Ways to Save Money AND the Earth at the Same Time
Today’s post contains no affiliate links because all of those would encourage online spending which means additional shipping (i.e. resources for packaging and tansportation). This is just informtion to save money and the earth at the same time.
Let’s Save You Money, and Together Save the Planet #EarthDay
Today is Earth day! Did you know that earlier on this blog I had an entire portion dedicated to lower waste ideas? I streamlined this site to be about money and food (if you’re new I want to help you save a lot on groceries but not sacrifice your health) per the recommendation of a business coach, but this is still something personally important to me. I’d like to give you tips on how you can save money and do so in a way that is also helpful to the planet. The goal? Save money AND the earth. Keep reading for ideas and I encourage you to share your tips in the comments as well so others can see. Also a quick disclaimer that certain tips are geared towards those in the U.S.
Use the Library
Libraries in the United States are alive and well, and you are majorly missing out if you aren’t using them! A library card is FREE. And did you know that most libraries now have access to free e-books, magazines, and audiobooks? Seriously, forget Audible. That sh*t is expensive and 99% of people who “recommend” it do so because they get affiliate revenue (not a bad thing in and of itself, but something to be aware of). Also most libraries have DVD’s you can borrow also. I was able to easily get ahold of every season of How I Met Your Mother. To us, this was a huge deal since its no longer on Netflix *tear* Not many things in life are free, so definitely make use of this! This is a perfect way to consume content, save money and the earth! Go get a library card tomorrow. I’d say today but it’s Sunday and most are closed. If you are in the U.S. click here to find a local public library near you!
Refuse to throw away food.
This is a gigantic issue in the United States. Food waste is normalized here and that is sad. Hunger is a worldwide problem, and also food waste is resource waste. Those foods require resources to be produced, grown, processed, packaged*, and shipped. Of course another side of this is your money. You go to the store and spend $100 on food. A week later you throw out half of it because Chipotle just sounded better for lunch or that Friday night. Would you take a $50 and burn it? Or just throw it out your window? Nope. But I bet you’ve done similar to the scenario I mentioned.Unfortunately these are the same thing. Actually, the Chipotle scenario is worse because you’ve also wasted the resources it took for the $50 of food to get into your house. Good news. You can do something about it and save your money! If you are getting close to food going bad, do one of the following:
- Freeze It! Seriously. Future you will thank yourself for having a fully prepared meal just ready to heat up. If it’s only ingredients you have, still freezing them can be great with meat or produce. Fruits bout to turn make excellent desserts or smomothie additions.
- Make broth – this is specific to vegetables, but I love making veggie broth in my instant pot. In fact, click here to see the recipe (and know that the spices are interchangable with whatever you have). If you don’t have an instant pot, you can do the same thing with a crock pot or a stovetop it just takes longer. You can also do the same with cooked meat by making bone broth.
- Throw a leftovers party – Invite over some friends and family to come over for dinner. Don’t feel bad about using leftovers to feed people, especially if you can find a way to repurpose them and bring them to life. Encourage those you invite to do the same. If you want adult beverages to be involved, you then have the options to say no to straws easily, and save a boatload. Cocktails and other drinks have a huge profit margin at restaurants that you can save at home. Dinner parties are awesome, even and especially when the food is repurposed leftovers. You will all avoid wasting food, will save money instead of going to a restaurant, and will get to spend some quality time with people you care about.
Most commonly people thing about shopping for clothes secondhand, but it goes SO far beyond this! That is a great place to start though. If you haven’t watched the movie The True Cost, I recommend it. That is a sobering reminder of fast fashion and how the workers are treated. Beyond the people too, the waste created is astronomical. Thankully, the stigma against shopping secondhand is starting to disappear. People are willing to embrace the history of items and understand that there is a positive impact on the planet buy purchasing used goods.
Other secondhand items to save money and the earth
- art – seriously, I’ve gotten GORGEOUS paintings at ridiculously low costs.
