A green lifestyle can sometimes seem overwhelming or costly. However, you can reduce your environmental impact without breaking the bank if you adopt a few simple and frugal habits.
Keeping that in mind, here are 20 frugal sustainable living tips to help you save money and start a more sustainable lifestyle today.
1. Reduce your energy consumption.
What is one of the best ways to save money and reduce your environmental impact? Cut down on your energy usage around the house.
According to reports, the average U.S. family spends more than $2,200 on home utility bills every year. If you reduce your energy consumption, though, this amount can be lowered by as much as 25%.
Several simple steps can be taken to achieve this, including:
- When not in use, turn off lights and appliances.
- After fully charging electronics, unplug them.
- Reducing heat loss and gain in your home by weatherizing it.
- Utilizing energy-efficient appliances and bulbs.
- Shortening showers.
- When possible, wash clothes in cold water and hang them to dry.
- Installing solar panels.
- Investing in ENERGY STAR appliances.
2. Consider reusable alternatives.
All those single purchases and the waste of single-use packaging add up to a higher long-term cost for single-use items. These items also contribute to a large amount of waste.
Fortunately, all of these items are available in reusable form. With innovative new materials and products, reducing “single-use” waste has never been simpler.
In your cabinet, you should always have the following four staples:
- A reusable shopping bag. Plastic bags are increasingly being eliminated from store shelves. But those that still have them charge customers five to ten cents per bag, with an average weekly cost of five dollars for plastic bags. With so many stores, brands, and even workplaces offering their own options for a relatively low price, swapping a reusable bag or tote has always been challenging. Plus, reusable bags prevent nearly 200 plastic bags from entering the environment every time you get groceries or goods.
- Saran Wrap can be replaced with Beeswax Wrap. Rather than wasting your time and money on garbage stuffing saran wrap, use these wraps made from beeswax, cotton, and tree oil that keep food fresher and can be reused repeatedly.
- Use reusable towels instead of paper towels. When dealing with spills, paper towels are convenient, but we often buy them in bulk and discover, to our dismay, that we tend to use them up rapidly. Bamboo-based towels will help reduce paper waste and save you money since you won’t need to replace them as often, so you won’t have to buy new ones.
- Reusable mops and sweepers. Keep your floors clean and preserve their beauty with reusable mop and sweep pads. Their microfiber material captures dust and dirt. They also absorb liquid and cost much less than disposable alternatives, as well as fitting most mop heads.
3. Eat less meat.
Climate change and other environmental problems are directly related to meat production. In fact, according to the UN Food and Agricultural Organization, meat and dairy production accounts for nearly 14.5% of all global greenhouse gas emissions. What’s more, plant-based diets are typically 10 to 50 times more climate-friendly than animal products, which can greatly reduce emissions.
In addition, meatless diets save people an average of $23 per week on food.
While you don’t have to become a vegetarian or vegan, you can minimize your environmental impact and save money by reducing your meat consumption. Also, consider choosing more sustainable choices, such as grass-fed beef and organic produce locally.
4. Don’t throw away leftovers.
There is an enormous problem with food waste. The average household wastes about 43% of the food it produces. For an average family, this amounts to $1,500 thrown away every year!
As such, eating leftovers will help you avoid food waste and save you money. You can also freeze food if you are concerned that it will go bad before you can eat it.
5. Skip the plastic bottles.
It is estimated that Americans use 50 billion water bottles each month or 13 per person. It is also important to keep in mind that domestically bottled water averages between about $1 and $2 per 16-ounce bottle.
Plastics can also impart bisphenol A and phthalates into drinking water, which are known to disrupt the reproductive system.
Despite the convenience of a disposable bottle, it is detrimental to the environment, your health, and your finances. You could save money, protect the environment, and reduce health risks by switching to a durable, reusable bottle.
6. Shop secondhand.
Among the benefits of shopping secondhand are:
- Saving money. It is possible to find higher quality items, like furniture, that are more affordable.
- Reducing waste. By shopping secondhand, landfill waste is reduced.
- Supporting the community. It is common for thrift stores to be non-profit and to create jobs.
- Supporting local businesses. You’re contributing to the local economy.
