A lot of people think that living an eco-friendly lifestyle means buying expensive Lululemon yoga pants and spending half of your paycheck at upscale, organic grocery stores.
In reality, living a greener lifestyle can actually save you money, and, no, you don’t have to grow your hair out or stop showering.
Living greener forces you to think about how your decisions impact the environment, which sometimes helps you cut unnecessary products or energy use out of your life. Here are nine simple tricks to help you live greener and save money.
1. Reuse Plastic And Glass Containers For Storage
Instead of buying Tupperware, just save all of your plastic and glass containers. This can mean reusable containers that take-out food comes in, old spaghetti sauce jars, butter containers, or peanut butter jars.
According to XO Jane, some stores are even starting to refill customers’ old containers for certain products. Apparently the trend is very new, so be on the lookout for it.
2. Buy A Reusable Water Bottle
Switching from bottled water to a reusable bottle with tap water (or even filtered water, if you buy a filtered water pitcher) could save you around $550 a year, according to a blogger at Wild Mint Shop.
If a family of four switched to reusable bottles from plastic bottles of water, it would save up to 27 gallons of oil a year. Just one of those four people switching to a reusable bottle would keep 2,580 balloon-sized containers of carbon dioxide out of the air each year.
3. Carpool When Possible
Good Housekeeping estimates that carpooling with one other person on your morning commute could save each of you $650 a year just in gas.
4. Eat Out Less
Eating out at restaurants is a nice treat, but cooking for yourself more will help you think greener and could save you thousands. Not to mention, when you’re purchasing your own produce or meat, you can more easily guarantee that it came from a reliable source, such as a small, family-owned farm.
Good Housekeeping described cutting your restaurant budget as “a gateway drug” to living greener. Cooking at home forces you to think about how your food was grown and the conditions that workers might be under on the farm where it was grown — things you might not think about when you’re out ordering a huge steak at a four-star restaurant.
5. Don’t Waste Food
Try to save everything you cook or order. (You can even use some of the fancy jars and containers that you’ve saved to store food!) Greenhouse gases are produced when food is created.
Animals that we use for meat produce carbon dioxide and methane, and the technology that we use to harvest and deliver meat and vegetables produces greenhouse gases.
An estimated 40 percent of the food in America gets thrown away, according to Greatist. But you can’t take back 40 percent of the greenhouse gases that were produced in making that food.
Saving your leftovers will also save you a trip to the grocery store or money spent on that kind-of-expensive sushi that you love to order when “there’s no food in the house.”
6. Install A Low-Flow Shower Head
Low-flow shower heads help you use 25 to 60 percent less water in the shower, according to Greatist, which will help you save big on your water bill.
If you’re worried about the water pressure being too light, then just adjust the shower head to a lower setting when you’re not rinsing, and turn it up for the minute or two that it takes you to wash soap out of your hair.
7. Turn Down The Water Heater
Most water heaters are set at 140 degrees Fahrenheit, but adjusting it down to 120 degrees can save you 10 percent in heating costs.
8. Invest In Energy Star Appliances
Greatist found that Energy Star Appliances cost more initially, but they are more durable, more environmentally friendly, and help you save a lot on utility bills.
For example, an Energy Star clothes washer uses 50 percent less energy and 50 percent less water than standard washers. Imagine how much that adds up over time!
9. Take That Junk Out Of Your Trunk
Lighter cars use less fuel, which saves you money and is nicer to Mother Nature. So try not to store a lot of heavy stuff in your car to keep it as light as possible.