Ten ways you can live more sustainably and save yourself money
Found yourself setting the same old unrealistic resolutions this New Year? To really make an impact in 2020, why not commit to living more sustainably instead? Given the current state of the planet, there’s no better time to give up bottled water or cut down on your consumption habits – and it will save money in the process. Win, win!
From having a cold shower to cooking from scratch, Madeleine Olivia, author of Minimal: How to Simplify your Life and Live Sustainably, has rounded up ten ways you can live more sustainably.
TURN IT OFF
“Get into the habit of switching things off when you’re finished with them to save on your electricity and heating bills. It’s the oldest trick in the book and one my dad has been nagging me about since I was a little girl. Switch off the lights when you leave the room, turn your TV off at the plug rather than leaving it on standby, unplug your phone when it’s fully charged so you’re not wasting energy. Over time, these little things will add up in energy and money saved.”
GIVE UP BOTTLED WATER
Getting your own reusable water bottle is one of the easiest ways to reduce your waste, while also saving money. Marketing has led us to believe that bottled water is healthier, when the reality is that in the UK it’s no safer than tap water and 35 million plastic bottles are used every day – 23 million of these won’t get recycled, which means they’ll end up in landfill or in the environment.
In the shower, and with your laundry, switch to cold water. Lots of laundry detergents advise a colder wash for your clothes (it also protects your clothes better) and having a cold shower (or at least switching it to cold towards the end of your shower) can heavily save on bills and energy.
Instead of tumble drying your clothes or using a hairdryer on your hair, try air–drying. Anything that creates heat requires a lot of energy and therefore can cost a lot of money.
Get yourself a bike (buy secondhand to save some cash) and try cycling to places you would usually drive. It’s a great workout, lots of fun and can make a significant difference to your carbon footprint. Plus, once you’ve bought the bike, it’s free!
MAKE YOUR OWN
This can be your own hair products, clothing, artwork, gifts, cards – anything that you can get creatively involved in and make yourself. You can even make your own cleaning and beauty products that’ll save you lots of money in the long run, while avoiding toxic and harmful chemicals found in many commercial products.
COOK FROM SCRATCH
I’m a huge advocate for cooking and I think it’s one of the most valuable tools in life. Not only will it save you a lot of money on takeaways, ready-meals and restaurant food, but it will inevitably save on plastic packaging and food waste.
Instead of throwing it out and replacing with a new one, see if you can fix it first. Learning to sew and how to do your own DIY can be a great money saver in the long run, while lengthening the life of the things you own.
SWITCH TO RENEWABLE ENERGY
Most people stay on the same energy plan for years. Look into how much it is costing you compared to a renewable energy company. In my experience it’s usually the same, or even cheaper. Supporting renewable energy over fossil fuels is one of the most important ways you can be more sustainable.
AVOID BUYING NEW
Whether it’s secondhand, vintage, reclaimed, repurposed, borrowed, a hand-me-down or you found it on the side of the street, do what you can before buying something new. You’ll be surprised what you can find out there.