduce your bills.

    Find ways to cut your food waste

    With a bit of careful planning – and creative thinking – you could cut down on food waste at home. Weekly meal planning is a great place to start, as you can use up what’s already in the cupboard or find innovative ways to make ingredients work for several meals. For using up leftovers, Love Food Hate Waste has lots of good ideas. You could also try meal prepping, which is when you cook a large batch of food, then split it into servings, ready to freeze and reheat in the microwave later. This could help you save money and energy too, because the cost per use of a microwave tends to be lower than some other cooking appliances.

    Sign up to local sharing apps

    Thanks to the growth of new apps, there are lots of ways to help you reduce food waste, save items from landfill and borrow rather than buying. Olio lets you share and swap unneeded food with your neighbours, Fat Llama gives you access to all sorts of tools and equipment and Freecycle is great for free furniture and household goods. All of these services are local so you shouldn’t need to travel far.

    Try being a more energy-efficient driver

    You could save fuel and money by getting into good driving habits. Smooth accelerating and braking could help you use less energy, and your miles per gallon (or miles per kWh) counter can give you a great steer on how efficiently you’re driving. Even keeping your tyres pumped up could help you save energy. Keen for more tips? Check out Energy Saving Trust’s guide to lower emission driving.

    Shop small, without the plastic packaging

    If you’re lucky enough to live near a good butcher or greengrocer, you may be able to buy exactly what you need, so could reduce waste food or packaging. Plus, you’ll support your local economy and may not need to drive there. You can also try weigh shops, where you bring your own containers and fill them with items such as pasta, pulses and home cleaning products. Try typing ‘weigh shop near me’ into a web browser to see if there’s a convenient one near you.

  • Medium budget tips

    Defeat those draughts

    If you live in an older house, you may well be used to chilly draughts. But if you can find them and block them, you may be able to use less  heating, which could save both money and energy. Thicker curtains, rugs and draught excluders could all make a difference. You can DIY it or use a professional – to help, Energy Saving Trust offers plenty of guidance. You can also ask your energy company if they can lend you a thermal camera to suss out cold spots. For example, Octopus has regularly run a free scheme each winter to help its customers.

    Fix up, save smart

    Instead of buying new, could you fix, refurb or refashion what you already own? Maybe you’ve got a much-loved party dress or wedding suit that no longer fits – you’d be surprised at what a skilled tailor can do, possibly for less than the cost of buying a new one. Or perhaps you have an old bike in the garage that simply needs a safety check and a spruce-up at the local bike shop. If you’re happy to have a go yourself, check out iFixit. You’ll find free repair manuals for a huge range of items, from games consoles to garden hoses and cameras to cars and trucks.

    Ready to spend? Check in with your sensible side first

    If you’re often tempted to splash your cash on new clothes, tech or other treats, taking a more mindful approach could help you save money – and consume less. It’s simple, but try asking yourself a few questions before you hit ‘buy’: “Do I really need this? Have I got something similar already? Will I still love and use it in a few years?” It’s all about working out your wants vs your needs – and often enough, you may find you can get by just fine with what you already have. That could help you put the brakes on your spending – which could be a win for your wallet, and you could reduce waste.

    Choose refurbs and trade-ins for big-ticket items

    Some big-name brands offer refurbished products that are usually customer returns which have been repaired. These are often discounted, compared to buying new. And if you need a new phone or tablet, look out for trade-in offers – you could save a bit of money, plus your old device could end up being recycled.

    Consider clever cooking tech

    Love cooking? Unfortunately, using your hobs or oven for hours can burn through a lot of energy – and bump up your bills too. Luckily, clever kitchen tech could help. According to Energy Saving Trust, if you already have an air fryer, they are great for cooking meals for one or two people, and their smaller size means they often use less energy than a traditional oven for the same meal. You might also be able to save money and energy by changing the way you cook. For example, you could batch-cook in the oven, then use the microwave to reheat portions when you need them. And when you’re using the hob, covering your pans with lids can help keep heat in and prevent wasted energy.

