Sustainable living can mean saving more money every year. And saving more money means whatever you want it to mean: more vacations, more in your emergency fund, or more treats for your cutie pie dog. (Here’s how sustainable living has saved me $5,000.)
And lucky for our wallets, the sustainable choice is usually the cheaper choice.
Which Buying Strategy is Both Eco and Budget Friendly?
Living a sustainable lifestyle is very simple in a lot of ways. Being sustainable really means slowing down, consuming less, and using what you already have more than buying new things.
So the spending and buying strategies that are both eco and budget friendly are pretty easy to implement!
1- Use what you have before buying something new. Using something you already own means you don’t have to spend more money, so it’s budget friendly. It also reduces consumer demand, which means fewer raw resources are used. That makes it eco friendly!
2- Borrow instead of buying. This is the perfect buying strategy for special occasions. Instead of buying a new dress to wear to a wedding just one time, borrow something from a friend. You don’t waste money on a dress you only wear once, and you don’t contribute to the environmental disaster that is the fashion industry.
3- Buy secondhand. From clothing to furniture to yard tools, you can find pretty much anything you need secondhand! Buying secondhand means you get a discount and it helps keep items out of landfills.
I can’t recommend budgeting enough to everyone. Budgeting shows you where your money is coming from and where it’s going. Budgeting is power!
17 Sustainable Swaps to Save $1,000
Here are 17 sustainable swaps you can incorporate into your lifestyle to save at least $1,000 this year. We have swaps for every area of your life, so I hope that you’ll be able to find a few that you can start doing this week!
- Switch to reusable batteries. Batteries have to be recycled a special way and should NEVER be thrown in the trash. Re chargable batteries can save you $30 a year and be used for up to 5 years!
2. Hang dry your laundry at least once a week. Air drying uses less energy and can help lower your electric bill.
3. Unsubscribe from stores email lists. Besides tempting you to spend money on things you probably don’t need, each email sent actually emits 0.3g of carbon!
4. Always choose the slowest shipping option when shopping online. It’s the cheapest option and faster shipping emits way, way more greenhouse gases. “In 2017, Amazon’s deliveries alone emitted about 19 million metric tons of carbon, according to an estimate from 350 Seattle, a group that works to combat climate heating.“
5. Stop buying veggie stock and make your own from your vegetable scraps. (Then compost the scraps!)
6. Use your coffee grounds as fertilizer for your garden and cut back on the fertilizer you get from Lowes.
7. Cut out paper towels for good! Paper towels are usually made from virgin trees, which means deforestation. Grab a stack of dish cloths from Target, or turn an old sweatshirt into DIY towels and keep them in your kitchen for messes.
8. Aim to get 80% of your clothes secondhand. Thrift stores are a good lower cost option. Clothing swaps and Buy Nothing groups are a way to get clothes totally for free!
9. Invest in a bidet. It’s an upfront cost worth it over the long haul, since you can significantly lower your toilet paper usage. Forbes found the average American uses 400 rolls of toilet paper a year (and that doesn’t include the wet wipes a lot of folks use.)
10. If you get a period, a menstrual cup and period underwear will save you hundreds over time. A menstrual cup can last up to 5 years and is less than $40. Tampons and pads cost anywhere from $5-$10 a box.
11. Skip single use Ziploc bags when storing food. Opt for endlessly usable glass containers for your meal prep, and use things like reusable beeswax paper for your accessible snacks.
12. Have two meatless days a week. Meat is often one of the most expensive items at the grocery store (especially if you have a big family to feed). Two days of vegetarian meals a week will save you hundreds over the course of the year.
13. Turn your AC off or put it at a higher temperature during “peak hours”. Electric companies charge you a HIGHER use rate during certain hours of the day. For me, it’s from 11-1pm and 4-6pm. Lowering your use during those hours throughout the year will save you a lot of money!
14. Try to have one car free day a week. The annual cost of car ownership in 2022 was $10,728, according to AAA’s Your Driving Costs study. With gas prices likely going higher in coming years, beginning to build in other modes of transportation, like walking, biking, or public transport is a big money saver.
15. Tailor clothes instead of buying new. If your body has changed you might need to change some of your clothes. Taking in dresses and pants, or letting out shirts, is a way to give new life to the clothes you already own.
16. Stop buying single use plastic water bottles. Plastic is literally killing us all, and these single use bottles are killing your budget!
17. Opt for solar energy instead of gas. Some cities offer the chance to choose your energy provider, and you can pick solar. And if you own, you can install solar panels.
These sustainable swaps may not all apply to you (I know I don’t own a house!) so take what works for your life and leave the rest. Sustainability is personal, just like money is.
What sustainable swaps have you already made in your life? Let me know in the comments!