There’s a common misconception out there that living a sustainable lifestyle is expensive. Yes, it’s true that swapping out everything in your life at one time would be pretty costly. But that would be true of any major lifestyle change.
Going green is totally affordable if you make small changes one or two at a time. In fact, there are a ton of ways that sustainable choices actually help you to spend less. In this post, I’ve chosen a few ways that you can save money by going green.
Thrift Shops, Y’all
Few things in this world feel as satisfying as the knowledge that you’ve paid well below sticker price for a really nice pair of shoes, am I right?
This goes for clothes and household items, too. I still remember the day my boyfriend found a brand new Bodum french press for $5 at our local GoodWill.
It does take some extra effort to shop successfully at thrift stores. Life is not a Macklemore song, OK?
Not every store will have quality items or fit your personal style.
And of course thrift stores have limited sizes, colors, etc. But if you try some different local stores and start going a few times each month, you can definitely find some great discounts that will make your extra time and effort worth it.
It’s also a huge help to the environment. It takes a crazy amount of water and energy to create new items of clothing. On top of that, textile factories are big-time polluters of waterways. Any time you buy used instead of new, you’re doing major work for the planet and you should be really proud of yourself.
If you don’t have the time or patience to rifle through your local thrift shops, try online retailers like PoshMark, ThredUp or Ebay. There are also some really talented small business owners who do the work for you and sell the cool pieces they find online.
Save Money By Going Green: Cook At Home Instead Of Ordering Food
If you’re currently hangry, have a snack before you read any further…
Ordering take out or delivery is usually done out of convenience. I either don’t have time to cook, I don’t want to go to the store or I’m just too hungry!
But we all know that it’s really just a more expensive way to eat dinner at your house.
You’re usually paying about the same amount you’d pay to have a fun dinner out with zero of the experience.
And it isn’t great for the environment. Even when you ask the restaurant not to include to-go sauces and cutlery, they still have to place the food in plastic or Styrofoam containers.
Try giving yourself a monthly take out/delivery budget and stay motivated by remembering you’re saving money and helping to save the environment. If you can take it a step further and save those funds for a night out with friends, this can turn into one of your favorite ways to save money by going green.
Buy Local Fruits + Veggies
Scope out your area for a local produce stand and give it a shot. They almost always have better prices than normal grocery stores and offer a great variety.
They also use so much less in the way of resources. Less fuel/energy is used to ship your food and they generally don’t use plastic and Styrofoam packaging.
You won’t be able to do all of your shopping at local stands, but you can find most of the items you need and you might discover some new things, too.
Save Money By Going Green To Get Clean
Pictured above: me, carefully calculating my water-to-vinegar ratio.
I don’t like the idea of cleaning my refrigerator and kitchen surfaces with chemicals that I wouldn’t be able to safely ingest. This is why I’m always looking for DIY solutions to cleaning products. The funny thing is, almost every solution is white vinegar, baking soda, or a combination of the two.
There are tons of articles online that have specific recipes for each use, but I’m too lazy for that. I use about a 60/40 mix of water and white vinegar for all my kitchen and bathroom surfaces, glass and mirrors. I suggest that you wait for one of your current cleaning sprays to run out and re-purpose the bottle.
White vinegar is a mild disinfectant. This means it kills some germs, but not all of them. You’ll come across some situations that require the big guns, so use your best judgement and do some research if you aren’t sure what to use.
Remember to look for vinegar that comes in a glass bottle rather than plastic 🙂
Buy Your Dish Soap In Bulk
Buying in bulk is usually great for both the environment + your wallet. It’s less harmful to the environment because you’re cutting down on packaging.
It’s cheaper for two reasons. Most retailers offer discounts for buying larger quantities, and you can find bulk goods that come in concentrate form.
I buy this restaurant grade dish soap at Sam’s Club and it lasts forever! Since it’s meant for commercial use, I cut it with water and keep it in a glass pump on my sink. This is probably one of the easiest ways to save money by going green that I’ve found. It’s also really convenient to virtually never run out of dish soap!
Do Some Light Gardening
I know this sounds extreme, but give me chance to explain myself. If you like cooking with herbs like I do, you know the struggle is real. There are seemingly two options: a giant cluster of cilantro that you’ll never use before it goes bad, or a tiny plastic clam shell that’s terrible for the environment.
There might be a solution. I bought a few plants from my local Home Depot (I have no faith in my ability to actually grow a seed into a plant) and transferred them to a larger planter. I keep my plants near a window for loads of sun, water them every few days, and trim a few leaves when I need them for cooking. The cost was around $30 all-in and I don’t think I’ll have to buy these particular herbs again anytime soon.
If you’re still unsure about this idea, try buying just one plant and see how long you can keep it going. Add more plants when/if you feel like this is something you can maintain.