Eco Thrifty Living – Book Review and Interview

I’ve been following Zoe Morrisons’ blog, Eco Thrifty Living for a few years and know she has some great tips to share.  So I was pleased to have the chance to review Zoe’s new book:  Eco Thrifty Living – Save Money, Save the Environment and Live the Life You Want.

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Zoe has a friendly and easy to read writing style – as I read a lot for my work I admit I don’t often read a book when I get home, but I sped through an electronic version of the book in a couple of evenings after dinner.  The book is split into manageable chunks focussing on different areas of the home and different events and activities you might spend money on – so you can easily focus in on a particular area, or refer back to it again later.  There are different options for ways to reduce waste and save money in each area so you can pick the ways that will work for you, and I particularly like the way each section ends with a challenge and advice on how to take things further.

If you are starting to focus on ways to help the environment and save money, this is a great introduction.

The book is currently available to download in Kindle version via Amazon:  Eco Thrifty Living – The Book:  (note this is not an affiliate link) .  Printed copies are also now available – ideal if you want to gift a copy.

I caught up with Zoe to ask her a few questions about the book and her experiences:

1)  Hi Zoe,  you’ve been writing a successful blog about eco thrifty living for a while now.  What prompted you to turn it into a book?

I have always wanted to write a book ever since I was a kid.  The thought of actually writing one was really overwhelming though so it took me a long time to convince myself to follow through on my childhood dream!

2)  Which of the changes suggested in the book did you find easiest to implement?

There are so many changes it is difficult to pick!  There was one challenge that I took on that surprised me though. I found that not buying anything new for myself for 10 months was actually really easy!  Read more about my challenge here: https://ecothriftyliving.com/2013/11/my-year-of-eco-challenges-challenge-3.html I do buy things now, but with a different mindset to my previous one. In the book I suggest taking on a similar challenge.

3)  And which was the most challenging?

There were some changes I wanted to make that didn’t work for me – mainly in relation to cleaning and bathroom products. There are also some eco changes I haven’t even attempted yet. I’m still taking things one step at a time and doing what works for me and I recommend that approach.  I think trying to take it all on at once it can feel difficult and overwhelming. Making one small change at a time that sticks is better than trying to do too much and then giving it all up.

4)  You mention a few things in the book that you managed to find for free.  What is your favourite free find?

We have had some great free finds, including clothes,  scooters, a trampoline,  a bookshelf and more. One of my favourites is a tent we got given via Freecycle. It is a really large canvas tent with heavy poles and it’s straight out of the 70’s. A bit faded now, but in its day it was bright orange! It has three bedroom sections and a front room that you can stand up in. I love it – is perfect for my family of 4. You can read more about it here:  https://ecothriftyliving.com/2015/06/introducing-caspar-friendly-tent-and.html

5)  If you could give someone new to trying to live an eco friendly life without spending a lot of money just one tip, what would it be?

My one tip would be to read my book! It is filled with ideas for how to be eco friendly without spending much money. It covers how to be eco-thrifty in a variety of areas including in the kitchen, the bathroom, getting fit, clothes, stuff, kids and more!

Thanks Zoe – great advice.

The free tent, which looks amazing – reminds me of a camping holidays in France as a teenager.

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Low Salt Cajun Spice Mix

Cajun Spice Mix
Cajun Spice Mix

When we switched to making chips with unpackaged sweet potatoes from the market  instead of buying bags of ready made potato fries ( the sweet potato cooks much quicker and produces no waste – only wish we could manage to grow them successfully here) we also discovered the child loves them covered in cajun spices.  As we got through the second jar hubby was sprinkling on liberally I read the label – do you know how much salt is in this?  ( A lot).  And actually, do you know we also have all these other spices already in the cupboard.  So now I make our own.  It’s dead simple, means one less spice jar to buy and dispose of, is cheaper, and, yes it’s also so much healthier without them realising.

So, start by finding yourself a lovely empty jar to reuse.  Then depending how large it is, fill it with the appropriate multiple of these lovely spices ( please feel free to vary the proportions to taste – we like it spicy so usually add extra chilli and smoked paprika).

  • 5tbsp ground cumin or cumin seeds
  • 5tbsp smoked paprika
  • 1tbsp paprika
  • 1/2 tbsp cayenne pepper
  • 2tbsp oregano
  • 2tbsp black pepper
  • 1/2 to 1 tbsp chilli flakes
  • 1tbsp ground ginger
  • And if you wish a little salt – I usually just add a sprinking of Lo-Salt to taste.
  • If you happen to have dried garlic I dare say a little of that would be jolly good too.

Then give it all a good shake.

 

To use on sweet potatoes, cut them into chips, then roll in a little olive oil and in some of the spice mix.   Then roast for approx 20 mins ( 200 degrees C)

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Lo Salt

 

 

 

 

10 ways to save energy and reduce your bills

10 simple ways to save energy and reduce your bills.  Installing a smart meter to help you understand how you use your energy will help.

  1. Only put as much water as you need in the kettle.
  2. Don’t leave anything on standby.  If your appliance doesn’t have an accessible off switch you can get  a remote to turn it off. This includes turning off your WiFi overnight. Nigel’s Eco Store has a range of energy saving gadgets and remotes to make this easier.
  3. When you leave your computer for a while remember to put it into sleep mode or use an energy saving button such as the Eco Button
  4. May seem obvious but switch off the lights when you leave the room.
  5. Change your lights to low energy LEDs.
  6. When choosing a new appliance go for the lowest energy option you can.
  7. Check your thermostat and timer settings to be sure you only have the heating on when needed. Turning the thermostat down a degree and wearing an extra layer makes a noticeable difference.
  8. Turn radiators off or at least to low in little used rooms.
  9. When cooking use a steamer to cook more than one thing on a single ring.
  10. Take a shorter shower.

More tips are available from the Energy Savings Trust