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How to be a sustainable consumer on a budget: 7 tips for 7 days of the week

The idea of being sustainable often makes people think they must make expensive life choices in order to be conscientious about the planet. However, in reality, you can help the planet and protect future generations on a budget. Especially now with the cost of living on the rise, living on a budget is more important than ever, so why not do it sustainably?

Firstly, defining living ‘sustainably’ can mean many different things to many different people. Whether you think of it as cutting down on overspending, making big life changes or swapping a few of your purchases here and there, sustainable living is achievable.

The United Nations defined it as ‘understanding how our lifestyle choices impact the world around us and finding ways to live better and lighter’.

There are the usual common practices that we mostly know of, and they are the three R’s: reduce; reuse; recycle. Even though these practices can be applied to mostly minimising waste, they can be applied to sustainable living too.

There are thousands of ways we can live an eco-friendly sustainable lifestyle and below I have listed some top tips on how to be sustainable with a budget in mind. Some are quick, simple changes and others will require a slightly longer process. So have a read, and hopefully take a step forward to a more sustainable future.

1. Buy second hand

Buying second hand will not only often save you money in the long run, but will dramatically lower your carbon footprint and slow down fast fashion. Whether that’s popping along to your local car boot, scouring charity shops, or browsing online re-selling sites. You're likely to find some hidden gems and some unique outfits to show off to your friends. However, overconsumption can happen with second hand clothing, as you might think, "I can’t leave that behind, it’s such a bargain", so thinking carefully about whether you will use the item or not is a must.

2. Question your consumption

Reducing your consumption of anything will help reduce your waste. So when you're out and about shopping, think to yourself three questions:

  • Do I really need this?

  • Can I find this item second hand?

  • Will I use this item to its full potential?

Thinking about these questions will not only save you money in the long run, but it will also help you to realise whether what you're wanting to buy is really worth it.

3. Go Capsule

Another helpful clothes tip - rather than buying into micro trends and fast fashion, think twice whether you will be wearing that piece of clothing in a year. Forming a capsule wardrobe with well-made pieces and basic pieces will be your saviour. Whether that's a good pair of jeans forming a staple in your wardrobe or a leather jacket, these timeless pieces will be in your wardrobe for years to come.

4. Reuse your items

It sounds simple, but reusing items such as carrier bags, packaging, and Tupperware are all great ways to stop over consuming items. Even wearing clothing pieces more than once - who cares if you were pictured wearing that dress at a party a few months ago, wear it again and again. You don’t have to wear the exact same dress in the same way, spruce it up a bit, do some layering, throw on a jacket or simply own it.

5. Become a DIY queen

Rather than making a quick trip to Ikea, take a look on Facebook Marketplace or head to your local car boot. Although you might not find your perfect piece, what's more fun than creating your own unique one? Whether you're a DIY master or a novice like me, there are hundreds of tutorials online for even the most basic DIY skills. So grab your paintbrush, tools, and designs and get to work.

6. Turn off

Turning off appliances and things you're not using will make a huge difference in how you consume. For example, think like your dad and say, "It’s like Blackpool illuminations in here", and turn those lights off. Even charging your devices during the day and turning them off when finished rather than charging them overnight will not only save your bills, but will help your phones in the long run.

7. Learn more about what you buy

Learning about where your items come from and what they are made out of will stop you from making rash purchases, and will stop you from buying items that are made unethically. Finding out where your clothes are from is simple, just turn to Google and research the company.

Final Statement

Whether you choose to make a simple change, or dramatically change your lifestyle, any change will have an impact on our planet. I hope you take some inspiration from this article and start the conversation on living more sustainably.

Here I have linked some previous articles on Mindless Mag about being more sustainable:


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