How To Go Green On A Budget – 21 Things You Can Do Today!

Small plant growing on stacks of coins

You’ve probably heard it all before.

“Going green is too expensive!”

“It’s not in my budget to be eco-friendly. Maybe later.”

“It’s not financially feasible to go green, especially for an extended amount of time.”

Well, we’re here to tell you that these statements are mostly bogus. While it’s true that some eco-friendly products might be more expensive than their non-eco-friendly counterpart, this is not a hard rule. There are many green-focused products that are comparable or even less expensive than non-green products.

Furthermore, there is a lot more to going green than how you spend your money. Making a few simple lifestyle changes can cause massive savings for both your wallet and the environment. Best of all, it won’t require much, if at all, upfront costs. So you can focus on helping the planet out without having to worry about whether it’s affordable or not.

With that said, here are some easy tips to help you get started with going green on a budget!

Going Green On A Budget – 21 Simple Tips

Alright, let’s start with (arguably) the most important tip of them all!

1. Use What You Already Have.

Objects on a white background

The best way to save money and protect the environment? Use what you already have.

Modern-day consumption is at an all-time high. The more products that are purchased and used, the more trash that ends up being produced. And since most products are not made from eco-friendly materials, that means a lot of junk ends up tossed into our oceans and landfills.

The simplest and most eco-friendly solution is to just keep on using and reusing products that you currently have, even if said products are not inherently eco-friendly. By doing so, you get the most value out of the natural resources used to make the product and limit how much waste you generate.

Best of all, it won’t cost you a single cent to keep on using what you have already bought.

Now, keep the following in mind. It’s tempting to go out and purchase green products, especially when you are just starting on your eco-friendly journey. But before you do so, you should make sure that what you are getting is actually needed.

Eco-friendly and green products, particularly ones that are presented as a reusable alternative to plastic, are often made with more natural resources compared to plastic products.

For example, plastic bags actually have the least ecological impact on the production side; their carbon footprint is very small. However, this doesn’t change the fact that they are made from petroleum, a finite resource that will not biodegrade and will definitely cause environmental problems after being thrown away. Plastic bags just don’t have the reusability that other materials, such as cotton, do.

But while cotton bags are better for the environment after it’s thrown away, the production cost is greater. The average cotton shopping bag would need to be used around 130+ times before it offsets the natural cost of production. A nonwoven PP (polypropylene) bag would only need to be used 11 times to offset its production cost and it’s more easily recyclable, but it’s not biodegradable.

There is no “one-size-fits-all” solution whenever you decide to purchase any product, whether it’s green or not. That’s why using what you already have is such a great option. We recognize that you will have to purchase new products eventually, and we totally support that. But being aware of the ecological impact of each product goes a long way in protecting our environments.

2. Before You Buy It, Borrow It.

Two hands shaking with money between the hands

Need something fast but don’t want to shell out money for it yet? Then you should considering borrowing.

The beauty of borrowing is that you get all of the advantages describes in the point above even if you don’t own the product.

By borrowing someone else’s belongings, you are effectively reusing them on their behalf, which keeps money in your wallet and their stuff out of a landfill.

Borrowing is also a great way to determine if what you are interested in is what you really need. For example, you could borrow your friend’s old speaker system to get an idea of whether or not a speaker system would work well with your TV. If it works well, you could take it from your friend’s hands for free or for a discount. If not, then you can return it when you are done without the commitment of purchasing it from a store.

The greatest advantage to borrowing is that you are not locked into a decision and you don’t have to pay for anything, which is something that your bank account and the environment definitely appreciate.

3. Cut Back On Disposable Products.

Disposable cups in trash pile

When people think about going green, this is usually the first thing that they think of.

In the current day and age, it’s nearly impossible to eliminate the use of plastic, single-use disposable products. Even so, we can take steps to reduce their usage. It’s no secret that plastic is awful for the environment once it’s thrown away.

Instead of using plastic bags at the grocery store, consider loading up your groceries in a reusable cloth shopping bag. Just make sure to use it frequently to offset the increased natural production cost. With California adopting a state-wide ban on single-use bags, it now costs money to even purchase said bags. We wouldn’t be surprised if more states end up adopting this legislature, which could be a drain on your money if you aren’t careful.

