Reduce your expenses and carbon footprint with these easy and everyday tips

First, let’s put the facts on the table: the year 2022 has not been favourable in many respects. The increases in electricity, gas and food prices have disciplined many households, and we have had to make potentially radical changes to our consumption habits.

Along with inflation and other global crises, we haven't necessarily focused on worrying about our carbon footprint, even though excessive carbon dioxide emissions are still a big problem that affect us all. In addition to energy, how could we save money with our everyday choices, and is it possible to do it while also reducing the carbon footprint? Are we ready to give up some everyday luxuries in order to save money – or do we even have to give up the small luxuries?

If you're still thinking about possible ways to reduce expenses and the carbon footprint in your own everyday life, check out the easily approachable tips we've collected for a greener and less consuming everyday life.


1. Support public transport instead of driving...

Taking the bus, tram, and metro instead of driving is a clear way to reduce monthly expenses, because topping up a travel card is cheaper than filling up a car with gas. Especially with high gas prices, using public transport becomes significantly cheaper, and you also get fresh air and walking steps before arriving at your workplace, school, or hobby. The environment is also grateful for this, as public transport consumes significantly less carbon dioxide compared to driving a car.

If giving up your car is out of the question and not feasible, maybe you can change your combustion engine car to a hybrid model or even an electric car. New charging stations for electric cars are constantly appearing, or you can get a convenient charging station in your own yard. Electric cars are clearly the future, and you can familiarize yourself with the myths and benefits surrounding it in our article [Link to the article "True or false? – Six myths about electric vehicles]. In addition, you can take a colleague with you on your way to work or run different errands during the day, which both make the carbon footprint of driving already smaller.


2. ...or enjoy the fresh air by walking or cycling

What if you took the previous tip one step further and reached your destination completely without a car or public transport? You can admire the rapidly changing landscapes while riding a bike, and you can immerse yourself in the world of podcasts and audiobooks while walking. Cycling and walking also cheer you up, improve fitness and in the long run they both become much cheaper ways to move than the constant use of public transport.

In recent years, electric scooters have also increased in popularity, and they are a quick and less expensive way to move from one place to another, especially in city centres. They don't necessarily encourage you to move more, but at least you can enjoy the fresh air on your way to work or school without extra sweating. Remember to protect yourself and wear a helmet when riding electric scooters too!


3. Do good for your wallet and the earth while shopping groceries

Food is a big expense every month, which is why it's also smart to spend a little time planning your trip to the grocery store. The products we choose play a central role in what kind of bill we end up spending on groceries and how we consume our environment. Here are a few everyday tips to make shopping bags cheaper and greener.

  •           Spot the red-labeled products from the store. By purchasing products on sale, we reduce both our bill and the food waste. You can store products, that will soon go bad, in the freezer for later cooking moments.
  •           Make food comparisons: where can you find the cheapest products? The price of food can vary greatly between different stores and chains, so by browsing websites and brochures you can check in advance where you can get certain products a little cheaper.
  •           Do your grocery shopping in larger batches at once. For example, get the entire week's grocery shopping at once from the store, or order them with home delivery or at the store's pick-up point. This way you avoid spending extra money on impulse purchases and you don't have to visit the store nearly as often.
  •           Visit the store on foot or by bike. Leave your car at home when you go to the nearest grocery store, and you will make your own carbon footprint smaller.
  •           Prefer vegetarian food. By changing animal-based foods to plant-based alternatives, you can already have a big impact on your own carbon footprint. By choosing vegetables and local food of the current season, you also contribute to reducing the mileage costs caused by transporting food. In addition, vegetarian food can be both nutrient-rich and cheap to prepare at the same time – how would a filling vegetable puree soup, a classic spinach crepe or a spicy lentil curry sound?
  •           Collect your purchases in durable bags. The thin plastic bags found in the vegetable sections of stores often end up directly in the trash at home, which is why reusable vegetable and fruit bags are a great purchase for replacing them. All grocery purchases can be collected directly for example in durable fabric bags at the checkout. Big plastic bags are also a good option if you reuse them as many times as possible and finally either recycle them or use them as garbage bags.


