30 Ways to Save Money With Nature

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2016-11-27 12.04.02.jpgWith 30 Days Wild now well underway, if you’re still undecided about taking part, it’s worth considering the money you can save by engaging with nature. I’ve written about some of these before but here are 30 more ideas for using nature to stretch your budget further.

  1. Make home made herb tea from your favourite herbs. If you don’t have a herb garden or windowbox, ask friends for cuttings. Thyme, rosemary and other woody herbs will happily send out new roots if you strip back the base leaves and put them in water. If you don’t have any friends with herb gardens, a few seed packets will cost under £5 and keep you in herbs all year round (grow them indoors if you don’t have any outdoor space).
  2. Have a wild date. Rather than a cinema trip or meal out, go for a walk in the dark and star-gaze, or head into the countryside and enjoy alone time together with nature.
  3. Volunteer for a local nature project: a great way to make friends without having to spend money. Some food waste projects include free meals too.
  4. Go wild swimming. There are plenty of places to swim for free. Just make sure you only go swimming in places that are suitable for your level of ability.
  5. Pick wildflowers rather than buying flowers (only opt for ones that are abundant and don’t pick rare ones though. Make sure you leave them for other people to enjoy too).
  6. Press flowers and sell them to crafters on eBay.
  7. Do pilates outdoors. Even something as simple as lying on the ground with your knees up, feet flat on the ground and pelvic floor engaged can be relaxing and toning. Look online for exercises: there’s no need to waste money on expensive classes when you can exercise in the sun for free and get extra vitamin D with your fitness routine (if you don’t have a garden, pick a secluded park or field).
  8. Have a BYO BBQ with friends. If you have a garden, growing your own veg can lead to delicious and affordable summer meals: try corn on the cob soaked in the water with the husks still on then roasted over the fire; BBQ asparagus with butter, lemon and fresh herbs; or tomatoes cooked whole then squashed onto bread as a tasty and healthy alternative to ketchup (try it with BBQ halloumi for simple bliss). Add a nasturtium and dandelion leaf salad, garnished with nasturtium flowers (which are edible too). And throw herb twigs on to the BBQ to scent the air deliciously.
  9. Use plants rather than air fresheners to keep the air clear indoors: more effective and less likely to cause allergic reactions. Add a bunch of sweet smelling herbs if you like a scented home (and use these in bath salts once they dry out.)
  10. Make a herbal garland. You can use it to decorate your home, and make it smell nice; or make one you can wear, if you’re going to any festivals or a rustic wedding.
  11. Collect wildflower seeds and make paper packets decorated with drawings of flowers. You can take these to seed swaps or give them to people as gifts, packaged with coir compost pellets and recycled planters (eg, tins with the labels soaked off, or decorated disposable coffee cups).
  12. Go on a wild safari for an afternoon out – shooting with a camera or a phone rather than a gun. The photos will remind you of summer long after it’s passed.
  13. Use herbs and foraged edible flowers in ice cubes to turn chilled tap water into something that looks more exotic.
  14. Opt for buying fruit and vegetables that are in season, and go for ‘ugly’ rather than uniform ones as they’re often a cheaper option.
  15. Make bath salts. Add dried flowers and fresh herbs to a salt and bicarb mix and package in a recycled jam jar or old cosmetics packaging.
  16. Add lavender or mint to vinegar for an effective window cleaner – just buff off with newspapers.
  17. Make your own dye from foraged finds (and leftovers such as onion skins). Use it to dye greying towels or T-shirts to give them a new lease of life.
  18. Make your own charcoal for drawing, using twigs.
  19. Have a digital detox and save money on data by taking a book outdoors, finding a tree to lean against, and indulging in one of life’s simple pleasures.
  20. Go fossil collecting. It’s a great way to spend an afternoon, and if you get lucky and find something rare, it could even make you money.
  21. Go wild camping. This can be a great way to save money on holidays if you don’t let mind sleeping outdoors.
  22. Use flower petals to make art – a great way to entertain kids for free.
  23. Make your own make up. Use honeysuckle, herbs or lavender for perfume, and rose petals or beetroot for lip and cheek stain.
  24. Save on water bills by setting up a water butt. Use it for watering the garden or filling the toilet cistern (adding stones or a brick to your cistern will help save even more water).
  25. Make a wormery. This will turn food waste into nutrient rich compost to help you grow your own food. If you make it in a clear box, it can be a great educational tool for kids (if you are squeamish about worms, make a compost heap instead).
  26. Get a wild pet. If you can’t afford to keep a pet, set up a bird feeding station or hedgehog den and let the pets come to you. Both can be made with recycled material, and watching wild animals can bring just as much joy as having a pet in the house.
  27. If you live near a beach, make sandcastles. Create a moat that leads to the sea to keep it topped up with water: a great way to fill an afternoon. If you’re an adult who’s beyond sandcastles, you may opt to make a mandala or some other form of sand art instead.
  28. Rock pooling is another great way to fill an afternoon if you live near the beach. Take waterproof shoes with a good grip – rocks can be sharp underfoot.
  29. Collect feathers for crafting. These can be used to make bouquets or accessories such as fascinators, if you have a wedding to go to. There’s lots more you can collect for a natural craft box too.
  30. Have a nature-themed kid’s party. Rather than spending a fortune on plastic toys and costly excursions, opt for a picnic in the park or nearby countryside. Print out flower or bug hunting guides – Wildlife Watch has lots of great resources. If it’s a sunny day, invite kids to bring a water pistol – or provide them with empty washing up bottles to fill with water. Alternatively, if you don’t have kids, go for a BYO picnic – with optional elderflower champagne.


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