And instead of buying plastic water bottles, consider investing in a reusable water bottle made from metal. Compared to plastic water bottles, reusable water bottles are often safer and contain water that tastes better. Cutting back on plastic water bottles means you won’t have to constantly purchase them, which is a financial relief considering that they marked up 4000%.

Instead of plastic blinds for your windows and doors, consider upgrading to cloth-based curtains or blinds. They are much better for the environment, easily repurposed and reused, and can help give your place a more homey feel.

There are many other ways to ditch single-use disposable plastic and switch to more eco-friendly alternatives. With a bit of creativity and a shopper’s eye, the long-term savings can be huge.

4. Got Electronics? Turn Off And Unplug Them When They Are Not Used.

Phone charging on wooden table

We all know that using your TV, air conditioning, or any other electronic device is going to consume energy. The more energy consumed, the more resources are needed to produce more. Your electrical bill will definitely reflect your usage as well.

But what you may not know is that your electronics might be consuming energy without you even touching them. This is because many electrical appliances are energy vampires.

Energy vampires are electronic devices that consume energy even when not actively used. These tend to include chargers, TVs, PCs, gaming consoles, cable boxes, coffee pots, and more. All of this passive energy drain can potentially tack on an additional 20% to your electric bill each and every month, which is a lot of money in both the short and long run.

The simplest way to solve this issue is to unplug your electronic devices when they are not actively being used. This will prevent any sort of energy drain, but we understand that it’s rather inconvenient to manually unplug and plug in these devices, especially if you have and use a lot of them.

Connecting them a power strip is an easier alternative. Turning the power strip off or unplugging the power strip will achieve the same result without having to pull out so many cords. And if you want to make it even easier, smart power strips will automatically turn off any electrical device that is plugged in and not in use, even if the power strip is plugged in and turned on.

This small lifestyle shift can lead to a fatter wallet and limit unproductive power consumption, which is great for environment as it reduces toxic pollution and global warming emissions, two issues that are byproducts of generating electricity.

5. Reduce Your Water Usage.

Showerhead spraying water

Water operates under the same premise that energy does. The more water that is wasted, the greater the impact on natural environments.

This is because water undergoes an energy-intensive filtration process in order to become drinkable. Overconsumption of water forces us to pull water from groundwater and aquifers, both of which have a rather slow regeneration rate.

This then becomes a threat to long-term water security, sustainability, and availability.

And your home only uses drinkable water (not counting sprinklers and outdoor irrigation), so it’s pretty easy to use more of it than you might realize.

Here are a few ways people might waste water:

  1. Running the bathroom sink while brushing/flossing your teeth.
  2. Running the kitchen sink while washing dishes.
  3. Running the dishwasher without fully loading it.
  4. Running a small load of laundry without adjusting the water level.
  5. Using an old, water-wasteful washing machine.
  6. Running the shower while waiting for it to heat up.
  7. Running the shower while you are washing up.
  8. Using a high-flow showerhead for your shower.
  9. Allowing your toilet to leak.

All of these can drive up your water bill, too. A leaky toilet alone can increase the cost of your water bill by $70+ per month!

But for those of you who want to save a bit of money, the following suggestions can save you a ton of money in both the short and long term:

  1. Only turn on the bathroom sink when you need to wet or rinse. When brushing, flossing, or doing anything else, turn the water off.
  2. Only turn on the sink to wet and rinse your dishes. You can also fill one side of the sink with soapy water and use that water for all of your dishes.
  3. Make sure the dishwasher is loaded to the proper level of fullness. Too full, and it won’t clean anything (the biggest waste of water). Too little, and you have to run more cycles.
  4. Adjust the water level in the washing machine based on how much laundry you use.
  5. If your washing machine is old and cannot change the level, then always try to wash as many clothes as possible.
  6. While waiting for the shower to heat up, collect the unused water and use it for other things like watering plants or as cleaning water. You could also just elect to take a quick, cold shower.
  7. Try taking a Navy-style shower: turn on the water to wet yourself, turn it off while you lather up, and then turn it back on to rinse all of the suds off. This method will conserve the most water during a shower.
  8. Invest in a low-flow showerhead. While it won’t deliver the same pressure that a traditional showerhead would, it uses far less water while still rinsing you off just fine.
  9. Monitor and tune up your toilet, even if it looks fine. A leaky toilet will seriously set you back financially if you don’t keep an eye on it. Replace parts as needed and don’t be afraid to contact a plumber for help. The cost of maintenance is well worth the savings down the road.

