Environmentally sustainable ways to reduce costs

Posted on May 21, 2020

Many households are facing financial pressures as the COVID-19 crisis interrupts the global and local economy. Here are a few ideas for ways to reduce costs while also helping the environment.

Drive less

Due to social distancing measures, the majority of us have been driving less because we have been working from home, limiting time at the shops and reducing non-essential travel. As social distancing measures are reduced, we may find ourselves tempted to return to pre-COVID-19 levels of driving. However, consider reducing petrol expenditure and emissions by trying out – or sticking with! – a few of these tips and tricks.

  • Walk or ride your bike: Many items you need are within reasonable walking or biking distance.
  • Bundle trips: If you have lots of errands to run, be sure to do them at the same time instead of making individual trips. One longer trip will be cheaper and will generate less emissions than several return trips.

Shop infrequently

Popping out to the shops can lead to impulse purchases of things you just don’t need. Making a list of what you do need (whether it’s food or other items), letting that list grow and then sticking to that list when you go shopping will help you stick to your budget.

How does this help the environment? Since food and objects bought on a whim are more likely to go to waste or be discarded, shopping infrequently will help reduce waste.

Seek out inexpensive forms of entertainment

There are plenty of things to do for entertainment that are cheap or free. Instead of eating out at a noisy restaurant, host a potluck-style dinner party or games night (or a Zoom dinner party, depending on restriction levels). Try out your local beaches instead of traveling farther afield. Staying local and using a limited range of resources will benefit the environment by reducing emissions and reducing the material cost of entertainment.

Another free way to stay occupied is to volunteer for a cause you believe in – we recommend an environmental cause!

Resell items

Reselling unwanted or unused household objects and clothing on a second-hand platform like Trademe can give your wallet a much-needed boost. And if there is something you really need to buy, you may find it second-hand at a more affordable price. Participating in the second-hand economy is great for the environment as it extends the lifetime of objects that otherwise would have ended up being thrown away.

Reduce your power use

Reducing your power usage will decrease your electricity bill and reduce your environmental footprint. Give some of the below ideas a try.

  • Turn off the lights when you leave a room.
  • Switch to LEDs.
  • Improve your insulation to reduce heating and cooling bills.
  • Turn down your water heater temperature, even if just by a few degrees.
  • Turn off appliances at the plug before bed so they aren’t unnecessarily using power throughout the night.

·If you have anoff-peak plan with Ecotricity, try to reduce your energy usage during peak hours. We have sometips hereon how to do this.