If you’re wondering how to spend less money, you might be pleasantly surprised to realize many money-saving tips are good for the planet too!
At the end of the day, spending less money comes from simplifying your life. When you live with less stuff, you also find you produce less waste. The less you buy, the less you have to deal with, organize, use up and throw out.
Simplifying might sound like a tall order. So many of us are attached to the stuff in our lives. We see spending money and shopping as a solution for boredom, for frustration and for a bad day. Yet, we’re overwhelmed by stuff. Our homes are cluttered. We end up needing more time to prepare complicated meals. We go out and spend money on organizing tools that we never use. Our schedules are full of obligations and commitments.
So, if you’re ready to simplify, there are a few easy tips you can follow right now, today. You’ll spend less money and less emotional energy as well. The great thing is–saving money and helping the planet go hand-in-hand. When you’re living simply, it’s not only good for you, it’s good for Mother Earth.
Add more green to your wallet and your life, by adopting some easy money saving tips.
How to Spend Less Money: 18 Easy (Green) Tips
1. Cook Once: Eat All Week
Plan and prepare your meals ahead. Weekend meal preparation sets you up for success all week long. Not only will you end up with less food waste when you pre-prepare your meals (no spoiled ingredients in the back of the fridge!) but you’ll use your kitchen appliances more efficiently. You’ll only need to heat your oven once, you’ll be able to cook ingredients one time for multiple dishes and you’ll have plenty of meals prepared to help you avoid the temptation of going out during the week.
2. Use Cooking Shortcuts
The microwave, toaster oven and pressure cooker (or Instant Pot) may not seem eco-friendly at first glance, but these simple tools require less energy to run. Bonus–they shorten cooking time and help you get dinner on the table in a jiff. Again, these shortcut-helpers will keep you from falling to the temptation of ordering out, running to a fast-food joint, or going to to a restaurant. They’ll help you get your meals ready fast. Microwaving vegetables may even help them keep more nutrients than boiling or steaming on the stove!
3. Eat Less Meat
Meat is tough on the planet. The production of meat and factory farming takes a huge toll on the environment. In fact factory farming is responsible for 37% of emissions, not to mention water pollution and deforestation. Meat is not only tough on the environment, but it’s also tough on your grocery bill. Beans, soy and nuts are often cheaper and nutritious substitutes to help you stretch your money. Check out this vegan guide to Aldi for grocery savings.
Bring your own bottles, bags, heck even your own coffee mugs and takeout containers! Much of our waste is produced by disposable convenience items–water bottles, shopping bags and containers for food. If you pack your own water, coffee and lunch you won’t need to shop. You’ll be prepared for any thirst or hunger that comes your way. Keep the money in your wallet and keep waste out of the landfill by travelling with your own food, drinks and containers.
5. Grow Your Own
Gardening isn’t for everyone and it’s a pretty tall order to grow your own food. However, growing a few herbs, some lettuce and some supplemental produce like tomatoes, zucchini and squash is fun and satisfying. You’ll be encouraged to spend less on these items at the store because these items are super cheap to grow, and you’ll feel more connected with the earth and environment. There’s something really rewarding about growing and eating your own food!
6. Use Cloth over Paper
Invest in a nice set of cloth napkins. Recycle old shirts and towels into rags. Instead of cleaning everything with paper towels, use microfiber cloths to clean, polish and shine. Recycle newspaper to use when cleaning windows and glass–the newsprint adds sparkle too the finish and your windows will gleam!
7. Make Your Own Cleaning Supplies
Making your own cleaning supplies keeps bottles and chemicals out of the landfill. Plus, it’s much cheaper to make your own. Not only will you feel better about the chemicals you’re using around your family (natural DIY cleaners are often made from safe ingredients like vinegar, baking soda and lemon) but you’ll also save money and the planet. If you’re wondering how to spend less money by making your own cleaners, check out our DIY recipes here.
8. Reduce Water Use
Cut back on your water use. Put a bottle of water in the back of your toilet tank. Only flush for #2. Save the runoff from your shower, rinsing dishes and other projects and use the water for your houseplants and garden (use a eco-friendly soap like Dr. Bronner’s so you don’t hurt your plants). Turn off the water while you brush your teeth. Take shorter showers. Wash your clothes on cold and use the efficiency cycle. Your water bill will go down!
