Preserve savings - save the planet - ACTU Australian Unions
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Preserve savings - save the planet

Changing a few household habits can benefit your finances and the environment.

If the cost of necessities and your cash savings are keeping you awake at night, you’re not alone.

The latest Household Financial Comfort Report (HFCR) from industry super fund-owned ME Bank, show these are among the biggest sources of stress for Australians.

Living sustainably can help. Check out our seven ‘R’s to save money – and the planet.

1. Reduce

Cutting living costs can also support the environment. As a guide, Australians collectively fork out over $5 billion dollars annually in water bills. An 8-minute shower uses around 120 litres of water, so try using a timer to cut showers back to five minutes or less. It can see your water bills reduce to a trickle while saving precious water resources.

2. Recycle

Each year, garage sales prevent around 3 million kilograms of pre-loved stuff heading to landfill– it can also be a chance to pocket extra cash. Even if you can’t hold a garage sale, sell your unwanted items online and watch the dollars roll in.

3. Re-grow

Australians spend around $20 each week on veggies, or about $1,000 annually. Yet it’s easy to grow your own. It means fewer trips to the shop, plus the health benefits of organic produce.

You may not even need to pay for seedlings. Save the seeds from tomatoes or cucumbers, plant them in a container – an old egg carton is fine, and watch your crop grow. Fresh celery can be grown from a celery base, and potatoes can be planted to grow…even more potatoes.

4. Reconsider

Reconsider impulse buys. Hit the ‘pause’ button by walking away for 10 minutes if you’re in-store, or hold off for half an hour if you’re shopping online. Taking a breather can help you decide if the purchase will just end up in a landfill while leaving a hole in your bank account.

5. Remember

Don’t forget your keep-cup if you’re heading out for a take-away coffee (Covid-19 restrictions may apply in some states however). Around one billion disposable coffee cups hit landfills each year in Australia, and plenty of cafes offer discounts if you remember to BYO cup.  Keep-cups also make a handy container for takeaway salads and soups.

6. Rethink

Rethink how you do things. The sharing economy makes it easy to cut costs. Car-sharing apps for instance provide quick access to a vehicle when you need it – without the ongoing expense of car ownership.  If you can get by with pedestrian or pedal power the rest of the time, you’ll be doing the planet (and your bank balance) a favour.

7. Review

Electricity costs are set to fall by 7% over the next year, and renewables are driving prices down. Check if you could save by switching power providers by heading to the Energy Made Easy site.

Try one or two ideas or embrace them all. Chances are you’ll cut living costs, free up cash to grow savings – and the planet will be all the better for your efforts.


Members Equity Bank Limited ABN 56 070 887 679 AFSL and Australian Credit Licence 229500.