By taking advantage of these tips and more, you’ll definitely notice that your efforts have paid off when your water bill is cut down by tens if not hundreds of dollars.

6. Reduce Waste By Eating Properly.

Rotting apples on grass

When people think about reducing waste, they usually don’t consider food waste. After all, food is biodegradable and won’t negatively the environment, right?

Well, not necessarily. When you waste food, you also waste all of the water and energy that was needed to grow, harvest, package, and transport the food. And when that food is tossed into a landfill, it produces methane – a greenhouse gas that is 84x more potent than carbon dioxide.

The average American will spend $1,300 per year on food that they will never eat, so the financial cost is significant too. And how many of us have something molding in the back of our fridge right now? We’re willing to bet quite a few.

So how can we reduce waste? Here are some tips to that will help:

  1. Make a grocery list before you go and only buy food that you need. This will prevent you from overspending and buying too much food.
  2. Utilize your freezer in order to preserve your food. Refrigeration is useful, but freezing will greatly extend the lifespan of your food. Buying and freezing frozen meat, seafood, and vegetables will also last longer than fresh meat, seafood, and vegetables that are later frozen.
  3. Become a master of leftovers. Eating the food that you have already prepared will greatly cut down on waste while also saving money. Don’t be afraid to get creative with your leftovers – you can make some great dishes out of them!
  4. Try meal prepping. When you have quick and easy access to a fully prepared meal, you are less likely to squander it. When done correctly, meal prepping is healthy, affordable, great for the environment, and a huge time saver.
  5. Use older fruits to your advantage. If your produce is starting to go past ripe, now they can be used in smoothies, jams, sauces, bread, or even soup stocks.

These tips can help you save some money and enjoy the food that you already bought. There’s nothing sadder than buying some food that you planned on eating, only to toss it a week or two later without touching it.

7. Repurpose Old Things – Make Them New Again.

Filling a cologne/perfume bottle with oil

When you don’t need something anymore, it’s common to just throw it away and get something new. But just because something isn’t fit for its original use doesn’t mean that it’s worthless.

With a bit of creativity, you can upcycle (repurpose) your old things and make them “new” again. You might even be able to build new structures that you otherwise would have had to purchase.

Now, we’ll admit that this tip is best utilized with the skills of a handyman, but you don’t need to be a master. All you need are some basic skills and tools to help you get started.

The type of tools that you’ll need will depend on your project, but you can never go wrong with wrenches, screwdrivers, drills, scissors, and other common construction/artisan tools.

Here are a few things that you can easily upcycle:

  1. Turn old tennis racquets into mirrors.
  2. Use old shower hooks as holders for your closet bags.
  3. Manufacture a pet food dispenser with plastic bottles.
  4. Use old CD cases to store wires and cables
  5. Turn in old foldable chair into a shelf/towel rack.
  6. Take an old picture frame and use it as a serving tray (tea, anyone?)
  7. Reuse old condiment bottles as easy batter dispensers.
  8. Take a dresser and outfit it as a mini bar.
  9. Turn old suitcases into tiny side chairs.
  10. Turn an old bicycle into a sink stand.

These are just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to making the most out of your old, used belongings. By repurposing the things you already own to things that you need, you save a lot of money and help keep trash out of landfills.

8. Cut Back On Paper Mail – Paperless Is The Future.

In the digital age, the use of paper mail is becoming more and more antiquated. More than ever, it seems like everyone is electing to stick to email as a way to receive important information. The UPS has reported a decline in paper mail year over year for over a decade.

This is great news for the environment, as this means fewer trees will be cut down and fewer resources will be consumed to process the wood fibers into paper.

Many companies over incentives to choosing email over paper mail (as it’s cheaper for them, too), which may provide some small savings if you haven’t already made the switch.

There is some mail that you cannot receive digitally, like certain government documents. But for everything else, digital is definitely the way to go. Just make sure that you actually check your email so that you don’t miss important information. It can be easy to get overwhelmed if you lend your email address to many different companies.

9. Buying Plastic, Packaged Goods? Try To Eliminate That.

Plastic water bottles

Cutting back on purchasing packaged goods made from plastic is a good way to both protect the environment and encourage companies to adopt eco-friendly packaging instead.

