You are probably still committed to living an eco-friendly life. Unfortunately, our concerns about sustainability might have been put on the backburner during the current pandemic. The good news is that you can both lead an eco-friendly life and save money at the same time.
You should still be focused on sustainability, which is something that you need to incorporate into your finances. You need to follow the right sustainable financial planning guidelines for the coming year.
Sustainability is a Core Element of Financial Planning These Days
There is never a bad time to take a step back and examine your family’s finances, but 2020 has made it an unavoidable task for many Americans. The country’s financial circumstances were already in a risky position because of dropping oil prices, fluctuating markets, and rising debt levels.
Fortunately, it is still possible to be eco-friendly and frugal. Our friends at Eco Warrior Princess talked about this before in this post. However, we need to plan around the COVID-19 crisis.
When COVID-19 came along, bringing the country and the world to a virtual standstill, the economy’s health became even more precarious. Widespread quarantines shuttered restaurants, hair salons, and other small businesses while leaving employers to determine whose jobs were essential and who would have to hang in the balance.
If you are trying to figure out how to keep your family’s finances in good shape in the new economy, while still being sustainable, here are four financial tips to help.
1. Create and Frequently Update a Financial Calendar to Minimize Waste
The last thing you want to do is fall behind on payments when you don’t need to. However, it is difficult to keep track of everything when you are undergoing stress and unusual working circumstances. Consider creating entries for the dates you need to pay your quarterly taxes, pull up a family member’s credit report, or submit your car insurance payment. If it is easier for you to use your smartphone to track your finances, try mobile apps like Money Calendar, Calendar Budget, and PNC’s Virtual Wallet to track your due dates.
This is very important if you want to make sure that you make eco-friendly purchases. It will help prevent excessive consumption, which is bad for the environment. In other words, a financial calendar is important for having a sustainable, zero-waste household.
2. Explore Options for a Green Credit Card with Perks
A good credit card with a high-quality reward points program can work for you in the long-run. If you need to use your credit card for purchases throughout the month, it’s even better if you can earn rewards points that translate to cash. This can be a great eco-friendly way to stretch your budget.
There are a variety of rewards programs available, but USAA credit cards offer benefits that include no annual fees, no penalty APR, and travel and retail benefits. Earn points on dining out, gas and groceries, and on all other purchases. You can also pay less if you carry a balance from month-to-month.
You can find some credit cards that are focused on green living. The Sierra Club has some great options to look at.
3. Set Aside 20% of Your Income for Financial Priorities Like Sustainable Investments
Financial priorities, in this case, entail everything besides essentials such as your mortgage or rent, car payment, utilities, and groceries. After you have taken care of all those responsibilities, put aside money to build up your emergency savings, pay off debt, and contributing to your retirement fund. Consider trying mobile apps like Mint, Pocket Guard, Clarity Money, and Personal Capital to streamline your savings allocation strategy.
These priorities should include green investments for your home. Are you interested in investing in solar energy? That can be both great for your wallet and the planet.
4. Downsize Your Lifestyle
Perhaps now is the time to sell your house and move into something smaller in a more affordable area. If your property is in a seller’s market, it may work as the perfect strategy. However, you can take smaller steps to downsize to live more comfortably. This will lead to a more minimalist lifestyle, which is good for the planet.
Take note of where you and your family can make do with less. Reduce or eliminate eating out at restaurants or ordering takeout, and shop store brands. Even better, head to your yard to start your own garden to grow your own healthy produce. You can also park the car in the garage to take public transportation or ride your bicycle to and from work. There are many ways you can save money while learning to love the simple things in life.
Small Steps Can Make a Big Difference for the Planet
Nobody ever said that being frugal and eco-friendly would be easy! Fortunately, it isn’t impossible. Even if you only try a few of these tips, you can help put your family in a better financial position and still help the planet in the new economy. Saving money, downsizing, and tracking payments will help you minimize spending while investing in a reward points credit card can help you in emergency situations. These steps and others can help you ride out challenges in the new economy and beyond.