Saving money and still living sustainably? You can do this surprisingly easily in everyday life! You just need to know how: Here are 7 specific tips on how to relieve your wallet and at the same time do something for the environment and the climate.
Living more sustainably and saving money in the process – that doesn’t contradict each other? The cheapest alternatives are not often the most harmful to the environment – as is the case with low-quality plastic items that cost little but pollute the environment with toxins and waste?
Fortunately, this claim only applies to a part of our everyday life and usually only to that consumption, which on closer inspection turns out to be superfluous anyway. Because who needs plastic junk??
The most sustainable and economical way of life would be to stop consuming anything at all. But that would also significantly reduce our zest for life. And such a radical approach is not necessary at all. It is enough to ask yourself whether you can not replace some of your favorite habits with cheaper practices – cheaper for our environment and your bank account.
Here 7 good tips that save money in everyday life – and have a lasting effect!
1. Save money with your own water bottle
Water in plastic bottles is not particularly expensive, but it helps our planet slowly but surely sink into (plastic) waste. It is completely unnecessary to transport plastic water to us from distant countries, after all, high quality drinking water flows from every German tap.
If you have a durable, pollution-free drinking bottle – e.g. made of glass or stainless steel – you can quench your thirst anywhere and at any time free of charge in the future and also save money. Dense, durable and pollution-free drinking bottles are available from around 15 euros, for example from Soulbottles, Klean Kanteen, Emil and other manufacturers.
Estimated savings: 60 cents a day for drinks in plastic bottles = approx. 200 euros a year.
With your own drinking bottle, you not only quench your thirst for free, but avoid amounts of plastic. (Photo: © Martin Sanchez – Unsplash.com)
2. Bubble water yourself, in the office and at home
But if you prefer to drink carbonated water? You can save money here with a good solution that has already established itself in many households and offices: a stable drinking water bubbler that supplies fresh mineral water in reusable glass bottles at the push of a button.
The acquisition costs are reasonable: water aerators with good test results are available for 70 euros. And they have recovered after a year at the latest, even if only one person is using the device. Not to mention that you no longer have to lug water boxes and save a lot of garbage and transportation costs, because no more water has to be driven around for you.
Estimated savings: 1 liter of mineral water at 55 cents a day = approx. 200 euros a year.
3. Save money with LED lamps
Those who still have lightbulbs in use burn money. Literally, because the outdated lamps emit most of their energy as heat, not as light. For example, if you replace a 75-watt incandescent lamp with a comparable LED bulb, you save over 20 euros a year with four hours of operation a day. If you add that to ten lamps in the household, a lot quickly comes together.
And the acquisition costs? LED bulbs now only cost two to three euros. Another plus: the longer service life and the fact that LED lamps emit full brightness immediately after switching on.
Estimated savings: 20 euros a year per replaced bulb.
In order to reduce energy costs, the purchase of LED lamps is worthwhile. (Photo: © Pixabay)
4. Avoid disposable fashion
According to the Federal Statistical Office, every private household in Germany spent over 100 euros a month on fashion, laundry, shoes or accessories in 2016. And: Germans buy 60 new items of clothing every year. Much of it is not only made under miserable conditions, but is only worn a few times. The nonsensical trend also has a name: "Fast Fashion". And that goes into the money.
What would your wardrobe look like if you only bought a few, but particularly high-quality and durable items of clothing per year? Of which you have had something for a long time and which – because they were produced fairly and free of pollutants – still make you happy after years? Incidentally, this is already a trend – and with "Slow Fashion" you can also save money.
The best thing to do is make sure that your purchases can be combined well, so you can achieve a rich wardrobe with just a few pieces. You only get cheaper and more sustainable if you buy second-hand clothing.
Estimated savings: Different, with smart buying behavior but quickly several hundred euros a year.
5. Borrow, repair, exchange, buy used
In retrospect, much of what seemed to be a matter of course in order to save a few euros turns out to be not only inexpensive, but also extremely resource-saving. You can save money with, for example
- Couchsurfing à la ,
- Used portals like ,
- City and lending libraries,
- Neighborhood networks like ,
- private car sharing like ,
- Exchange sites like .
All of these methods and networks elude the environmentally harmful and wastefully expensive logic that each individual must acquire each item again and again and exclusively for their own use. What they all have in common is that objects can be given a second, third or thirtieth life by being passed on or shared and do not disappear in private ownership most of the time.
Estimated savings: Individual, but great potential. For the use of car sharing alone, there are calculations that assume savings of over 1,000 euros per year. Also in the areas of travel, entertainment, household, electronics and fashion, smart, sustainable action can save considerable sums every year.
6. Put old contracts to the test
Mobile phone and phone tariffs, electricity and gas providers, ongoing insurance and bank accounts: every permanent direct debit that you have given in your life costs you money every month. However, the same services are often much cheaper and even better and you can save money by changing tariffs. Mobile operators in particular have a reputation for having their clientele wriggle for years in unfavorable old contracts and only come around the corner with (supposedly) better offers if you submit the notice of termination. Do exactly that!
Check all your contracts and don’t be afraid to switch. You will find that sometimes you have spent money unnecessarily for months and years. On this occasion, you should check whether switching to a green electricity provider (may be cheaper than the regional provider), sustainable insurance or one is worthwhile. So you not only get better conditions, but also a provider who stands for sustainable action and climate protection instead of maximizing profit.
Estimated savings: Individually, when changing to a different mobile phone or electricity tariff but quickly over 100 euros a year.
7. Save CO2 and money when traveling
Here are a few numbers: Let’s assume you want to travel from Munich to Berlin on June 1st (approx. 500 km). Then you would have to estimate very different prices for different means of transport:
- For example, in the best case, the train only costs 20 euros for the ICE, the journey takes four to five hours.
- The cheapest flight provider starts at 36 euros; However, there are no baggage costs or transfer costs between train and airport, which add up to about 30 euros, so that at least 66 euros would be due for the flight. The flight time is also four to five hours.
- Driving in your own car would cost around 90 euros for a gasoline engine that swallows 7 liters per 100 km if you include the wear and tear of the car. Here, too, the journey time would be less than four hours in exceptional cases.
- A well-known coach operator offers a direct trip from ZOB to ZOB for 23 euros. You can save a lot of money with the long-distance bus – but you have to put up with a seven-hour journey.
Carpooling, a coach or train are often cheaper and more environmentally friendly than a plane. (Photo: © Slava Bowman – Unsplash.com)
Of course, these numbers are difficult to generalize. But it also becomes clear: Cheap offers for coaches, carpooling or trains are often below the prices for the plane or your own car. And they are not necessarily slower either.
Also important: flights and private cars also cause a multiple of CO2 emissions for the route mentioned with 123 kg (plane) or 100 kg (car). The train (19 kg) and coach (14 kg) only follow at a great distance.
Estimated savings: Very individual. Assuming savings of 30 euros each way, you can save 240 euros a year on four trips to Munich-Berlin (and back).
This post also appears on the Triodos Bank blog
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