Cardboard packaging is less damaging post-production, but it still requires a not of natural resources to create.

This is a drain on the planet’s finite resources, which is what we want to avoid.

If you can, cutting out plastic entirely is the best way to go. If not, then try to limit it. For example, you probably don’t need to pick up a plastic fruit platter next time you visit the grocery store. Just grab the fresh fruit from the produce aisle and cut it up yourself at home, served up on a platter than you already own.

Now, some items will nearly always be wrapped in plastic – like certain electronics or toys. In those instances, you could try eco-friendly alternatives. But sometimes you do just have to bite the bullet and deal with the plastic. The point is to be aware of how much plastic you are going through when you purchase or order an item. As long as you are thinking about it, you can take steps to reduce plastic consumption.

10. Sell Your Stuff – Online Or Garage Sales Work Well.

Garage sale sign on old chair

Selling the stuff you don’t need anymore is a great way to earn some cash if upcycling or recycling isn’t an option. The phrase “one man’s trash is another one’s treasure” is the best way to describe it. People are always looking for something, and it’s easy to sell just about anything – for the right price.

You probably already know about selling on eBay or Amazon, but you don’t have to stop there. Craigslist and Facebook marketplace are great places for selling too.

If you are looking to get rid of your older clothes, you can also sell them on Poshmark. If you’ve made some trinkets or other handmade arts and crafts, Etsy is the place for you to make some money.

If you’ve got electronics, Swappa, Glyde, and Gazelle will all take them off your hands and put some money in your bank account.

And of course, you can’t neglect running an tried-and-true garage sale. With the pandemic (hopefully) coming to a close, there are sure to be tons of people interested in looking at and buying your possessions. Having been involved in a fair share of garage sales, we can confidently say that you can make a tidy sum of money off of things that you never use anymore.

Best of all, you won’t be responsible for filling a landfill with items that someone else will happily pay for. Sounds like a win-win to us!

11. Donate And Give Away What You Can’t Sell.

Donation sign

Donating and giving away your unneeded stuff is a great way to support people in need while also supporting the environment. Donation centers like Goodwill make it super easy to drop off your stuff. Just grab your stuff (if you have a lot of it, you might want to rent a truck), go to the donation center, and drop it off.

Some donation centers will even pick up items, especially if they are large and hard to transport.

Now, we highly recommend taking a look at the rules for your local donation center. There are usually limits to what these organizations can and cannot accept, and it would be a hassle transport a bunch of stuff that can’t even be donated.

For example, some (not all) Goodwills will not accept the following items:

  1. Items in need of repair (this includes ripped or torn clothes).
  2. Mattresses and box springs.
  3. Fireworks, weapons, and ammunition.
  4. Household chemicals and paint.
  5. Construction materials.
  6. Extremely bulky/large items.
  7. Medical supplies.

Before donating, ask yourself, “would I give this to my friend?” If the answer is no, then don’t donate it. If the answer is yes, then check the guidelines for your local donation center to confirm if you can actually drop off your item.

Donating has a financial benefit too. You will be given a receipt of donation, which can be used as a tax deduction when it’s time to file. Depending on your donation amount, you can get extra money on your return or a big discount on your bill.

12. Prioritize Repairing Instead Of Replacing.

Plumber fixing a sink faucet

If something breaks, you should always make an effort to repair it. It’s better for the environment and your wallet, after all. When you toss something that can be repaired, you’ll usually go out and buy a new one.

This usually means more trash in a landfill = more environmental problems (toxins, greenhouse gases, etc.) = less money for you since you have to buy something else.

Many modern tools and appliances are designed to be fixable. Better yet, they can be fixed by everyday people who may not have handyman skills.

However, there are some issues that should be handled by a professional. Attempting to fix an electrical problem, for example, might end with severe injuries for someone who doesn’t know what they are doing.

Here are a few common items that can be repaired and won’t break the bank:

  1. Stuffed animals
  2. Clothes
  3. Purses and handbags
  4. Watches and jewelry (professional help recommended).
  5. Shoes (depending on the issue, professional help recommended).
  6. Planting and ceramic pots.
  7. Scuffed furniture.
  8. Window screens (professional help recommended).
  9. Lamps (professional help strongly recommended).

