Have you gone from stuffing stockings to pinching pennies? After last month’s parties, pageantry, and presents, does January have your bank account looking a lot less festive? You’re not alone. Add in the higher cost of living overall due to inflation, and it’s understandable why you might be looking to tighten your belt — financially, at least — in the New Year.
Traditionally, it’s believed that being green-minded is more expensive — and that as soon as people decide to cut back, the first thing to go is their commitment to the environment. But the fact is, there are many eco-friendly money-saving hacks that can both ease your financial burden and help the planet out. Here are 10 of them:
1. Switch to cold water — and our eco-friendly detergent strips
Cold water will wash your laundry just as well as hot water, and it might even be more effective. Hot water can set stains and be harsher on fabrics. Cold water, on the other hand, is gentler and less likely to damage your clothing. It’s also the most sustainable choice as it will save on energy consumption — and your power bill.
This is especially effective when combined SaltyLama’s eco-friendly laundry strips, which are more affordable than traditional liquid detergent — while also leaving out the plastic jugs and harmful chemicals. Just subscribe and save — it’s one of the easiest switches you can make when embracing an eco-friendly lifestyle.
2. Hang some laundry to dry
Dryers are a luxury and while they may be necessary for the bulkiest items, consider hang drying undergarments, blouses, and other lightweight clothes. Dryers can be very harsh on fabrics, so it’s worth it to let the most delicate items hang to dry.
3. Switch it off
Phantom energy is real. Sometimes called standby power, phantom energy refers to the wasted power consumption from devices plugged in but not actively being used. Your electric bill is already higher in winter, so help yourself out by unplugging items that aren’t in use.
When you leave a room, turn off the light. When your phone isn’t charging, unplug the cord. The list goes on. It may seem tedious at first but getting in the habit of making more sustainable choices at home will help both your bank account and the environment.
4. Adjust the thermostat
Before cranking the heating up when you’re feeling cold at home, slip on some fuzzy socks, a warm vest, or a knitted hat instead. You may be surprised by just how well these can regulate your body temperature.
Plus, during the day if the sun is shining, open your blinds to let warm sunlight in, and be sure to turn off the heating (or AC in the warmer months) whenever you leave the house. It doesn’t take that long to cool down or warm up a space, and it’s worth the brief wait for the sake of your finances and the planet.
5. Eat your leftovers
Went out for dinner and came back with a doggie bag? Made too much pasta for dinner? Keep your leftovers and eat them the following day. You’ll be saving money — and keeping food waste from going to the landfill. (Did you know food waste releases harmful methane, which exacerbates greenhouse gas emissions and, as a result, climate change?) Forgetting about those leftovers is all too common, so make a conscious note to eat them up before they go bad!
6. Walk or cycle
Gas prices have been ridiculous these days! Save your hard-earned cash for fun experiences and tasty dinners instead of refilling the tank every few days. While we understand — depending on where you live — that you’ll probably have to drive to some places, walk or cycle wherever is reasonable. Aside from not harming the planet, a 10-minute walk to a café instead of driving will benefit you both financially and physically.
7. Take fewer showers
Here’s some groundbreaking news: you don’t have to have a full shower every day. The reality is that daily showers aren’t even the healthiest thing for our bodies. Constantly washing yourself with hot water and harsh soaps strips your skin of its natural oils, removes essential bacteria, causes dryness, and irritation at the minimum. Use your best judgment but consider showering every other day and washing your hair less, too. Your skin will be happier and so will Mother Nature. Win, win!
8. Think before you purchase
Do you really need another black dress? Limiting your consumption of things is one of the biggest ways you can reduce your carbon footprint and save a LOT of money. While capitalism encourages us to spend, resist the urge with better alternatives.
Mend holes or rips in clothes you already have, upcycle items you don’t use, and sell or donate what you don’t need. As a result, you can make more conscious shopping choices as you’ll need less new stuff. And speaking of new stuff, you can find items for a lot cheaper at thrift stores, charity shops, and online marketplaces. Whether you’re looking for anything from a bicycle, dishware, lamps, or a winter coat, you can find it secondhand for a fraction of the price.
9. Borrow before buying
This is what friends and communities are for! We help each other out when we need it. Going to a wedding but have nothing to wear? Borrow a dress from a friend. Need a ladder that you’re going to use just once or twice a year? Call your neighbor! We are so accustomed to just buying things that we forget to ask.
You can also consider renting items. You can find dresses or tuxedos, camping equipment, festive costumes, and so much more available to rent. You won’t be wasting cash on items you’ll use once or rarely, and you’ll be doing the planet a favor.
10. Switch out your lightbulbs
Once your light bulbs begin to dim, replace them with LED bulbs. These bulbs last significantly longer while using up to 80% less electricity. These lightbulbs may initially be more expensive than regular bulbs, but the payoff will be much better on your bank account. Plus, data shows that lighting accounts for around 15% of an average home's electricity usage, and the average household that uses LED bulbs saves about $225 in energy costs annually. Not bad!
Use these eco-friendly ideas to save money in 2023 — and beyond. Your wallet will be thicker, and your bills will be lighter! Looking for more ways to be sustainable and save money? Check out this guide to a sustainable winter at home!