Saving more money is always one of America’s top New Year’s resolutions. In my mind, it’s so clear the link between sustainable living and saving more money. Sustainable living is cheaper living. If you live more sustainably, you will free up more money that you can put towards your financial goals. That is facts! Today I have 19 sustainable living tips that will save you more money!
19 Sustainable Living Tips That Will Save Money
If you’re more of a visual learner, all the tips are in the video below. Be sure to subscribe on YouTube for more money-saving tips!
1. Use shower water to water your plants
Collect your shower water to use to water your plants. Listen: this one’s so easy and it will save you money in the long run. If you turn on the shower and wait until it’s warm, put a bucket under that cold water. Catch the cold water and then use that water to water your plants. Don’t just let it run down the drain!
This way, you are using water that you’re already paying for!
2. Turn empty containers into candles
Turn empty containers into candles. The Oui yogurt jars make the best candle containers! Repurposing that jar that you’ve already paid for and turning it into something that you can use again and again. This will save you money and you won’t have to buy new candles either.
3. Remove saved credit card info
Deleting your saved credit card information from Amazon, DePop, or wherever is going to save you money. Just putting that extra step of difficulty between you and being able to purchase is going to save you money.
Also, reducing consumption is super sustainable. We make a hundred billion new pieces of clothing per year. That’s too many clothes! Shopping secondhand and reducing how much you shop in general is a sustainable choice that will save you money.
4. Buy bar soap
Buying and using bar soap reduces the amount of plastic you use. Usually, body wash and shampoo come in a plastic container. If you buy bar soap, it usually is packaged in cardboard boxes that you can recycle.
This means less plastic out in the world. Bar soap also tends to be cheaper and you can get a pack of five or six as opposed to just one bottle of body wash.
5. Buy bar shampoo & conditioner
Piggybacking off that: buy shampoo and conditioner in bar form, as well. I use bar shampoo and conditioner and it’s super easy. You just rub the bar on your head when I wash my hair. I like the bars from VIDA, which is a Latina-owned company.
6. Host events in public places
I love public places! Third places like parks and libraries; those are my jam. Ever since I moved, I have been trying to make new friends. And to do that, I have been hosting regular events in public places.
By hosting an event in a public place like a park or a library, you don’t need to pay for the space and there’s no built-in cost.
When you go to a restaurant or bar, there’s a built-in cost. You need to buy food, or a drink, or you need to patronize in some way. I totally get this and respect it.
I was a waitress for about 3 years and you should always tip! And, I also love going out to eat, but I don’t always want to spend $60 when I’m just trying to see people or make new friends. I’ve done book swaps, picnics, and walking groups. All of that has helped me build community at a $0 cost.
Thrifting for clothes this is a classic for a reason. I sit here in jeans I got at the thrift store for $16 and a shirt that I got 100% for free from a clothing swap. You can look cute and fashionable on the cheap.
Like I mentioned earlier, we make 100 billion new pieces of clothing per year. That is deeply unsustainable for our planet. Shopping secondhand is going to save you money while also reducing the overall demand on our planet’s resources.
8. Use secondhand marketplaces
I love Facebook Marketplace! Facebook in general or Meta is kind of the devil and I don’t really like Mark Zuckerberg. I don’t want to hang out with Mark Zuckerberg. However, Facebook Marketplace is popping off!
I have gotten everything from my coffee table to bookcases to different l lamps in my house all from FB Marketplace.
Again, we’re reducing the need for new stuff to be made and reducing the demand for our planet’s resources. We’re also saving money and let’s face it, everything is super expensive right now.
Shopping secondhand not only saves you money, but a lot of people are putting nice things on secondhand marketplaces because they are trying to make some money back. I myself sold a camera I spent like $550 on for $250 bucks on Facebook Marketplace. So, I got back a nice chunk of change and I’m really pleased with that.
9. Hang your clothes to dry
This one is another classic! The less you run your dryer, the less electricity and fewer resources you use. A lot of our clothes are actually not meant to be tossed in a dryer on high heat for 60 to 90 minutes at a time.
If you actually read the tag on a lot of your clothes, it says lay flat to dry. Laying your clothes flat to dry or hang-drying them helps them keep their shape. It also helps them stay in nice shape for longer.
You’re going to see less pilling, fewer tears, and less shrinkage. This also helps you spend less money on clothes in the long run because you’re taking care of the clothes that you have in the short term.
10. Prep food to avoid food waste
When you get home from the grocery store, this is the most critical time to avoid food waste. The way that you put your food away matters!
For example, if you buy a bag of carrots, you’re probably just thinking oh I’ll just shove them in the crisper. But, if you chop up your veggies like celery and carrots and stick them in water, they’re going to stay fresher for so much longer.
Other produce like bell peppers need to be completely dry. Stick them in a plastic bag and then put those in the crisper and that will make them stay fresher longer.
This way, you’re reducing the chance that your food is going to rot before you get to it. It also means you’re actually going to eat everything that you bought. Food waste is a huge problem in the United States and groceries are expensive as hell.
Food waste is terrible for your wallet and the planet.
11. Green energy credits
Here in the United States, we have town or city governments, then we have state governments and then we have our federal government. There are rebates at pretty much every single level of government.
A rebate is basically when you opt into a specific program or if you meet specific requirements for something you will get money back.
A lot of cities and states have green energy credits, so check with your local municipality. Maybe if you put solar panels on your house, you will a state or city rebate. In some places, you may get a wind energy credit.