You’d be surprised with how much life these items and more have in them when they are maintained and repaired. They can last you years, which means you save money by not having to constantly buy new ones.

13. Try To Recycle Everything!

Recycling bins

As we covered in a previous article regarding plastic, you’d be surprised by what you can recycle.

Many plastic products have a unique designation that declares them fit for recycling or not, depending on your local recycling/garbage facility.

Here’s an ordered list describing what those designations are, what they mean, and what common products are listed under them:

  1. PET or PETE (Polyethylene terephthalate) – soda bottles, water bottles, cooking oil containers, peanut butter jars, etc. These are usually recyclable.
  2. HDPE (High-density polyethylene) – milk jugs, shampoo bottles, cleaning product containers, detergent bottles, etc. These are usually recyclable.
  3. PVC (Polyvinyl chloride) – kids toys, plastic tubing, furniture, plastic trays, etc. These are NOT recyclable.
  4. LDPE (Low-density polyethylene) – grocery bags, produce bags, bread bags, newspaper bags, etc. These are SOMETIMES recyclable depending on location.
  5. PP (Polypropylene) – containers for yogurt, margarine, and sour cream. Can also be used in bottle caps and carpets. These are SOMETIMES recyclable depending on location.
  6. PS (Polystyrene) – products made from styrofoam-like disposable coffee cups, packaging material, and to-go containers. These are SOMETIMES recyclable depending on location.
  7. Other – any product that doesn’t fall under any other number. These MIGHT be recyclable depending on the product, but it is unlikely.

You aren’t limited to just plastic, either. You can also recycle things like:

  1. Broken down cardboard
  2. Paper
  3. Food boxes (no grease)
  4. Mail
  5. Beverage cans
  6. Food cans
  7. Glass bottles
  8. Glass jars

But it doesn’t stop there, either! You can go to TerraCycle and ship stuff to them that otherwise wouldn’t be accepted in local recycling companies. We highly recommend taking a look at what they take. Here are a few of the weirder things that they can recycle:

  1. Cigarettes
  2. Coffee pods
  3. Colgate toothpaste tubes
  4. Febreeze aerosol cans
  5. Gillette razors
  6. Tide product containers

A good amount of stuff that you can ship to TerraCycle is free, but there are some materials that you will have to pay to recycle. If that doesn’t sound too appealing, then you can always just stick to the free stuff. But taking your recycling to the next level might just be worth the extra money, so long as it’s within your budget.

14. Try Composting And Be Amazed.

Compost bins

If you don’t already know, a compost bin is a container filled and mixed with natural materials. The purpose of a compost bin is to make, well, compost out of products that would otherwise have to be thrown away. Think of compost bins as a way to accelerate the rate of biodegradation.

What can you do with the compost? You can use it as mulch, potting soil, or as a fertilizer for your trees. If you have no need for compost, then you can donate/sell it to your local farmer.

Some products are naturally biodegradable, which are perfect for a compost bin. Other materials can only be broken down in composting conditions – most “biodegradable plastics” fall under this category and should be taken to a composting facility.

If you want to get started with your own budget-friendly compost bin, here are the basic steps that you should know.

  1. Purchase a compost bin or create your own (it’s not hard).
  2. Create a base by filling the bottom with shredded newspaper or leaves.
  3. Add dirt until the container is half full (or as much as the instructions for your bin specifies).
  4. Add your compostables.
  5. Mix the contents thoroughly.
  6. Moisten with lukewarm water (not too much or it will start to smell).
  7. Place the bin in a shaded area (the sun will dry out the compost, rendering it useless).
  8. Wait 2-3 months for the compost bin to work its magic.
  9. Collect your compost and use it as garden mulch, fertilizer, potting soil, or donate it to a local farmer. Just remember to keep at least a third of the compost in order to easily repeat this process.
  10. As a bonus, you can also add worms to make vermin composters. They love eating biodegradable waste and pumping out fresh soil.

Gardening, especially when you are just starting out, can be expensive. If you are looking to tap into your green thumb, then having a compost bin or two is a great way to save on soil and mulch.

Which translates to more savings for you!

15. Organic Too Expensive At The Store? Go To The Farmer’s Market.

Grapes being held in hands

Organic food has taken off as a mainstream alternative to conventional food. That said, organic tends to translate to “more expensive” in many people’s eyes. And for good reason – organic food at the grocery store tends to be more expensive compared to its conventional counterpart.

