5 sustainable gift ideas to help you save money this Christmas

It’s no secret that the word “sustainable” along with “ethical” “eco-friendly” and “green” have become the buzzwords of 2019. But when it comes to gift giving what does it actually mean? What is a sustainable present? 

Definitions for all of these words are open to interpretation; while some companies may tout their ethics as pretty admirable, others might see them as a lil’ shady. That said, sustainability can be simply defined as something that can be upheld or reused and therefore has less of a negative impact on the planet.

ME Bank’s money expert, Matt Read gave us a few ideas on some more planet and savings account friendly presents to give this Christmas.

1. A reusable water bottle

It really could be as simple as that. Reusable water bottles are sold pretty much everywhere now, so it’s not hard to find one for a decent price. 

As Read said, “Pick one up for under $10 at department stores and let the giftee pocket ongoing savings. Drinking eight glasses of tap water per day costs just $0.98 annually compared to around $3,650 for the same quantity of bottled water.”

While you’re at it, you might even want to get yourself one and stash that extra few thousand dollars of savings in your savings account.

2. Keep cups

Do you have that one friend who can’t live without coffee? Why not get them a reusable coffee cup! Honestly there are so many to choose from these days, travel ones, glass ones, fancy ones, limited edition ones, upcycled ones, the list is endless.

Plus with practically every shop selling reusable cups now, you could easily pick one up for around $10. That’s a pretty cheap present.

“Australians toss out 2.7 million disposable coffee cups every day. The gift of a keep cup reduces waste -- and can deliver ongoing savings as a growing number of cafes offer a BYO cup discount,” Read said.

3. Reusable straws

Just like reusable water bottles and cups, reusable straws made from bamboo, metal and silicone can be found everywhere these days. So why not get a pack of them for that one friend who loves to indulge in a bubble tea or a milkshake.

“Australians use about 10 million single-use plastic straws each year, and they’re one of the most common items polluting our beaches and harming marine animals,” said Read.

And if you wanted to go all out, you could even go for a reusable cutlery set. These packs have become more and more popular in the past year, so it shouldn’t be too difficult to pick one up for under $20.

4. A native plant

Got any green thumb buddies? Why not get them a lovely native plant to brighten up their balcony, living room, bedroom or even bathroom!

If you get a young plant you could even pay less than $15. Some good options include grevillea, kangaroo paw and lilly pilly, all of which give native bees a helping hand. 

And that’s important, because as Read explained, “Bees are vital to mankind’s food supply. The sting in the tale is that honey bees are under threat from loss of habitat, pesticides and climate change.”

Just remember that if you do opt for a plant, make sure you give it to someone who you know will look after it. A plant is for life (or however long they can keep it alive) not just for Christmas! If it winds up in a landfill bin, it could do more harm than good.

5. Home baked goods

Everyone loves the smell of home baked goods. So why not whip up some cookies or even something festive like mince pies or Christmas cake to give to your loved ones. 

It’s not only cheap and easy to do, but also shows that you care, more than a piece of jewellery or another Christmas mug that you hopped along to the shop and bought.

Rethink how you gift at Christmas

These are all great ideas to save you a few pennies and get your friends and family on the eco-train. Of course another thought to save you from dipping into your savings stash, is not to give a thing.

Why not give the gift of your time and arrange an experience for you and your loved one? You could even give a donation in their name to a cause that you know they care about. It’s not only a thoughtful present but it will also benefit a good cause and it will mean buying one less item that could just turn into clutter.

Now, need some extra cash to cover all those lovely experiences you’re planning for next Christmas? Why not take a look at the high interest savings accounts below to see how much interest you could be earning on your hard earned money.

Or if you want more options, head to Mozo’s savings account comparison page to compare even more.

Compare savings accounts - last updated 16 June 2024

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