The rising cost of living is a huge concern for all of us in the UK. Households and businesses are feeling the squeeze, amid fears of a recession. While nobody at Bagmaya wants to fuel the anxiety, it’s important to talk about how to reduce costs. Because luckily, sustainable lifestyle changes can create serious savings.
Below, we share five impactful ways to save your money this Autumn. These thrifty tips are not just better for your bank balance. They are better for us all, too.
But before we turn our attention to tightening the purse strings, a word of caution. Poverty exists in the UK, both absolute and relative. Sadly, this trend is likely to increase. If you are struggling, or know someone who is, please seek support. Charities like Turn2Us are a good place to start.
1. Plant-based foods reduce costs and carbon emissions
UK consumers are forking out for groceries, as food inflation hits levels unseen since 2008. Sustainable eating changes can save you serious money. Many of the eco-friendly eating tips we listed here will help to reduce your grocery bills, too.
One key change is switching to vegetarian and vegan foods. Limiting meat and dairy consumption is better for your carbon footprint, as you know. Yet plant-based foods also cost less than animal equivalents. Just think about the price of the ingredients in a lentil dahl: onion, garlic, pulses, spices, rice. It comes in at less than £1 per head. Now compare that to a buying sirloin steak!
However, it’s not just meat. Milk, eggs, butter and cheese are all at a record high. So, eating more plant-based foods can definitely help your household reduce the rising cost of groceries this Autumn.
2. Food sharing schemes cut waste and create savings
Grocery sharing schemes are part of our sustainable future. Food hubs run throughout the UK, operating on a local basis to create wider change. This chimes with Bagmaya’s core ethos.
Community food projects cut waste, while also reducing the rising cost of living. In essence, volunteers rescue food from going to landfill. Teams collect donations every day from supermarkets, allotments, bakeries, and even local farmers. Then, they give this food back to their community. There is always plenty of fresh, seasonal produce to enjoy.
Food schemes are open to all. All food is free. Or, you pay what you feel. To get started, search “food hub” or “community fridge” on social media for options near you.
While we are talking about food waste, don’t forget to boost food efficiency at home. To start, you could try making smaller, more frequent trips to the grocery store. This ensures you buy only what you will eat. If you find your household is still throwing food away, at least you can make your own compost from the leftovers.
Also, ready meals. Although they may look tempting, the packaging generates lots of waste. What’s more, home cooked food is so much cheaper and healthier.
Last, frozen vegetables. They are fantastic staples for batch cooking; you can even buy freezer packs of essentials like onions, garlic, and herbs. Frozen food costs far less than fresh equivalents and further reduces unnecessary waste.
3. Replace disposable items with reusable alternatives
Lots of us rely on disposable household items, when sustainable options are available. Green alternatives work out cheaper in the long run, too.
First: sustainable toiletries. The general rule for savings here is to switch from liquids (sold in plastic bottles) to solids. In this way, you cut waste and your costs. Instead of buying make up wipes, why not use a facial cleanser? Liquid shampoos, conditioners, shower gels and hand washes may seem cheap at the till, but solid alternatives like shampoo bars and soaps last so much longer.
Next, personal care. Disposable products are often seen as more convenient. Yet a menstrual cup costs the same as a few boxes of tampons. Also, reusable nappies can save parents £200-£500 per child.
Finally, don’t forget to recycle and reuse household items wherever possible. Unwanted t-shirts and odd socks can be repurposed as cleaning rags. That way, you can save money on paper towels and dustcloths. If you do need to buy new textiles, charity shops are a great place to start. Naturally, you should contribute to the second-hand economy by donating your old clothes too.
Once you start reusing items at home, you will be amazed at your own creativity. Objects you once threw away without a second thought will become useful mainstays, reducing waste and the rising cost of living.
4. Go green to minimise fuel and energy expenditure
There are no two ways about it: energy costs are at the forefront of people’s concerns. Experts say the problem is at crisis levels, as domestic gas and electric bills soar.
At the local, national, and global levels, greener energy offers a solution. Therefore, on a household basis, you should investigate grants and schemes to make your home more energy efficient.
Many local councils subsidise (or fund outright) the installation of insulation, heat pumps, high retention heating, solar PV panels, and battery storage technology. There are measures you can take, too. DIY energy efficiency like draught excluders can help to combat heat loss and reduce bills.
When it comes to fuel, remember that a bicycle costs nothing to run. Lots of employers offer cycle to work schemes. Second-hand bikes are available for less than the cost of one tank of petrol.
5. Reduce the rising cost of living by reviewing consumer spending
Finally, a quick note about consumer items and activities. These include recreation and leisure, eating out, and non-essential purchases like homeware and fashion.
Most UK households have already cut down on costly, high-carbon purchases like short foreign holidays and big ticket sporting events. However, if you cut down on the smaller treats, like restaurant food and clothes shopping, you can save a lot of money. Of course, it’s more eco-friendly too.
It’s important to be honest here. Lukewarm takeaways delivered to your doorstep are costly, in terms of cash and carbon. Households that spend £50 a week on takeaway food create 450% more emissions, according to a 2021 study by Uswitch. As for clothes, we know that fast fashion is bad for the planet. In the long run, slow fashion is better your for bank balance.
Cost of living, joy of living
At Bagmaya, we believe we all deserve to live happy, healthy, and prosperous lives. Sustainability is at the heart of creating that future.
Nobody should have to go without essentials. Poverty is real, pressing, and growing. Yet many of us in the UK have been used to viewing consumer luxuries as essentials, when simple pleasures are often more satisfying. Furthermore, simpler lifestyles are more sustainable.
With all the focus on the cost of living, perhaps we have forgotten the joy of living.
If you agree, please share this article with your network. That way, more of us can live happier, healthier, more sustainable lives this Autumn and beyond.