Money

5 Ways Being More Sustainable Could Save You Money

Most of us like the idea of being more sustainable, eco-friendly and generally just a better pal to the environment. But when we think about what it actually involves, we tend to throw it in the too-hard basket.

After all, who wants to throw out all of their possessions and live out of a sack like Blinky Bill?

Contrary to popular belief, reducing your environmental impact doesn’t have to mean overhauling your entire lifestyle. By making a few simple changes, you can be more sustainable and leave a lighter footprint on the planet. But in case you need a need a little extra incentive, doing so can actually save you money. Here’s how:

#1 It’ll slash your energy bills

With reports that we’re heading into Australia’s coldest winter ever, it’s tempting to take up permanent residence in front of your heater. Unfortunately, you won’t feel quite so warm and cosy when a $500 heating bill arrives in the mail! Not only that, but air conditioners and heaters are one of the country’s worst culprits when it comes to greenhouse gas emissions. With the risk of sounding like your mum, rugging up in warm trackies and a blanket is going to be far kinder to the environment (and your wallet).

Cat Emerging GIF - Find & Share on GIPHY

Other ways you can reduce your energy costs at home include swapping to energy-efficient light bulbs, switching off lights when you’re not using them and using the cold-wash setting on your washing machine.

Another way you can prevent getting those nasty surprise energy bills is by keeping an eye on the “second price tag” when shopping for your electrical appliances. This is the energy label, which indicates how much energy it uses and how much it costs to run.

#2 Be creative with your wardrobe

Asking yourself, “Do I need another black T-shirt when I already have eight?” will work wonders for both your bank balance and the environment. Sustainability and minimalism go hand in hand, as it’s all about buying only what you need.

A great place to start is by buying your clothes from eco-friendly, sustainable brands. While these may cost you a bit more up front, they’re generally engineered from higher-quality materials to last longer. But reducing your carbon footprint can also be as simple as working with what you already have in your wardrobe, rather than buying something new for every occasion. You can check out some more clever hacks to spend less on clothes here.

#3 You’ll spend less on food

Forgotten Vegetable Shame is a real thing. You feel it when you chuck an entire bag of veggies that rotted in your fridge because you forgot about them. We’ve all been there. It’s a pretty good sign that you got lazy and ordered takeaway a little too often this month, but it also feels like you’re throwing money in the bin.

Forgotten Vegetable Shame is a real thing. You feel it when you chuck an entire bag of veggies that rotted in your fridge.

The average Australian household throws out $1100 worth of groceries every year. Yep, that’s enough for flights to Bali. It’s a waste of your hard-earned cash and you’re adding to the four million tonnes of food that ends up as landfill in Australia, which is enough to fill 8,400 Olympic-sized swimming pools.

Some simple ways you can be kinder to the environment and save money on food are shopping local where you can, buying only what you need and cooking at home as much as possible. You can also check out these other tips for reducing your food waste.

#4 You’ll save money on transport

Yes, public transport is the absolute pits sometimes. You have to contend with late buses, sweaty people and very little personal space. But when it comes to vehicular transport, it’s by far the more virtuous option.

Not only is a car the most expensive form of transport, it also happens to be the least sustainable and environmentally-friendly – with cars accounting for 10% of Australia’s greenhouse gas emissions each year. Of course, car-pooling can help reduce your impact, but taking public transport is the preferable option.

Recoiling at the very thought of taking the bus or train? Check out 4 simple ways to make your commute suck less. Or better yet, walk or ride a bike to and from work – your wallet, body and the environment will thank you!

#5 You’ll stop wasting your money on bottled water

If you do just one thing on this list, make it this one! With so many great reusable water bottles on the market and the fact that we have access to clean running water, there’s no excuse for Aussies to be buying bottled water. And yet, research shows that Australians spend around $2 billion on bottled water each year.

Jim Carrey Drinking GIF - Find & Share on GIPHY

Buying a bottle of water for $3 each day adds up to $1095 each year — so it’s not hard to see how ditching this habit could save you a boatload of cash. Not only that, but the production of bottled water creates over 60,000 tons of greenhouses gases a year in Australia alone. Then, there’s the fact that an estimated 370 million plastic water bottles end up in landfill each year. Do yourself a favour and invest in a stainless steel water bottle – it’ll last practically forever and keep your liquids ice cold or toasty warm.

So not only is being sustainable good for you and for the environment, it’ll help you save a bunch of money, too. What’s to lose?


Emma Norris is a Sydney-based freelance writer and the owner of copywriting business, contentinthecity.com and lifestyle blog, agirlinprogress.com. When she’s not playing with words, she’s either doing pushups or stuffing her face with pizza. You can follow her on Instagram @emmajanenorris.