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10 ways permaculture can help tackle the rising cost of living

In this post I'm sharing an article from the Permaculture Association's latest newsletter - this is a different perspective on the website suggestions for 'What Can I Do?. It left me with a smile on my face!

With inflation at its highest for 30 years, mortgage rates rising, fuel prices through the roof, and average wages seeing a real term cut, 2023 looks like being a tough year. So to start the New Year we’ve pulled together a few top tips from that not only help tackle climate change but will also save you a lot of money.

One of the biggest pressures on household budgets is heating. Simple steps can significantly reduce the amount you spend. 1. Warm Your Home Efficiently suggests 6 behaviour changes that cost nothing, 6 household improvements that will pay back in less than 2 years, and 6 bigger structural investments that save in the long term. Each of these, from moving the furniture to blocking draughts, will reduce the cost of keeping you warm and snug through the winter.

The cost of electricity has also risen, making it more expensive to run our devices and appliances. 2. Use Efficient Appliances explains how to save up to 50% on your electric bill by replacing older household electrical items and using the rest more efficiently. Replacing halogen light bulbs with LEDs could save a quarter of your electrical usage, and retiring the iron, analog TVs and the tumble drier could save another quarter. Using your cooker carefully and with forethought can also save a lot of money.

Another great way to reduce bills is to 3. Share Your Home by sharing bills, food costs and maintenance. If you own your home, invite extended family to live with you or take a lodger. If you’re renting, share with others, move in with family, become a lodger, explore shared ownership or build yourself a tiny house. If you can’t share your home, consider carrying on the pandemic trend of 4. Living Where You Work which can hugely reduce commuting costs. You could also look for a job where a tied house is included.

One other area where prices have risen sharply is food. Good quality, well produced food that respects people and planet will never be cheap, but you can save money by growing your own, especially fruit (5. Eat Local, Seasonal Food), or even by 6. Planting an Edible Forest Garden.

It is easy to fall into the habit of buying new stuff, busy lives make it challenging to upcycle old and broken items. Check out dozens of tips on how to 7. Refuse, Reduce, Reuse, Repair and Recycle, whilst significantly reducing your carbon footprint.

Post-Christmas is a great time to focus on 8. Buy Less, Make More. Buying less stuff means more freedom and fewer things to worry about. Whether it’s jam, socks, furniture, or dinner, unleash your inner creativity and make it yourself!

Finally, this is a lot of hope for 2023! Remember to 9. Enjoy the Simple things that cost nothing, like a walk in the countryside or a borrowed book. And during the grey days of January, maybe join up with friends and family to 10. Hold a Party. Host a community work day with drinks and sandwiches, get together to swap clothes, ideas and laughter. Enjoy a shared meal and celebrate what you've achieved on your journey to a cheaper, lower carbon lifestyle!

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Rachel Bodle
Rachel Bodle
13 wrz 2023

Here's a postscript to this post from GoCompare's Catherine Bailey who writes:

It’s gotten more expensive for providers to buy energy, which has led to it costing more for us to power our homes and businesses. This is why at GoCompare, we have developed an interactive energy cost calculator tool to find out how much something costs to run. Use the calculator below to pick the appliances you want to compare and select how long they’ll be in use for.

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