Investing in a sustainable, conscious lifestyle is often viewed as an act of environmental service. While there’s no question that sustainable choices will help preserve the environment, living ethically can also bring lesser-known benefits — including many that may encourage consumers to make ecologically responsible decisions and become more supportive of green initiatives. One of these benefits is long-term financial health.
While it’s true that some sustainable purchases (like solar panels and electric cars) can be incredibly costly, making these investments can lead to thousands in savings down the road. Much like buying a home, conscious living is a smart way to make your life more affordable in the long run — especially if your community and society move toward sustainable choices right alongside you.
Here’s how four types of sustainable choices can help your wallet.
Renewable Energy Decreases Dependence
Recent conflicts — namely Russia’s invasion of Ukraine — have illustrated how reliant our world has become on fossil fuels, most of which originate from a small number of countries. Due to one major conflict, people around the world began dealing with rapidly rising gasoline prices within days. Soon, as fuel costs increasingly impact the supply chain, the costs of all sorts of goods may rise, too.
The best solution to rising fossil fuel costs, which are unlikely to become more affordable anytime soon, is by supporting renewable energy initiatives (like hydropower and wind turbine investments) in your country and state.
A massive move toward renewable energy is more possible than you may think. India, one of the most populated countries in the world, is already aiming to power 25% of its railways through renewable energy by 2025. This will allow the country to greatly decrease its dependence on other countries, so its citizens won’t have to deal with shifting costs due to conflicts abroad.
Future-Proof Your Home to Boost Its Longevity
Sustainable energy choices can also happen in the home. While it can be difficult to control legislation as one person in a massive country, you can make personal lifestyle changes now that can make a big impact on your finances.
By investing in solar panels or a ground source heat pump, for example, you can take advantage of tax credits and grants, as well as long-term energy bill savings. Energy-efficient appliances can also help you lower your bills while reducing your carbon footprint.
If you’re purchasing a new build or open to renovations, consider investing in long-lasting, sustainable building materials. For instance, cork and bamboo floors are sturdy, eco-friendly options that are less likely to need frequent replacement than many cheap vinyl options.
Support Locally Grown Food to Help Your Health and Wallet
Eating in-season, local produce doesn’t just help reduce water consumption and carbon emissions from shipping. When you purchase locally grown food, you can increase your nutrient intake and reduce your risk of pesticide consumption. Local food is often healthier and fresher, which helps you take better care of your body. This can mean fewer doctor’s visits, which can be incredibly costly in the United States, even with insurance.
Growing food in your backyard (or in a community garden) can have an even bigger impact on your wallet. By decreasing your dependence on grocery stores, you can prepare meals for a fraction of your usual cost — or even for free — all while further decreasing carbon emissions. While you may need to invest your time and purchase new supplies like planter boxes, starter plants, and hoses, your long-term savings will be well worth the cost.
Buy Local to Help Your Community Thrive
Don’t feel bad if you don’t have a green thumb. When you shop from local farmers — or other sustainable retailers, like thrift shops and bulk grocers, based in your area for that matter — you can build a conscious lifestyle while investing in your community.
On average, 67 cents of every dollar spent at a small business will stay in your area, which is significantly more than if you were to shop at a global chain store. If you own or work at a local business, shopping locally can pay you back — all while helping the environment.
Invest in a More Affordable Future
Sustainable choices can help consumers and their communities benefit from an incredible amount of long-term savings. By decreasing dependence on fossil fuel providers, your state and country can make your cost of living less affected by global conflicts and make energy more affordable for all.
While moving toward renewable energy can take a lot of time (and debate between policymakers), you can start your own personal shift at home. When you make sustainable choices like purchasing solar panels or buying locally grown food, you’re not just decreasing carbon emissions. You’re greatly decreasing your monthly costs by decreasing your dependence on external providers like utility companies and grocery stores, too.