Many people see living sustainably as an expensive lifestyle. Indeed, being more eco-friendly can be more expensive, but it doesn’t have to be. Going green is a lot cheaper than most people think, and it can even help you save tons of money!
People thinking that living this way is expensive are preventing themselves from taking action and making some lifestyle changes that will benefit both the environment and their wallet.
Yes, some eco-friendly habits and products are more expensive than non-sustainable options.
But generally speaking, this whole lifestyle is ideal for frugal people who don’t want to break the bank.
I’ve saved so much money since I started living more simply and sustainably!
I would be in an entirely different place if I had continued with my old wasteful habits.
I came up with 17 awesome ways (+ a bonus one) you can save money by living sustainably, in the hope to inspire and convince you that transitioning to a zero waste lifestyle is the right thing to do for your finances.
This blog post contains affiliate links which means that if you buy something through such links, I will get a small commission without any extra cost for you. Please read my Disclosure for more details.
17 awesome ways you can save money by living sustainably
1- Using reusable items instead of disposables
Reusable items are more of an upfront investment, but in the long run, they are always cheaper than buying disposable options over and over again.
Think about how much money you spend over time if you constantly purchase disposable water bottles, paper napkins, razors, Q-tips, straws, single-use cutlery, and plastic or paper bags.
Those do not cost much, but it all adds up.
2 – Buying things second-hand
There are so many used things available on the second-hand market that are still in good condition!
And you can usually get them at a fraction of the price of the new versions. That is especially true for clothes, books, appliances, furniture, and electronics.
Buying things second-hand saves resources and prevents perfectly good items from going to landfill.
Not only it saves money and the environment, but you can also find cool and unique items.
3 – Avoiding overconsumption and impulse buying
When you start living more sustainably, you generally avoid excess consumption.
By not buying tons of things you don’t need, you are not creating a demand for new things to be made and not contributing to our global waste issue.
Producing things requires a lot of energy and resources to be used, so impulse buys and overconsuming are very bad for the planet.
They’re also usually a waste of money!
4 – Growing your own food
This tip can be more or less feasible depending on whether you have a garden or not.
But even if the only thing you grow is a few vegetables and herbs on your window sill or balcony, growing your own food can save you so much money!
You not only reduce the amount of money you spend on food, but you are in control of how much waste is created during the production process.
You can also choose to boycott pesticides and other chemicals, which is a lot healthier for you.
5 – Driving less
Owning a car is one of the biggest expenses a household can have.
When that is possible for you, try to leave your car at home and walk, bike or take public transit to your destination.
These options are free, or at least a lot cheaper, compared to driving a car.
You save tons of money by not having to pay as much for gas, parking, and repairs.
You are also doing your health a favor by moving your body!
6 – Repairing your things
Repairing broken things is one of the best things you can do to help the environment.
You are saving things from the landfill, and it prevents you from buying something new. It is a huge money-saver!
Every time you repair or fix worn-out clothes, broken appliances or old toys, you are saving dollars that add up to a significant amount over time.
You also learn useful skills that you will need your whole life!
7 – Saving water
This one is a pretty straightforward way to save money, but by taking action to save water every day, you are reducing your water bill.
Doing so is very easy, and there are dozens of tiny actions you can do to conserve this precious resource.
For instance, turn off the tap when brushing your teeth or shaving.
Take shorter showers.
Install faucet aerators and a low-flow showerhead.
Use your washing machine and dishwasher once they are full.
Reuse rainwater to water your plants.
8 – Being creative and reusing things
There are so many things you can avoid buying by reusing or repurposing something you already have.
The most common thing you can reuse is the glass jars your food comes in: they make good food storage containers, vases, glasses, or organizers.
You can turn worn-out jeans into shorts and reuse old shirts by cutting them into cleaning rags. Single socks are also perfect dust removers!
9 – Buying quality products
Cheaply-made products usually don’t last, and they often break fairly quickly.
What’s more frustrating than buying something you have to replace only after a few weeks?
