Gateway Bank: Aussies’ new savings habits are benefiting the environment

Tara McCabe

Wednesday 24 June 2020

In the months when Aussies retreated to their homes to stop the spread of Covid-19, something unexpected happened. A large number of people across the country picked up paint brushes, shovels and sewing kits, to do DIY jobs, grow food and mend clothes.

Little girl gardening during lockdown.

According to a report by Gateway Bank, two-thirds of Aussies who adopted eco-friendly habits during lockdown did so in order to save money. 

Gateway’s chief executive, Lexi Airey said of the findings, “Australians are inherently resourceful and are using their time during lockdown to acquire new skills that can help them save money for the future.”

Veggie patches thrive 

The Google search term ‘how to grow vegetables’ was almost four times as popular in March this year, compared to March last year*. It would seem that food shortages in supermarkets and more time at home led to many people, literally, taking matters into their own hands to grow their own fruits and vegetables.

In fact, Gateway Bank’s research revealed that 34% of Aussies started growing their own veggies in the past three months. This new trend was even more popular with young families, as almost one in every two households started cultivating their little ones’ green thumbs.

Less food wasted

Speaking of food, the report also found that an impressive 52% of people across the country worked to actively reduce food waste.

This is welcome news considering Australia’s less than positive relationship with food waste in recent years. Indeed, Australia is the fourth highest food waster in the world, despite only having the 55th largest population, according to a report by Rabobank last year.

DIY home repairs

Gateway Bank’s report found that not only has spending on new items decreased by a whopping $5.1 billion since last year, but that 60% of Aussies are now more likely to use a Repair Cafe, where volunteers help fix broken items for free, than they were in 2019.

An example of this is 24-year-old Charlotte who recently moved apartments in Sydney. Charlotte said she wanted to buy new bedside tables, but instead decided to save money and refurbish her old ones.

Airey says that around two in five Australians have started doing similar DIY jobs in recent months. 

“This trend is likely to continue as more Australians look to learn new skills that can save them money in the long run,” she said.

More conscious energy use

Working from home and the threat of a large energy bill could be the reasons why 53% of Australians are taking active steps to reduce their energy usage. According to the report, more and more Australians are conscious of turning off lights and appliances with some even switching energy providers to save money.

Thirty one-year-old Heather says that since she started working from home in March, she has been able to avoid using the dryer. Instead, she’s been saving energy by hanging her washing outside in the fresh air.

Green is good

If you’re one of the many Aussies who has adopted one of these eco-friendly habits in the past few months, then you’ll probably know already that what’s good for the planet is also good for your wallet.

The question is what to do with all this money you’ve been saving? If you are unhappy with the interest rate that comes with your current savings account, why not check out the accounts on offer below. Or if you want more options, head to Mozo’s compare savings accounts page.

*Information collected from Google Trends, correct as of 23 June 2020

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