This Earth Day, you don’t have to spend a lot of money in order to go green. In fact, saving money goes hand in hand with going green.
Many of the steps we can take to help protect our planet can actually make our lives better too. I’ve rounded up simple and eco-friendly lifestyle tips that will help you save money every month. Let’s start living more sustainably now.
Here are 25 ways to save money by going green:
1. Buy secondhand
Before buying new, check to see if you can buy secondhand first.
This includes refurbished electronics and secondhand clothing, which can help save money and reduce environmental impact.
2. Use natural light
This might sound silly, but always turn out the lights if you’re not in the room.
Instead take advantage of natural light during the day by opening up the curtains, which can also help heat the room during the winter months.
When lights need to be turned on, use energy-efficient light bulbs to save money. This is a great way to save money by going green.
3. Reduce food waste
According to a recent report by UNEP, about one-third of all food produced worldwide gets lost or wasted in production and consumption systems.
Think about your own household: have you ever scraped food off your plate because you were too full to finish your meal?
Many of us have thrown out leftovers, expired food products or items that we never got around to using up in time. Rarely do we think about the significant of our actions.
You can reduce food waste by:
- Being a smart shopper: plan meals, use a shopping list and take note of items you already have at home.
- Make use of leftovers: find creative ways to use leftovers at home, instead of letting them go to waste.
- Make use of your freezer: if you made a large meal, but don’t feel like eating the leftovers over the next few days – freeze the rest.
4. Travel by foot, bike or public transportation
Instead of driving to work every day, consider walking, cycling or taking public transportation. Not only will this save money on gas, but it has a number of other benefits as well:
- Staying active when you walk or bike to work can help you get in shape and lose weight
- Public Transportation can sometimes be a faster option to get to work
- Reduce environmental impact when you walk, bike or take public transportation
5. Start a garden
Starting your own garden is a relaxing activity and it can also help you save money on your monthly grocery expenses.
The easiest items to grow are herbs and cherry tomatoes – which are great for apartments and small living spaces.
Making meals with items from your own garden is a great feeling, and the taste is amazing too!
6. Adjust your thermostat
Lower the heat in the winter and avoid turning up the A/C during the summer months.
Making sure your home is properly insulated can help lower your heating costs in the winter. I also try to only use the A/C on days that are going to be really hot in the summer.
Other ways to stay cool include going the movie theatre, browsing the mall, or reading at the library.
7. Use a low-flow showerhead
Buying a low-flow showerhead is a small investment, however it can help save money on your utility bill and reduce the amount of water you use when having a shower.
8. Reduce paper towel use
Paper towels are convenient, but they are an absolute waste. Keep microfiber cloths, old washcloths or rags handy for cleaning instead of always reaching for a paper towel.
To make one ton of paper towels, 17 trees are cut down and 20,000 gallons are consumed.
Limiting your paper towel use is a great way to save money by going green.
9. Save energy with smart power strips
Unlike traditional power cords, which can encourage you to leave electronics plugged in all the time, smart power strips block plugs that aren’t in use.
In the average home, standby power consumption can range from 5-10% of your household energy use.
While you can combat vampire power by continually unplugging your electronics, you won’t have to do that with a smart power strip, and it can save you some serious money too!
10. Wash clothes in cold water
Almost 90% of the energy used by a washing machine goes to heating water. Switching from hot to cold water washing saves both energy and money.
Use a cold water detergent and your clothes will be just as clean, I promise!
11. Use a drying rack or clothesline to save energy
I often use a drying rack for my clothing, especially for delicate pieces that would get damaged in the dryer.
Using a drying rack (or clothesline) not only saves both money and energy – the added bonus is that it can preserve the life of your clothing.
12. Eat more plant-based meals
There’s no denying that eating more planted-based meals is good for both our health and wallet, but it could also help save our planet.
Don’t believe me? Watch the documentary Cowspiracy on Netflix.
It really opened my eyes about the environmental impact of animal agriculture. I have switched to a vegetarian diet since I first watched the documentary last summer.
