How making simple sustainable choices in your everyday life can create financial benefits

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This article is sponsored by CUA.  »

In the latest instalment of The Finance Glow Up, a free online seminar made in partnership with financial provider CUA, two-time podcast host and Toni May creative director Laura Byrne discussed sustainability with CUA money expert Emmanuel Davatzis. During this seminar, they spoke about the choices and changes that you, as an individual, can make to help create a more sustainable future.

We’ve broken down a few of the ways that the average Australian can reduce the the amount of waste in their everyday life, along with the sustainable and financial benefits that can come from it.

Avoid the easy shortcut

If you’re trying to save money, you’re more willing to take the faster and cheaper option, because it’s more beneficial within the moment. But while it might be a more convenient option, it isn’t always the best option.

Byrne uses fashion and clothes as a good example on how easy it is to slip into bad habits when it comes to purchases and the regularity of use. She mentions that 80% of the textile purchases we make end up in landfill.

“Fast fashion is there because it’s cheap and affordable,” Byrne explains, “So you end up buying a t-shirt that you’ll wear two times before you throw it in the trash. It won’t last you.”

To avoid making less sustainable choices when it comes to her purchases, Byrne allows herself to buy clothing that may be a bit more expensive, but will last longer. These purchases are factored into her budget, so she’s still able to save and stops her from making impulse purchases, “I don’t feel guilty if I spend some money on nicer pieces that have a bit more longevity to them, that I know I’m going to wear for a couple of years.”

To help you get into the habit of saving more, you can try using something like CUA’s Savings Planner Calculator. It’s a helpful tool that you can use make sure you stay on track with your savings,


Even the littlest things can have a huge impact

Byrne suggested using beeswax wraps to seal food, instead of a plastic cling wrap. She also mentions that it’s helpful to make sure you have energy efficient light bulbs installed, which will lower the amount of energy you use regularly, while also reducing your power bill. The same goes for using more energy efficient appliances – especially white-goods like your fridge or washing machine.

Davatzis mentioned that he and his wife go through six to eight espresso pods each day. To be more sustainable, he now purchases his own coffee grounds and uses a reusable, stainless steel pod. This way, he’s minimising the amount of waste he creates on a day-to-day basis.

On top of being a sustainable option, there’s also a financial bonus. An average pod now costs Davatzis $0.17, instead of $0.85–0.90. He notes that while that amount may not seem like much, it adds up over time when you multiply those individual amounts by eight per day, then seven days a week and 52 weeks for a year. Now he only pays around $495, annually, instead of $2,475 to $2,620.

Another thing Davatzis mentions speaks to the old idiom that one man’s trash is another man’s treasure. It’s possible to recycle items you no longer have any use for, like clothes, toys or even textbooks, and you’ll also some money on top too. If you have an old, unused smartphone laying around, consider seeking out a company that will pay you for the precious metals that are used to build it.

It’s important to know where your money is going

Being more environmentally aware and progressive in your everyday choices is important. While we can change our lives on an individual level, the businesses you do business with can also strive to be more sustainable.

Climate change has been directly linked as a contributing factor to the bushfires that ravaged eastern Australia earlier this year, so the issues of being more environmentally sustainable with our actions. Byrne notes that, “we don’t have the excuse of being ignorant about these things anymore”, as we can easily search out what businesses are making more sustainable choices, along with where and how their products are made.

So before handing over our money to a company, it’s important that we question what they’ll be doing with your money, and what they’re currently doing to be sustainable. Davatzis proudly notes that CUA doesn’t lend money or invest in companies that have anything to do with fossil fuels.

Doing business with companies that reflect your values, and are committed to being more sustainable and eco-friendly is important. The choices you make now, no matter how small, can make a huge impact in the long run.

The third and final session of The Finance Glow Up will be taking place on Wednesday, December 2, and will explore financial stability, managing cash flows, chatting to your partner about finances and how to appropriately plan for the future. One lucky attendee will also walk away with a CUA everyday bank account loaded with $500 to kickstart their financial freedom. Register below.


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