How to spend your money smartly while staying eco-friendly
As the cost of living crisis rolls on, millions of people are looking for ways to save money this summer and beyond.
In the face of rising bills, it may be tempting to cut corners and choose less environmentally sound options, but if you’re someone who cares about climate change and preserving resources, you know how important it is that everyone does their part to help the planet.
So how can you keep your spending in check while reducing your eco-guilt? Here, experts offer their top tips for sustainable living on a shoestring…
If you’re going out less and spending more time at home, it’s easy for power and water bills to creep up if you’re not careful.
“Think about a smart meter to see how much you’re spending and see where you can cut down,” says Philippa Grogan, sustainability consultant at Eco-Age. “Turn off what you’re not using – don’t leave your TV on standby, turn lights off when leaving the room.”
To reduce water use, have showers instead of baths, or if you’re going to fill the tub reduce the depth by a couple of inches.
Laundry can also be water and energy intensive, Grogan warns: “Avoid tumble drying, wash clothing on a lower heat and think twice if you really need to wash something – over laundering is common in households and this leads to increased environmental and financial cost.”
When it comes to sustainable fashion, all our experts agree that preloved is the way to go.
“I love shopping thrift and vintage,” says Laure Babin, founder and CEO of Zèta Shoes, who has partnered with Nespresso to produce the Re:ground collection of sneakers made using recycled coffee grounds. “Whenever I spot a piece I like, I search for similar secondhand.”
“Vinted has become my number one,” says Grogan. “You can find just about anything on there. For zero-cost clothing, share your clothing and borrow from others, or try clothes swaps with friends – great way for a free wardrobe refresh.”
Homecooking is usually cheaper than eating out (and definitely more sustainable than takeaways), but it’s important to plan properly to prevent waste.
“Check what you already have at home before you visit the supermarket to avoid buying duplicates which avoids both extra costs and food waste,” says Fin Cope, founder of ethical marketplace and lifestyle app, GoEthical.
“Lots of people are also reducing how much meat they eat because of the health and environmental benefits, but it’s a great idea for your wallet too. Swapping out chicken for potatoes in curry is a great place to start.”
Grogan suggests: “Shop near the end of the day so you can see what’s in the reduced section – you can freeze bargains if you don’t eat them straight away.”
If you’re looking for takeaway treats, Babin says: “I use apps such as Too Good to Go where restaurants and shops offer baskets of the day’s unsold food at cost price.”
“With fuel prices at the highest level since the beginning of the pandemic, cutting down on how often you use the car can seriously save you some money,” says Cope. “Ditch the car and walk or cycle to your destination or carpool with friends so you’re all travelling in one vehicle instead of multiple.”
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