Downshifting can change your life from hectic to happy, says Kate Moore, a business development manager from the New Forest in Hampshire

Five years ago I worked as a management consultant in London. I lived a frantic life – flying and driving all over the place, living out of a hotel room during the week, stressed, not doing enough exercise, drinking and smoking too much – all in the pursuit of a fat salary and career glory.

Then I took a year out to travel the world with my now husband. I came home and studied for an MSc in Corporate Social Responsibility (exploring the ways in which environmental and social issues affect companies), which changed my life.

We now live in a cottage in the New Forest. I work locally for an environmental not-for-profit firm. We are starting to grow some of our own food. We have super-insulated our house, are having solar water heating installed and are considering rainwater harvesting and underfloor heating.

We shop locally and try to avoid supermarkets, buying organic where possible and watching the food miles. We recycle, compost and try to consume less.

We do a lot more exercise – both in the garden and through cycling. In essence, we are trying to reduce our footprint in as much as we can.

I’m 33 – my former colleagues think we’re turning into the Good Life couple, but – hey – we are happy. We still go out, still have fun, still drink too much, but life is much richer than before – proof that a fat salary does not always make you happy.

This is an extract from Save cash & save the planet.