There are very few people who have the luxury of spending without regard. In fact, most of the people that I know and interact with have some sort of debt that they want to erase; it could be student loans, a mortgage, a car loan, credit card debt, or a combination of all of those things. Not only that, but more and more people (okay, millennials) are looking to spend their money on experiences instead of things. So this week I am giving you 10 practical tips to live green & frugal.
Okay, this is probably the first on everyone’s list of living frugally. And as much as it pains me to say this, because I love my morning coffee, it’s true. Driving (especially) out of your way to grab a cup of coffee in the morning, usually in a throw-away cup, is not the best definition of living green or frugally. Making your own coffee at home, or in the office, and using a travel mug is the cheapest and greenest way of doing it. However, if you really need that Starbucks or Dunkin in the morning, try to remember your travel mug. Some places will give you a discount for bringing your own cup or thermos. Also, many coffee shops now utilize points programs that will save you money over time. Make sure you are taking advantage of these!
Bundle online purchases
It’s best to shop at brick & mortar stores and carry your reusable tote bags with you. But, if you don’t have time or find a better deal online, try your best to bundle your packages. Many times you will save money on shipping costs this way, there will be less packing materials used, and less times the delivery truck has to drive out to your home.
Here is another oldie but goodie. Set up a clothesline to dry your clothes, instead of using the dryer, which over time, can damage your clothes. Over drying can cause clothes to warp and shrink. Not using the dryer (as much) will save on your energy bills and save your clothes, so you won’t need to replace them as frequently.
While we are on the subject of clothing, let’s talk capsule wardrobes. A capsule wardrobe is a small collection of basic, essential, and fashionable clothing items that don’t go out of style (i.e., your LBD). These items should be able to be paired together and be interchangeable throughout the seasons. Not only do capsule wardrobes allow you to simplify your routine, but you aren’t going to be running out to the mall, and spending your money, to try to stay on trend. You can also visit the idea of renting clothing and accessories for periods of time. This will give you a fresh, new look, without permanently adding to the clutter of your closet. Websites like rentherunway.com offer programs like this.
Another tip that is often overlooked is buying needed items second-hand, especially on things that aren’t used frequently, like tools. By doing this, you are often getting a discount, and keeping items out of a landfill while removing clutter from someone else’s life. Poshmark and Freecycle are get resources for second-hand items. These are also great resources to use yourself when getting rid of your own clutter!
This one is simple and pretty self-explanatory. Take turns driving and you’ll save money on gas and save the environment.
Nix the bottled water
Here is another simple one. You can find a re-usable water bottle in pretty much every store. I prefer a stainless steel, dishwasher-safe, durable one myself, but there are many different varieties available. Carry it with you everywhere, and you won’t ever have to worry about buying a bottle of water wherever you go.
Cook at home
Has anyone else gone to the grocery store, bought bags of yummy and healthy food, then get home and lose all motivation for cooking? Guilty. Now you’re spending more money on food and potentially wasting food you just bought (if it goes bad before you have a chance to eat it).
Little Free Library
If you have never seen one of these or heard of it, it’s a nonprofit organization that works to build community and inspire reading. It is a small wooden box and a 24/7 free alternative to book sharing. The idea is that you drop off a book that you have read and take a new one. This is a really cool option, especially if you don’t have access to a public library. We have 3 on our 84 Lumber Team Headquarters campus that are free and open to the public. Check out where you can find one here: https://littlefreelibrary.org/ourmap/
DIY Cleaning Solutions
Type the above into Google or Pinterest and you may be overwhelmed with the responses that you get. There are a ton of cheap and green ways to get clean. Just type it in and see what you get, I dare you.
Another benefit to some of these tips? Less hassle. Less money spent. Less time spent driving and waiting in line. All of this adds up to more time and money to spend on things that truly matter to you. Comment below with your best tips for green & frugal living!