Contrary to popular belief, you can go green without going broke — welcome news considering two-thirds of Americans polled say they care as much about protecting the planet as safeguarding their wallets. In the survey of 2,000 U.S. residents by OnePoll on behalf of Bosch, 64% of respondents said they want to help the environment and their financial well-being equally. And they’re embracing more sustainable lifestyles to do so. Among the results? Sixty-six percent say they turn off running water when they can, 60% are open to having shorter showers, and 75% of respondents switch off the lights when they leave a room.
But sustainable living isn’t restricted to simply modifying mundane chores. Going green can be fun and rewarding while being easy on your finances! So, if you’re looking for ways to be eco-friendly on a budget, here are some of our favorite green-living tips. Let’s help you save some cash — and lower your environmental impact.
Embrace charity shops and thrift stores
For proof that one person’s trash is another one’s treasure, drop into a thrift store near you. Instead of buying new, explore the wonderful world of secondhand shopping. It’s trendy, offers more unique items than you’d find at a supermarket, and saves money while being eco-friendly. Thrift stores are a treasure trove of unique clothing, furniture, and household items at affordable prices. You can find just about anything at a thrift store if you search long enough.
And beyond physical stores, online markets like the Facebook Marketplace, Depop, Poshmark, and eBay are all great places to search for whatever you’re looking for. Whether it’s a specific book (check out PangoBooks) or a used washer and dryer, you can probably find it used and in excellent condition. Not only will you save money because secondhand is cheaper, but you’ll reduce waste and support a circular economy — a big win for sustainable living!
DIY all the way
Nothing is quite so rewarding like a DIY project! You can learn handy life skills by making things yourself. The possibilities are endless, from upcycling old furniture or décor to your own natural cleaning products or healing salves. With a bit of research and basic materials, you can turn trash into trendy and functional items while saving a pretty penny.
Start meal planning
Fear not — this isn’t some restrictive diet hack. Rather, with food waste a major environmental issue, if you want to be more eco-friendly, this is a money-saving strategy we can’t recommend enough. So, stop your hard-earned meals from going to waste by doing weekly prep. Plan your weekly meals, make a shopping list, and stick to it. This way, you’ll only buy what you need and avoid impulse purchases that often end up as forgotten leftovers. Plus, ordering takeout racks up your consumption of single-use plastic. The more you cook at home, the better off the planet is.
Unplug to save
Did you know that appliances and electronics consume energy even when they’re turned off? It's called vampire energy because it's sucking the life out of your energy bill. Combat this by unplugging devices when they’re not in use or using power strips that can be easily switched off. You’ll save energy and money while keeping those sneaky vampires at bay. Try this out for a month and see how it positively impacts your electric bill. Save that extra cash for a well-deserved treat!
Embrace natural cleaning
Commercial cleaning products can be expensive and harmful to the environment. Luckily, you can clean your home effectively using simple, natural ingredients. Vinegar, baking soda, lemon juice, and essential oils are great at cleaning surfaces, removing odors, and keeping your home clean. They’re budget-friendly, eco-friendly, and can tackle almost any cleaning task. Say goodbye to harsh chemicals just like that!
As for your laundry room, try out SaltyLama’s Subscribe and Save for an eco-friendly cleaning solution for your dirty clothes. Made with plant-based ingredients and plastic-free packaging, these laundry detergent sheets are the best way to be eco-friendly in the laundry room.
Ditch disposable for reusable
Single-use items are not only bad for the environment, but they also add up in cost over time. Make a conscious effort to swap disposable items for reusable alternatives. Invest in reusable water bottles, coffee cups, shopping bags, ‘paper’ towels, and so much more. Imagine not having to buy paper towels, dish sponges, Ziplock bags, and other living ‘essentials’ again. Just swap them out for sustainable alternatives and you’ll be well on your way to living a more sustainable life!
Cultivate your own veggie garden
Growing your own food is one of the best ways to live eco-friendly on a budget! Even if you don’t have a backyard, you can start small with a windowsill herb garden or container gardening on your balcony. You can enjoy fresh, organic produce without the hefty price tag, while also reducing the environmental impact of transportation and packaging. Start with simple-to-grow herbs like basil or rosemary and veggies like lettuce, radishes, carrots, and kale. Once you get comfortable growing your own food, feel free to branch out from there. It’s such a rewarding process to watch plants grow from seed (or even starters available from a local plant nursery).
Join the sharing economy
Why buy when you can borrow? The sharing economy offers a wealth of resources without the hefty price tag. Borrow books from the library, share tools with neighbors, or join a toy library for your kids. Sharing can blossom a better sense of community, save you money, and help the environment by helping to bring fewer unnecessary products into the world.
Get thrifty with energy
Embrace kinder energy habits like turning off lights when you leave a room, adjusting your thermostat or turning off the AC to save on heating and cooling, and air-drying your laundry instead of using a dryer. These simple tweaks add up to significant energy and cost savings!
Being eco-friendly doesn’t have to be expensive! With a little creativity and conscious decision-making, you can embrace a greener lifestyle while staying within your budget.