How to consume consciously during the cost of living crisis

Organic bag with apples
Image by Priscilla Du Preez on Unsplash

While it might not feel like the right time to be thinking about how you can consume more consciously at home, there are a huge number of areas where saving money also helps save the planet, which is a win for you and everyone else on earth, right?

Consuming consciously isn't just swapping out one brand for another, to make lasting change think about it as a mindset shift, as well as changing products. While price and affordability is important to everyone, taking a long term view when it comes to purchasing really helps to position you to shop more sustainably.

Think about how long you're going to use a product for, how you can keep it going by looking after it properly, and how much you'll save if you never have to replace it - or replace it very rarely, instead of buying the cheapest option and you'll find yourself naturally falling in with more conscious brands.

Saving money is often framed as how much you save at the point of purchase, but how about how much you save not having to replace items over a longer period?

Cut down your food waste by getting organised

British households waste around £500 a year on throwing away food. That's good money thrown away too. Invest in long lasting Tupperware and silicone zip lock bags (which can be frozen and/or reused) from Lakeland to ensure you're storing fresh food properly, can freeze leftovers and batch cook easily.

Buy wonky fruit and veg

Upping our fruit and veg intake helps cut our food's carbon emissions at a global level and brings down your weekly shopping bills. Take it one step further by signing up for an Oddbox which delivers seasonal, surplus fruit and veg to you each week. They redistribute perfectly good food that has been rejected by supermarkets, so you'll be cooking healthier, cheaper and helping the planet.

Invest in reusable periodwear

While tampons and pads have got cheaper, they have to be bought again and again. If you can, invest in a couple of pairs of period wear pants, they can be washed and reused for a couple of years before breaking down in the soil. WUKA reckon their period pants work out at £152 over two years, compared to £203 for non organic tampons and pads.

4.6 million single-use plastic period products are flushed down the loo every day in the UK so making this switch helps our coastlines, marine life and it's healthier for you than the heavily bleached or plastic filled single use sanitary items.

Swap to a solid shampoo or shower bar

The average person in Britain goes through 14 bottles of shampoo, conditioner and shower gel a year. Swap to a plastic free solid bar in your shower, like Showerblocks(which are also made in the UK) because they last as long as two bottles of liquid shampoo or shower gel. Plus there's no pesky plastic packaging.

Companies like the Natural Deodorant Coalso offer solid deodorants which again cut down on plastic packaging (and aerosol chemicals) and last longer.

Dial into a new contract

Woman talking on phone

It's not often phone companies boast about saving you money, but that's what Honest Mobile are about. They are the UK's only carbon neutral phone network but crucially for your pocket, they reward loyalty with lower bills and will tell you if you can downgrade to a smaller plan to save money. They're sim only and offer free EU roaming which keeps costs down. Pair them with a secondhand refurbished phone from reboxed for extra green points.

Say goodbye to single use

Invest in items that can reduce your purchasing again and again of the same thing. Think reusables rather than replaceables and once you've made the investment, you can stop having to shell out every week or month.

Tabitha Eve has a range of reusables for your bathroom and kitchen, such as cotton make up rounds (instead of face wipes or cotton wool), beeswax wraps for food covering (instead of cling film), and mesh cotton bags for keeping or carrying your veg in, rather than cheap soft plastic bags which cannot often be recycled.

And remember your reusable coffee cup

Reusable coffee tumbler

Reusable coffee cups don't just cut down on the millions of single use cups we consume, it saves you money in the long run. Most cafes now offer a discount for using your own cup. Pret A Manger knock 50p off the price of a coffee. Huski Home's reusable cup costs £10.99 so will work itself off after 21 coffees if you get a 50p discount each time. Or just use it to take your own cuppa from home and save your coffee money for something else.