9. Change to Efficiency Light Bulbs
A simple way to save money and reduce your energy use is swap out your “regular” light bulbs for environmentally friendly bulbs. Halogen incandescent bulbs, CFLs and LEDs are easier on the environment, last longer and use less energy to power. Although the bulbs may cost a little more upfront, but they quickly pay for themselves with a reduction in your power bill and longer usage compared to ordinary bulbs.
10. Unplug & Turn Off
It may seem like a nominal savings that’s hardly worth the effort, but if you make a deliberate attempt to turn off all lights and unplug all appliances when you leave a room, you’ll be surprised at how much savings you will see on your energy bill. We forget that many electronics continue to use tiny amounts of energy even when they’re not “on.” The lights on your TV, microwave and other electronics continue to run and require small amounts of power that add up. Put every item on a powerstrip and flip the switch when you leave.
11. Turn Down Your Heat
Turning down your heat just a few degrees will result in big savings. For every degree you lower your thermostat, you can save between 1-3% on your bill. It’s also important you check your home for heat loss and repair drafty doors, windows and areas that are lacking in insulation. By doing these fixes, you may be able to comfortably cut back on your heating and save a bundle.
12. Learn Simple Repairs and Fixes
Learn how to repair items around your home. When something breaks, can it be glued or fixed rather than replaced? What about clothing? If you’re wondering how to spend less money on clothes, learning a few simple sewing techniques can help. Repair a missing button, fix a stuck zipper or patch thinning knees on kids pants. Little repairs don’t take much time, but can be worth the effort.
13. Wear it More than Once
Jeans, sweaters and other clothes can be worn multiple times before washing. Towels are another item that we use once and then throw into the laundry, when we could get more use out of them. Unless you’re sweating or really getting your clothes dirty, they rarely need to be washed with every wear. Tees and underclothes, of course should be cleaned, but if you dress in layers, give the outer layers another few wears before you wash.
14. Line & Air Dry
Line dry your clothes to save money on your energy bill as well as money on dryer sheets. Even if you can’t line-dry every item, lay out as many items as possible to reduce the load in your dryer and cut back on your drying time. Opt for weekend hairstyles that work without a blowdryer and other styling tools. Let your dishes air dry in the sink (and quick wash them by hand, rather than using your dishwasher for small loads.
15. Choose Paperless Billing
Cut back on paper clutter, stress and wasted time by opting for paperless billing. So much paper clutter arrives in the mail and comes from statements and bills we look at once and then toss out. With the availability of electronic statements and billing there’s really no need to keep a paper trail. Many companies offer a percentage off your bill and bonuses if you choose paperless billing as well. It’s good for your wallet and the environment.
16. Organize Your House
The more organized and clean your home, the easier it is to live simply and efficiently. When your home is organized you don’t spend time searching for items you can’t find. You don’t forget about food in the back of the fridge or cupboard and risk it going bad. You don’t re-buy items you don’t need because you can’t find them. Organize and clean out whenever possible. You may be pleasantly surprised to find you already have everything you need.
17. Walk or Bike
Whenever it’s an option, choose to walk or bike your errands. Biking is for everyone! You don’t need to be a pro or have an expensive bike to ride a mile or two. Not a biker? Try walking your errands as much as possible. Park in a central location and then walk to your surrounding destinations. You will fit in more exercise, get fresh air and save money on gas by opting to run errands on two wheels or two feet.
18. Take Public Transportation
Many cities and towns offer public transportation via bus, subway or even in the form of ride-sharing. Carpooling and taking advantage of public transportation is a great way to save money, wear and tear on your vehicle, get in exercise AND help the environment. Your commute will become much more relaxing when you don’t have to fight traffic. You can read, listen to music or work as someone else does the driving.
Eco-friendly living and spending less, fit together hand-in-hand. If you’re looking for ways to simplify and save, chances are you’ll be helping the environment as well. Go green and save green today!
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