One look at the price tag of organic foods is enough to discourage some people from becoming eco-friendly. So, is it really possible to “go-green” without it costing you more? The simple answer is yes, and here are a few small changes you can make to reduce your environmental impact, without breaking the bank.

1. Grow your own
Nothing screams “eco-friendly” more than having your own kitchen garden to grow your own vegetables. The best part about this is that it saves you a lot of money since you won’t have to buy the overpriced cucumbers or eggplants from the supermarket again.

Moreover, growing your own food ensures you get high-quality nutrients as opposed to other options where the food is over-processed or laced with preservatives. Another plus side to this is that you don’t need a farm to start a kitchen garden, instead, make use of any available space that you have, such as your back porch.

2. Walk or cycle
We all know the various harmful effects that exhaust fumes from cars can have on the environment. Therefore, whenever possible, try to walk or cycle to your destination. Besides being good exercise, it will save you some money. In fact, it is one of the easiest ways to be eco-friendly without breaking the bank.

3. Think about solar
Local people in your community are generating cheap, renewable power on their roofs and in their backyards. They often produce too much power to use themselves. With P2, a portion of your power will come from people in your neighbourhood exporting their excess solar energy.

This makes cleaner, more affordable solar power a viable option, even if you do not currently have solar panels or can’t afford the expense of installing solar apparatus. The same lines and the same plugs in the wall, just a cleaner, more resilient energy source.

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4. Unplug or power off your appliances
Saving electricity does not end with just switching off power. Leaving your appliances plugged in has been proven to still consume a lot of electricity. Therefore, if you are looking for a simple way to be eco-friendly, start by unplugging all your appliances when you are not using them, especially when leaving the house.

5. Switch your bulbs
This is also another easy way to save up on your electricity bills. Simply switch your bulbs to LED bulbs. They have been proven to use up to 75% less energy. They also last up to 25% much longer!

6. Use power at greener times
Although New Zealand’s electricity is mostly renewable, the ‘dirtiness’ of this mix can change quite substantially throughout the day, based on what sources are available at the time. If it’s dry, the wind isn’t blowing or demand is very high, more non-renewable fuel must be burned.This directly impacts the carbon emissions and harm on our environment from your personal footprint (as well as how quickly the country invests in more renewables). With P2 Power, you’ll know when this matters.

Our intelligent PowerPal app tells you the best (and worst) times to use power. Not to mention, you’ll also be rewarded for using power during those times. Acting on PowerPal’s suggestions can have a huge impact on your personal carbon footprint, and also your bill. Renewable energy is generally cheaper to produce than coal and diesel. Simply shift your power usage away from the bad times and and we’ll pass savings back to you.

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7. Air dry your clothes
Your dryer can be the reason why your electricity bills are on an all-time high. Switch to hanging out your clothes to dry in the sun and be amazed by the difference this small change can make.

8. Shop at farmer’s markets
If you are not in a position to grow your own vegetables at home, then it is better to get your supplies from farmer’s market. This is because vegetables and other food supplies are a bit cheaper as compared to the other options.

Not to mention, buying local reduces the amount of greenhouse gas created when products are trucked (or even flown) in from other regions.

9. Cut down on meat
You don’t have to become completely vegetarian. Going meat-free for one or two days a week can reduce the environmental impact dramatically. Research shows it can take up to 100,000 liters of water to produce 1 kilogram of beef. That’s a huge difference compared to wheat, which takes around 750 litres per kilogram.

10. Opt for reusable bottles
Did you know that it takes around three times the amount of water in a plastic bottle just to make it? Not to mention, the large majority are not recycled. This is incredibly wasteful and contributes to pollution on a grand scale. By using a reusable water bottle and committing to using it, you’ll be helping the environment.

11. Invest in a reusable shopping bag
In your quest to become eco-friendly and increase your savings, plastic should be your biggest enemy. Opting for a reusable shopping bag is a worthwhile investment for you. Keep them in your car so you don’t forget to bring them. Also, always try to use other options such as glass or stainless steel wherever possible.

Final words
It couldn’t be easier to start making a difference. By making small changes, you’ll be well on your way in saving money and making this planet a better place for our communities and generations to come.