To celebrate #EarthDay21, we’re looking at five ways you can save money, while saving the planet…

Going green isn’t just about giving up meat and plane travel. It’s an approach; a lifestyle choice geared towards reducing, reusing and – you guessed it – recycling.

In many ways, going green is similar to the advice we give people about saving money – it’s a mindset to get into, rather than one or two extreme changes.

1. Keep your energy bills down

Over the last year or so, many of us have been stuck at home during the week. As a result, more and more people are paying attention to their energy usage, making little changes here and there to keep their bills down.

Did you know?

Only 10% of the energy used in traditional bulbs is converted to light – the other 90% is lost as heat!

One of the quickest ways is to swap out your lightbulbs. LED lightbulbs have been proven to be much more energy efficient than their incandescent counterparts, lasting on average 10 times longer.

In short, modern bulbs will mean you use less energy, with fewer lightbulbs that need replacing. And it goes without saying – turning your lights off when leaving a room will make a huge difference!

In the colder months, your energy bills will shoot up as your house fights to keep itself warm. This increase isn’t simply down to you generating too much heat, but rather your home’s ability to stop the heat from getting out. As a result, see what quick fixes you can make to your home’s insulation, such as sealing any gaps, holes and cracks where heat can escape.

For more on this, check out our Top 5 Tips to Save Energy at Home.

2. Limit online spending

The way we shop has changed dramatically over the last few years. Most items can now be bought at the click of a button and owned in as little as a day. Unfortunately, this convenience doesn’t come without environmental cost.

Whenever we order something online, a driver – usually a private courier ­– has to make the journey to drop it off, then potentially return it. This means extra miles in a car, van, or even plane that could otherwise be avoided.

By limiting our online purchases to only necessities, we can reduce our carbon footprint whilst also cutting back on our spending. Ask yourself: ‘Do I really need this?’ Your wallet will thank you for it.

3. Cut out fast fashion

Nowhere else is next day delivery more present than in fast fashion. Thanks to the likes of ASOS and Boohoo, getting your hands on new clothes and accessories is easier than ever, and with the introduction of Klarna and other Buy Now, Pay Later schemes, shopping has never been simpler.

Have you found yourself missing payments to Buy Now, Pay Later schemes? 

As we’ve seen above, getting things instantly comes with a heavy environmental price, especially when many retailers promote quick and easy returns.

This has an added impact on our spending, as we are much more likely to order something if we know we can return it. Without that feature, many of us wouldn’t bother ordering at all!

A more sustainable alternative to fast fashion is online marketplaces. Not only can you buy items for a cheaper price, but they can also be delivered by post rather than private courier.

An added bonus of apps like Depop, Vinted and others, is that you can also list your own items, and potentially make some serious cash. It’s a great way to get rid of anything that’s too big, too small or not needed – it may even be the start of a new side-hustle.

4. Get on your bike

As it stands, transport is currently responsible for around 33% of CO2 UK emissions. The vast majority of this comes from cars, with almost 40m registered across the UK. Many of us can’t realistically get rid of our car, so why not consider biking those shorter journeys where possible?

The long-term physical, financial, and environmental benefits of owning a bike will far outweigh the initial cost of buying one. You’ll not only save money on fuel, running costs and repairs, but you’ll cut down your carbon footprint and get in shape while doing it!

If you need to use your car every day, there are still ways you can make your journeys more efficient. Try to make sure that your tyres are always pumped up to avoid your car working harder than it has to, and always try and drive in a high gear where possible – within the speed limit of course.

5. Plan your food shop

How much food do you throw away at the end of each week? In the UK, it’s estimated that around 6.7m tonnes of food is wasted each year, that’s nearly £400 per household.

Not only is this a huge financial cost, The FAO (Food & Agriculture Organisation) reports that food waste accounts for around 8% of human-produced gas emissions.

We can cut down our food waste by planning. Make sure you know what your meals will look like before you visit the supermarket. Plan before, and you’ll never spend more than you need to. Another good idea is to be realistic. Try and account for any cheat days or Friday night takeaways ­– the less you buy, the less you’ll throw away.

Going green doesn’t need to be difficult, and it doesn’t need to involve any major life changes. Like with saving money, it’s often the little things that make a difference.

If you’re keen to learn about more ways you can save money or maximise your income, take a look through our Financial Wellbeing Hub today.