Sustainable Savings for the Stylish Singaporean

Sustainable Savings for the Stylish Singaporean

Perhaps you’ll understand  –  protecting our lifestyle means a lot to us. Well-meaning suggestions to live healthier or save more are usually met with paralysing inertia, and whereupon dismissed. But we get it – change is scary! And yet, sometimes, a change in lifestyle is exactly what we need. Rightfully so: our environment has seen better days and we regard our bank balance with fear at the end of each month. Here’s a game plan for finding the middle ground to saving money and doing your part for the planet while keeping your lifestyle, stylishly intact.

Dine consciously

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If you work in the central business district, then you’ll probably have noticed by now how bins in office and street alike brim with disposable food packaging come the end of lunch hour. If you’re doing take-out to avoid the throng, you can help your conscience by bringing your own reusable containers and cups. Many eateries around the country now charge extra for take-out boxes, and cafes often give discounts if you bring your own tumbler.

You probably won’t get a discount for this, but it’s great to have your own cutlery and a reusable straw. The latter is available with local brands like Nit & Grit (complete with an engraving service, great for gifts), Seastainable Co. and The Sustainability Project.

According to the Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO) of the United Nations, livestock farming is among the industries that place the most pressure on global ecosystems and also one of the largest contributors to climate change. The solution is clear, yet too little has changed since this information first muscled its way into public consciousness.

Feeling obliged to give up any part of our daily life inevitably comes with a sense of reluctant self-sacrifice. If you’ve always enjoyed meat, then abstinence probably sounds more to you like lonely, painful surrender than something worth celebrating. Thankfully, it’s not a matter of all or nothing. Eating less meat is very achievable, especially when you have conviction on your side.

On Meatless Mondays, a friendly approach would be to choose restaurants that offer faux meat options such as from Beyond or Impossible, two juggernaut suppliers on the plant-based meat scene. We add: everyone we know who tried the Impossible burger described later an out-of-body experience set to the looping soundtrack of the word, ‘how’. We’re kidding. Or are we?

Cook with better ingredients

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If you prepare food at home, the open secret to saving money is shopping local produce. The lower prices come from having travelled shorter distances to get to you, and that means your purchase bears a smaller carbon footprint. Sounds like a double-win to us.

Conveniently, most neighbourhoods have their own wet markets where you can find most locally and regionally grown and farmed goods. Many stores don’t open past the late morning, but the low prices make waking up early worthwhile.

As you make an effort to eat less meat outside, consider incorporating more vegetables into your cooking. Search results for meatless recipes yield countless combinations of mouthwatering ideas, from simple meals for one to party-worthy concoctions. Good to know that being mindful doesn’t mean you miss out on the fun!

Did you know? Singapore is a huge proponent of high-tech farming, and we’re pretty good at it too. Meod, a local agriculteur, employs unique techniques like vertical planting, as well as a proprietary hydroponics system in which modular plant beds can be stacked as high as 4 meters. The company claims that its crops are 100% pesticide free, with water requirements just 1% of conventional farming. Meanwhile, the local company, Farm deLight farms herbs and vegetables using carefully controlled blue and red LED lights, while smart controls regulate temperature and air composition.

Preparations are well underway for Singapore’s first Agri-Food Innovation Park, a research and development facility due to open in 2021. The country hopes to develop technologies for export in the near future.

Meanwhile, local hydroponic produce is already commercially available at most major supermarkets. These breakthroughs in agricultural technology mean that opportunities to make better choices for the environment are always available to us.

Embrace fashion mindfully

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Clothes: everyone wears them. So imagine clothes manufacturing being bad for the environment. Without fanfare, it is. Fashion today is faster than it has ever been. Trends appear faster and spread quickly through social media, driving people to cycle through clothing faster and correspondingly driving up the speed of production. From pollution to mounting textile waste, the environment bears the full brunt of the global pursuit to be à la mode.

This dystopic prognosis, however, wears the optimism that you never have to trade style for belief. The first part of the solution is to slow down your fashion consumption. This sounds boring, but mindful shopping means you spend less in general, but on pieces you truly like.

While you’re at it, shop sustainable brands that produce high-grade clothing. In mass manufacturing, speed of production tends to come at the expense of quality. This compromise means more gets thrown out, faster. Local brands looking to remedy this include Esse, which makes summer-ready, minimalistic pieces from wood pulp and up-cycled fabrics over-ordered by warehouses. The swimwear company, August Society produces fashionable pieces from the recycled plastic of fishing nets and carpets. Terie, meanwhile produces female undergarments from organic bamboo. Good for your health, and for the environment.

Love committing to causes that matter? Then it’s time to commit to your savings. We’ll help your cause for more mindful living by freeing you to fight for what you believe in, worry free. Check out our insurance savings solutions here.

Take your fashion to the next level

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Anyone with half an eye for style will have drowned in frustration over what to wear on at least one occasion. Everyone has seen you in your ‘fancy suit’ before, and Pete forbid they assume you only have one nice outfit. Sound familiar? These fashion rental services can save you the panic.

