Average Finnish household can save over 3000 € on a yearly basis.

As 10 % of household consumption can be regarded almost useless, the potential for sustainable investments is huge! Before jumping into the statistics, welcome to the Useless Blog! The first post tells you a little about the science behind UseLess

Finnish households' saving potential

Over two thirds of global greenhouse gas emissions come from our daily consumption choices so every euro spent matters. We have calculated that an average Finnish household could reduce their consumption by 10 %, equaling up to 3400 €, with minor changes to their consumption habits. These euros can then be directed to sustainable investments or donations. Where did we get these numbers?

Statistics Finland publishes open data about household consumption expenditure every four years. The consumption of households is divided into 12 categories and further into almost thousand sub-categories. The consumption structure of an average household, and the savings we’ve calculated, are presented in the picture below.

So, households consume annually approximately 37 551 € from which the biggest shares go to housing, transport, miscellaneous goods and food. Housing, transport and food are also the top three causes of household greenhouse gas emissions. It would be possible to save significantly more from housing, but we calculated that in the beginning the savings would be achieved by small changes, i.e. reducing electricity consumption by a tenth. This means savings of 143 €/year (3 % of housing category).

What comes to the category of transportation, we calculated that there would be savings worth of 1026 € annually (64 % of transport category). These savings are achieved by reducing overseas flight tickets, avoiding private car use and spending less on purchasing new vehicles.

Miscellaneous goods and services include all sorts of stuff, for example insurances, membership fees, baby carriages and hairdressers. The only reduction we made, was reducing consumption on personal care (hairdressers, make up etc.) by 10 %. With these moderate reductions, 71 € could be saved annually (1 % of the category).  

Food is a category, where spending could easily be reduced. We calculated that by substituting half of meat and a fifth of milk products and eggs for plant based proteins and by eating less unhealthy foods, households could save 872 €/year (20 % of the category).

In the category of recreation and culture, we calculated reductions on package tours and cruises, and toys and sports equipment. With reductions of 20–50 %, savings of 260 € could be achieved (7 % of the category). 

For furnishing and household equipment, we calculated a reduction of 10 % equaling to 160 €. In category of hotels, cafes and restaurants we calculated that by cutting half the junk food eated out and alcohol consumed in restaurants, yearly savings of 182 € would be achvieved (10 % of the category). For clothing and footwear we calculated a reduction of a fifth equaling to savings of 218 €. For alcoholic beverages and tobacco we calculated reductions of 60 % and 75 %. These add up to 514 € (65 % of the category). We made no reductions in the categories of health, communications and education. 

Finnish Households' yearly useless consumption

These potential savings are only examples to demonstrate, how also little changes can sum up to significant impact. Every individual is of course different – what could you consume less on?

Want to know more about the calculations? Check out the whole article!

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Maija Leino