Effortless Ways to Save Money and the Planet
28 May, 2021
Climate change is all around us. It’s currently happening in big ways like the Australia wildfires and small ways like 70 degree weather in January on the East Coast just last weekend. These signs of a warming earth mean there’s no better time than now to become more conscious of how our every day actions impact the planet.
It’s a common misconception that a sustainable lifestyle is a more expensive one. Sure, sometimes it can be, but there are little changes you can make that’ll create a huge difference for the planet AND your wallet.
Here are five ways you can help the earth while saving money, two birds one stone:
1. Get a reusable water bottle
More than 60 million plastic water bottles are thrown away not every year, but every single day. While some ultimately get recycled, others end up in landfills or as litter in waterways and public spaces. No matter how you look at it, this is a huge waste since a large percentage of bottled water sold in the U.S. is really just bottled tap water. Spending $2 on a bottle of water could seem like nothing, but every week that adds up especially if you buy in bulk. Refilling a a reusable bottle from a fountain is free!
2. Buy used things
If you can’t repurpose something you already own, consider buying used from a thrift store, garage sale, or online. This will be considerably cheaper and far less wasteful by eliminating the excess packaging that comes with new stuff and the energy it took to create and ship those products.
3. Shop local
A majority of the harmful carbon emissions that have been damaging our planet come from the importing and exporting of goods, specifically food to major grocery stores.
Shopping at local farmers markets will get you fresh produce for a whole lot cheaper and you’ll be helping stop the dangerous “food miles” that hurt our planet every day
4. Stop wasting food
On the topic of food, buying less of it (and making exactly as much as you’ll eat) is something we often overlook as a way to help out the environment. 40% of food in the US is never eaten and becomes waste in landfills. Buying less food, especially packaged foods, also eliminates demand for mass importation (the “food miles” we discussed earlier) and overall waste of packaging like plastic and cardboard that is often forgotten to be recycled.
Creating meal plan will streamline your grocery shopping and is a great way to avoid making unnecessary food purchases or buying too much of something, as is learning to freeze and reheat leftovers. If you just cook for yourself, learning to keep you portions smaller means less food getting thrown away. All of these options could save you a whole lot on groceries each week.
5. Bike or walk instead of driving
Public transportation is a great sustainable alternative to driving, but that still costs money (much less, but money nonetheless!) so our totally free tip would be to walk to get from place to place, especially if you live in a city. Don’t want to walk? You can also carpool, a practice which can mean enduring a small amount of hassle, but ultimately leads to fewer cars on the road. And if you live somewhere with excellent walkability or public transportation options, you can save a ton of money — on car payments, insurance, gas, parking, and maintenance — by ditching the car altogether.
Of course, it’s one thing to walk to the grocery store on the weekends, but an entirely different animal to walk to work every day. And that’s why a growing number of commuters have chosen to ride their bikes to work instead of walking, driving or taking public transport.
Jacqueline EpsteinRead more from Jacqueline Epstein