Live sustainably on a budget? Is that even possible?
I ask this because, for most people, the idea of living greener or buying organic products, as two simple examples, are most often associated with luxury living.
But that doesn’t have to be the case!
Nowadays, there are ways, easy ways, CHEAP ways, to live sustainably on a budget.
Well, you’re going to have to keep reading Conscious Consumption: How to live sustainably on a budget to find out…
I save the best for last!
Intro – why you can live sustainably on a budget
Alright, so now l have your undivided attention let me explain why you can live sustainably on a budget.
For a start, it’s about mindset.
So, for instance, instead of thinking:
- What do l need to buy?
You should think:
- What can l reduce?
- Where l can swap?
To live sustainably, on or off a budget, we need to observe what products or brands we consume which are unethical or unsustainable.
Again, think about it.
If you invest in better quality, sustainable products, while initially are costlier, their lifespans are also far longer.
Making that invest go further and so be more cost-effective.
So, you save money.
But enough monetary theory – had enough of that during my postgrad – let’s move onto the tips.
I know, I know.
You’ll be thinking, really?
Is this your idea of outlining how to live sustainably on a budget?
And l will say yes, simply because you’ll be amazed the quantity of water wasted by:
- having baths,
- taking long showers
- running the tap when brushing your teeth (oh l hate this one)
- refilling pots with water during cooking
These are all terrible wastages of water, all entirely avoidable AND all add significant costs to your bills.
Yes, by wasting water, your wasting money.
So, it’s within your interests to conserve water.
Some simple suggestions:
- take shorter showers
- reuse water used for cooking like pasta water
- use unwanted ice on your garden
- reuse laundry water outside
Unsure of where else?
Well, l, like you felt like this. Until, that is l bought this simple, relatable book on being water-wise.
You’ll quickly earn back that initial investment by what you save around the house!
I have found it especially useful as l have moved between countries with studies and work so can vouch for it.
Over time, your skill at noticing the various ways, unique to you, that can help you live sustainably on a budget while conserving water!
Consume less meat
It is possible, or more probable, that you have frequently heard this.
But it is true.
The less meat you eat, especially beef, the less environmental impact and more sustainable you be.
Now trust me, l understand.
When l was younger, l used to eat plenty of meat. I would enjoy almost all variants, other than juvenile dishes like veal, lamb or suckling pig.
I simply found these too much.
But beef and chicken? I love them. And they are primary sources of protein for healthy diets.
However, as l grew older, did the research and realised the scale of what meat consumption did for the broader environment l began phasing out different parts of meat.
It has been easy, no.
But its absolutely not as hard OR bad as it sounds.
There are more and more options appearing every day. New artisan, stylish restaurants. Innovative and diverse recipes.
The plant-based communities are creating waves.
And you don’t have to become a vegan or vegetarian overnight.
I am still not.
But l have my goals set. And l know where my boundaries are.
Because l know the bigger picture of what l am contributing to and its usually quite exciting to discover or experiment with new foods or cuisines.
Give it try. You will be surprised.
Find a hobby to live sustainably on a budget
This suggestion is particularly fun simply because it’s very personal to you.
You can quickly make a passion become an eco-friendly one too, which allows you to better yourself and better the environment.
Take this blog.
Its what l decided to do as my way to be more sustainable and also do so in such a way that it isn’t costly.
Namely to spread awareness and educate others on how to live sustainably.
Alternatively, if you’re creative you could try:
- Making your own milk
- Recycling unwanted furniture and constructing your own
- Designing and painting
There are plenty of options. Just take a moment to reflect on your interests and motivates you.
And, if you’re savvy enough, you could even try turning it into a business.
I’m sure this will be self-explanatory.
But, essentially to live sustainably on a budget will also involve shifting more of your physical copies, your notes, your travel documents and utility bills to digital.
Not only does this save resources and your time, its likely you’ll save money.
In some cases, institutions such as banks will relay any charges of producing your bank statements onto you, since its inefficient and costs them to do so.
So, by opting out, you save money.
There will be other versions depending on your personal situation, so its worth checking what things like utility bills, subscriptions or bank statements you can digitize.
It’ll pay you to do so…(*ba-dum-tis).
Reject single-use products
Yes, yes l know.
That pun was pitiful.
Nevertheless, along with going digital, you should also go…. away from single-use products.
These go beyond merely the single-use plastic, but to all forms of products which can’t be used more than once.
Take paper towels or tea bags
With paper towels, they really can’t be reused.
There is not really any reason to need to use them. Using them once to wash or dry a surface only to then dispose of them is just SO wasteful.
They also then just drain your wallet as well as that water since you rebuy so many of them.
You’re better off using cloths or dish rags to dry spaces which are wet.
And these Swedish dishcloths are just what you need.
Not only are they biodegradable but they are reusable multiple times over while doing a much more thorough cleaning job.
Alternatively, consider tea bags.
Buying boxes of tea bags only contributes to cardboard and plastic waste, while the string and tag must be removed if the bag is even compostable.