Whether that is clothes, toys, furniture or appliances, replacing things over and over again can get expensive in the long run.
If you invest in high-quality products, you will not only save the planet, but you will also save a lot of money by keeping things for a long time.
10 – Buying local and seasonal food
Fruits and vegetables that come from the other side of the world tend to be a lot more expensive than products you can find in your local area.
Local and seasonal food is cheaper to produce and transport to grocery stores, which means that its price is lower.
That food is also generally of better quality, and it tastes a lot better.
Not to mention all the carbon emissions that are avoided since it doesn’t travel long distances!
11 – Using the things you already have
When you need something, instead of heading to the store to buy it, check if you have it at home first.
There is no need to buy new food, skincare, makeup products, clothes or other items when you already have the exact same things at home.
Use up what you already have and then purchase them again if you need to.
Doing so helps prevent waste and can save you a lot of money.
12 – Trying some DIYs
Trying to make things yourself instead of purchasing them is a huge money-saver!
From laundry detergents, clothing and decorations, to furniture, skincare and cleaning products, there are so many guides on the Internet that teach how to make them yourself!
It’s usually super fun, you get to learn new skills and spend less on buying new products.
Not to mention how proud you feel after completing a DIY project!
13 – Saving electricity
Like saving water, implementing some small habits that will help you save electricity around your home will also reduce your monthly bills.
For instance, consider installing LED lights.
Wash your clothes in cold water.
Unplug your devices and appliances when not in use.
Switch off the lights when leaving a room.
Avoid overheating in the winter and overusing the AC in the summer.
Consider insulating your home if that’s possible for you.
14 – Making your tea and coffee at home
If you’re used to ordering tea or coffee on the go, a simple habit change will make a big difference to your bank account in the long term: start making it yourself at home and bring it with you in a reusable to-go cup.
You will save waste by avoiding those disposable cups they give at cafés, and it also costs a lot less.
To be even more frugal and eco-friendly, get yourself a tea strainer and some loose-leaf tea: it is so much cheaper than disposable tea bags.
15 – Renting or borrowing
When you need something, ask around if someone you know has that given item.
Ask your friends, family members, coworkers or neighbors.
If you’re an avid book reader, borrowing books from the library will save you tons of money!
You can also rent items you know you rarely use.
For instance, if you rarely use your car, consider selling it (if that’s possible for you) and renting one for the few occasions you do need it.
16 – Trying to avoid food waste
Every few days, get into the habit of checking what’s in your fridge and pantry.
Make sure nothing is getting bad or expired. If so, try to incorporate it into your next meal so that it doesn’t end up in the trash.
Food waste has a significant impact on the environment (and your wallet), yet it happens to everybody from time to time.
But if you are careful with your food, you can prevent food and money waste at the same time.
17 – Air-drying clothes
This one is very specific, but it’s one of my favorite tips to live more sustainably and save money at the same time.
Consider air drying your clothes, either on a clothesline outside or on a drying rack inside.
Dryers are very energy-intensive and can damage or shrink your clothes.
By air drying them, you save electricity and make your clothes last a lot longer.
That way, you don’t have to replace them as regularly and you can keep your money in your wallet!
Bonus tip: selling your unused stuff
Selling your unused things can help you save money since you get to learn which items you don’t need and like.
You are then less likely to make purchasing mistakes in the future.
Even better, doing so can make you money and help prevent waste and save resources.
Since I started living more sustainably and minimally, I’ve made hundreds of dollars selling my unused crap that was taking up precious space and collecting dust!
I hope these 17 ways you can save money by living more sustainably inspired you to make a few greener choices and more eco-friendly lifestyle changes.
Even though this lifestyle can sometimes be more expensive, sustainability is usually a very frugal and simple way of living.
Just as minimalism can help you save tons of money, living sustainably makes you limit your consumption of things and resources, and helps prevent waste.
This all results in less money wasted and more dollars in your bank account.
What are some ways living sustainably helps you save money? Let’s inspire each other in the comments below!