    Stock up and save money (and packaging)

    Got a cash ’n’ carry near you? If you’ve got cupboard space to spare, you could stock up on bigger packs of all your non-perishable essentials – which could mean you save money, use less packaging and make fewer trips to the supermarket. You can also try so-called ‘weigh’ shops, where you bring your own containers and fill them with items such as pasta, pulses and home cleaning products. Try typing ‘weigh shop near me’ into a web browser to see if there’s a convenient one near you.

    Cultivate new culinary (and kitchen) habits

    If you’ve got a bit of free time, a garden (it doesn’t have to be big) or an allotment and love food, you could have a go at changing your shopping and cooking habits. That could mean using up every scrap of leftovers, growing your own veg, eating more vegetables and pulses and getting to grips with nose-to-tail cooking (which means using every cut available). You could be making a big effort to fight food waste – and potentially cut your grocery bills. And to help cut waste, food app Olio lets you share and swap unneeded food with your neighbours.

    Revamp your routine with reusables

    Wage war on single-use items – and swap them for more eco-friendly reusables. In the kitchen, you could opt for reusable sponges, containers and shopping bags. As for beauty, you could consider banishing face wipes for washable cloths and even switch up your single cotton buds for eco-friendly alternatives. With research and time, you could find a reusable option to suit you for many household items. You may find you face having to pay a bit more initially, but you could end up saving money in the long run.

  • Big budget tips

    Consider a home that qualifies for a 'green mortgage’

    If you’re looking to buy a more energy-efficient home, green mortgages could offer you lower interest rates or cashback. Typically, that means you’ll move into a property with an EPC rating of A or B.

    Get solar panels and sell back to the grid

    As a homeowner, you could weigh up the costs and savings of putting solar panels on your roof. In some instances, you could also look to sell some of your energy back to the grid for money through a Smart Export Guarantee tariff. To help you see how it works, try this calculator from Energy Saving Trust. If you’ve got a residential mortgage with us, see if you’re eligible to save £1,000 with our Greener Home Reward too. T&Cs apply.

    Invest in insulation

    Better insulation could help you enjoy a warmer, cosier home and possibly lower bills. Insulating your walls, roof and floors can all help reduce heat loss, so you shouldn’t need to use as much energy for heating. Costs will vary depending on the type of insulation you use. But don’t forget that thicker curtains, rugs and draught excluders can help too – and may not cost nearly as much. If you’ve got a residential mortgage with us, see if you’re eligible to save between £500 and £1,000 with our Greener Home Reward too. T&Cs apply [PDF, 96.7KB].

    How about a heat pump or a new boiler?

    Could an energy-efficient heat pump be right for you?  There’s financial support available that could help you with the initial cost in the shape of Government grants, and if you’ve got a residential mortgage with us, why not see if you’re eligible to save £2,000 with our Greener Home Reward? T&Cs apply [PDF, 96.7KB]. Alternatively, upgrading a boiler installed over 10 years ago to a new boiler could help you reduce your energy use.

    Plan for the future, with sustainable investing

    There’s more to good financial habits than everyday saving. It makes sound financial sense to think about the long term, as well as this month’s budget. If you’re able to set aside some money, why not consider investing in a sustainable fund? They aim to protect and grow your money, while having a positive social or environmental influence at the same time. You can read a beginner’s guide to investing here.

All information and estimates provided by Energy Saving Trust are correct as of February 2024. 

This article isn’t advice and is for general guidance only - always do your own research before taking any action. 

If you access any of the third-party websites, you do so entirely at your own risk.

Barclays Green Home Mortgage

We’ll reward you with a lower mortgage rate on certain deals when you buy an energy efficient home.

You could apply for a Barclays Green Home Mortgage if you’re buying a new-build property directly from the builder or developer. T&Cs apply [PDF, 96.7KB].