How being more eco-friendly can save the planet AND your cash

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We're more aware than ever of our impact on the world around us, making it the perfect time to think about how you can live a more eco-friendly life and save money at the same time. Here are four fun ways you can do just that.

Reassess your shopping habits

We're all guilty of the occasional spending spree after a tough week but one of the simplest, and most rewarding, ways to minimise your impact on the environment and save money is to reassess your shopping habits.

Instead of buying seemingly cheap items you don't really need, consider your purchases carefully and choose only products that offer lasting value and you're sure you'll be able to make good use of.

Where possible, try out swapping schemes for pre-loved items and think about buying second-hand to help you spend less and ensure you are living a sustainable lifestyle.

Consume less meat, fish and dairy

The veganism trend has taken off in recent years; there are now more than 3.5 million vegans in the UK alone. The positive impact of consuming less meat, fish and dairy is significant for the planet.

Don't worry, though — you don't have to give up the bacon sandwiches, fish and chips, and roast dinners forever. Instead, aim to reduce your overall meat, fish and dairy intake to just a few times each week.

Simple changes like this can make a huge difference to your bank balance and your carbon footprint, as well as inspire you to be more creative when cooking and eating out. Vegetarian and vegan food options have never been better!

Walk or cycle more

Owning a car is often expensive and inconvenient, especially for those living or working in cities. When you consider the upfront cost of buying a vehicle then add maintenance, fuel and parking to the mix, it's no wonder that researchers say car ownership levels are decreasing and rejecting car use is fast becoming "the new norm" for Britons.

Public transport can be expensive too, though, especially for commuters. If your monthly travel pass in London costs £130, walking or cycling instead could save you more than £1,500 per year. If you're looking to save money, take care of the planet and improve your health, choose to walk or cycle whenever possible.

Make meals from scratch

Pre-made meals usually involve a lot of plastic packaging and require significant resources to produce before they hit the supermarket shelves. They're usually a much pricier option than making meals from scratch too.

Create a meal plan for the week and buy the ingredients you need, preferably from local producers at a market or a farm shop that uses minimal packaging. By buying local, you'll reduce the food miles (and therefore carbon emissions) on your plate too. If you spend £5 on lunch each day at the moment, making sandwiches from scratch could save you more than £1,000 annually.

Check out the recipe website Budget Bytes for some budget dinnertime inspiration too.

Ditch disposables and choose reusables

Whether it's bottled water or takeaway coffee, disposables are a huge problem for the environment. Luckily, though, more reusable solutions than ever are available to buy these days.

Invest in an eco-friendly reusable coffee cup made from sustainable materials, like glass or bamboo, and grab yourself an insulated water bottle to refill on the go. Many venues will refill water bottles for free and lots of coffeeshops offer discounts if you bring your own cup.

While bottled water and cup surcharges may only seem like a small cost, you could end up saving hundreds of pounds per year through reusables, so why not give it a go?

Changing your spending habits and being more sustainable doesn't have to be a headache. Think about small changes like these that will help planet earth and leave you with more in the bank at the end of the month.

By taking control of your spending, consuming differently, using your feet instead of your wheels, and getting creative with food - you'll soon be on your way to a happier, healthier and more rewarding lifestyle.