It’s no secret that the cost of living has gone up by a scary extent over the last few months. I wanted to write a blog post about it, because whilst this blog has a focus on the eco-friendly lifestyle, I have had a few people say to me recently that they can’t focus on living green at the moment because of the cost of living crisis.
My response is that these two things do not have to be separate! It’s a real misconception that you can’t live an eco-conscious life and be frugal.
I often feel that when I’m more in control of my finances, all the other aspects of my life that are important to me, such as exercise, healthy eating and green living all fall in to place more easily.
This is a topic that I’m really interested in, so look out for future blog posts.
Reduce your energy costs
This is a big one, particularly at the moment since the price cap removal. Rather than panicking, make a list of few simple things you can do that will make a difference to your bills. Remember lots of little changes can make a cumulative difference to your energy usage – better for the planet, and might not make those bills quite so awful. Some ideas to start you off:
- Turn down your thermostat
- Use a slow cooker or electric pressure cooker instead of your oven
- Boil only the amount of water you need in the kettle
- Play a game with your children and see who can turn off unused switches and lights the quickest
Make a budget
This really doesn’t need to be complicated! I’m always amazed at how few people budget. Whilst you can use a fancy spreadsheet, app or program, it can be as simple as the old fashioned way – writing down a list of your income(s), fixed outgoings (bills, debts, rent etc) and discretionary spending.
Choose some goals
Once you’ve got a basic budget, you can decide what you want to do with it. Money management is a bit like healthy living – if you try and tackle everything at once, you’re probably much more likely to fail. Instead, set some goals for the next few weeks, months or even years. Then choose one or two areas to reduce your spending e.g. if you’re currently spending £500 a month on food, a goal could be to reduce this to £400/month. Then write some steps of how you’re going to do it e.g. meal planning, switching supermarkets etc.
Say no to debt
Debt has become way too normal in modern society, and the rise of ‘buy now, pay later’ schemes have made it even easier. The most important thing for getting on top of your finances is to break this cycle. Once you’ve made this decision, there are number of different strategies for getting on top of it. Start of by listing all your debts (inc car payments), but excluding mortgage. Options then include:
- Debt ‘snowball’ – Paying off debts smallest to largest, despite interest rates. Good for a psychological win!
- Debt ‘avalanche’ – paying off the debt with the highest interest rate first
- Debt consolidation
- Debt charities – particularly if you’re struggling mentally