But this isn’t always the case. In some areas, organic will actually run you a cheaper price!

The best way to support ethical, organic farming practices is to buy from your local farmer’s market. The markup on these fruits and veggies is often smaller compared to a grocery store.

And you still get to enjoy organic food.

That means fewer pesticides, greater biodiversity, better soil quality, and reduced pollution. You can find your local farmer’s market with a quick internet search, but nothing beats local word of mouth. Don’t be afraid to ask around to find the best deals. People are quick to help, especially if you show genuine interest in organic food.

Overall, embracing proper organic farming can be great for your health and your wealth.

16. Save Money By Making Your Own (Better) Cleaners.

Loading up on chemical-heavy cleaners can drain your wallet, flush toxins into the environment, especially if you are an avid cleaner. Here are just a few things that might be found in traditional store-bought cleaners:

  1. Formaldehyde (a known carcinogen used as a preservative)
  2. Ammonia (respiratory and skin irritant)
  3. Chlorine bleach (may cause respiratory and neurological damage)
  4. Quaternary ammonium compounds [Quats] (can trigger asthma)
  5. Fragrances (may contain hundreds of unknown chemicals, as well as trigger asthma and allergies)

We always recommend that you check the ingredients in your cleaning products. You may be surprised by what you find. But for most people, it’s kind of sucks to have to slog through a bunch of weird-sounding chemicals in order to find out if what you are using is safe.

There are two easy solutions: purchase eco-friendly, safe cleaners OR make your own!

Yep, you can easily make your own healthy, eco-friendly cleaners. Better yet, you can make cleaners that work just as well, if not better, compared to traditional cleaners for a fraction of the cost. And since you made it, you know exactly what is in there.

Here are a few recipes to get you started:

All-Purpose Cleaner

  1. Obtain 1/2 cup of vinegar.
  2. Obtain 1/4 cup of baking soda.
  3. Obtain 1/2 gallon (or approximately 2 liters) of water.
  4. Mix all of the ingredients together for 30 seconds.
  5. (Optional) Add lemon juice for an all-natural citrus scent while boosting your cleaning power (lemon juice is a great cleaner on its own).

Light Carpet Stain Remover

  1. Obtain 1/4 gallon (approximately 1 liter) of white vinegar.
  2. Obtain 1/4 gallon of water.
  3. Mix the two ingredients together and store the solution in a spray bottle.
  4. Spray on the stain and let soak for a few minutes.
  5. Clean with a brush or sponge (warm, soapy water recommended).

Heavy Duty Carpet Stain Remover

  1. Obtain 1/4 cup of salt.
  2. Obtain 1/4cup of borax.
  3. Obtain 1/4 cup of vinegar.
  4. Mix the three ingredients together until a paste is formed.
  5. Rub the paste into the carpet stain and let it sit for 3-4 hours.
  6. Vacuum the leftover paste.

Laundry Detergent

  1. Obtain 2 cups of washing soda.
  2. Obtain a 5-ounce bar of castile soap.
  3. Grate the 5-ounce bar until you have nothing but shavings.
  4. Mix the two ingredients together and store the combination in a cleaning container.
  5. Use 1 tbsp for light loads and 2 tbsp for heavy loads.

Dishwasher Soap

  1. Obtain 2 cups of washing soda.
  2. Obtain 2 cups of baking soda.
  3. Obtain 2 cups of kosher salt.
  4. Mix the three ingredients together and store the combination in a cleaning container.
  5. (Bonus Tip) If your water is hard, add a bit more washing soda (about 1/4 to 1/2 a cup).

Now, let us make a quick disclaimer. These recipes and others out there may or may not be 100% effective for you. We ask that you exercise caution when making and using homemade cleaners. Always make sure to test them out on a small surface or on a small scale before using them as a replacement.

These recipes are eco-friendly, very healthy, and very inexpensive to use. You can see that the resulting cleaners are very simple (only 2 to 3 ingredients on average) and the ingredients are pretty cheap. Best of all, you get a ton for how easy they are to make.

If you haven’t already, we highly recommend that you try to make your own cleaners. You may discover that you prefer your own creations opposed to the ones at the store. And if you still want to purchase your cleaners, try steering towards eco-friendly ones instead. You will be glad that you did!

