How I save £2500+ per year with sustainable living (2/3)

This episode is part two of highlighting the financial freedom my sustainable living journey has provided me with. Listen to part 1 of the How I save £2500+ per year with sustainable living series first! Zero waste living is often seen as an expensive thing to do. Many people are scared off by what they may think is expensive compared to conventional items. 

Many parts of my sustainable living journey have seen me simply becoming less of a consumer and purchasing things consciously. I ultimately buy much less these days because I’ve realised I don’t need it. And the things I do buy are usually long term investments that last much longer. So let’s get into it. 

Sustainable living without fast fashion

I have previously been a HUGE fast-fashion shopper. Three years ago, I wouldn’t dream of buying something secondhand and loved shopping sales online. It’s kind of hard to think back to. A common argument for fast fashion is that it provides clothing for people who don’t have the income to afford expensive clothing. Here’s something that will show you why this is incorrect. You may have heard of the Boots Theory of Socioeconomic Unfairness. It comes from the book Men at Arms by Terry Pratchett. In it, Captain Samuel Vimes is set to marry a very rich woman. He talks about the differences between rich and poor spending habits. Here’s a quote from the book:

“Take boots, for example. He earned thirty-eight dollars a month plus allowances. A really good pair of leather boots cost fifty dollars. But an affordable pair of boots, which were sort of OK for a season or two and then leaked like hell when the cardboard gave out, cost about ten dollars…

…But the thing was that good boots lasted for years and years. A man who could afford fifty dollars had a pair of boots that’d still be keeping his feet dry in ten years’ time, while the poor man who could only afford cheap boots would have spent a hundred dollars on boots in the same time and would still have wet feet.”

– Men at Arms by Terry Pratchett

Wow. This one paragraph made me realise how much money I was wasting on fashion that would quickly fall apart or fall out of fashion. I convinced myself I couldn’t afford quality clothes yet was spending far more than I ever do now. I previously bought about one fast-fashion piece every two weeks for approximately £20. Now I shop second-hand infrequently and also sell my clothes when I’m getting tired of them. Therefore, my fresh wardrobe probably costs me about £5 a month.

Savings = £460 per year. 

How I save £2500+ per year with sustainable living

Plastic-free Stop Paying For Water

Stop paying for water is the tagline of my eco-friendly business CONCENTR8ED for a reason. I came up with the business idea a few years ago when I was broke and paying an exorbitant amount of rent for a crappy London apartment. Really, I was just trying to find ways to save money while being somewhat zero waste. 

I was constantly tossing plastic bottles from shampoo, dishwashing liquid, body moisturiser, bathroom spray etc. But considering only 9% of plastic has ever been recycled, I knew these bottles likely wouldn’t be. When looking online for concentrated options, I learned that liquid products are 60-95% water. I’d been wasting my money and valuable cupboard space in my small city apartment on plastic bottles of water! I began looking for concentrated options so I could save money. But there weren’t many in my price range – even if they did replace 3 bottles worth. That’s why I set out about creating an affordable, no-fuss option. 

Click here to try a bathroom cleaning eco bar free

These days, I’ve made “stop paying for water” into a lifestyle of its own. Instead of buying canned coconut milk, I make my own using a jar of creamed coconut. This one jar is the equivalent of about 50 cans of coconut milk. I’ve stopped buying sweet chilli sauce and make my own because it’s also mostly water and super easy to make. I’ve swapped toothpaste for toothpaste tablets because toothpaste in a tube is mostly water. 

Read the ingredients list of the packaged items you’re buying and see if and where water/aqua is listed. Ingredients lists have to be ordered from the highest concentration to the lowest. And if aqua is at the start of the list, you can bet you’re paying for water. 

Savings = £80 per year

Sustainable living reusables

Businesses love to sell disposable items because it means that you’re likely to repurchase and spend more money with them. While that’s not always necessarily a bad thing, (e.g. food) it certainly is when it comes to plastic items. That combined with our ever-growing need for convenience is exactly what has fueled the plastic crisis we’re currently living through. 

Not only are disposables harmful to the environment, but they require an ongoing cost to keep repurchasing the product. It’s silly compared to something that you buy once for a slightly higher price and use over and over again. The disposables I’ve swapped include makeup rounds, razors, menstrual products, dental floss, straws, cling film, cleaning clothes, water filters and more.

Savings = £180 per year

Listen to Part 3 of How I save £2500+ per year with sustainable living

Eco Action Step:

I love love loved seeing all your photos last week on Instagram. Let’s keep this going and normalise zero waste living. Some people aren’t as motivated about the environment. But the opportunity to save some cash will open the door to producing less waste. This week, your eco action step is to show your number one money-saving hack or product for zero waste living. Whether it’s showing your favourite secondhand outfit or your adorable washable makeup rounds, add it to your Instagram story or put it in a post, and tag me @SarahBassett.co

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