How making eco-friendly choices can also benefit your finances

August 4, 2023

Living an eco-friendly lifestyle is often perceived as expensive. But while some sustainable practices may cost a little more initially, they may also lead to good savings over time. Here are some practical examples.

Energy-efficient appliances: lower emissions, lower bills

Switching to energy-efficient appliances is a prime example. Things like LED light bulbs, high-efficiency refrigerators, and low-flow showerheads use less energy, reducing greenhouse gas emissions and saving you money over the lifetime of the product.

For example, according to, an LED light bulb uses up to 85% less energy than traditional incandescent bulbs and can last up to 15 times longer. They may cost more upfront, but you may save $100-$300 in running costs over the life of the bulb.

Eco-friendly commuting: good for the body, the planet, and your wallet

Rethinking how you commute can also yield significant financial and environmental benefits. Using public transportation, cycling, or walking not only reduces carbon emissions but also decreases your transportation costs. estimates that someone living in Auckland spends around $5,000-$10,000 a year on a car, including petrol, maintenance, insurance, parking, WOF and rego – without mentioning the odd repair jobs and maintenance.

Depending on where you live, using public transportation, cycling or walking can decrease the costs. If you’re into it, you may consider purchasing an eBike: has an interesting guide for first-timers.

Well-planned shopping: buying less, saving more

Embracing a minimalist lifestyle can also bring some financial gains. Reducing consumption, reusing items, and recycling not only helps reduce waste but also saves money.

Consider clothing, for example. Opting for high-quality, durable pieces over fast-fashion items might seem costlier at first, but such purchases last longer and reduce the need for constant replacements. On a similar note, buying second-hand items or participating in swap events can lead to significant savings while contributing to a circular economy.

Food choices: The benefit of eating locally and seasonally

New Zealand’s food prices are not the cheapest in the world. According to a 2022 study by the Commerce Commission, New Zealand is amongst the top 10 most expensive grocery markets in the OECD (it ranked fifth in 2017). This is due to a number of factors, including import costs.

The solution? Choosing locally-produced, seasonal food can provide both health and financial benefits. In some cases, in-season produce is fresher and more affordable. Alternatively, if you have the space, growing your own fruit and vegetables, even just herbs on a windowsill, can further reduce food costs and ensure you have access to fresh, organic produce.

Home insulation: Comfort at lower costs

Investing in insulation and passive design features can reduce your reliance on energy-intensive heating and cooling systems. Effective insulation keeps your home warm in winter and cool in summer, reducing energy consumption and lowering energy bills.

Check out the Warmer Kiwi Homes programme to see if you’re eligible for a grant. These grants cover up to 80% of the total cost of ceiling and underfloor insulation, and up to 80% of the cost of an approved heater.

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