Money Bite-Size Read:
- Many of us care about sustainability and protecting our environment.
- However, you need to ensure your spending habits reflect those values.
- Here’s some big spending switches you can make to save money and save the planet.
The Money Bites Take:
If you care about sustainability, you need to look at your spending choices and make spending switches that will add up to help save the planet.
Most people care about the planet we live on.
While billionaires blast money into space tourism, there’s a growing call, including recently from Prince William, to focus on looking after planet Earth. That makes sense to most of us as only a limited number have the fortunes to spend on a rocket to Planet B.
However, we are often quicker to pick up a protest sign than look at our own behaviour.
Celebrities are the worst offenders for facilitating this inaction. Their love of private planes adds up to nearly 1% of total carbon emissions for the USA in 2019, and it’s predicted to rise to 4% in the coming decades. Our celebrity role models may talk about climate change, but they are not leading by example.
Instead, it is we who need to lead and set the behaviour trend.
We have the power to make a difference in total emissions. We tend to measure individual usage by households or the homes we live in. For Australia, households may consume 10% of Australia’s total energy, but we also contribute about 20% of the country’s carbon footprint.
We’re adopting renewables at record rates and need to extend this to other spending decisions. Because if you want to change the world, you must first master your money and take ownership of your spending. Every dollar, every pound, every cent you spend makes a difference.
Here’s big spending switches you can make to save money and save the planet:
1. Switch your machine dryer for a clothes air dryer
Invest in a drying rack and air dry your clothes to ditch your energy-intensive machine dryer. You’ll also save money on your energy bills by making this switch, which is money that you can then donate to a cause you believe in.
2. Switch eating meat every day for being vegetarian one day a week
If you want to support farmers and reduce your footprint, try being a flexitarian. That could mean being vegetarian as a sustainable consumer choice once a week. Simple switches such as adding lentils to a dish rather than meat will make it easier to eat vegetarian dishes more often.
3. Switch leaving the air conditioning on for adjusting your clothing to the weather
In the depths of winter or summer, we reach for the air conditioning remote to heat or cool our homes. Instead, adapt your clothing to the weather, such as putting on warm clothes or blankets in winter to help moderate your energy usage.
4. Switch the highest heat setting for turning down the thermostat by a degree
If you need the comforts of a heater in winter, adjust your thermostat to reduce your usage. You can save as much as 10% a year by slightly adjusting the thermostat temperature.
5. Switch hot washes for a cold-water wash cycle
Most of us automatically use a hot wash cycle for washing our dishes and clothes. This isn’t always needed, and given over 20% of an average energy bill is just spent on heating up that water, switch up your washing cycle.
6. Switch fast fashion for responsibly disposing of clothes
Our fast-fashion habit is out of control. The average Australian buys 27kg of clothes a year and sends 23kg of these textiles to landfill. We need to take responsibility for our fashion choices. That includes selling clothes to give them a second life to make money from your wardrobe, as well as buying quality clothes only when you need them.
7. Switch standby mode for turning off appliances
Our use of devices has increased, with the average home having nearly 20 connected devices in 2023. While one device uses a relatively small amount of energy on standby mode, this adds up. Instead, buy a multiway adapter with individual switches to turn appliances off when they’re not in use.
8. Switch supermarket impulse shopping for planning out your meals
Food waste is a cumulative problem because of the energy costs that goes into transporting and producing the food we then waste. The average Australian wastes 1 in 5 grocery bags of food per year, costing $2,000 to $2,500 per household. Instead, plan out your meals and reap the savings on your grocery bill.
9. Switch financial ignorance for knowing where your money is invested
Many of us don’t realise that we start investing in the market through out retirement funds. Take the time to sort out your super and know what your money is invested in. You should be able to find a balance between making enough money to retire on and being with a super fund that matches your values.
10. Switch letting heat escape for insulating your house
Insulation is crucial at keeping the heating and cooling you already pay for stay put in your home. Spending money on insulating your roof or ceiling is an initial cost you’ll save later in energy bill reductions. You can also install insulation blinds if you don’t own the home you live in.
Making just one of these big spending switches will add up.
We cannot expect governments or businesses to bail us out of a situation we actively contribute to. We elect governments, we buy from businesses, and we need to take action now to save the planet by ensuring our spending choices match our values.