- children’s toys/accessories
- seasonal decor
- books (if you want to purchase vs. visiting a local library)
- textbooks – these deserve their own category because they cost as much as rent
- CARS – this cannot be emphasized enough. The depreciation on a new car is nauseating. If you aren’t a financial person, that means the money that you lose buy purchasing a new car is a lot just because it’s new and loses value quickly. One of our cars is a 2003, but you’d NEVER guess by looking at it!
- kitchen accessories
- home decor
- technology – yes, we want the newest and greatest. Sure. But we all know that Apple and Samsung will outdate our new stuff in a year anyways. Just get over it and be happy with something a little older. It will save money and the earth!
There are a lot more of secondhand items that are great to buy. What is your favorite secondhand purchase? Mine is a gorgeous painting. I bought it off Craigslist from an actual millionaire for $40. He said that he almost felt bad selling it for that price because he knew his wife had spent over $1000 and paid to have it professionally mounted/framed. They didn’t use it, and I think it’s stunning and it’s displayed in my home.
Seriously, this will save you money and the earth pretty easily. These changes require intention, but can make a difference in your budget and the planet.
- Unplug things! If you dont use an item often, unplug it. Think things like lamps in guest rooms, an electric tea kettle etc. This conserves electricity (which costs money).
- Lights off – I grew up being scolded for leaving lights on. Now I know why! Lighting a house for no one is a waste of money and energy. Just don’t do it!
- Cooler showers – better for your hair, skin, wallet, and the planet. I’m not saying to take a COLD shower, I’m saying to re-evaluate if your showers are blistering hot every time.
- Brushing your teeth? Turn off the water! – This one gets me. Think of how much fresh water is being wasted in the time that you brush your teeth. Just TURN OFF THE WATER while you brush. It doesn’t affect your tooth-brushing capabilities, but it does save gallons on gallons of fresh water.
Sell Unused Items
This puts money directly into your pocket, and gives life to the secondhand market. Shopping secondhand keeps those items from the landfill. I’ve already given you ideas on what to buy, but if you have extra things or want to do some spring cleaning, sell some stuff! Craigslist, Facebook Marketplace, Garage Sales, Let Go, Mercari, Poshmark, Thredup, Ebay, Amazon. All of those are great ways to sell things. And if you held onto these items and they aren’t selling? If in good condition, donate them to a charitable organization, or list them free on one of the previously mentioned websites. Let these items have a new home and new life. I have a post on Zero Waste Decluttering full of more information.. Click here for that post.
Only Buy What You NEED
If you take nothing else away from this post or from earth day, take away this. Only buy what you NEED. Overconsumption is the biggest danger to our planet AND our wallets. Why? Unused items that are thrown away (please don’t. remember that tip about selling or donating?) are wasted production resources and wasted money. This is especially important if this overconsumption is with plastic items or in plastic packaging. Why? Plastic doesn’t fully break down. Whether your thing to buy excess of is makeup or woodshop tools or crochet hooks or baseball cards. We all have that “thing” they love that is tempting to buy when it isn’t needed. Maybe you have a few. But if you can control that temptation, you will save yourself money and will stop the cycle of overconsumption that is so dangerous to our planet.
I hope these tips have inspired you to make an impact in your life on both your finances and towards our planet. Did you know that most of the things I’ve changed in my own life that help save the planet were actually done to save us money? Yep! I love to learn more too so if you have tips to share below, please do!
Other Related Posts
- 3 Ingredient Natural Household Cleaner (REALLY CHEAP!)
- How to Meal Plan, Shop, and Prep Paleo/Whole30 on a Tight Budget
- Decluttering Zero Waste Style
Hi, my name is Rachel Smith. I’m a personal finance nerd, Aldi connoissuer, book lover, yoga enthusiast, and budgeting wiz. I was born and raised in Anchorage, Alaska but currently call Michigan home. I want to help people with their finances and eating healthy on a tight budget (no matter what your cost-of-living area is!)