5 Sustainable Ways to Save Money

5 sustainable ways to save moneyHi Everyone!

I can’t imagine a day I don’t talk about how sustainability and budgeting can go hand and hand together. This post is focusing on 5 things you can do today to waste less and save more!

 

  • Reuse your stuff – This sounds so freakin’ obvious, but do you really know all the ways you can reuse stuff? This is the number one tip because it applies to so many things. Freeze candles that are in jars melted down to the point that they are no longer safe to use. Pop those leftover pieces into another container with a fresh wic and you just got to use every penny of that candle. Buy a whole chicken and butcher it up yourself. Take all the scraps and make broth. Have a vacuum sealer? Re-seal potato chips and other bagged goods to stretch their shelf life. Dehydrate food that is going to go bad soon and have a really full pantry! Pinterest or youtube this stuff and you would be amazed at the ideas you will find!!!!
  • Transform your junk into money – This is about getting the most for your stuff… even after you have stopped using it. Sell your stuff second hand. That computer that you broke and wasn’t worth fixing? Sell it on a website, app, or yard sale and get some money back. The buyer will use the parts and scraps from it for their own benefit, but now it isn’t going to the landfill and you got money for what was sitting collecting dust. This applies to everything from books to art to clothes. Don’t be afraid to see what you can get rid of it, if you don’t enjoy it anymore.
  • DIY! – I love DIY stuff. Gardening, sewing, woodworking are all great skills that not only save you money, but could even be turned into an income if you sell your goods and services. I mention those three because they are excellent as well for sustainability. Learn to grow your own food, mend your clothes, and reuse scrap wood. That being said a word of caution? Make sure that what you’re saving is worth the cost. There is no point in DIYing every little thing when materials can cost you nearly as much as hiring someone AND you have to spend your own time doing it.
  • Turn off the TV, Light, Faucet – If you pay your own utilities you know how much they can cost (and even if you don’t be a bit considerate of the environmental impact of that hour long shower). So take the time to turn off the faucet when you’re brushing your teeth. In the shower conditioning your hair? Turn the water off while you wait for it to set. Unplug electronics or put them on a power cord that you can flip the switch and cut the energy suckers (Do you realize how much power a TV still uses when plugged in but not on??? P.S. the pun was intended). If you don’t like to turn things off, or are on them a lot… I’m looking at you mobile readers 😉 take a moment and see if your electronic device offers a power saving option and clear off any unnecessary apps, files, and background programs to save energy and extend battery life. The next time your phone doesn’t die, you’re welcome.
  • Switch to Automatic Debits/Online Statements – A lot of billing services are willing to give you a discount if you are willing to A) guarantee them their money (automatic debit = automatic income to them) and B) if you’re willing to save them money (aka mailing is expensive in comparison to emails!). Call or check online for your current services still sending you print information. See if they are willing to offer you a discount and save a tree while you’re at it!

 

There you have it 5 simple things that can have a lasting effect on your environmental footprint and wallet! Which one are you most excited to try?

~Naomi

 

An Introduction to Zero Waste Benefits

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Hello everyone!

Today I wanted to talk about the Zero Waste movement. This isn’t a blog post about convincing you that you are some terrible human for using plastic products or for throwing something in the trash. This post was inspired by seeing one too many of those kind of comments and not wanting to see people deterred from something that has more than just environmental benefits. So let me dive in:

First the main idea behind Zero Waste is to overall reduce what waste you produce and what waste ends up in the landfills. The goal isn’t to produce no “Waste”; it’s to make sure every piece is taken care of in the best way possible and to be more thoughtful about the waste we create. This can mean things like composting, recycling, terracycling, buying used, and reusing. Now why should you make the commitment or take steps towards it:

Environment

This is the first reason that pops to mind. It keeps trash out of oceans and away from wildlife. It does help with the emissions that affect our air quality. I remember hearing once that the average person in the USA made around 4.5 lbs of trash per day. That is the size of our kittens right now. That is the weight of an entire bag of sugar or flour. Reducing that does more than just help the environment though.

Money 

Moving towards zero waste has saved us immense amounts of money. It seems counterintuitive because most people think you have to buy these speciality products to be able to afford to do this. I argue that for the most part it will save you much more than it costs, especially at first. First there are so many free recycling programs in many neighborhoods and cities or even as part of trash services. If you reduce your waste by recycling by half or even a quarter you could downgrade your trash services and trash bags and save money there. Instead of buying a single use water bottle, a reusable water bottle can easily pay for itself within 5-10 uses. Avery has had his bottle since 2012 (Yes he does wash it). There are so many examples like this that would make a huge impact on your budget over the year and you can feel good about helping the planet while doing it.

Health

While you don’t have to give up processed foods, you will probably see yourself moving away from it! This is absolutely great for you. I have been cooking at home more than ever with lots of produce and I have been doing it for my husband and I for under $75 a month. That includes treats and alcohol. You learn to buy in bulk, at local markets, and can even preserve your food. You are also keeping fewer chemicals in your home and moving towards more natural options.

Clean

I have to admit this might be my favorite and most unexpected benefit to moving towards a zero waste lifestyle. Our house is becoming cleaner and smells great. Here is my favorite example. When my college friend had a roommate who once threw rancid meat in the trash, left it there for days, and then demanded that one of her other roommates deal with it. It had made the entire place start to reek and they all got into a fight about it. Plus it took like three weeks before I’d go and see her from the smell. I used this example because with zero waste you tend to have less food waste because you tend to need to plan out meals better, but even when you do your food can go right into a composting plan and not be sitting in your home for weeks. Now, Avery and I rinse all of our recyclables that had food in them, use a smaller trash can, and are composting most of our food waste. We have less materialistic things overall and have less clutter! What a win!

 

These are just a few of the examples I have about the positive benefits of going zero waste. But it can be really intimidating and unappealing to go this route. It does take a little bit more effort some days but if you get in the habit, it really isn’t bad at all. In an upcoming post, I will be putting together a really simple beginners guide on some very easy changes that will not only be more environmentally friendly; it will also make your life easier and healthier. I’ll be putting that series together about simple to complex changes you can make and you choose what works for you and your family. Just remember every little bit counts! Are any of you interested in going zero waste?

 

~ Naomi