We’re all trying to do our bit toward a greener future. It’s just good sense to want to leave behind a better world for our kids. Just a few small changes to the waste we’re pumping out each year could make a huge difference if we all pull together – and there’s a fair bit of money to be saved along the way. Here are just a few quick tips on saving some extra pennies while you’re out there saving the world.

Refill instead of replace

There’s a surprising number of everyday household products that we keep paying over the odds for, just because of the extra packaging we’re buying along with them. It’s pretty pointless to keep grabbing jars off the shelf only to toss them away - and it turns out it’s not always even necessary. With products like kitchen herbs, coffee granules and hand soap, a lot of the time you can just buy a refill instead. It works out cheaper for you, and it’s better for the planet (providing the refill packaging’s recyclable).

Read your food labels

When you check the expiry notices on the food in your fridge, it’s worth knowing your “best before” dates from your “use by” ones. Food businesses like to mix things up in their labelling, but not every date printed on a packet or jar is telling you the same thing.

When your food lists a “use by” date, it’s best to treat it like an actual safety warning. The contents might not be fit to eat if you’ve left them past the expiry point. On the other hand, if the date it lists says “best before”, you’re probably really looking at more of a judgement than a hard scientific fact. The manufacturer wants you to know that the product might not be at its best after the date they specify, although it could still be perfectly edible.

You can save quite a lot of wasted food and money by paying closer attention to the labelling – but always play it safe. Use your common sense – and all your others, too. If there’s mould where there shouldn’t be or it doesn’t pass the sniff test, don’t put it in your mouth.

Go big to save more

It’s counter-intuitive, but buying more of the stuff you need often can save you cash in the long run. All sorts of household essentials often come at a discount when you buy bigger. Anything from breakfast cereals to washing powder can come in larger sizes, and the money you’re laying down per gram of product can sometimes be quite a lot less. You can often see the “unit price” on listed on supermarket shelves. Even if it’s not there, it doesn’t usually take a lot of complicated maths to work out where your best bargains are.

Done with it? Sell it on!

This can take a bit of work, but it’s often well worth the effort. Don’t just load up the car and make a bee-line for the local waste disposal tip. A lot of the “junk” you’re throwing out could be worth real cash if you take the trouble to sell it. Ebay and Facebook make selling stuff much easier than it sounds, and you’re reducing waste at the same time as earning money. You’d be amazed at the number of people who’ll find a use for anything from unwanted clothes to old remote controls for VCRs you got rid of years ago.

Get it for free!

Another great way to save cash while cutting down on waste is through “freecycling”. There are actually a few online services set up to help you do this, but the basics are generally the same. If you’ve got something you no longer need and want it out of the house, you put it on a site like Freegle. If there’s someone local looking for the same thing, the service will match you up.

Of course, the other side to the freecycling coin is that it’s a great way to get free stuff. You’re reducing other people’s household waste, saving your own cash and taking part in a vibrant online community of green-minded people. There’s basically no down-side.

Don’t leave your money on HMRC’s table

While you’re cutting down your waste and clawing back your cash, remember to let RIFT tackle the taxman for you. There are literally hundreds of millions of pounds going to waste each year because people either don’t realise they’re owed a refund or don’t know how to claim it. Get your refund started with the UK’s leading tax experts today - check if you're owed a tax refund now.