How to maximise your savings sustainably while enjoying life

By Jasmine Mokrysz

Marketing and Communications Manager at Ford Money

Did you know that 1 in 5 people in the UK don’t have any savings at all? And of those that do, over half of them have less than £1000 stored away for a rainy day? With energy, food, and everything in between getting more expensive in the last year (in some cases rising as much as 67%)  many of us across the UK are really feeling the pinch. 

So just like countless others, I've been on a quest to see what changes I could make to help my paycheck go further. My biggest takeaway? I realised that some of the best ways to save money also had a positive impact on the environment too.

So, today, I want to share with you my favourite changes I made that not only helped me save money but also made a positive difference to our planet too.

More savings, less packaging

Refill shops are a great opportunity to not only reduce your waste but also save yourself some money. Shops like ‘The Refill Room’ near me, offer bulk, packaging-free, access to a range of pasta, rice, spices and more.

As well as saving on packaging waste, refill stores could help you save as much as 35% on many of the items in your weekly shop – so they’re a brilliant way to top up your savings.  Lots of these shops are popping up around the UK too.

If you don't have a local refill store yet, consider recipe box companies like Oddbox, which offers fruit and vegetables that have been rejected by supermarkets due to their irregular shape. I like using Oddbox, not only because it is cheap and easily accessible, but also because it is my way of helping reduce food waste!

Changing your wardrobe habits

Did you know, according to a recent study by the popular second-hand clothing app, Depop, people in the UK typically spend an average of £1,042 on clothes and shoes every year? That's equivalent to approximately £86 per month. However, here's an interesting fact: people who opt to purchase second-hand items are estimated to save up to around 25% on each item they buy. That's quite a significant chunk of savings! So not only can you find unique and stylish pieces by shopping second-hand, but you can also keep more money in your pocket.

Charity shops and second-hand apps like Vinted and Depop have become incredibly popular ways to change up your wardrobe in a sustainable way; offering great savings on new clothes and a chance to get some money back on our less loved pieces.

But have no fear, making savings doesn’t have to mean staying away from all this season has to offer. The emergence of rental apps, such as ‘By Rotation’, give you the option to rent the perfect outfit for any occasion – this helps keep costs down as there’s no need to spend a fortune on a one-off.

By buying second-hand or choosing to rent you’ll save money, cut demand, and in turn, have a positive impact on the environment and your budget, so it’s a great way to help you meet your savings goals.

Give the bin a break

Beyond the food shop, there is plenty we can do at home to make sure our food spend goes a little further – according to the sustainable retailer, Everyday Green, the average UK household throws away £60 of food a month; £720 a year!

Recently, I stumbled upon the Random Café in Watford, a non-profit café, that help to teach consumers how to be both sustainable and budget-conscious by repurposing leftovers from local businesses in their café.  After seeing them live & breathe the well-known principles of reduce, reuse and recycle, I’ve noticed that I now pause and reconsider before hastily discarding any food from my own fridge. Not only do I find I’m more mindful of wasting food, but I also often find I can make my regular food shop stretch one more day by mixing some recipes up (and creating new ones!).  

Making a change in 2024

I hope that my tips have provided you with ideas on how to save money while reducing your environmental footprint. Whether it's minimizing waste or decluttering your wardrobe, we can all contribute to both our savings goals and the well-being of the planet.