Living sustainably and saving money go hand in hand. I’ve always been interested in sustainable living, ever since I did an elementary school report on the rainforest and learned that we’re burning it down at a scary fast rate. And after practicing this for years, I’m going to share my sustainable living tips that have helped me save $5,000 with you!
On my journey to build wealth, I want to live as sustainably as possible. It’s important to me that my lifestyle doesn’t come at the cost of someone else’s safety or health, and that applies to how I earn and invest my money.
And on top of that, living sustainably aligns almost perfectly with massive money saving moves. Sustainable lifestyle choices are often frugal lifestyle choices, or things that cut back on wasteful spending. Which means more money in your bank account.
Here are my sustainable living tips that have saved me $5,000 over the last two years (and what I did with the money.)
How My Sustainable Life Saves me Money
I focus my sustainability efforts on big areas of my life, areas where my savings will go the furthest and I can have the smallest environmental impact.
I use my budget to identify areas that I’m spending the most in, and then make changes accordingly.
Car transportation: My partner and I live in a one car household. The average American has a $716 monthly payment for a new car and $526 for a used car. That’s $8,592 and $6,312 a year respectively. Add on top of that that car insurance costs an average of $2,014 per year, according to Bankrate data.
Not only are cars hella expensive, but they’re generally bad for the environment. According to the US government, highway vehicles release about 1.4 billion tons of greenhouse gases into the atmosphere each year. Fewer cars on the road means fewer emissions and better air quality for everyone.
By becoming a one car household I’m saving thousands per year and putting fewer emissions into the atmosphere. Win Win!
In the last two years I have saved $500 on car insurance, roughly $600 on gas, and another $600 on car repairs. That’s $1,700 saved!
Housing Choices: Housing is by far the biggest bill I pay each month, and the lower I can get it the happier I am.
I’m 35 years old and have always lived with roommates. Roommates help keep high rent low, and they help build community.
My partner and I have lived together for 7 years- we’ve lived with one additional roommate for 5 of those years.
Single family housing is an environmental and social blight. Everyone needs their own space means more land needs to be cleared of trees, more animals and biodiversity destroyed, and more resources used to build the houses. On top of that, it makes life more expensive for all of us! When we live alone, we all have our own power bills, rent bills, internet bills, etc.
When we live together, we can lower costs. If I lived alone, my partner lived alone, and our roommate lived alone, we’d each have a $60 internet bill. But by living together, we each paid $20 for internet.
Living with roommates meant that for 10 years I paid less than $600 a month for rent. As of right now, the median monthly rent in the US is $1,967. That means that I’ve saved roughly $1,367 month after month when compared to the median American.
How I Turn My Savings Into More Money
Those are just two sustainable living tips that save me money. (If you’re ready for more ideas, check out our YouTube video on sustainable living on a budget right here.)
But the real financial win when it comes to saving money is turning it into more money. Money saved is fantastic; money earning you MORE money is the path to financial freedom.
I invest aggressively, because I would like to leave full time work in my 40’s. And just like my lifestyle choices, I invest as sustainably as possible. I don’t invest in fossil fuel companies at all, and I try to avoid companies that use prison labor to create their products.
These are values that are important to me and I want them to be reflected in my money. And that is what I teach in my sustainable investing course.
Our course covers everything from how to find and research sustainable funds, to how to divest away from unsustainable funds, and also covers ethical banking and ethical real estate investing. It is the only investing course on the market that covers these topics, so if you’re interested in making your money more ethical, check it out here!