Many people seem to have the idea that making eco-friendly choices is always more expensive, and sometimes that’s true. However, I’m here to tell you that sometimes being kind to the earth is also being kind to your budget! I’m not saying I don’t splurge on more eco-friendly options from time-to-time or forego sustainability sometimes in favor of affordability, but I’m both cheap and a bit tree-hugging, so read on for my tips on how to love both your wallet and Mother Nature!
This is probably the most money-eating room of your house. However, with some planning and thought, you can save money here by switching to more reusable things. The easiest trade for me has been buying more thin towels/dishcloths and fewer paper towels. I feel like I already do laundry all the time, so this has made virtually no difference in my home maintenance time. There are many, many options for reusable paper towels, and some are actually called “reusable paper towels” on Etsy or Amazon. I usually just buy packs of thin dish towels wherever and use those, then wash them with our other towels. Super easy!
This one is bit trickier, but I also like reusable sandwich and snack bags. I’ve tried several different kinds, and biggest only tip I have is to double-check how they close before buying them. Nothing is more annoying than getting these home and then realizing they’re a pain to actually use. My current favorites are actually from Aldi! Planet Wise has some great ones, too!
Okay, hear me out on this one. Reusable menstrual products are life-changing! Whether you’re interested in a cup, a disc, washable pads, or period underwear, most menstruating women can definitely find something they love in this category. Not only are these cheaper and better for sustainability than their disposable counterparts, they may make PMS less severe. (I don’t understand why, but this happens often when women switch their period products.) The most informative website/shop I’ve found for these products is PeriodNirvana. She has reviews of products, comparison charts, and quizzes to help you find the perfect product for you. (NSFW, so keep little eyes away from this site before vetting it.)
The most obvious mom switch that fits into this topic is probably cloth diapers. I love cloth diapering, as I’ve written about before. Now, I know it’s not possible for everyone because it does take a few extra loads of laundry weekly, but if you have the time and laundry resources, then this is a great, cheap switch to make if you have pre-potty trained littles at home. Plus, cloth diapers are just adorable! I practically never used bloomers on my little girls because I could just match their diapers to all the pretty dresses they wore.
Reusable shopping bags are so handy to keep around, especially if you frequent Aldi. No matter where you buy your groceries, though, reusable shopping and produce bags are more eco-friendly than their single-use plastic counterparts. I don’t always have these in my car, so when I do get plastic bags I keep them for trash in either our bathroom or my car. Re-purposing something is always better than just throwing it away!
Invest in a reusable water bottle! It’s probably the easiest switch in this list. Whether you prefer Nalgene, Camelbak, Hydroflask, or a cute seasonal Target Dollar Spot find, this is a big money-saver! So many places now have hands-free water bottle refilling stations that it really couldn’t be easier to save money and the planet by making this simple change.
Shop secondhand when possible. Thanks to the recent surge in people wanting to be more eco-friendly, this idea as exploded. ThredUP, Mercari, Poshmark, seasonal Consignment Sales, and even Facebook Marketplace are all great places to look for things you need but don’t necessarily want brand-new. You can also re-sell your clothes (or other household items) through these sites for cash! Personally, I sell my clothes on ThredUp, then I use the money I make to get new, high-quality pieces from brands that aren’t often in my budget when new. It’s a win-win! I can be cheap and help the planet just be being willing to reuse instead of purchase new.
Last, but certainly not least, support your library! I know that buying books is fun in and of itself, and I love supporting my local indies, but how easy it is to buy books that will end up getting thrown away sooner rather than later! (Even many donated books get “recycled.”) Plus, our libraries now have ebooks, movies, board games, puzzles, etc,. so go see what you can get for free before buying some new entertainment! Used books can also be purchased at local library stores or special book sales, so check these out to grow your personal library at minimal expense.
Other Simple Swaps:
- Make whatever food you can from scratch, like granola bars or chicken stock or soda water.
- Replace plastic food storage as it breaks or stains with glass or Pyrex.
- Buy your spices in bulk and store them in glass jars. (I like to get these from a local South Asian grocery store)
- Use sustainable cookware, like cast iron. You can basically run over this stuff with a bulldozer and then cook dinner on it.
- Switch to washcloths or compostable sponges for handwashing dishes.
- Clean most surfaces in your home with vinegar and water on a regular basis, saving harsher disinfectants for when they’re truly needed. (I also love Norwex enviro-cloths!)
- Make your morning coffee eco-friendly! Switch out disposable coffee pods for reusable ones, or even get a french press. (Most paper filters are compostable, whether bleached or unbleached.)
- Switch to loose leaf tea as opposed to bagged varieties. French presses are helpful here, too!
- Buy a travel coffee mug to use when visiting your favorite coffee shops, if this is allowed. Some will even give you a discount for doing this!
I know that my efforts alone won’t really make a difference, but I like knowing that I’m doing what I can to be earth-friendly. (Also, I don’t do all of these things all of the time.) I believe that God created the world to be a beautiful place for his creation to enjoy, and we are supposed to be good stewards of it. Therefore, I want to do my part to enjoy the great gift of this beautiful world and and take care of it as best as I can. If I can also steward well the money his given me while reducing my household waste, then that’s killing two birds with one stone! Sign me up!!
What are your best money-saving and eco-friendly tips? Tell me below!