Want to save money and help the environment? Who wouldn’t? Everyone is always looking for ways to save up. These tips will help you do just that while helping the planet. They might seem too small to make any real difference but remember that small acts add up in the long term. In addition, you can inspire your friends and family to join you on your eco-friendly journey by doing these easy things too.
So here are 20 ways to save money and help the environment at the same time:
1. Reduce your meat intake
Animal farming has become such a big industry and it has countless harmful effects on the planet. It’s also the reason your wallet feels lighter. A vegetarian or vegan diet is usually a much cheaper diet. Don’t worry you don’t have to go vegetarian or vegan completely but eating less meat has many benefits. For the environment, your bank account, and your health.
One of the biggest problems is that animals, especially cattle, release methane which is one of the worst greenhouse gases since in 5 years it traps 100 times more heat than carbon dioxide does. This is making our planet warmer and making climate change more severe. It is also causing deforestation as land is needed to be cleared for the animals and it’s the industry that uses most of the world’s freshwater.
Now you see why we need more people to stop eating so many burgers. Animal farming is a massive issue and we need to take it more seriously. Reducing your meat intake is by far the best way you could help the environment as it has the most impact.
2. Bike or walk
If possible, walk or use a bike to get around in order to reduce your carbon footprint. It can also be quicker when there is a lot of traffic and it’s also more fun!
You do not need to worry about topping up fuel every week. It’s completely free. But remember to stay safe and to always wear a helmet. We all need to aim to reduce our carbon footprint. There are too many vehicles on the roads. You can quickly calculate your carbon footprint at WWF.
It’s also cheaper to buy a bike than a car and requires less maintenance.
3. Leave it on the screen
In every home, school, and company, an endless amount of paper is used when printing out documents. Avoid printing whenever you can because it really adds up. This will save you buying loads of paper and ink too.
We can use technology to our advantage to reduce our environmental impact. But we need to use it smarter. When you can send a document via e-mail, what’s the point in printing it out?
4. Stop wasting good food
Another way to help the environment is to stop throwing away food unnecessarily. Many throw away the leftovers from the day before but why? It is just as good. Maybe even better. So instead of cooking something every day, which is also more expensive, eat food from the day before or even from 2 days ago.
Another way people waste food is when they buy too much of it and it either expires or goes bad by the time they decide to eat it. The solution is straight-forward. Just buy less. Buy only what you need and trust me, you will save a lot of money.
Instead of throwing something away straight away, think if you can reuse it in some way. You could use it for something that it wasn’t even designed for. Be creative. There are many things you could repurpose, from clothes to paper clips and ketchup bottles.
6. Unplug electronics
When something is done charging, unplug it. When you are done with the TV, switch it off. Why waste energy when it can be easily avoided. In addition, every time you leave electronics on, you are paying for that electricity.
But don’t be fooled that turning the TV off, or taking a phone out of charge will save energy. You need to unplug it from the socket because electricity is still flowing. Otherwise, the off light on the TV wouldn’t be on.
7. Lower the thermostat
You could decrease the temperature of the thermostat to save energy. Even if it’s 0.5 or 1 degrees Celsius. Wearing an extra jumper or sweater will keep you just as warm. If you want to help the planet, reducing your energy usage, in general, is a must.
8. Reuse and buy used
Stop buying new clothes, new phones, or anything else every few weeks or months. This is a toxic mentality our society has. From now on, try to get as much use out of everything before buying new ones. We do not have unlimited resources. It’s important to protect them. Why not start shopping at second-hand shops? Many good quality items can be found there and they are cheaper than new products.
9. Make your own products
This is a fun thing you could do in your spare time. You could try making homemade beauty and cleaning products. They are not hard and only a few ingredients are needed to make each one. Brands just want you to buy their products to make money but in reality, the same job can be done by just a few ingredients found in your house.
Most products we buy, contain many chemicals. Too many to count. These do no good to the environment (or to your health). Every time you clean the bath or cleanse your face, those harmful chemicals flow down the drain and into the ocean.
Not to mention it’s cheaper than restocking on new products every month.
10. Grow your own food
Become more sustainable by growing your own food. Unfortunately, this is not something that everyone can do as it depends on where you live. But if you live in a house with a garden, take advantage and grow your own fruit and vegetables. If you live in an apartment, try growing herbs, and see how that goes. It’s a very easy thing to do. Not only is it a great way to help the environment, it’s also fun.
11. Take fewer (and shorter) showers
Take shorter and less frequent showers and definitely no baths. This is one of the main ways water is wasted in households. People take too many long hot showers; wasting energy, water, and money without thinking of the effect on the environment. Especially if you take showers every day or twice a day. It is proven that it makes no difference to your hygiene and can even be harmful as you are constantly stripping your skin of natural oils.
12. Cold showers
Also maybe you could start taking some cold showers every now and again to save energy. Also, there are studies showing the benefits of cold showers. It will be tough in the beginning but it will get slightly easier every time.
13. Switch to a reusable water bottle
This is arguably the simplest change you could make to help the environment and to save money. By investing in a reusable bottle (which have now become very cheap), you are saving yourself from buying 300 or more bottles every year. I don’t think I need to explain why buying 300 one-use plastic bottles is bad for the planet.
14. Let clothes dry naturally
This is for those who use a tumble-dryer to dry their clothes. While it might be more convenient for you, it’s not more convenient for the planet. It uses a lot of electricity, and if your house is not powered by renewable energy, that’s a lot of emissions. So start letting your clothes dry naturally by hanging them up in your house or outside.
15. Sell unwanted things
If you are done with something and don’t want it anymore, instead of binning it which would just end up in a landfill try to sell it to someone who needs it. There are many places where you can sell your stuff online. If that doesn’t work, ask a friend if they want it, and if not, donate it to a charity shop.
16. Go to the library
Think about how many books you read and never touch again. If that’s you, you could do with getting a library card. Libraries have nearly any book you could imagine and if not, you can ask them to bring it in. It’s a much cheaper way to read and you are not spending money every time you want to read something new.
17. Minimalist lifestyle
Live a simpler life by becoming a minimalist. This is a different way of living that many people are choosing as it is a way to be happier but also to help the environment. The basis of this lifestyle is that you should only have things in your life that add value. This could mean material things but can also refer to people, to work, and every aspect of your life. Read more about minimalism here.
18. Stop buying takeout
First of all take-away food is expensive in most cases. But most importantly, think about how much packaging is thrown away. Additionally, these big fast-food chains are big contributors to climate change and pollution. It’s something to think about.
19. Only use the dishwasher when full
The same amount of water is used whether you want to wash one plate or 50. Therefore, it’s more water and energy-efficient to have a full load. It doesn’t make sense if you only want to wash a few things. Just wash them by hand in that case.
20. Stop buying magazines
There is no need to buy magazines or newspapers when you could read them online. It’s just a waste of paper and energy. So from now if you want to read about something, go to Google and search for anything you want. You can find any information on the internet.
You can also get yourself subscribed to magazines or newspapers online so you can get articles sent right to your inbox.
A final note
Rethink the way you live your life. Stop thinking you are too small to make a difference. Every day you have an impact on the world and the planet. Everyone can help the environment by changing small habits. It’s your decision if you want to have a negative or positive impact. Choose wisely.
All images from Unsplash