When I lived in Austin, Texas, we got a green energy rebate for using windmill energy from the city of Austin. I miss it every day because I do not get that same rebate in North Carolina.
Check with your local ordinances, your city, your state and see if you have any green energy credits that you are eligible. That will save you money and it will help the planet!
12. Stop buying plastic water bottles
I know you’ve heard it before and you’ll hear it again! Stop buying plastic water bottles. Get a reusable water bottle. Plastic water bottles are garbage and around 80% of plastic water bottles made each year end up in landfills.
These water bottles take about 450 years to decompose. Those plastic water bottles are outliving literally everyone on the planet and also your kids and your grandkids..
While I understand that some people may need to use a plastic water bottle or you use one plastic water bottle every 6 months, what I really want you to focus on is cutting down on the daily use. So instead of buying a 20-pack of Poland Springs at Costco, get a reusable water bottle.
You can get a water bottle at a secondhand store like Goodwill. Thrift stores are full of reusable water bottles. You can also get a filter if you want filtered water. Then, fill up your reusable water bottle before you leave the house.
13. Reuse glass jars for storage
If you’re buying things like pickles or pasta sauce at the grocery store, they are probably coming in a glass jar. You can reuse that glass jar as food storage.
You don’t need to run out and buy plastic containers to put your food in or even glass containers. You’re saving yourself that money and you’re keeping the jar out of landfill. I love to store food in pickle jars and I love to drink out pasta sauce jars.
Calling back to our earlier tip, if you’re going to be chopping up your veggies and putting them in water: a glass jar is the perfect place for them. The veggies stand up really neatly in the jar.
14. Have ‘house clothes’
I have clothes that I wear outside of the house and then when I get home, I change into my home clothes. My home clothes are really comfortable and my outside clothes are a little nicer.
I don’t always even have to wash my outside clothes as often because I only wear them for an hour or two. My inside clothes help my outside clothes last longer, so I’m saving money in the long run.
15. Have convenience food on hand
Having convenience food on hand helps you avoid delivery and ultimately creates less waste. Delivery usually comes in those plastic containers or they come in paper containers that you throw out.
They can’t usually be composted or recycled. I always have frozen pizza and frozen tater tots, so we don’t need to Door Dash $17 tater tots. Instead, I pay $5 for a three-pound bag of tater tots and just leave them in my freezer. Anytime I want 10 tots, I can go have those and that is so nice.
16. Don’t use your car once a week
If you live in a rural area, I don’t expect you to do this because I know the US struggles with public transportation. If you live 20 miles from the nearest store, I do not expect you to walk there.
But, if you’re a city girly like me, you have options besides your car. My city does not have great public transportation, but it does have a bus system. I own a bike and I live in a fairly walkable place though, I would say in general, my city is not very walkable.
But having a no-car day one day a week is very feasible for me and many of you. It might require a little more planning, but if you can, bike to your friend’s house or to work.
You can also have it be a weekend day where you just walk around your neighborhood. That can be a fantastic way to save you money. You don’t have to put as much into gas, you save wear and tear on your car and you’re putting fewer emissions out into the world.
17. Clothing swap with friends or family
Be the person who asks aunts, uncles, cousins, friends, and community members: “Hey, are you cleaning out your closet?” Can I stop by to pick them up before you donate them?
I want to say that 60% of my closet is other people’s clothes that I have gotten from family members cleaning out their closet or friends cleaning out their closet.
Keeping clothes out of the landfill is hugely important in our sustainable living because clothes take forever to break down. Clothes that we think we are donating end up sitting in the desert or on the beaches of Ghana. These clothes are washing up on the shore and they are ruining sea creatures lives.
They’re also ruining the beaches. This is where all of that fast fashion that people are discarding so easily is ending up. Instead of buying something, wearing it once, and then thinking, oh I’ll give it to Goodwill, ask someone you know if they could use it.
Swap clothing with friends and your community.
18. Use the Good to Go app
The Good To Go app is an app you can download that different restaurants opt into. What they do is offer day-old food for a significantly reduced price. So you can get day-old bread, day-old meals that the restaurant can no longer sell at full price. You benefit from super reduced prices and it helps eliminate food waste.
19. Become a member of your local Buy Nothing Group
The love letter that I could write to Buy Nothing! Buy Nothing is an organization that started in 2013 that allows people to come together in a group online.
You can download the app or a lot of buy-nothing groups exist on Facebook. How it works is: someone will hop into the Facebook group and say “Hey, I have an air fryer that I’m not using does anyone want it?” Then, you respond and say “Yeah, I would like that.”
And then you pick it up from their house for free. Paying for things is specifically against the buy-nothing rules. You cannot offer to buy that air fryer. It has to be given freely and it has to be accepted freely.
The gifting economy is so sustainable, that it blows my mind. It’s an exchange of goods between someone who has excess and someone who has a need.
The gifting economy is life-changing!
There’s no need for money to be exchanged here and yet needs are being met. I love that it also helps keep things out of the landfill.
When I tell you the things that I have seen on Buy Nothing groups! I have legitimately seen air fryers, Ninja blenders, and designer clothes. I’ve seen Prada Bags being given away that someone inherited.
You can find a lot of really good stuff and you’re also going to find some flops. That’s life. But become a member of your local buy nothing group and start participating in the gifting economy and tell me it doesn’t change your life.
Those are my 20 sustainable living tips that will help you save money. If you have more drop them in the comments!