Why is money wise better than Bieng

No consumption, sustainability and little money

Sustainability - a topic that has been a niche issue for a long time has long since catapulted itself into the limelight thanks to the discussions about climate change. Sustainable production is not only relevant for the economy, rather sustainability is an important topic in everyday life for every individual private person. The conscious use of resources and the renouncement of consumption have long been a trend. We show how sustainable living and renouncement can even be fun and can be achieved with little money.

Cheap, organic or completely without it?

Those who consume little live sustainably and spend less money in the process. As simple as this equation may sound, unfortunately it rarely works. Sustainably produced products such as organic food, natural cosmetics or fairly produced textiles are usually significantly more expensive than their counterparts in discount stores. Especially for younger people who do not yet have a high income, this is a real obstacle to opting for sustainable products. Sometimes a real conflict of conscience arises, as the younger generation in particular has recognized the signs of the times and wants to be aware of their consumption.

But there is another way to enjoy a sustainable, yet affordable lifestyle: abstinence from consumption. To get straight to the point: The term does not necessarily mean to forego any consumption, i.e. not to buy anything at all and to have to live a hermit existence in the hinterland as a self-sufficient person on an emigrant farm. Rather, there are different forms, forms and intensities of abstaining from consumption.

However, the first step with all variants is to be aware of your own consumption and to question it critically. In most cases, this leads from the specific question “Do I really need THAT?” To the much more substantial realization “WHAT do I really need?”. The goal is to only buy what you really need to be able to lead a fulfilling and happy life.

Interesting: Researchers at the University of Arizona found in a study (Materialist values, financial and pro-environmental behaviors, and well-being, 2019) that abstinence and reduced consumption increased the well-being of young adults and decreased psychological stress.

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Sharing instead of buying yourself

Does everyone really have to own everything they use? Many items are rarely needed and they take up a lot of space. In large cities in particular, where living space is scarce and expensive, it often makes little sense to take your breath away with things that are almost never used. A good example of this is tools. Usually you need it when you move in and furnish your new apartment - and then not for a long time. Therefore sharing models with other people in the area are ideal.

Everyone saves money and space by sharing items they don't use on a daily basis. As a consequence, less would have to be produced and imported, which in turn saves resources. In cities, sharing and shared garden areas create closer social coexistence, more sensible use of space and, at the same time, more space.

For almost all commodities, there are now more or less specifically designed sharing platforms online or as an app for smartphones, on which used or surplus goods can be resold or exchanged with others - in a way, flea market version 2.0. There are also two advantages: you don't have to throw anything away and when you buy second-hand products, you save a lot compared to buying a new one.

Living sustainably in Berlin

More than 3.7 million people currently live in Berlin - and the trend is rising. Is sustainable life even possible in such a densely populated area of ​​a big city? Yes, because Berlin in particular presents itself innovatively due to the huge scene of creative young people from all regions of the world and plays a pioneering role in many meaningful projects.

Here are just a few sustainability trends that make sense, are fun and promote togetherness:

  • Urban gardening: Urban horticulture areas give city dwellers without their own garden the opportunity to grow and harvest their own vegetables, fruits and herbs. With flat roofs, industrial wastelands or backyards, the space potential is huge and far from being exhausted.
  • Sharing economy: Sharing offers are no longer only available as part of car sharing, but for almost every conceivable property. To name just a few: books, DVDs, tools, office space (coworking), WiFi, gardens, living space - even jeans and groceries (food sharing). One in five Germans already uses offers from various sharing platforms, and the proportion of users in Berlin is significantly higher than the national average.
  • Exchange fairs and events: Whether as an online exchange or a real event, the “flea market” concept is only rarely referred to today, but it is more popular than it has been for a long time. Clothes swap parties, sometimes even combined with offers such as a sewing workshop, take place regularly.
  • Repair café: Repairing instead of disposing of it - repairing a defective device or piece of furniture often pays off compared to buying a new one. The range of so-called repair cafés or repair workshops is growing all the time. There you will train your manual skills yourself and get to know new people at the same time.
  • Avoiding garbage with unpackaged stores: In a growing number of so-called unpackaged shops, you don't buy food and cosmetics in plastic packaging, but fill everything in reusable containers. Plastic-free shopping does not cause packaging waste and you only buy the amount that you really need.

Sustainability as a challenge: sustainability challenge

There are numerous inspirations for sustainability or consumption-free challenges on the web. Many bloggers and people active in social media set themselves such challenges and thus inspire their followers. Here is a small selection of such challenges:

  • Avoiding fast fashion: only buy sustainably produced and fairly traded clothing (slow fashion)
  • Clothes diet: not buying a new item of clothing for a year
  • Vegan challenge: try a new vegan recipe every day
  • Unpacked only: only buy unpackaged food
  • Zero waste challenge: avoid all packaging waste
  • Without make-up: do without beauty products such as make-up

Quite a few sustainability challenges can certainly only consistently be carried out over a limited period of time and are less suitable as a permanent model of life. Nevertheless, every challenge means that you have to deal critically with your own consumer behavior, get to know alternatives to familiar behavior patterns and thus permanently awaken your own awareness of sustainability.

What tools are there to organize life with little money?

If you have little money available, you should do one thing above all: plan. There are some digital services to structure your personal finances individually, to make them transparent for yourself and to enable forward planning:

  • The web budget planner allows you to record your expenses and income on your PC or tablet and evaluate them in detail.
  • With the Finanzchecker app, you can get your private budget book on your smartphone and record expenses and income on the go.
  • The account alarm clock informs you immediately as soon as something changes on your account.


There are many exciting ways to bring more sustainability into everyday life. A current overview of your own financial status helps enormously in questioning every purchase decision and buying less impulsively, but rather making planned purchases. Organization is half the battle!
Tip: Analyze your expenses in the budget book and categorize them into “necessary”, “pleasant” and “unnecessary”. In this way, you create awareness of your own consumer behavior and set clear priorities in the future.

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