4. Get rid of unnecessary streaming services and apps

How much money do we spend on streaming services and apps that we don't even actually use? Fresh movies, addictive series and entertaining podcasts are just a few clicks (and your credit card’s details) away, and we may be hoarding them more than we need. If we don't check the services we use from time to time, the resulting costs may surprise us, and we constantly end up with unnecessary charges on our credit cards. For example, the cost of one streaming service priced at 8,99 € per month is already more than 100 € per year, which can be a lot of money for many to spend on something more necessary.

It is by no means necessary to give up series, audiobooks, and music completely, but it is important to pay attention to their necessity and rational use. Good tips for this include the following:

  •           Take advantage of good offers. Would you get the audiobook service next month for a little cheaper, or will a free trial period be offered to new users? This way you can also test the service for free, if you are not sure if it has content that interests you.
  •           Remember to terminate your contract at the end of the free trial period if you no longer wish to continue using the service. For example, set a reminder on your phone about this, and you will avoid horrid surprise credit card charges.
  •           Alternate the use of services. We have certainly noticed that all our favorite series or podcasts are rarely found under the same service. You don't necessarily have to pay for all services all the time, but you can instead wander between different services in search of interesting and current content.
  •           Share the service with several people. For an additional fee, it is possible to create several accounts in many streaming, music, and audiobook services, so that, for example, family members or groups of friends can share the use with the same credentials. At the same time, you can divide the payment of the service into several parts, in which case the payment is often lower than paying for the entire service on your own.


5. Recycling is cool!

By recycling and sorting litter, we can positively influence our own carbon footprint. In addition to sorting cardboard, glass, plastic, and bio-waste, we can also recycle e.g. used electronics, clothes, and household goods, and we can even earn a little extra money with them. Here are some good sorting and recycling tips that are easy to execute in everyday life.

  •           Sort waste – at least the most common ones. The most usual types of waste sorted at home are glass, metal, plastic, cardboard, paper, bio-waste, and general waste. If taking these to the garbage shed seems troublesome, then collect the waste, for example, in handy storage boxes, where you can also carry them to the waste containers outside. Broken electrical appliances and large objects, such as old sofas, can be taken to separate waste stations.
  •           Recycle clothes at flea markets and secondhand applications. Fast fashion causes a large amount of carbon dioxide emissions every year, which is why reselling and recycling clothes is a good eco-deed. Take advantage of second-hand phone applications, take your clothes to the nearest flea market, donate them to charity or send them to be sold in second-hand online stores. Psst! By doing so, you can find wonderful used treasures for yourself at the same time.
  •           Borrow, rent, donate and buy used. Almost all household goods and technology do not always have to be bought new, but an equally good product can be found lightly used or even borrowed from friends. It makes sense to sell children's clothes and accessories or give them away to friends, and you can rent decorations for example for big parties and weddings.
  •           Buy only what you need. New clothes, games and beauty products are often tempting, but you should think about the necessity of each product you buy when you’re trying to save money. Stop and think: do I really need this product or is it more of an impulse purchase?


6. Make a realistic monthly budget (and try to stick to it)

If you are on a real saving spree, then preparing a monthly or weekly budget may come in handy and clarify the spending of money. When you divide all your income and expenses over a certain period of time, you get a clear picture of how much money you spend, and you can manage your expenses much more precisely. At this point, you may already be thinking about possible savings targets – or when preparing a budget for the first time, you may even be shocked by how much money is spent on unnecessary things. So when preparing a budget, consider whether all expenses are necessary, or could you save on something? You don't certainly need to use Excel to prepare a budget, but instead write one with simply pen and paper.

Start by first writing down all your income (such as salary, benefits, subsidies, capital income) and then subtract all your expenses for the coming month or week. These can include bills, rent, or mortgage payments, gas and travel expenses, streaming services, and hobbies. You can even calculate the average food expenses from, for example, old grocery shop receipts or make an estimation of them. You can also prioritize expenses, so that the bottom of the list is expenses that you can eliminate if necessary. What kind of amount you have left after the mandatory expenses?

A good tip for saving money is also to open several different bank accounts. You can use one account to pay bills, another for grocery shopping, a third for salary, and a fourth for leisure activities, such as going to cafés or movies. You can also set yourself savings goals and plan the future far ahead – are there some things or trips you want to experience? However, the main thing is that once the budget has been created, it would be rational to try to stick to it.