The two tonne, low debt, low carbon lifestyle is a good one – for your bank balance, for your personal happiness levels, and also for increasing our chances of leaving a strip of earth that the generation now growing up can actually live on. The cash benefits are considerable, and in this post I’ll try and break these down a bit more, cos the money is key in this. Here we go….
The Two Tonne Lifestyle in summary: My lifestyle is smaller than your lifestyle!
The figures below are based on averages, and no-one is really ‘average’, so you will be different and some things may not apply. The savings may be smaller or bigger. Let’s also – for a moment – make the assumption that you can live comfortably within these figures. This may require some work, of course – but more on that later. So here are the average energy basics of the two tonne lifestyle:-
- You’d spend £600 a year on home energy (gas/oil and electricity) instead of £1400. AVERAGE SAVING £800 per year
- You’d spend £1,800 on vehicles instead of £3,600. AVERAGE SAVING £1,800
This gives a total average saving of £3,200 a year. With compound interest at 4%, that works out at around £44,000 saved over 10 years. Not bad, but that isn’t the end of the savings by any means. It’s impossible to give any averages for the following things, but a two tonne lifestyle can also lead you to spend:
- £0 on flying (It doesn’t necessarily mean no holidays abroad, mind)
- £0 on Finance and debt payments (by getting out of debt with the savings made in other areas). The UK household average is £1,859 in interest payments alone each year (i.e. not the repayment of the original loan).
- 25% less on food through reducing waste, and eating less animal and dairy products (although you may choose to buy better quality)
- 50% less on ‘stuff’ (i.e. consumer purchases) by buying second hand, repairing things, and buying less but better quality new items that last longer
What about all the other things I spend my money on?
All of the above probably account for around half of the averagely wealthy household’s spend. The rest is spent on things like:
- Entertainment (eating/drinking out, activities, holidays, cinema trips, etc)
- Communications (phones, internet, TV, etc)
- Experiences – (holidays, clubs, sports, activities/hobbies, etc).
These things can eat up a lot of budget, and some will also produce some greenhouse gas, of course. But they are generally pretty low carbon (mercifully!), and they certainly aren’t the big hitters – so I’ll deal with them in a separate post. For now, looking at the big stuff is a great place to start.
For starters, I highly recommend trying the free LiveLight cost and carbon snapshot. It takes 5 minutes, and will give you a great starting point to go from.