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The money saving post – what has ‘eco’ cost us?

Not so long ago I was approached by a journalist for an article about how I saved money by using bicarbonate of soda. The truth is, I have not saved money by just using bicarb, it’s a whole lifestyle change of NOT using a lot of products, and making the few products I do use around the use eco-friendly and multi-purpose. So here’s a look at what we used to buy, and what we now buy. An interesting insight into our life at present – and as always with going green, a work in process. Enjoy and do comment with your thoughts on eco products!

Cleaning – What we used to buy


Tesco Cream Cleaner £0.80, 500 ml.

Tesco bathroom cleaner spray £0.70, 500 ml

Tesco window cleaner spray £0.70, 500 ml

Spontext essential scourers, £0.40 (6)

Tesco active gel (toilet) £0.75, 750 ml

Colgate toothbrush, £2.50 every 3 months so £0.83/month

Carex Protect Plus Moisturising Handwash, £1.80

We still use toilet roll, but buy a variety (Eco Leaf) that is recycled and only has plastic packaging to keep the large package together for delivery – the ‘plastic’ round the toilet rolls is compostable. Compared to the same number of Andrex rolls, Ecoleaf works out as around £5-6 more expensive at present, but I am willing to pay this for the better ethics and more environmentally friendly packaging. I am not including this in the tally because this is also subject to change – my ideal would be working towards using ‘family cloth’ (find out more about that here ). 


Tesco anti bac cleaning spray £0.70, 500 ml

Kitchen towel (4 pack), £2.00 (use half, £1.00/month)

Tesco all-purpose floor cleaner, £1.00 (1 litre, use half/month, so £0.50/month)

Mr Muscle oven cleaner £3.00 (half/month, so £1.50/month)

Tesco box of tissues, £0.75

Tesco baby wipes, £0.52

We still use washing up liquid, but switched to Ecover because we can refill it at our local health food store. It has worked out as cheaper than Fairy but would be more expensive than value products. We have, when we ran out of dish soap, simply used bicarb of soda to clean dishes, this is extremely cost effective but you do need to rinse properly.

We still use laundry liquid, but switched to Ecover because it is also refillable at the health food store and biodegradable, and supplement it with soapnuts which work out as a very, very cheap way to wash.

We use a coconut oil/ bicarb of soda mix for a toothpaste, definitely cheaper to buying toothpaste. Due to everyone’s personal preference in this area and the debate over Fluoride, I am not including toothpaste in the tally.

We are also about to trial toothytabs from anythingbutplastic.co.uk which work out as equivalent price to toothpaste at £2.40 for a month’s supply (depending how often you brush your teeth) and are plastic free. 

Cosmetics – what we used to buy

Gilette shaving foam, 200ml £1.50

Tesco pro formula shaving gel, 200ml £2.25

Wilkinson sword Quatro razor for women, £5

Tesco men’s triple blade razor, £2 (x2 so £4/month)

Radox shower gel,  250 ml £1 (x2/month)

Always Ultra towels, £2.25

Tesco kids bubble bath, 500ml £1.25

NB I have never bought make up of any kind so this is not included here. I do know of eco friendly ways of making make up items however, see zerowastehome.com for more information. 

The above costs would be (approximately) monthly, adding up to £29.20/ month.


What we don’t use… and their replacements

Kitchen roll, we use washable cloths.

Sponge scourers, we use washable cloths

Boxed/packets of tissues, we use handkerchiefs

Babywipes, we use washable cloths.

Green swaps for products: 

Cleaning spray – 1 part vinegar to three parts water. 

Cleaning scrub – bicarbonate of soda mix with water. 

Toilet cleaner – 1 part vinegar to 1 part bicarb, in toilet and scrub.

Reusable stainless steel razor and shave soap.

Reusable cloth sanitary pads from Cheeky Wipes. 

Shampoo Soap instead of shampoo/conditioner 

Costs of swapped products

Kent Luxury Shave soap refill, £5.06 lasts 2 months so £2.53/month

One Village Neem shampoo soap bar, £2.50/month

Golden swan white vinegar, pack of 4x5l, £12.15 lasts approx 1 year so £1.01 per month.

Bicarbonate of soda, food grade, 5kg bucket, £10.98. Lasts approx 6 months so £1.83 per month.

Loofah washing up scrubber, £2.83 each. Lasts approx 4 months, so £0.70/month.

F.E.T.E toothbrushes, pack of 3, £12.99, £3.24 per brush working out at £0.75 per month if you change every 3 months which we don’t, because they last much longer.

Good quality hand soap bar, £2 per bar

The above costs, adding up to £11.32/ month.

Saving of £17.88 per month, or £214.56 per year.






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