- Finding unique items. It is possible to find rare and vintage clothing.
- Experiment with your style. A bargain can be discovered and your personal style can be experimented with.
- Promoting sustainability. In addition to being sustainable, secondhand shopping contributes to the circular economy.
7. Rather than replacing, repair.
Do not automatically discard broken items when they break. Instead, try repairing it. Using this method can save you money and reduce landfill waste.
Getting help from many repair shops is possible if you don’t know how to fix something yourself. There are also many DIY repair tutorials available online. Also, on YouTube, you will find plenty of videos about repair.
8. Buy in bulk.
One easy frugal tip is to purchase food and toiletries in bulk. Why? Well, here are five good reasons:
- Saving money. By cutting out the middleman, you can save time and money when you buy in bulk.
- Keeping waste to a minimum. Food waste and packaging waste can be reduced by buying in bulk.
- Reducing carbon footprint. The packaging of products is less carbon and energy-intensive when purchased in bulk.
- Being less likely to run out of supplies. It’s less likely that you’ll run out of supplies when you buy in bulk.
- Saving time. With fewer deliveries and shopping trips, you can buy in bulk and save time, as well as save money on fuel.
9. When buying new, choose quality.
A high-quality product that will last you for years is a better investment than purchasing a cheap version of the same product every year, even if you don’t consider it part of a list about saving money.
Even though high-quality items are usually more expensive, there are a few things you should keep in mind:
Whether you choose aluminum over plastic, cotton over blends of polyester, solid wood furniture over plywood, you save money if you invest in quality upfront. One drawback remains, however. The cost of buying high-quality items requires disposable income, so you shouldn’t worry if that’s not an option right now.
10. Reduce, reuse, and recycle.
Keeping the three Rs in mind is one of the best ways to minimize your environmental impact. Don’t buy as much stuff as possible, reuse everything you can, and recycle everything you can.
The following are some specific tips for reducing, reusing, and recycling:
- When you go shopping, bring your own reusable bags and water bottles.
- Make use of reusable coffee mugs instead of disposable ones.
- Bring your own lunch in a reusable container.
- Recycle food scraps by composting them.
- Donate unwanted items to charity or thrift stores.
- Glass, plastic, and metal can be recycled.
11. Make your own cleaning products.
In comparison to store-bought chemicals, homemade cleaners offer the following advantages:
- Safety. There is less risk of harm or irritation from homemade cleaners. Your health can also be improved by eliminating toxic chemicals.
- Environmentally friendly. Sea life, in particular, benefits from homemade cleaners.
- Cost. Store-bought cleaners can be more expensive than homemade cleaners.
- Control. A cleaner’s strength can be controlled by its ingredients.
12. Grow your own food.
Food that you grow yourself reduces your environmental impact and saves you money on groceries. Gardens, balconies, and even windowsills are all great places to grow food.
It is possible to find many resources online and in libraries if you need help figuring out where to start. In addition, there are likely gardening classes and workshops available in your area.
Did you know that food scraps can be upcycled? In other words, they will be used to grow a new batch of produce. You can use the process on lettuce, celery, green onions, and other vegetables. Just a cup of water is usually enough to get started.
13. Walk, bike, or take public transportation whenever possible.
There is no doubt that driving contributes greatly to air pollution and climate change. Consider walking, biking, or taking public transportation whenever possible. You can reduce your carbon footprint and save money by doing this.
14. Use half the amount of product you usually do.
If you follow this simple tip, you’ll be able to prolong the life of your products and save money over time. In addition to saving you time, your new minimalist practice will prevent you from going on extra shopping trips.
15. Don’t buy the latest phone.
Even though FOMO might make this challenging, you might not want to buy the latest phone for the following reasons:
- Price. It is often expensive to buy a new phone, especially if you do not have a contract for it. In fact, the average smartphone is around $823.
- Performance. Depending on your phone model, you might not notice any performance difference.
- Upgrades. Year-over-year, flagship smartphones do not always offer big upgrades.
- Battery life. It takes at least two years for a smartphone battery to lose its charge. As such, you might just need to replace the battery.
- Software updates. It is possible that your smartphone will receive software updates for years to come.
