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Month: January 2018

Looking after your finances. And our planet

Looking after your finances. And our planet

Since you’re here reading this, I’m guessing that you try to consider what you can do to minimise your impact on the planet without needing to spend a lot of money.

Sometimes, I invest a little more to make green choices, and if you’re able to do that, it’s really cool. Like choosing to offset your carbon emissions, or choosing a 100% renewable energy supply.

But, making positive environmental choices doesn’t have to cost you money, and the good news is that it can often save you money. And we all love a win win situation!

After watching the extent to which we are killing our oceans and marine life in Blue Planet 2, I have a renewed energy* for making more changes that help protect our planet and I know from various news stories and twitter chatter, I’m not the only one. I may have no power to reduce how much China and Indonesia (Ecowatch.com) dump into our oceans but that shouldn’t stop us taking responsibilities for our actions.

Saving money and the environment. As easy as 1, 2… 15

There are lots of ways you can save money and the environment. Rather than bombard you with a list of a million things you could or should do, this list of 15 gives you a good selection of easy options to get started with, or to continue with, your money and environment saving efforts.

  1. Clean with white vinegar. THIS is on my to do list this year. Plastic bottles of chemical cleaners are not cool.
  2. Carry a reusable water bottle. Please tell me you do this already? Oh, and you can put squash is reusable bottles, so you’re not gonna need to take fruit shoots everywhere for the kids.
  3. Repair broken items. If this concept is new to you, start small. If you’re good at it, gift it! Fixing something that your friend or family member loves is much more meaningful than buying a new something-or-other
  4. Drink less wine. Yikes! I went there! But wine production has a huge environmental impact, mostly due to the production of glass bottles and the machinery used in the manufacturing process.
  5. Choose loose fruit and vegetables. This week, loose broccoli at Sainsbury’s was 19p per kilo cheaper than broccoli in plastic wrapping. Why wouldn’t you?
  6. Use the library and buy used books. If you have an E-Reader, its an awesome way to enjoy loads of books without a physical copy.
  7. Reflect on a purchase for at least 24 hours before buying. This is just good ol’ money advice, but hey- buying less junk is good for the environment too
  8. Walk instead of drive. 
  9. Switch off lights when you’re not using them (and yell at others to do the same! Seriously, why are all the lights on all the time??)
  10. Eat less meat. It could be a meat free day each week, or just a smaller portion.
  11. Wash clothes at a lower temperature. And be sensible about what you’re washing. Washing clothes too often is only going to wear them out faster.
  12. Eat fewer packets of crisps and bars of chocolate. They’re individually packaged in non-biodegradable packaging.
  13. Challenge yourself to get a low cost per use of every item you own. Using an item only once is NOT cool
  14. Don’t drive like an idiot. Accelerate slowly. Like, not ridiculously slowly… you know what I mean. Driving fuel efficiently is going to do wonders for your wallet as well as reducing your car’s emissions.
  15. Research your purchases. Otherwise you’ll end up with a shitty kettle or TV that makes you want to throw it out of the window. Yes, I’m talking about my kettle and TV, which I failed to properly research.

Getting started

There’s a good chance that you do some of these already, which is great! Next up is adding a few more into your normal routine.

You could add reminders into your calendar, or on your shopping list, put a post it note on your car dashboard, or just pin this post for later and come back to it.

If you’ve had any success or particular challenges in making environmental choices, or have any cool alternatives,  please do join in the conversation and add a comment!

 

*Pun not intended but I’m quite pleased with it, so it’s staying in!

The small, big wins

The small, big wins

You don’t have to look far to find some pretty incredible achievements, be it paying off thousands in debt in a few short years, amassing a million pounds plus in investments or retiring (years and years!) before hitting 40. And they’re just financial achievements.

Naturally, these are the kinds of accomplishments people celebrate, write about, and share. They’re the kind of accomplishments that you and I most likely devour word by word, reading how they did it and wondering if we can emulate that same success ourselves.

Sometimes these stories are hugely uplifting and motivating, giving us new ideas, renewed energy or even being part of our epiphany- financial, or otherwise. Sometimes, while this isn’t their intention, they can leave you feeling a little lost, frustrated or even- dare I suggest- envious.

Often, achieving these huge goals becomes easier as time passes. That’s not to say a gargantuan effort didn’t go into them for a long period of time. Just that, by the time you’re at the point of reaching this kind of achievement, you have built up momentum, you have got used to doing things a certain way, you have formed strong, positive habits, and you’re springing upwards from solid foundations.

My small, big win

I realised today how much bigger the small wins are than we give credit for. Because I’ve done something that, for ten years, I didn’t have faith that I could do. It sounds like the smallest, most irrelevant thing that someone could tell you.

Today, I made a pie.

For ten years, I avoided making pie, specifically making pastry. I don’t believe it was deliberate, but at some point I erected a barrier in my mind and never questioned it. The barrier that said ‘you’re not a pastry maker’.

Perhaps this is the most ridiculous thing you’ve read. How someone could spend 10 years of their lives avoiding making pastry out of fear? I wasn’t even aware I’d built this up in my mind until I gave myself an ultimatum to use my rolling pin, or else it would be banished from my house.

Though there can be few more simple achievements, it has genuinely set the tone for the year. A tone that says more is possible than I permit myself to believe. 

In itself, it is a small win, but it paves the way for more success.

More small, big wins

So the pie is probably irrelevant to you. That’s fine. It’s big deal to me, because it’s my barrier that I broke down.

Unless you have a similar irrational fear of making pastry, I don’t particularly recommend making a pie. However, I do recommend identifying what barriers you have in your mind and taking the first small steps to your big win.

Maybe your fitness is really low. Choosing to go out for a run is a big win.

Maybe you overspend on takeaways. Choosing to home cook a meal in favour of another take out is a big win.

Maybe you’re living paycheck to paycheck. The first time you can weather an unexpected bill without resorting to borrowing more money is a big win.

Maybe the fear of losing everything is stopping you from investing. The first investment is a big win.

The incredible journey can’t begin if you don’t take a step.