13. Use a water filter to purify tap water
If you’re still buying bottled water, it’s time get real with where your dollar is being spent.
The cost of bottled water is at a 280,000% markup to your tap water, which is pretty crazy when you think about it.
Bottles used to package water take over 1,000 years to biodegrade, and most single-use water bottles in the USA become litter, or end up in landfills.
If you’re concerned about the quality of your tap water, use a water filter to purify it, or consider buying a Brita filter instead.
14. Use a reusable water bottle
Instead of buying bottled water, I like to use my refillable water bottle when I’m running errands throughout the day.
Choosing a BPA-free reusable water bottle is better for your health, your wallet and the environment.
15. Host clothing swaps with friends
Instead of heading to the mall (or online) for a new outfit, consider hosting a clothing swap with friends.
If you’re a little apprehensive about shopping at a secondhand store, this is a great alternative and makes for a fun afternoon or evening with your girlfriends.
Some apartments and condos even have Facebook groups where members can post items for sale, or they might be giving these items away for free. This is a simple way to save money by going green.
16. Borrow items instead of buying
Next time you have a special event to attend, try shopping your friend’s closet first. This saves you money and prevents you from buying an outfit just to wear for one occasion.
I’m also a huge advocate for using the local public library to borrow books, movies, and CDs.
When it comes to power and cleaning tools, get to know your neighbors, since they might have one available for you to borrow.
17. Wear clothing that doesn’t require dry cleaning
The chemical, PERC, used to dry clean clothing is a likely human carcinogen, which could cause cancer. The chemical is also harmful to the environment and an expensive way to clean clothing.
Try to avoid buying clothing that requires dry cleaning, especially if it’s not required for your work place attire.
19. Invest in quality, long-lasting products
While it may involve an initial investment, buying quality products saves you money in the long run, and prevents unnecessary waste.
Get into the habit of thinking long-term when you buy clothing, electronics, automobiles, etc. This will make you appreciate these items more, which means you’re more likely to take care of them and preserve their longevity.
20. Make your own cleaning supplies
Making your own cleaning supplies is both fun and eco-friendly. It helps cut down the use of toxic chemicals in your home and saves you money too.
Stock your pantry with items like baking soda, white vinegar, essential oils and Castile soap. White vinegar also works great in the laundry instead of fabric softener.
These inexpensive natural cleaners are budget-friendly and safe for you and the planet.
21. Use a slow cooker to make meals
Not a fan of cooking after work? Throw everything into a slow cooker and let it cook while you’re at work.
They use very little energy, clean-up is easy, and it’ll help prevent you from grabbing take-away after a long day at the office. This is a great way to save money by going green.
22. Reduce your use of air fresheners
If spraying toxic chemicals in the air doesn’t sound like a good idea, then I recommend skipping the air fresheners.
They may smell pretty, but a better way to freshen up your home is by opening a window or decorating with plants. This can help add life to your home and also improve air quality too.
23. Fix faucets that drip
It’s hard to believe that a leaky faucet that drips at the rate of one drip per second can waste more than 3,000 gallons of water per year.
We all know to shut off the sink when we’re brushing our teeth to help conserve water, but it’s all for naught if you have a leaky faucet. Make sure to test all your faucets so everything is drip-free.
24. Go paperless
Keep things digital whenever possible. Companies have even offered an incentive to go paperless, which could save you a few dollars each month by paying your bills and doing your banking online.
Avoid printing emails, review documents on-screen and keep your files on your computer – just make sure to back up your files often!
25. Use a non-plastic straw
Since plastic has become a growing concern for our health and the environment, many plastic-free alternatives have been popping up in stores lately.
This includes eco-friendly straws, which are non-toxic and reusable for both hot and cold beverages.
While it’s not as common here in Canada, restaurants in the USA often serve guests a plastic straw with their beverage (whether you ask for it or not).
This is bad for the environment because plastic straws do not biodegrade, and they are also wrapped in wasteful paper.25 ways to save money by going greenClick To Tweet
Over to you — how do you save money by going green?
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