Eco-Friendly Money-Saving Tips: Save the Planet and Your Wallet

woman standing in field near lake

Looking to reduce your waste while keeping your wallet full? Here are five easy eco-friendly money-saving tips.

The big scary world of going zero waste and living a more sustainable life can be in fact that, scary. When I first jumped down this rabbit hole, I got pretty overwhelmed. Okay, I still get overwhelmed. I am not perfect, I have to get leftover boxes sometimes, I still haven’t mastered cooking waste-free, but each day I make a little more effort and my life gets a little more green-friendly.

Here are some super easy, cost effective ways to GO GREEN.

Reusable Tumbler

Did you know that most cafes will give you a discount for bringing your own mug? Yep. I have gotten as much as 50 cents off at some places. That adds up quick … well it does it you are a coffee addict like me! In this reusable tumbler category I will include reusable water bottles! I have no idea how much money I have saved by carrying my water bottle E-V-E-R-Y-W-H-E-R-E. Find a bubbler (yes, I am from Wisconsin) and fill ’er up. Much better than the $5 a bottle at a baseball stadium.

Air travel tip: Chug your water before going through security and your empty bottle will get the green light to pass through. Airports have a lot of water fountains after security, so you’ll have plenty of chances to fill it up and avoid the crazy airport water bottle prices.

Buy Secondhand

I was never the best at secondhand shopping, but I have now realized how AWESOME it can be! I can find some of my favorite brands at a fraction of the price. The fashion industry unfortunately causes a good chunk of harm to the environment. (Coming in third worst in the world, falling only behind oil and factory farming).

By buying secondhand you are not directly supporting the fast-fashion industry. This is the only way I will buy fast-fashion labels anymore. Sure everything will be last season, or five seasons ago, but it will help you live by your OWN style rules instead of always having to have that years IT bag.

Buy Locally and In Season

When it comes to produce we are pretty damn lucky here in the US, because our grocery stores will ship in any and every fruit or veggie our heart desires. It doesn’t matter where it came from or what season it is, you can get blueberries year round. The downfall to this is the effect it has on the environment. Trucking produce from around the world contributes to a lot of burning of fuels and CO2 emissions.

Paying attention to in-season produce that is produced locally not only helps diminish the amount of pollutants going into the air, but also supports local businesses! I would much rather buy a sweet potato from Gary down the road then some big farm in Mexico. ALSO, most small local farms are now starting to grow organically. I know that you’re thinking organic food is costly, but I actually did a comparison one day.

I bought all the produce I needed one week from a local Big Box grocery store and then the next week the same items from our local co-op. The total was THE SAME. I got mostly local, organically grown food for the same price as non-local, non-organic stuff at the other store. I’m telling ya, shipping costs are crazy; cutting out thousands of miles of travel for those mushrooms really helps cut down on the cost!

My favorite ways to shop locally are through farmers’ markets, co-ops and CSAs!

Cook From Scratch

Do you ever notice how FULL your recycling bin is the day after meal prep?? Ugh, I did. It would be overflowing with black bean cans, salsa jars, berry packaging. Sure, great, it’s all recyclable at least, but I just knew that with a little effort I could eliminate a lot of that.

I made an effort to cook everything from scratch. From black beans in the crockpot to homemade pizza sauce, we were able to ditch A LOT of cans and jars. And I calculated it out, we were saving a ton of money, too. Where before we were spending maybe $1 per twelve ounces of beans, we now get dry beans for the same price, but when cooked almost tripled their size. So we got more than thirty ounces for that $1. All it took was toss them in the crockpot with some water and letting them sit. Not too shabby.

Cancel Your Subscriptions

I used to have quite a few magazine subscriptions. AND on top of those monthly ones, I would still go out and buy more each month. I don’t really know where it came from, but I loved paging through magazines.

One day the thought hit me just how much money I was spending and how many trees I was (indirectly) cutting down. I cancelled every single subscription that day. I got online memberships to any ones that I just didn’t want to part with, and made a clean break with the rest. I have now found more pleasure in browsing free websites and borrowing books from the library. And my wallet is very thankful for that.

I hope those five tips helped you see how EASY it can be to start helping the environment while also helping your wallet! Living more sustainably does NOT have to mean spending more money. You can definitely be smart about how you go about it and live a very frugal, eco friendly life.