At Triodos, we see money as a powerful agent of change, and every pound you spend – or save – is a vote for the future you want to see. The annual Ethical Consumerism Report suggests that more and more people feel the same, with sales of ethical products and investments hitting a landmark £100bn in 2020.

We hosted a series of conversations on our social media channels to explore how we can make more mindful choices with our money. Throughout our ‘Mindful Money Monday’ series, our followers shared tips and ideas for how to use money more consciously, with consideration for the local economy and the environment. Here we share a summary of the ideas people suggested, as inspiration for anyone wanting to make a change.

In the kitchen

From how we shop for groceries, to making the most of the food we buy and ensuring none of it goes to waste, there were plenty of helpful tips shared by our online community. It was great to hear from people choosing to support small independent businesses, such as greengrocers and bakers. People shared how it not only feels good to be supporting the local economy, but it’s often easier to find plastic-free produce.

Once purchased, letting food perish not only wastes money, but has a significant impact on the environment. Love Food Hate Waste estimates that an average family of four could save £60 a month by reducing the amount of food they throw away. Shopping little and often and having a meal plan for the week came up as suggestions to minimise the footprint of our food. Many people championed making good use of the freezer, for example freezing vegetable trimmings to make stock or ripe bananas for use in smoothies and baking. We loved the suggestion to “have an ‘eat me first’ tub in the fridge so the family knows what needs eating up.” It was also good to hear from people making the most of what’s in the fridge by challenging themselves to get creative with recipes and substitute ingredients already available rather than buying new.

Who wore it greener?

With an ongoing spotlight on the impact of fast fashion, making more sustainable choices when it comes to clothing was a hot topic. Many people advocated choosing second-hand, whether that’s from charity shops, dedicated websites or social media sites, or exchanging with friends and family.

Other people shared that if they are buying new, they carefully research the brand, erring towards independent brands with good ethical credentials, or high-quality items that they know will last. Good On You is a helpful tool for carrying out research.

How to care for clothes properly and make them last longer also featured in the conversation – “learn to read wash and care labels” and “wash less often” were both suggested. And of course, it’s always good to pause and ask if you really need that new item to begin with – one person suggested waiting a week to see if you still want an item before clicking that ‘buy now’ button.  

Out and about

Outside the home, it was great to hear how many people are looking to make conscious choices with their money when getting from A to B, for example opting to rent electric scooters rather than driving. When it comes to longer journeys, one great suggestion was to research pitstops close to motorways that allow support for the local economy over service stations – for example historic houses or towns with farmers’ markets.

Choosing sustainable gifts

Between Christmas, birthdays, and special occasions such as anniversaries, there are plenty of moments throughout the year where it’s traditional to show our loved ones we care through gifts. As with other topics, choosing plastic-free came up regularly – one person suggested buying a plastic-free beauty giftbox could be a great way to help friends or family get started on their sustainable journey.

Similarly, themes of choosing second-hand were re-emphasized, with one follower sharing “I bought my friend an antique mirror and mended it – she loves it and it’s totally unique”. Gifting experiences or making donations to charity also came up in the suggestions, as did gifting time, for example vouchers for babysitting services or help with a project in the home or garden.