20 Frugal Living Tips for Lowering Your Environmental Impact
Are you looking to get financially fit? There are many ways to do that, but some methods of spending less and saving more are easier to accomplish than others. Below you will find a list of frugal living tips that not only will help you save money, but also lower your environmental impact.
Getting Mentally Ready
From the start, you need to realize that sacrificing your little luxuries will be a bit difficult at first. You may dislike the changes or not want to go through with them. It’s helpful to change your attitude first from “I deserve these things because I worked hard for them” to “I might want to skip these because I don’t want to be broke forever.”
Get rid of the habit of rationalizing poor spending habits. Don’t get us wrong – frugal living does not mean you have to be miserably unhappy, bereft of all your pleasures. You just have to change your perspective in order to become a more productive person with a smaller carbon footprint.
So, take a look over these small savings and see which of these frugal living tips you can work into your own lifestyle.
1. Drink water. Not only is it good for your health, but also for your pocket. The best deal might be to purchase it in $5 gallon jugs with a hot/cold dispenser. Avoid buying individual bottles of water by investing in a reusable water bottle. Skip the soda pop, juices and sports drinks – they’re pricy AND full of sugar.
2. Stop buying coffee. Skipping the daily trip to the drive-thru coffee shop might can save anywhere from $300-1300, depending on your choice of coffee. If you can’t live without it, invest in an espresso machine and put it in a cozy to-go mug for your commute.
3. Brown bag it. Instead of paying for lunch at work, bring your food from home. This way, you save more than $5 daily. Stand firm against the peer pressure to go out with your office friends for lunch. Let’s do the math: for 260 workdays in a year and close to $10 spent on lunch on each one of those, you tally up to $2600 at the end of the year.
4. Skip the meat. Even if you are a dedicated meat person, consider two meatless meals per week. If that sounds impossible, the very least you can do is turn meat into a condiment instead eating it as a main dish.
5. Cut the cable. Yet, you might not like it at first, but imagine the money you’re saving. Instead, you can learn to do other things that don’t require money. However, if you still want to keep watching your TV series, there are always cheaper options, such as Amazon Prime or Netflix (you pay less than $10 per month).
6. Lower your thermostat. For every degree you lower your heat under 70 degrees F, up to 5 percent gets cut from your heating bill. Check out the Consumer Energy Center website to see other ways you can keep warm.
7. Use cash, not credit cards. The act of actually pulling out bills out of a wallet will make you more aware of your spending. If you must use credit cards, make sure you always pay it off in full before the interest kicks in.
8. Learn to grow your own food. Don’t worry – we’re not suggesting you move on a farm to grow all your herbs and vegetables. Instead, consider buying sprouting kits for fresh off-season greens at a fraction of the price you might get in a grocery store.
9. Avoid taking long showers. Depending on your cost to heat the water and your water rates, you might be able to save up to $100 per year. At the same time, you become a more responsible and eco-friendly citizen.
10. Make food instead of ordering take out. Take the advantages of homemade pizza, for example. Not only does it save you delivery charges and tip, but you are in control of what goes into the dish. Besides, you avoid producing more carton waste.
11. Repair instead of replace. Repairing items is not just money-saving, but it also reduces the trash you produce.
12. Turn leftovers into meals. Instead of throwing them away, make a habit of collecting leftovers to combine them into a new dish. Veggie soups, pot pies, and enchiladas are just a few ideas for leftover-based meals. You can also try “leftover buffet,” where you heat the remaining servings for a TV dinner.
13. Eat at home. One of the most satisfying frugal living tips is to cut meals out to one or two a month. Not only do you save up to $3000 per year (estimation for a family of four), you will also enjoy them more when they are a rare occurrence.
14. Secondhand is better. Shopping from thrift stores, Craigslist or yard sales can often be more rewarding. Even though sometimes it feels like looking for the needle in the haystack, you can find what you need for a fraction of the price.
15. Coupons, coupons, coupons. When done right, coupon clipping can bring you big savings. However, don’t be tempted by good deals on items you wouldn’t normally purchase.
16. Stay healthy and boost your immune system. It goes without saying that we wouldn’t get sick on purpose. However, be mindful of precautions like avoiding sick people and washing your hands. Being sick means lost wages, expensive medications, and money spent on trips to the doctor’s office.
17. Set up a clothesline. You can save more than $300 per year if you air dry your clothes instead of using an electric dryer. If you can’t set up a clothesline outside, invest in a foldable drying rack to set up in your laundry room.
18. Prep your food before you get hungry. Nothing drives you faster to a restaurant than a gnawing hunger pain in your stomach. Prepping your homemade food on the weekend will help you put food on your dinner table in less time than it takes to rush to a fast food drive-thru.
19. Skip the gym membership. Instead, take in the outdoors by walking, running, biking, or hiking.
20. Stay home. Learn new skills and find new hobbies that don’t require you to spend money on gas, drinks, food or shopping. Need more social interactions? Invite people over. Better yet, focus on free activities like going to the museum on free-admission days or to the park.
So, what are you waiting for? Take any number of these frugal living tips and make them your own. Adapt them to your own lifestyle and you will lower your environmental footprint in no time.