For 2 reasons:
- They will have a better taste, as the leaves and herbs infuse much more with the water when being brewed.
- They’re more sustainable because you can usually reuse the same leaves more than once, making them more cost-effective
(It goes back to the monetary lesson.)
Now, l am a lover of herbal teas. They are much healthier for you and still provide a decent caffeine buzz, like a nice cup of coffee. But they smell and taste amazing.
So, for a start, try some biodegradable teabags by Teapigs.
I have used Teapigs for over 10 years and l can’t vouch for their quality enough!
How can l be so? sure
Cause I’m from Britain. And we love our tea.
Revel in reusables
Instead of single-use products live sustainably on a budget with more reusable ones.
These include canvas bags, a reusable bottle, better designed and comfortable clothing.
If you invest in sustainable products, you’ll be able to see them and your money go a lot further. Plus, this isn’t an expensive option.
Check out your local thrift stores or charities.
I am willing to bet not only will you find something that will you like, but it will look terrific and get you plenty of jealous or excited intrigue from your friends.
I like to dress well, for sure.
But you can still do so while making adjustments to live sustainably on a budget.
Think about it.
If fashion interests us, then we’ll look for ways to find clothes or accessories we like, while still trying to keep costs down since we don’t want to pay more than necessary.
So, why is it any different by adding in a sustainable aspect?
Realistically, it shouldn’t be.
Simply because usually, our primary goal is to minimise costs. So, by adding the dimension of whether its sustainable will quickly become second nature.
Reduce food wastage
Much like water wastage, its crucial to avoid food wastage.
In the US, one person averages a pound of food waste.
Those are big numbers – no matter what we’re talking about.
It’s even applicable to some sustainable products like plant-based milk.
Almond milk for example, while hugely popular for supposedly being ‘green’, is actually a huge contributor to both environmental degradation and local economic downturns due to their water requirements.
So, it’s as simple as:
- Buy what you need
- Keep what you don’t eat for another meal
- Use as much of the ingredients as possible
- Do your research into what you use and how to replace it
Seriously, there are plenty of ways to save food and even, in case of some, their cases, skins etc.
Take an onion (and no, it’s not about layers).
But onions have plenty of ways to be reused:
- The skins can be put in stews or broths for flavour
- The inedible ends of it can be planted and will sprout your own onions
- And the main body can be, well eaten
Plenty of ways to use an onion, which will be used in its entirety.
Of course, this is dependent on our circumstances. It’s not possible to regrow the onion if you live in a flat.
But even then, a little innovation can go along way, such as creating your own miniature soil garden inside – something that is very feasible.
Better yet, if you know where to look, you could make entire meals zero waste!
Finally, wasting food also goes beyond mere negligence.
The more food that is wasted, the more methane is created because the food lacks the space or oxygen to decompose.
Not only is this then a very pleasant smell, but the potency of methane is 28x worse than carbon dioxide.
You know, the infamous arch-nemesis of the environment.
But jokes aside, that is serious.
And it comes down to a case of greed. Just don’t buy or eat more than you need.
Influence others and with your money
Now last up and l guess you’ll think that subtitle is redundant…
Save money by donating or using your money?
But, as our reoccurring monetary lesson reminds us, sometimes investing money will yield more results for us, specifically in the longer term.
What do l mean?
Essentially, you will enact change by supporting the brands and ethical organisations that create products sustainably or give back through green initiatives.
How does this relate to saving money?
Because with brands like these, many are keen to expand their exposure, expand their public awareness partially for their cause but also to make a sale.
They are businesses after all.
As a start, l have a few clothing brands as suggestions:
Great North Apparel:
An outdoorsy brand, terrific for hiking or some broader rugged gear.
- You can 30% with code PK30
Blue Planet Eyewear:
These are a great glasses brand who are also specialist opticians, so you KNOW they’re trustable.
- Use this link to save 20%.
Pura Vida Bracelets:
l love this brand for its vibrant yet tasteful colours and their accessories.
- Use code PYOTRKURZIN20 to save 20%
This brand l came across by chance, by was immediately taken by their efforts to provide eco-conscious excursions and even engage in humanitarian activities!
When looking to live sustainably on a budget, this can include how we choose to travel or the types of activities we do.
And with it being Earth Day recently, Omaze reduced all their trips by 50% when using code GOGREEN50.
I would certainly jump on an offer like that.
And bottom line?
The more you engage in these habits and choices, the more you’ll come to influence others, who start looking at you and taking action themselves.
By looking for ways to live sustainably on a budget, you will inspire others to likewise.
Takeaways – see, you can live sustainably on a budget
There you have it.
A comprehensive list on Conscious consumption: How to live sustainably on a budget.
They are diverse but equally, downright effortless to implement.
Let’s all get to it.
And do our part to be more sustainable. Start with sharing this post!
Saving money while saving the world.
What do you think of this list? Have l missed anything?
Let me know with a comment.