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As citizens of the world, it’s fast becoming apparent that in order to preserve this blue planet, we must each make personal choices to mitigate the harm that we do to it. This doesn’t have to be expensive, and being a responsible Earthling can, in fact, save you money. Here’s a small incomprehensive list of considerations that we can make to save the planet and our pennies at the same time.
Change your diet
If you’ve been paying attention to anything at all so far in 2019, you’ll notice that veganism is having a bit of a moment. Even if you don’t fancy going fully vegan, at least going vegetarian will still cut your carbon emissions, and you may also find it cheaper in the long term too. Meat costs a lot to cultivate, and thus uses more water and energy than vegetables too, not to mention more land. Over the past decade, not only has Quorn expanded its range, but a number of meat-free start-ups have been springing up too.
Invest in some reusable things
Supermarkets now sell a range of bags for life, starting at as little as 10p, and going up to a few quid. It’s up to you how much you want to spend, and they often come in limited editions. Reusable coffee cups can be hideously expensive – one fellow Mouth Money blogger admitted to forking out £12 for hers! However, if you care about saving money, you can easily find these for as little as a couple of quid. Coffee shops like Pret and Starbucks also offer customers a discount, or free coffee with this once in a life-time purchase.
Be frugal with your fashion
It’s no secret that the fast fashion industry isn’t exactly environmentally friendly. Despite the poverty wages paid to its factory workers, fast fashion is expensive. Instead of buying so much of it, why not embrace your inner bargain hunter and hit the charity shops to find that timeless piece that no-one else will have?
If you do feel tempted to buy a piece first hand, invest in clothes that you can see yourself wearing for years to come, and don’t be afraid to get your sewing machine out to fix things once they start to fall apart.
Plan your family wisely
I’m going to upset a lot of parents here – the choice to have children is the most environmentally destructive decision that we can make. Reducing your family size by one child can save an average of 58.6 tons of Co2 emissions per year – that’s more than flying, eating meat, and all the other things that you can cut down on to save the planet per year.
On top of being bad for the environment, each new child brings with it a hefty price tag. According to a recent study done by Loughborough University, the cost of raising a child to the age of 18 is approximately £150,753. So, having a small family, or deciding that children just aren’t for you can save a lot of money.
If you do choose to have children, you can further help to mitigate the cost to the environment and your wallet by opting for reusable nappies. Although a set of these can admittedly be quite pricey, considering the average new born sails through 12 diapers a day, it’s easy to potentially save hundreds with this choice. In addition to this, some local authorities have also put money aside to help support you in trying cloth diapers. There are also communities for buying and selling second hand (if you’re brave enough).
There are plenty more ways that you can save money to mitigate the damage that you do to the environment. Even if it was expensive, would you really like to be the one to tell your grand children that being environmentally responsible just cost a bit too much to be worth the effort?
Maddy is a freelance illustrator who lives in Glasgow. She's recently graduated and is working hard to make ends meet. Self-employed? Read Maddy's experiences here.