If you’re on a budget or a student, that doesn’t mean you can’t be sustainable or eco friendly. Making any kind of eco conscious decision is a huge step, and some actually cost a lot less than you’d think overall.
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The cost of eco friendly products shouldn’t put you off from buying them, especially if you think about how much money you would save over the course of months or years instead of buying single use items. Many products are designed to last you either a couple of years or a lifetime, so over time you’d be spending a lot less, or even nothing at all!
Easy eco friendly ways to save money
Buying sustainable products isn’t the only way to save money while being sustainable either. There are loads of different small ways which you can do to save money without costing the earth, which means that even the smallest changes in your lifestyle can still help.
Below I’ve added a handful of different ways to save your pennies, but don’t feel bad or be discouraged if you can’t do them all or they don’t work for you – just being able to do one or two things is a great start either way.
Cut your dish washer tablets in half
If you have a dishwasher at home, one way you could save a bit of money if by cutting your tablets in half (although this won’t work if you use any liquid tablets). This could be a good idea if there’s only two or three people in your house so you don’t make as many dishes, and could save you a little bit of money since you wouldn’t have to buy tablets as frequently.
You could also sign up for a postal subscription service, which can lower the price compared to buying individual boxes. I use Smol which washes my dishes pretty well, but there are a few other eco brands too.
Use laundry detergent powder
When doing your laundry, it’s actually more cost efficient to buy your detergent as a powder form than as a liquid. You can control the dosage of your detergent a lot easier, and you’re also not paying for the water or plastic box/bottle that it comes in – which is actually a lot better for the environment as it’s often easier to transport boxes rather than bottles as they can be packed more compactly.
You often also get more product in powder form than as a liquid – one box of laundry detergent powder can often last a minimum of 40 washes, compared to it’s liquid counterpart which could last between 25 and 30 washes.
You could also opt for laundry detergent sheets, which also do not contain water and come in a lot smaller packets (which is also better for transporting) – I haven’t used them personally but I’d imagine you could easily tear the sheets in half to last longer.
Find out what reusables you have
You’ll be surprised by what reusables you already own, whether that be bags, food containers, or just simply old glass jars. Before you go out of your way to get yourself a new lunch box or water bottle, see if you already have something in your home that could work just as well.
You can save yourself a decent amount of money by reusing old takeout containers for your left overs or lunches, and you don’t actually need to by yourself an insulated water bottle if you have a perfectly good plastic one that you’ve been using regardless.
Sometimes it’s just a good idea to assess what you already have before you go head first into buying every sustainable swap – which could actually be a waste of money for you anyways.
Before you go and buy any reusables, make sure you check out my post on what sustainable swaps I regret buying, so you can make more conscious purchases!
Now this doesn’t just apply to leftovers, but to pretty much all kinds of food. Freezing fresh fruit and vegetables before they go past their best, preserve your herbs in oil, vegetable scraps to make stock, or excess pastry from baking. Utilising your freezer is a great way to not only save money but cut down on food waste too, as you actually throw away money when you throw away food that was forgotten about.
I’m not saying you have to freeze all your food and live out of your freezer, but simply being smart with your freezer and what’s in there is a really good idea. Just make sure you keep an eye on what’s in there and don’t leave anything in there for more than a few months – otherwise it’ll start to get freezer burn and won’t taste as good!
Make sure you also check out my post on how to reduce your food waste, it’s got a few more tips on how to get the most of your money from your food!
Batch cook and use dried ingredients
Batch cooking your meals not only saves you time in the future, but it will also cut down on your energy and/or gas bills. Since you’re cooking a meal only once that will only need reheating later, you’ll actually be using your cooker less or for shorter amounts of time since you’ve already cooked the meal.
Using dried ingredients are often cheaper too over all, although they do take a little bit longer to cook or you have to soak them prior to cooking. Buying something like a bag of dried lentils is more cost effective since they usually have enough for multiple dishes per meal, compared to tinned lentils that are usually enough for just one dish.
Using things like a slow cooker or air frier can also be cost effective too because they often use a lot less energy to cook dishes compared to an oven – slow cookers are also great for meals that take a while to cook, which is good if you’re out for long periods of time during the day.
Eat more plant based meals
You don’t necessarily need go vegan or cut out animal products from your diet completely, but eating a more plant based diet is not only better for your wallet but for the planet too. The farming industry produces 90% of greenhouse gases – mainly methane, which is also 28 times more powerful for trapping heat than CO2 is.
Although you may be put off by the prices of meat alternatives or tofu, but if you price it up compared to meat and dairy products, it’s not all that different! Eating more plant based meals is also actually better for you too, as you absorb more nutrients and vitamins from the plants (rather than any of the processed vitamins that you gain through meat and dairy).
If you’re curious on where to start when going plant based or vegan, make sure you check out my other post on my favourite vegan substitutes that I recommend!
Buy in bulk
Similar to the point on dried ingredients, buying in bulk where you can could save you a few pennies here and there. If you have any bulk or zero waste stores near to you, make sure you check them out and see what’s on offer there. If you end up buying more produce and ingredients that are package free or have less packaging then that can actually help more than you’d realise – buying larger quantities in plastic is better than buying many smaller quantities in plastic, due to using less plastic over all.
Switch to shampoo bars and safety razors
This one is actually a really simple and easy swap to do when trying to save money. Switching to solid shampoo bars or a safety razor (or both) will actually save you money in the long run – even if things like the razor can feel like a large investment, but trust me it’s worth it!
Shampoo and conditioner bars are basically just highly concentrated versions of what comes in the bottle, but without the water! They can usually last for around 3 bottles worth of shampoo, or even up to 5 bottles if it’s a conditioner bar, and most brands have them just packaged in paper rather than plastic!
With safety razors, even though they seem like a huge cost, they actually save you tonnes of money as well as helping out the environment too! Disposable razors are made of many different materials so cannot be recycled and can leach out harmful chemicals into the environment too, whereas a metal safety razor is designed to last you many years (if not a lifetime!) and the only thing you have to recycle is the blade every month or so!
If you’re interested in learning more about either of these, I have a post about how to use shampoo bars, as well as a post on why you should switch to a safety razor.
These are just a few different ways that you can save money while being sustainable. Do you have any recommendations on how to save money while being eco? Let me know!
Looking for more sustainable ideas? Check out my other posts!
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