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Hippyshopper guide to surviving the credit crunch

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draught.jpgIn most corners of the media, money-saving has already eclipsed planet-saving, which has suddenly become yesterday's news, leading many to believe that the two concerns are worlds apart. But they couldn't be more wrong, because being green is all about resourcefulness, economy and frugality -- and not necessarily about buying expensive organic chicken. Follow the jump to find out some really useful ways of saving money and the environment at the same time.

Give your central heating an MOT

If you think your heating might be playing up, or is running inefficiently, there are lots of things a plumber can do to get everything shipshape. Of course, finding a plumber that won't cost you a small fortune may be the main issue here, but I always find word of mouth to be the cheapest way to find a good one.

Reuse, reuse and...reuse!

There are a million ways of re-using things you have around the place that will save you money. You can save and re-use envelopes and other stationery, food storage jars, shopping bags and much more. Check out our fun list of 20 things you can re-use before chucking to jog your memory every time you find yourself hovering over that bin.

Do some energy-saving DIY

There are lots of small and relatively effortless things you can do to stop heat escaping from your home. Start by taping aluminium foil to the walls behind your radiators (handy video here if you really need to be shown how to do this), then go on a hunt for any draughts. Draughts below doors can be easily plugged with a friendly draught excluder, while gaps in floorboards can be sealed with padded tape. You can even get draught-stopping devices for your chimney, if you're not already getting around the problem with an open fire!

Buy re-usable batteries

If you need to use batteries for any devices, investing in a charger is a good plan as you won't need to throw any more empty battery shells into landfill where they corrude and damage wildlife. And once you've bought a charger, you won't be getting charged £4 or more every time you need to juice up. There are even solar powered models out there for the seriously green.

Hang your clothes out to dry

On a ceiling-mounted rack like this one, which can be installed in almost all homes. If you absolutely have to use a tumble dryer, be warned that it's an energy guzzling monster, and consider it a luxury. Adding dryer balls will also reduce the amount of time you have to use it.

Say goodbye to standby

If you need a gadget to do it for you, there are plenty on the market that will get you into the habit of switching off very quickly. But the odds are you don't want to shell out 20-plus quid on a habit you can easily adopt yourself, so start now: every time you see noe of those little red standby lights winking at you, turn it off. You'd be surprised how much energy is saved even on an individual level by doing this, as I found while experimenting with my Wattson.

Make more of your own food -- and save it

I've certainly found that the credit crunch has made me more aware of waste in general, and keener to avoid generating it, and food is a good place to start. Cutting down on meat (if you eat it) is a good way to lower costs up-front, and also makes it easier to keep food for longer, as there's less to worry about in terms of food poisoning when eating leftovers that are meat-free. So dig out all those old tupperware boxed that you've had gathering dust in the cupboard for years and get using them for taking lunches to work.

Ditch the car

Whenever you don't absolutely need to use it. Make the most of the current mild weather and get out in it -- either by bike or on foot -- and avoid paying for polluting petrol.


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