Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you know it’s all about sustainability and being green nowadays.
But what does it mean exactly from a financial perspective? And how to go about it?
Turns out sustainability isn’t rocket-science, nor is it difficult. We can all be sustainable regardless of our income or background.
Here are 6 tips to do just that.
1. Don’t become addicted to your credit card(s)
Charging items to a credit card means that you’re consuming. You may be overconsuming. Credit cards are notorious for being able to turn anyone into a high-end consumer. They’re also notorious for charging high interests when you can’t pay for the whole balance.
More often than not, less is more. You don’t need to trade your cell phone every other year, or replace your entire wardrobe and home decor each season.
Being mindful of our consumption is the best and biggest thing we can do, not only for the planet but also for our wallets.
2. Buy Second Hand
Gone are the days when buying clothes and furniture at a thrift shop was synonymous with poverty and shame.
When you choose to buy second hand instead of something new, you are not adding anything to your carbon footprint. Plus, you will save money. Be careful about some second-hand stores, though; check the pricing and don’t be afraid to make a fairer offer.
3. Conserve Energy
Put a sweater on instead of turning up the heating when you’re cold. Use a fan if you’re too hot, instead of cranking-up the A/C. Turn-off the heat or the A/C if you’re not home.
Use LED lightbulbs; turn-off the lights if you’re not using a room or aren’t home.
Use public transit or carpool to go to work. Better, walk or bike if you can.
Put a brick in your toilet tank; it will use less water.
I’m sure you’ve already heard or read all about these tips. But guess what? They work and you will save money.
4. Eat Local, in Season…and a Little Less Meat
There are no strawberries in Canada in January. If you want to eat some, they’ll most likely come from California or Florida, and you’ll pay a pretty penny for them.
Strawberries are a Spring/Summer fruit. Eat them at those times. They’ll taste sweeter.
You also don’t need as much meat-based protein as commercials and the low-carb movement would have you believe.
Plus, meat is expensive in more ways than what it costs at the supermarket. Over 70 percent of the destruction of the Amazon rainforest is due to raising cows for meat, and those emissions are higher than other types of meat or plant food.
5. Go Digital
Set your accounts up for e-billing whenever possible. Pay your bills online as well. Companies and financial institutions use premium paper when mailing-out invoices and statements of account. Not to mention the fuel costs to get these out to your mailbox.
Same applies to books. You’ll save physical space.
6. Re-use and Recycle
Re-use items as much as possible, ideally until you run them to the ground. I’m talking about cars, clothes, appliances, furniture and other stuff. I only replace items when they’re broken and can’t be fixed.
When my clothes don’t fit anymore or are too old, I donate them.
Recycle plastic, paper, glass and food scraps. Avoid plastic whenever possible. It is very hard, as plastic is so cheap that it’s used everywhere. Unfortunately, most plastics don’t recycle, or can only be recycled once. In comparison paper can be recycled 10 times and glass can be recycled indefinitely.
The above tips are easy to follow. They’re actually nothing new. Our grand-parents and parents lived by most of them!
It may seem that you’ll only save pennies, but remember, pennies turn into a dollar, a dollar turns into 10, then 100 and so on. You can definitely save hundreds of dollars each year by doing the above.