Many factors can make us want to change the way we consume. Like protecting the environment or reducing our budget, for example. Here are 5 habits for spending responsibly that are good for the planet—and your wallet.
A text by Audrey Pigeon, youth reporter for Desjardins
1. Make conscious choices at the grocery store
Choosing wisely can lower your grocery bill and your environmental footprint. Meat costs a small fortune these days. Each week, prepare a few vegetarian meals with legumes, tofu and other plant-based proteins. You can also buy certified organic foods. Yes, some of them cost a small fortune too, so consider having just one in your grocery cart. Another way to lower your bill is to download apps like FoodHero (IGA and Metro) and Flashfood (Provigo and Maxi). They list foods that are discounted because they're close to their best-before dates. In other words, you save money and reduce food waste.
2. Reduce waste
Having made your conscious choices at the grocery store, you'll be coming home and putting your food away. First, make sure you're rotating your foods in your fridge and pantry to avoid waste (and therefore save money). This will give you a good idea of what you have on hand to cook with. Need help? Apps like KITCHENPAL: Pantry Inventory help you sort your groceries and find recipes. As for other household objects, think about repairing them rather than throwing them away. You can always ask a family member for help. And remember: You can never go wrong donating what you no longer use to an organization like the Salvation Army.
3. Drive less
You had to get to the grocery store, right? Did you drive there alone, with no one else in the car? There are a number of ways to avoid driving solo. You can invite a friend who doesn't own a car to come along (they'll no doubt appreciate it). You could walk or bike. You could even take the bus. Granted, walking or biking home with lots of groceries is not ideal. But they're great for going to school, for example. You'll save a lot, especially with the price of gas nowadays. If you need to travel a lot, you can try a carpooling website like Amigo Express.
4. Buy second-hand goods (thrift stores, swapping with friends, etc.)
After grocery shopping, you might need clothes or new things for your apartment. Once again, there are several eco-friendly ways to meet your needs without breaking the bank. Ever been to a thrift store? They've got it ALL: clothing, home accessories, entertainment, etc. You can ask people you know if they have what you need and if they still use it. Or take a look at Facebook Marketplace. Be careful, though, because there's more and more fraud. If a seller asks you for a deposit to reserve something or refuses to let you see the item before you buy it, think twice. Other red flags include bad grammar and spelling. Be sure to look at the seller's profile.
5. Buy local
Thinking of buying a gift for your carpool buddy? Consider buying local. I suggest sites like Shop Local CANADA and Panier Bleu. You can buy products from all sorts of merchants, and sometimes you can even order directly from the website. Whether it's for your generous friend or a family member's birthday, you're sure to find something that fits your budget. Buying local means reducing your ecological footprint and stimulating your province's economy.
As a parting thought, I'd like to say that one of the best tricks to save money and live green is, quite simply, to consume less. Something to think about.
Audrey Pigeon is a youth reporter for Desjardins. Her role is to create original content that covers social issues from a youth perspective.