17. Don’t Be Afraid To Trade.

Handshake between two people

Humans have been trading for about as long as we’ve been around. Today, most of our trading is done with currency (trading a dollar for a candy bar, for example).

But that doesn’t mean trading is a relic of the past. Instead, trading can be a great way to try out new things without spending a lot of money. And like donating and borrowing, this helps keep used items out of landfills.

Trading can be easily done with friends and family, but it doesn’t have to end there. You can also go to your local swap meet, though you will have to do some bartering to get a good trade.

If in-person trading isn’t your thing, then you can always trade online. Sites like swap.com make it easy to trade in your old, used items for a bit of cash. You can use that money to purchase items through swap.com (multi-step trading) or just cash out what you’ve earned.

Either way, trading is a great way to reduce your carbon footprint and save/earn some money in the process.

18. Invest In High-Quality, Reusable, And Eco-Friendly Products.

Reusable metal water bottles

If you must purchase something, we recommend that you stick to compostable, biodegradable, or reusable eco-friendly products.

They are typically better for the environment, though we’ll admit that single-use, eco-focused products tend to be more expensive.

If you are looking to save money while shopping green, then you should invest in reusable, eco-friendly products. Some of these products include:

  1. Bath mats
  2. Shopping bags
  3. Tote bags
  4. Backpacks
  5. Organic clothing
  6. Reusable straws
  7. Reusable cotton swabs
  8. Organic footwear
  9. Organic towels
  10. Rechargeable batteries
  11. Reusable water bottles

What’s nice about these products is that they last a long time, which gives you plenty of time to recoup the resources and energy spent creating the products.

You can do that by using these items whenever and wherever you can, which overall reduces your consumption of disposable items. This, in turn, reduces waste and reduces the need to spend on said items, saving money in the process.

Just don’t get swept up in the mania of “going green”. It’s easy to enter the consumer mindset and spend mindlessly, which ultimately defeats the point of saving money as well as helping the environment. Supporting eco-centric companies is always a good thing, but it’s best not to overdo it.

But with proper awareness and smart spending, you can take great advantage of eco-friendly, reusable products.

19. Conserve Energy – Try Some Unique Ideas.

Smart thermostat on the wall

You probably already know to turn your TV and lights off when you leave the room. And if you didn’t, we hope that you do now!

But there are so many ways to conserve energy – so much so that implementing even a fraction of them would result in instant savings on your electric bill.

And if you’ve ever felt the sting of a high bill due to air conditioning, you know how much it sucks to be stuck with unexpected high payments.

Saving energy is eco-friendly, too. When we use less energy, we reduce toxins used by power plants, reduce the consumption of natural resources, and reduce the need for new generators that take up a lot of natural space.

Here are a few of our favorites ways to save money and conserve energy:

  1. Boiling something? Stick a lid on it! This will bring your liquid to a boil much faster.
  2. Cooking something in hot water? Turn off the heat when the item is close to being done – the residual heat will cook the rest.
  3. You can turn up the fridge/freezer temperature! Setting the temperature of your fridge/freezer too low will waste unnecessary energy. The fridge temperature should be 3°C, and the freezer temperature should be -18°C.
  4. Defrost your fridge and freezer at least 1-2 times a year. This will prevent excessive ice build-up, which forces your fridge/freezer to work harder and use more energy.
  5. Invest in black-out curtains or window films for those bright, hot days. We recommend picking white black-out curtains since they reflect light rather than absorb it, which is better for keeping heat out of your rooms.
  6. Layer up during those cold, chilly days. A pullover and a vest will insulate heat better than a thick, stuffy coat. Don’t forget to break out the blankets! If you hate leaving the warmth of a blanket fort, a onesie will keep you warm from head to toe.
  7. Invest in a smart thermostat. App-controlled thermostats allow you to easily adjust the temperature when you are or are not home. So when you are gone during a hot summer day and forget to turn the A/C off, you can just hop on your app and take care of it.
  8. Got friends coming over? Use their body heat to warm your room and keep the A/C off/turned down.
  9. Switch to a laptop or ultrabook when possible. Compared to desktop computers, they consume power at half of the rate.
  10. Keep your fridge stocked. Cold air moves better throughout a full fridge compared to an empty one, which means less energy is needed to produce and push the cold air.
  11. Add a dry towel to your dryer. This will help absorb dampness and dry all of your clothes faster, meaning you can reduce the drying time and save money.
  12. Spend most of your time in one room? Invest in a small, standalone heater. This will keep your room warm at a fraction of the energy that turning out the house heater would.

