What is the connection between sustainability and financial well-being? It’s closer than you might think. Thinking about changes we can implement to increase our sustainability simultaneously supports our prudent financial changes. It is our motivation that is key to sustaining change. The “why” in changes to our habits is just as critical as the “how.”
The lens which you use to view your lifestyle changes may impact how likely you are to sustain those habits for the long term. Connecting to our “why” can unlock the motivation we need to stay the course. Turning off the lights when you leave a room to pinch pennies may seem desperate and frugal, but flipping the switch on your way out to conserve electricity and reduce tension to the electric grid gives the same action new meaning. By viewing our actions as supporting sustainability rather than acts of deprivation, we can find simple ways to bridge the intersection of sustainability and financial conservation.
Living sustainably means avoiding the depletion of natural resources to maintain an ecological balance. Most of us want to live sustainably. We want to keep our air, water, and world clean. Fortunately, there are tried and true ways to keep our finances healthy while keeping our carbon footprint down. By taking a few mindful steps, we can make a difference. With that in mind, here are three easy, everyday changes to help create a sustainable world while protecting your financial well-being.
1. Drive under the speed limit.
The established speed limits are set in place to promote safe driving. They were also designed for optimal fuel mileage and minimal wear and tear on a vehicle. But remember, these are the speed limits, meaning you shouldn’t exceed them. That doesn’t mean they’re the speed you should drive. By driving 65 miles per hour on the interstate, you will increase your fuel mileage significantly and prolong the life of your tires. While this may not seem like much, it quickly adds up to large financial savings.
2. Stop using disposable cups and bottles.
Did you know many major coffee chains sell reusable cups, and if you bring them back in, they’ll give you a discount on your drink? If you visit coffee shops regularly, you’ll wind up saving a lot of money for a minimal initial investment. Plus, there’s the added bonus of reducing the number of disposable cups winding up in a landfill.
The same goes for plastic bottles. By purchasing a reusable water bottle and filling it up at home instead of buying a single-use plastic bottle, you’re decreasing the weight of your community’s trash and increasing the weight of your wallet.
3. Reduce clothing waste
The fashion industry is one of the most wasteful industries in the world. We can minimize the impact of clothing waste by embracing “gently used” clothing, which almost always comes at a discounted price. While some people may be hesitant to hit the racks of a thrift shop, there are consignment stores that specialize in reselling designer items, usually at a significant discount. Additionally, these same shops are more than happy to buy any high-end outfits you no longer wear.
4. Shorten showers
Who doesn’t love a long, luxurious, relaxing shower? Unfortunately, those few extra minutes can put a serious cramp in your utility bills and waste several gallons of water. By shortening the length of your shower, or by turning the water off while soaping up, you’ll save on money and reduce water waste.
5. Adjust your thermostat
You may not notice if your home is one or two degrees warmer or cooler, but your bank account will. Turning the air or heat down just a notch can lead to big savings. It also reduces the amount of energy your home expends, which will significantly reduce your overall carbon footprint.