Style Theory, Singapore fashion’s newest powerhouse, specialises in clothing rentals from everyday summer wear to luxury designers. Such an arrangement understands your reluctance to repeat clothing by offering weekly swaps for as little as S$69 a month.

In addition, you can put the unworn clothing and bags from your wardrobe up for rental and earn cash with Style Theory Share. The company guarantees that your items are professionally maintained and insured up to and agreed-upon value. Now you get more clothes you want, less of what you don’t need, and for much less than if you had to buy everything yourself.

While it may be obvious that renting your clothes means you never have to pay the full price, how does this all help the environment? The simple answer is that by refusing to buy brand new, you share the environmental impact of production with everyone whose hands each piece passes through. The slow fashion movement needs more ambassadors, and everyone loves a clear environmental conscience.

Pass it on

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You may remember sulking as a kid at the idea of wearing someone else’s ‘old’ clothes. If for some reason your disdain for hand-me-downs is a long-standing one, then perhaps this will change your mind.

Cotton is the world’s most chemically treated crop and the most fundamental material to clothing production. The volume and array of pesticides used to treat cotton crops surpass those of commercially grown food crops, even corn. At a glance, wearing pesticides seems less harmful than eating them, but consider that a single drop of aldicarp, a common cotton pesticide, absorbed through the skin can kill an adult human, and things start to look much less rosy.

Removing all the residual pesticide from an article of clothing is virtually impossible but washing can get rid of some, meaning that pre-owned clothes probably contain less toxins than brand new pieces you purchase. This is where the next part comes in.

Thrifting looks nothing like it used to, thanks to local fashion retailer, ReFash. The online platform offers pre-loved clothes for sale, and we’re talking practically brand new clothes from modern brands, as well as the vintage fare. By putting your own clothes up for sale, you earn credits that you can use to shop the platform, or redeem cash or shopping vouchers. The selections are endless – perfect for the aspirational stylist.

Meanwhile, some parents work to minimise their children’s exposure to toxins by choosing organic clothing and welcoming hand-me downs in favour of new clothing. Regarding the latter, it helps to know others parents too, so each rapidly outgrown item finds a new owner fast.

A preference for second-hand clothing shares similar environmental benefits as clothing rental services. Likewise, the long-term goal is to reduce the demand on retailers for individual pieces and hopefully slow down the fashion industry’s damage to the environment. Not to mention, second-hand clothing typically comes at lower-than-cost price or even free.

Get around, greener

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With the Danish commute so centered on cycling, their government must be doing something right. Despite local efforts, cycling culture hasn’t yet picked up in full force here in Singapore for a good many reasons, but most of all we concede the weather. While cycling may be less appealing for longer journeys, consider making short trips on the bike instead of by car or public transport. Going round the corner for groceries? Cycling bears much smaller a carbon footprint than any vehicular transport, it’s faster than walking and better for your health. Buying a good bike can seem like a big one-time expenditure, but counts as an investment that will benefit your savings and the environment in the long term. Remember to stay safe as you ride.

Start your own herb garden

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Here, the luxury of space is afforded to few, making the option of a vegetable patch an impossibility for most. But a little potted herb garden isn’t out of the question just yet. Pure joy is the taste of something you planted yourself, and this pride is definitely something to experience once in your life. Naturally, not all varieties thrive in the Singaporean climate, but some that so are chili, lime, rosemary, basil, curry, aloe vera and mint.

While you care for your plants, consider composting as well. Composting is the process of decomposing organic solid waste, and also a recycling method that can yield valuable fertiliser for your growing plant family. This helps the environment with reducing your household waste. This means less is incinerated and less carbon dioxide is released into the atmosphere, and in the grand scheme, global warming doesn’t advance quite so fast.

Among the common techniques is vermicomposting, which refers to composting with the help of worms. By digesting your leftovers, the worms speed up the decomposition process and leave the soil more fertile than ever. Luckily for you, Singapore’s composting community is an active one, and native composting worms, Malaysian Blue Worms, can be easily bought from suppliers.

Perhaps you will argue that the money you save from planting your own food isn’t worth this much trouble, but we guarantee that the experience will change your perspective!

Sustainable savings

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With the planet in its current state, every little bit of effort counts. Change is hard but with you leading the charge, we’re in good hands. It’s definitely comforting to know that combating climate change is an approachable endeavor that does not require dramatic changes in lifestyle, so our habits stay intact even as we fight.

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All information provided is true at the time of publishing on 12 November 2019 and conditions may have changed since. This policy is underwritten by Etiqa Insurance Pte. Ltd. (Company Reg. No 201331905K). Protected up to specified limits by SDIC.

As buying a life insurance policy is a long-term commitment, an early termination of the policy usually involves high costs and the surrender value, if any, that is payable to you may be zero or less than the total premiums paid.

This content is for reference only. You should seek advice from a financial adviser before deciding to purchase the policy. If you choose not to seek advice, you should consider if the policy is suitable for you. This advertisement has not been reviewed by the Monetary Authority of Singapore.