Hello, my dear readers! As a money-conscious individual, I am always looking for the best tips to save money. However, protecting our environment is also near and dear to my heart. Here is a list of my best money-saving actions that you can take to benefit both your wallet and the environment.
Ditch the plastic bottles
I grew up near the ocean, and I spent countless evenings strolling along the seashore watching seabirds flying into the far horizon. Therefore, when I came across videos and pictures of seabirds dying because they mistook plastic waste as food, I was heartbroken.
Ditching the plastic bottles not only protects the innocent lives of animals, but it also helps us save money. Health authorities recommend that we drink eight 8-ounce glasses of water a day. That is equivalent to 4 standard plastic bottled water. Based on the cheapest option I can find in the market, around $0.15 a bottle, we are looking at $0.60 a day, or over $200 a year! Once you look at the numbers, you won’t hesitate to pick up a reusable water bottle, like one offered by the Etching Bee. Its beautiful design and sturdy material will allow you to stay hydrated in style!
Host clothing swaps
On average, Americans throw away 81 pounds of clothing a year. What is even more unfortunate is that most of the times, the clothes being thrown away are still in good shape.
Instead of letting your clothes go directly to the landfills because you no longer like them, why not host a clothing swap with your friends? I have done it a few times with my girlfriends, and somehow we managed to turn these clothing swaps into fun social activities that included homemade finger sandwiches and bubblies and lots of laughter.
Of course, given the ongoing pandemic, make sure that you practice social distancing if you do decide to host a clothing swap. If you think it is safer to do it after the pandemic is over, you can also use the time now to tidy up your closet in preparation for the event!
Are you still getting paper bills in your mail? It is time to go paperless! Not only will you reduce the influx of mail and clean up your clutter, but you will also help protect the environment by reducing paper consumption. Even better, many companies have incentives in place to encourage customers to go paperless. I, for example, have received discounts to popular vendors like Starbucks for switching to the paperless option.
Cook with residual heat
This one may be an overlooked kitchen trick that can help you save on electricity. When you turn the oven off, the temperature can remain high for quite some time before it drops down to room temperature. Next time, when you roast vegetables or bake any pastries, try turning the oven off a few minutes before the recipe tells you to. The residual heat in the oven will be enough to cook the ingredients all the way through.
Get a library card
I love books, and I especially cherish those lazy Sunday afternoons during which I sit in my bed with a book on hand and a mug of hot chocolate on my bedside table. Unfortunately, paper books are not exactly the most environmentally friendly. You can go all electronic and get an e-reader, but if you are like me who loves flipping through pages of a physical book, then getting yourself a library card should be a no-brainer. Not only will you be able to save money because you no longer have to buy all the books you want to read, but you will also be able to cut down paper consumption.
Of course, I still love buying books, but with the library card, I now only buy books that I absolutely love and want to keep.
Negotiate with your manager to work from home
For those of us who are fortunate enough to be able to keep our job and work from home during the pandemic, we have probably noticed a significant reduction in our transportation cost and commute time. The earth also benefits from the work-from-home arrangement due to reduced air pollution.
Even after the pandemic is over and everything is back to normal, I still recommend that you consider negotiating with your manager to work from home once or twice a week. Many companies, including mine, are actually thinking about implementing a work-from-home policy because it saves the company office rental cost as well. As long as you demonstrate that you can be just as productive, your manager may be willing to let you work from home at least a few times a week.
Being eco-friendly doesn't have to be expensive. As a matter of fact, as demonstrated above, it can actually save you money. Your wallet and the environment will both thank you for tweaking your daily habits to be more eco-friendly.