There are many, many other ways that you can conserve on energy (ovoenergy.com has a great list).

Implementing a few of these can take your savings to a whole new level, all while supporting the environment. Just make sure to stay consistent with the choices that you make, or you will find that your eco-friendly impact (and savings) will be minimized.

20. Take Advantage Of Sales And Deals – Don’t Be Afraid To Ask!

Grocery store produce

When shopping green, always be on the lookout for sales and deals. With a bit of sleuthing, you can find discounts from 5% all the way to 50%. This is especially the case at grocery stores – we recommend downloading a store app for easy sales or couponing for solid savings.

Discount grocery stores are great for picking up produce as long as you plan to use them quickly, as these foods tend to expire a bit sooner than traditional grocery store produce.

Most importantly, don’t be afraid to ask for discounts on eco-friendly items. Many companies who are focused on green products are interested in building a strong relationship with their customers, and they may just offer some incentive for your loyalty.

They typically don’t have the backing and pool of customers that large corporations do, so they may be more willing to provide a discount.

Many eco-focused sellers will provide discounts if you sign up for their newsletter, which is an easy to save money and get access to other eco-friendly items you might be interested in. Just make sure that you don’t get roped into spending too much on things that you don’t need.

This is a simple but important tip. By keeping a watchful eye and asking for deals, you can save money on your future green purchases.

21. Cut Back On Emissions Or Try To Eliminate Them Altogether.

Cars stuck in traffic in city

We’ll be the first to admit that eliminating emissions altogether is unlikely to happen anytime soon. Our current society is simply too dependent on modern transportation to make that a reality. As we move into the future, that will hopefully change.

In the meantime, we should focus on cutting back where we can. Emissions are a huge contributor to global warming, which is already an unprecedented worldwide problem – we are already seeing wetter places flooding, dry places getting dryer, storms/heatwaves getting worse, and so much more.

As the natural environments become more disrupted, we all suffer. It’s in our best interest to fight against this disruption.

Here are a few ways that you lower your emission rate today:

  1. Consider biking as an alternative to driving. Biking will increase your physical fitness and is perfect for getting around smaller distances.
  2. Consider walking as well. Walking is not as physically demanding as biking (it’s still very good for your physical health) and is better for areas that are not biker-friendly, though it will take more time to get to your destination. Walking can also expose you to areas that you would otherwise miss, increasing your knowledge of your surroundings.
  3. Consider taking public transport. If you can hitch a ride on public transportation, you are doing your part in keeping another car off of the road. You also have the luxury of doing things that you would not be able to do as a driver, like read a book, watch a movie, or catch up on social media.
  4. Consider carpooling. This is a great way to get to work while keeping many cars off the road. You will also be able to drive in the carpool lane, which is especially nice during those traffic-heavy commutes. If you don’t want to rely on coworkers, you can also use sites like ridesharing.com to see if there is someone you can go with.
  5. If you need to travel long distances, consider taking a cross-country bus or train instead of flying. Air travel is the #1 producer of carbon emissions when it comes to transportation, so using other means of travel would significantly help.

These are just a few ways that you can make a difference in your carbon footprint. We recommend just picking one or two ways to start, just to see if these changes work for you. If they do, you can add more and cut down on emissions even more.

You’d be surprised by what you can accomplish with just a bit of foresight and awareness. By keeping your car parked and using public transportation, you can save quite a bit of money. Less driving means fewer gas fillups, cheaper car insurance, and fewer wear-and-tear repairs.

Taking a bus or train is often less expensive than air travel, which can save you hundreds of dollars.

Wrap Up

And that concludes our list! We hope that you enjoyed the article and found some of our tips to be useful. Now you can go out there and implement some of these money-saving, eco-friendly tips.

Do you have your own money-saving tips that you want to share? Or perhaps you have a question you would like addressed? Please feel free to leave a comment below! We’ll get back to you as soon as possible with a reply. We aren’t afraid of getting a dialogue going!

Thanks for reading! Until next time, let’s all continue to strive towards a greener, better world.

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