Foster Denovo|News & blogs|Opinion|5 practical ways to live more sustainably and save money

5 practical ways to live more sustainably and save money

The climate crisis has dominated headlines in recent years, as the effects of climate change become more apparent.

Research from Royal London has found that the extreme weather events of the past few years, such as heatwaves, floods, and wildfires, have caused 60% of people in the UK to feel concerned about climate change. This concern has led to many people changing their behaviours in order to help tackle the crisis.

But not everyone has felt able to help. The survey found that 38% of people felt it was too expensive to live more sustainably and 34% were more concerned with their energy bills than sustainable living.

If you’d like to do more to help combat the climate crisis but are feeling held back by financial constraints, rest assured that there are still ways you can help that cost little or nothing. Here are five ideas to help you fight climate change and save money at the same time.

1. Invest your pension in an ethical fund

This is a change that won’t affect your monthly expenses at all, but means your money won’t be invested in supporting things like fossil fuels. This is known as Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) investing.

Some pension providers have a ready-made portfolio that excludes funds from certain industries or sectors that don’t align with ESG investing. If you’d like to switch your pension into a portfolio like this, it could be easy as clicking a button on their website.

Other pension providers might allow you to be more hands-on when it comes to choosing which industries you invest in and which you exclude from your portfolio.

It could be beneficial to speak to your financial planner for help before making decisions about moving your pension fund to be sure that you are making the right choice for you. They will be able to advise you about the possible risks and returns and help you to understand what is most appropriate for your circumstances.

2. Reduce your meat consumption

Reducing your meat consumption is a win-win, as it could help you to reduce your carbon footprint and also save you money on your weekly shop.

According to the United Nations Food and Agricultural Organization, meat and dairy accounts for roughly 14% of all carbon emissions. Greenpeace reports that industrial farming has also led to deforestation across the world, a huge contributor to climate change.

As well as helping you to have a smaller impact on climate change, eating more plant-based food instead of meat could also reduce your monthly grocery bills because vegetables are often cheaper to buy than meat.

So, reducing your consumption of meat is a great way to reduce your carbon footprint, help to fight climate change, and reduce your weekly expenses at the same time.

You needn’t cut all meat out of your diet in one go. Start by having one or two meat-free days a week, and then increase the frequency of them if you feel ready.

3. Buy “preloved” clothes instead of new

The fast fashion industry is one of the biggest polluters of all. According to a report by Bloomberg, the fashion industry accounts for up to 10% of global carbon dioxide emissions and around 20% of the 300 million tonnes of plastic produced around the world every year.

Even more worrying is the fact that 87% of the fibres produced to make clothing is either incinerated or sent to landfill.

Buying second-hand (otherwise known as “preloved”) clothes means you can help to avoid quite so many garments ending up in landfill, reduce the demand for new clothes to be produced, and limit the carbon emissions that happen as a result. Buying preloved clothing may also be cheaper than buying new.

Preloved clothing is becoming more and more popular, leading to a rise in companies and platforms that make it easy to buy clothes and other household items.

Vestiaire Collective is one such platform, offering shoppers access to thousands of preloved designer items that have all been verified as authentic. HURR is another platform allows you to rent a designer outfit for an event. If you decide you’d like to keep the outfit, you can even make an offer to buy it.

4. Be more vigilant about turning off appliances at home

Research reported by CNBC shows that energy consumed by electronic devices in standby mode accounts for 5% – 10% of household energy use. This could include:

  • TVs
  • Games consoles
  • Microwaves
  • Laptops or desktop computers
  • Speakers
  • Phone chargers
  • Printers

By checking that appliances throughout your home are switched off instead of on standby you will reduce the amount of energy you use, which could reduce your energy bills. It’s a win-win for the planet and your pocket.

5. Use your thermostat’s programme to save energy usage

Just like appliances that remain on standby mode, your thermostat might be wasting energy that’s not needed. By leaving the heating on while you’re out of the house or sleeping, you could be using excess energy that will add to your bill and increase your carbon footprint.

Instead, using a programmer on your thermostat can simplify the task of reducing your excess energy usage. Schedule it to heat the house when you wake up in the morning and when you get home from work, turning down to a lower temperature while you’re out of the house.

A smart thermostat could be even more useful as you can adjust the temperature from outside the house. So, if there is a day when you are out of the house for a bit longer than usual, you could adjust your heating remotely so that it doesn’t come on until a little later when you are on your way home.

Get in touch

If you’d like to know how you can invest your money in sustainable funds that protect our planet, we can help. Email us at or call us on 0330 332 7866.

Please note

A pension is a long-term investment not normally accessible until 55 (57 from April 2028). The fund value may fluctuate and can go down, which would have an impact on the level of pension benefits available. Past performance is not a reliable indicator of future results.

The tax implications of pension withdrawals will be based on your individual circumstances. Thresholds, percentage rates and tax legislation may change in subsequent Finance Acts.

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