When you start a new endeavour you typically need to invest a lot of time and money initially, but as time passes you become more accomplished and informed, and more efficient and affective, and more economical in how you spend your time and your money. This is what’s happened to us when we ramped up our efforts to live more sustainably. Some of the savings were to be expected, like lower waste and energy charges, but we’ve saved in other ways too. Here’s a list of some of them;
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- Avoiding multi-buy packs and buying just what we need has ultimately resulted in us buying, and wasting, less
- I find that locally grown fruit and veg last longer leading to less waste
- Having one or more meat free dinner a week has reduced our food bill and hopefully opened to door to our family having more
- Starting a compost bin for garden waste and kitchen scraps has saved us both on bin charges and the need to buy compost for the garden
- Equally, fallen leaves are a free source of seedling compost when composted
- Limiting purchasing to what we need saves a huge amount of money over time, including all those parking fees at shopping centres!
- Branded cleaning products are so expensive than, we’ve found that switching to homemade cleaning products has saved a ton of money and lessened allergies and eczema in family members, which saves on medication costs
- Buying longer lasting goods that can be repaired is starting to reap rewards now, both in terms of replacement and disposal costs
- Mending/ darning clothes means we don’t have to replace clothes as often as before, particularly socks!
- I’ve found repurposing items is a great way to avoid buying new stuff, e.g. yoghurt pots as seedling pots
- Using the library saves us a fortune on books and movie rental
- Buying pre-loved items from charity shops or Freecycle websites / FB groups gives me my shopping fix, pauses items on their way to landfill, helps charities and saves us a fortune
- Also letting family and friends know when we’re looking for something has turned into great way of finding free / low-cost hand-me-downs. In 2012 I estimated that we were gifted over €5,000 worth of goods that we needed. The trick is to say no to stuff you don’t need.
- Getting into the habit of borrowing stuff from family, friends and neighbours has been another great resource. Plus it helped us bond with our neighbours.
- I also swap services with friends. I feed their cats when they’re away and they babysit my kids on occasion.
- Getting discounts on take-out coffee when I use my reusable cup has been a nice perk.
- I don’t do it as often as I should but I’ve found cycling/walking has the double win of saving transport and gym fees. (I hate the gym anyway)
- Our electric car is cheaper to run and insure than an ICE car.
These savings having necessarily stayed in our pocket. Instead we’ve chosen to buy more organically, locally grown food and long-lasting items. Whatever you choose to do with your savings, enjoy them in the full knowledge that it’s a win win.
PS – You might also like this article on Sustainability on a Budget