13 Thrifty ways to be more Sustainable and Save Money

When we hear of people who are zero waste we tend to think that it costs a fortune to live that lifestyle. But did you know there are thrifty ways to be more sustainable AND save money? Once you get past the Instagram aesthetic of it all and all the pretty zero waste items you think you need, you’ll begin to discover that cutting back waste will cut back your spending as well.

Throw in the thrifty element and you’re on your way to living a sustainable and frugal life!

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thrifty ways to be more sustainable

Here are 13 Thrifty ways to be more sustainable:

1. Buy once, use forever

Things like bottled water, Ziploc bags, and plastic wrap are all terrible for the environment. Plus they cost you so much money over time! 

A normal box of Ziploc bags has about 30 bags in it. If you use them daily for your lunches or storing food, you’re potentially buying them monthly. Sure, it’s only a few dollars but over a year, and over a lifetime, that cost really adds up.

All of these single-use items can be avoided by investing in sustainable options that if well taken care of can last a lifetime.

Instead of bottled water, invest in a water bottle that can be refilled hundreds of times. I love my hydro flask and I take it with me everywhere. I got the 32oz so I wouldn’t have to fill it as frequently making it great for trips and places that might not have a refill station. 

Ditch the Ziploc bags and grab some stasher bags! They’re a silicon bag designed like a Ziploc bag except they’re infinitely reusable! They’re also dishwasher and freezer safe which is always a plus. These might seem expensive but if you use them for a lifetime they’re far cheaper than purchasing Ziploc bags monthly. And they’re better for the environment too!

A great alternative for plastic wrap is beeswax wraps! These are all-natural fabric cloths that are coated in beeswax to preserve them and make them moldable. So they can form to fit anything you’re wanting to wrap! All you have to do to clean them is wipe them down and then reuse them again!

2. Meal plan and cook at home

Cooking the majority of your meals at home is a surefire way to save money and reduce waste. But the best way to reduce food waste is to meal plan before you shop.

We’ve all been in the grocery store and ended up buying things we didn’t need or buying too much and it going bad or buying something just because we were hungry at the moment.

Planning out your meals for the week, what you need and how much you need will help you reduce so much food waste and also save you money! Because food that goes bad and you can’t eat is money wasted.

3. Make your own cleaning supplies

Buying store-bought household cleaners is expensive. There’s no way around it. And purchasing them time and time again really adds up. Not to mention the plastic containers they usually come in. You can save so much money and so much plastic waste by simply making your own!

It’s not complicated, I promise. For a lot of cleaning recipes, all you need is baking soda, vinegar, and some essential oils. You can see my huge list of zero waste cleaning recipes right here!

4. Make your own rags and unpaper towels

Paper towels and napkins are another wasteful money-sucker. They’re used once and then they are useless. Save money by making your own to clean up spills and messes! 

This doesn’t even have to cost you anything! You can cut up old clothing that is damaged beyond repair or an old towel. If you don’t have anything suitable you could also thrift a towel for a few dollars to make them!

If you’re familiar with sewing you can sew a hem along the raw edges to prevent fraying. Then you can wash them over and over again!

5. Air dry your clothes

Dryers are awful for the environment, they use up so much energy and can rack up your bills. A simple way to save energy and money would be to air dry your clothes! 

If you’ve got a clothesline you can use that or you can simply hang your clothes up inside!

6. Unplug electronics

Get into the habit of plugging any electronics that are not in use. Having an appliance plugged in but not being used waste a lot of energy and therefore money.

If you’re not using your flat iron, unplug it. If you’re not charging your phone, unplug it. It can take a while to get into this habit but it’s worth it.

7. Turn off lights

Similarly, turn off any and all lights that aren’t needed. If you’re not in the room make sure the lights are off. If it’s the middle of the day or you’re not home, just flip the switch!

8. Don’t let the tap run

Preserve water and lower your water bill by making sure not to let the tap run when it’s not being used. Example: Don’t leave the faucet running while you’re brushing your teeth.

While the water is heating up, place a bucket underneath to save the water and use it for watering your plants or garden.

9. Grow your own food

Growing your own food is a luxury not everyone can afford. If you don’t have room for a garden or you live in an apartment you could always grow your own herbs and even regrow some small veggies!

This will save you so much on your grocery bill as well as allowing you to cut out any packaging and carbon emissions that would’ve been used to transport the veggies to your grocery store.

10. Carpool

Speaking of carbon emissions, carpool when you can! You’ll save money on gas and car repairs! See if you can’t find a friend to go grocery shopping with, or hitch a ride to work, church, etc.

Plus human interaction is always good for the soul.

11. Unsubscribe from junk mail

We all get those random, unwanted letters in the mail or in our inboxes. Take some time to finally sit down and unsubscribe to them all. This will prevent a lot of paper waste.

The same goes for spam or junk emails. Believe it or not but sending emails actually uses carbon emissions as well. And it’s estimated that 60% of emails never even get opened and sit in inboxes for months if not years. This also emits CO2. Approximately 10g per year.

It might not seem like much but when everyone on the planet does this and we do it every year, it adds up. Take the time to unsubscribe from that store you shopped at one time or the newsletter you don’t even remember signing up for.

12. Host a clothing swap

Instead of throwing unwanted clothing into the trash bin or donating it to a thrift store, (where it’s still more likely to end up in a landfill than be sold) consider hosting a clothing swap with a few friends!

It’s exactly as it sounds! Gather some friends, at least two in each size range, and ask them to bring some clothing they no longer wear or want. Then swap away!

13. Thrift!

You want thrifty ways to be more sustainable AND save money! Here you have the secret: Thrift! 

Buying second-hand saves you so much money and also helps combat fast fashion and climate change. Anything you want or need can be bought second hand! From furniture to electronics to clothes.

Read: The best online thrift stores

Incorporating these thrifty tips into your daily life will help you to live more sustainably and help you to save a TON of money. Like really. And it doesn’t even take that big of an effort to do these simple tips. It just takes a little conscious effort.

Thank you so much for reading thrifty ways to be more sustainable and save money! I hope it gave you a lot of helpful tips. Please don’t forget to share this post, and follow me on Instagram for daily sustainable living tips! 

thrifty ways to be more sustainable



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