Times are tough and with so many people out of work, furloughed or taking reduced salaries, many of us are more concerned than ever about our finances. If you’re struggling with how you can save money and keep practicing your green lifestyle, we’ve put together a list of 40 things you can do that will reduce your environmental impact and keep money in your pocket.
- Ditch paper towels and buy microfiber cloths, or old cotton towels, for your dusting and cleaning
- Turn off the lights as you leave the room
- Keep your heat settings at 68 degrees in winter and 78 and summer
- Purchase reusable menstrual pads or a menstrual cup, and stop buying disposable pads and tampons
- Buy or make reusable make-up remover pads and stop buying disposable make up wipes
- Eat less meat or go vegetarian
- Eat less dairy, or go vegan!
- Stop buying disposable plastic sandwich and snack bags, and invest in reusable containers
- Don’t buy bottled water ever again; use a reusable water bottle and fill up for free
- Bring your own reusable coffee cup
- Use cotton napkins and never buy paper napkins again
- Hey bakers, buy some silicone baking mats to use, instead of parchment paper
- Invest in dryer balls and save money by not buyer dryer sheets
- Buy second hand clothes and stop supporting fast-fashion
- Buy in bulk and make it last
- Stop flying – sounds extreme, but air travel is a huge environmental burden
- Bring your own lunch, you’ll save money and avoid plastic containers, cutlery and napkins used in take out.
- Bring your own reusable bag to shop at stores that give you a discount for doing it
- Use cold water to wash your clothes
- Support your local farmer’s market and avoid the middleman (and mark-up) for organic food at the stores
- Take short showers, try the Shower Song Challenge – try and take a shower for the length of just one song
- Use your local library instead of buying new books, or buy books second hand
- Dry your clothes on the line, instead of in the dryer
- Unplug appliances not in use
- Invest in a reusable razor blade and ditch the wasteful (and expensive) disposable blades
- Moms and dads: have you looked into using disposable diapers? You’ll save TONS of money
- Make your own baby wipes instead of buying them. There are lots of tutorials out there.
- Install a bidet in your home. You’ll feel so European and chic, and you’ll save on toilet paper costs.
- Close your shades and curtains in hot weather, to keep the sun out and naturally cool your home.
- If you have an old toilet that uses a lot of water, put a brick wrapped in plastic, or a glass jar filled with water, at the bottom of your water tank. It displaces the water but maintains the same flushing power.
- Wait until your dishwasher is completely full to run it
- Turn off your computer and monitor when not in use
- Start a veggie garden
- Use a rain barrel to collect rain water, and use that to water your garden and lawn
- Stop washing your clothes so much. Some items, like jeans, probably don’t need to be washed after each use. They’ll last longer with less washes, too.
- Join your local Buy Nothing Group on Facebook, or your local Swap & Sell. Look for second hand first
- Shop in season. Buy your produce when it’s in season, it’s traveled less and tastes better. Buying strawberries in the dead of winter if you live in New Jersey… where are they even coming from?
- Stop buying 10 different cleaners for ten different chores. You just need one, great, cleaner, and I think we can recommend something: Absolute Green’s multi-surface cleaners.
- Try a “Buy Nothing” month – commit to not buying anything but food for a whole month, or more!
- Borrow instead of buy: are there things that you only need once, or once a year or even once a month that you could be borrowing from a neighbor or friend?
- Buy or make handkerchiefs to use, instead of tissues
Some of these things may require an up-front investment, but will save you money in the long run. And as always, consider how you can reuse items already in your home, instead of buying. A mason jar, instead of a reusable coffee flask, re-purpose old fleece kids’ pajamas to make reusable makeup wipes, old cotton sheets can be turned into handkerchiefs. It doesn’t need to be beautiful, it needs to be functional.
Take care out there!