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16 Eco Tips to Save Money & the Planet

1. Skip the Paper Towels

I know what you’re thinking. I can’t do it. I’m here to tell you that you can. Set a few washable rags by your sink in the kitchen, and next time you have a small spill, grab one of those instead. If it makes you very nervous, keep a roll around just in case – but try to make it last as long as you can. Americans spend $5.7 billion a year on paper towels, creating 254 million tons of trash. Go on and replace the roll. 

2. Flip the Switch

Math. Blurg. I’ll do it for you. In one hour, a 40-watt lightbulb will use .04 kWh per hour. If you pay .10 cents per kWh and turn that bulb off, you’d save .4 cents per hour. If you did that for 4 bulbs, 4 hours per day, that’s $233.00 savings per year. Reducing electricity reduces the use of coal, thus reducing fossil fuel emissions. DeLIGHTful. 

3. Make Coffee at Home

Besides saving the planet from billions of cups, lids, sleeves, and stirrers/stoppers – this actually will save you a lot of banknotes. Do people still talk about the Latte Factor? David Bach coined this term, which states if you take the $5 per day you’d spend on a latte and save it with compound interest, you could buy a yacht. Jk, but seriously at $5 per day could add up to $300k in 40 years. Check out my blog post titled 13 Ideas for a More Sustainable Coffee Habit.

4. Wash Laundry with Cold Water

How do you get hot water? Electricity or natural gas. That’s how. Electricity is made from (coal) usually. Both coal and natural gas are fossil fuels, which increase greenhouse gas emissions, and we know by way of science that Mother Earth does not appreciate that. Washing your clothes on cold could save you $130 per year. Plus, cold water preserves fabrics and reduces wrinkles. 

5. Print Double-Sided

If you spend $300 per year on printer paper, printing double-sided will save you $150. This one seems too easy and too good to be true. Print double-sided next time, double-dare you. P.S. Save the trees, please. 

6. Borrow Before You Buy

I can’t tell you how often I bought a dress for a particular event and wore it only once or twice. Fast fashion is so bad for the environment. Next time, call up a friend and borrow something! It’s a fun reason to visit a friend, plus you’ll save $$$ on the item of clothing, you can return the favor someday, and we all start supporting a “borrow” culture. If you’re my friend and want to borrow something, let me know. 

7. Switch Lights to LED

According to Energy.gov, switching from LED to incandescent could save you up to $20 per month on your enegery bill. Hello, Netflix subscription. This one is pretty easy; LEDs use 90% less energy and last 25 times longer. That’s pretty lit. 

8. Try a 1-Month Spending Fast

Try spending money on ONLY what is necessary for 30 days (ex. food, housing, utilities). Benefits of a financial fast? Become more conscious of mindless spending. Pay off debt or pad your travel savings account with the money saved. Reduce consumption of plastic and other materials – then you are practicing sustainability!

9. Switch to Sustainable Period Products

The average woman spends $6,360 on single-use period products during their reproductive lifetime. Say Whaaaaa??? Not cool, bro. Today, there are many nifty alternatives (period panties, cups, and more!) Do some homework and see if something works for you. Finding a re-usable option will help our planet for obvious reasons. 

10. Drive the Speed Limit

Driving slower has 3 pros. One: driving 5-10 miles slow increases fuel economy by 15% (more miles to a gallon), two: slighty reduced gas emissions, three: it’s safer! Bonus: if you have a lot of junk in your truck, take it out – lighter loads use less fuel. 

11. Stop Throwing Away Food

The average American family spends $1,500 per year on wasted food. Food waste is bad for the environment and your pocketbook. How to fix it? Cook smaller portions to avoid leftovers you won’t eat. Repurpose food scraps (think veggie stock). Keep your fridge clutter-free, so you can see what you have. Make a smoothie with soft fruit. Buy less. 

12. Skip the Unnecessary

Here are a few unnecessary things that we consume: room spray/air freshener, bottled water, latest gadgets (an avocado slicer is called a knife, and you already have one), plastic silverware, paper plates/goods, plastic cups, Swiffers, throw pillows, and more. Practice asking, “Do I truly need this?” before tossing it into your cart (same goes for online shopping carts).  

13. Get Outside

You can save money by going on a walk or enjoying the outdoors because you will reduce using electronics and electricity. It’s a win-win. You get fresh air and exercise, and you use less energy by turning off electricity while you’re not at home. 

14. Clean Your Lint Trap After EVERY Wash

Hear me out. A blocked filter, blocks airflow, making the dryer work harder and longer to dry your clothes, increasing energy use. Leaving the lint trap full puts additional strain on the motor and is a fire hazard. It may seem insignificant, but it’s impactful. Especially if we all do it. 

15. Send an E-Card

Save money on stamps, save the trees, and saves on gas emissions for delivery. I mean it probably even saves the bees. I like PunchBowl.com. 

16. Try DIY Beauty & Cleaning Products

Here are some of my favs: face scrub {coconut oil + sugar}, drain cleaner {baking soda, vinegar, hot water}, stainless steel cleaner {1 part water + 1 part vinegar}, and room spray/deodorizer {1/2 white vinegar + 1 1/2 cup water + 10 drops essential oil}. There are a gazillion recipes out there for DIY products; they’re natural, you reduce single-use plastic, it’s fun, and it saves cash. 

When curating this list, I tried to pick the easiest changes you could make. I hope you enjoyed these money saving eco-friendly tips. 

Keep UnMaking Your Mark!

Xoxo,

Jen

4 thoughts on “16 Eco Tips to Save Money & the Planet”

  1. I love your blog post & Instagram! Yes, I’m working every single day on ‘unmaking my mark.’ To me is not only our social responsibility as humans to do such – but it also is a privilege to line up one’s values – (ie. protect the earth/creatures) and live by those – in every single action, we take. Yes, it takes some thinking, and planning – but w/ this blog you are doing a lot of the thinking for us.

    Thank you for all that you do to put the word out about ways we can live not only a more sustainable life on this earth – but a one where we can ultimately thrive.
    Just dumped the paper towels for a reusable option (Swedish dish clothes) which are reuseable & biodegradable.

    Keep on Keeping on Jenny!!!!

    1. Amazing job on switching to reusable paper-towels!! Do you even miss the other paper towels??? So funny right how you get use to new things. Thank you for the kind words and the support!

  2. Love these!
    #6 brings me back to the good ole days when we’d have 1/3 of each other’s clothes 🙂

    Getting real here… there are 3 girls in our house and to not even realize how much money we are spending on pads etc. is insane. We will be planning a switcharoo here soon! Let me know if you’ve given the products you mentioned a try!

    1. I am loving the period panties, not the best for the heaviest day – but perfect for all other days!! This is such a great idea for your family 🙂
      I do love when we shared clothes! Miss you – thank you for taking a peak at my blog!

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