- Environmental considerations. Our nature suffers more when you upgrade frequently. Whether it is pollution caused by manufacturing, packaging, or shipping — it all affects the environment. Recycling an old phone instead of upgrading it annually is a more environmentally friendly option.
16. Join Buy Nothing.
With Buy Nothing, you can get rid of unwanted things around your house and get things you need for free. As their motto states “Buy Nothing. Share Everything,” a sustainable living app aimed at the community.
Additionally, you can find Facebook groups that sell nothing as well as this app.
17. Shop local.
By shopping locally, you reduce the impact of transportation on the environment and support your local economy.
For example, a local farmstand or farmers’ market. Aside from being fresher, the produce is more nutritious.
The food at your farmers market may be more expensive in some places, but it’s likely you’ll find plenty of inexpensive options as well. Consider buying seconds (imperfect produce), buying in bulk, or even bartering.
18. Swap clothes.
When your closet doesn’t inspire you, consider swapping clothes with friends, family, or neighbors instead of heading to the mall.
Alternatives to shopping like this keep clothing out of landfills, freshen your wardrobe, and don’t drain your wallet. You can also add new clothes to your closet for free and clean out your closet at the same time!
19. Get involved in your community.
Making a difference to the environment is as easy as getting involved in your community. Consider getting involved with your local environmental organization, starting a community garden, or advocating for sustainable policies.
Meeting new people, learning new skills, and impacting the world around you are all benefits of becoming involved in your community. Plus, this is a free activity.
20. Be mindful of your consumption.
To live a frugal and eco-friendly lifestyle, you need to be conscious of how much you consume. In order to do this, you must pay attention to what you buy, why you buy it, and how much you use it.
If you’re thinking about purchasing something, ask yourself if you really need it and if there are better alternatives. Also, avoid impulse buys and make smarter purchases. Whenever you use resources, such as water and energy, conserve them whenever possible.
What are the benefits of living a frugal and eco-friendly lifestyle?
Living a frugal and eco-friendly lifestyle has many benefits, such as:
- Saving money. A frugal lifestyle is all about being mindful of your spending and finding ways to save money. Utilizing reusable products and reducing energy consumption are also eco-friendly practices that benefit your financial health.
- Reducing your environmental impact. You can help protect the environment by consuming less, using resources more efficiently, and reducing waste.
- Living a more sustainable lifestyle. In the long run, frugality and eco-friendliness tend to be more sustainable. As a result, you reduce your impact on the environment and use resources responsibly.
Is there a way to save money on groceries without harming the environment?
The following are some ways to save money on groceries without harming the environment:
- Shop seasonally. In general, seasonal produce is cheaper and more environmentally friendly than out-of-season produce.
- Buy in bulk. Items such as rice, beans, and nuts, which you use frequently, can be saved this way.
- Grow your own food. A great way to save money and reduce your environmental impact is to grow your own food.
- Cook at home. A lot of waste is generated when we eat out. You can save money and be more eco-friendly by cooking at home.
- Reduce food waste. Prepare your meals in advance and buy only what you need. If you have food scraps, compost them.
What can I do to save money on transportation without harming the environment?
Saving money on transportation without harming the environment can be achieved in a number of ways, including:
- Walk, bike, or take public transportation whenever possible. Not only is this good for the environment, but it’s also free or very cheap.
- Carpool or vanpool with friends or coworkers. You can save money on gas and parking by doing this.
- If you do need to drive, choose a fuel-efficient vehicle and drive carefully. Don’t jackrabbit start or hard brake.
- Telecommute when possible. By doing this, you can save on gas, vehicle wear, and parking costs.
How can I save money on home maintenance without harming the environment?
In order to minimize the environmental impact of home maintenance, there are many ways to save money:
- Do basic maintenance tasks yourself. You should change your air filter, clean your gutters, and test your smoke detectors as part of this.
- Invest in energy-efficient appliances and home improvements. Long-term energy savings can be achieved by doing this.
- Use natural cleaning products. It is often more environmentally friendly and cheaper to use these products than to use traditional cleaning products.
- Repair items instead of replacing them. Using this method can reduce your waste and save you money.