Living sustainably does not have to be expensive. In fact, budget conscious consumers may actually enjoy becoming more sustainable and save money in the process. So, how does one live sustainably and stay on a budget? We’ll share 8 tips to help you do both!
Eat Less Meat and Dairy
According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, Americans ate 222.2 pounds of red meat and poultry in 2018, up from 216.9 pounds in 2017. For most families, the cost of this much meat can really add up! Try adding a Meatless Monday to your family’s weekly meal plan. You can save yourself from buying 126.6 pounds of meat over the course of a year and watch the grocery bill start to drop. (For a family of four who regularly consumes meats like chicken breasts, ground beef and pork chops the savings would be well over $400 per year.)
Ditch the disposables
Your family probably uses more disposable kitchenware than you realize. From packing lunches for school and work to using an occasional paper plate, you could be spending quite a bit of money on disposable items.
Check out some of these easy low waste kitchen swaps from our friends over at Planted In The Woods:
Cook at Home More
Let’s be honest. We all go out to eat a little more often than we’d like to admit. Eating out can be expensive, it’s typically not as healthy, and there is a lot of waste material used for takeout (plastic, styrofoam, cardboard, etc). Most people are unlikely to bring their own containers when they order takeout. So, if you’re looking to make a greener, money saving choice, skip the carryout when you can and prepare your food at home.
Plant a Garden
Gardening is both economical and sustainable! If you’ve never gardened before, think about starting small – a single plant in the windowsill, a few containers on the patio or a small raised bed in the backyard are all great ways to dip your toe in the gardening pool. More and more fresh produce is being packaged in plastic. Skip it altogether with your own fruit and vegetable plants
If you’re looking for ways to live more sustainably on a budget, then recycling is for you. It won’t cost you anything, and it only takes a minimal amount of time.
Did you know? The average person generates over 4 pounds of trash every day and about 1.5 tons of solid waste per year. – U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
For a self-check to see how you’re doing on recycling around your home, check the guide: Recycling Basics for the Home.
Rethink Your Clothing Purchases
If you’ve never thought about building a sustainable wardrobe, consider that the average American produces 82 pounds of textile waste annually!
Opt for quality over quantity and choose timeless over trendy to make good, sustainable wardrobe choices. We’ve got more great ideas in our Step-by-Step Guide to Building a Sustainable Wardrobe. Check it out here.
Air-dry Your Laundry
Take advantage of the sunlight and fresh air to line-dry your clothing and linens. According to Green America, “In many households, the dryer is the third-most energy-hungry appliance, after the refrigerator and washer. Air-drying your clothes can reduce the average household’s carbon footprint by a whopping 2,400 pounds a year.” Not only that, but cutting down on your dry time can also save an average size household up to $100 a year!
Rethink Your Energy Usage
Another way to reduce your carbon footprint is to reduce your energy usage. Here are a few easy ideas to help you get started:
➡ Unplug appliances when not in use, so they will not continue to draw energy.
➡ Eat locally grown foods. You’ll support your local economy, eat fresher and use less energy in transportation.
➡ Clean your air vents. Blocked air vents require up to 25% more energy!
➡ Wash in cold water. Your clothes will last longer, and you’ll use up to 90% less energy.
➡ Clean your fridge coils. Your refrigerator will use less energy to keep your food cold.
➡ Upgrade your thermostat to a smart thermostat. They are easy to operate and will help you cut back on energy usage by turning the temperature up or down while you’re out of the house or at night while you’re sleeping.
By making a few changes to your daily habits, you’ll find that you can easily make an impact on the environment and on your bottom line! For more ways to live a sustainable lifestyle, visit our blog or shop green at GonetoGreenMarket.com.