Being zero waste and living on a budget, thankfully, go hand-in-hand. Buying in bulk, traveling with your own container, cooking at home instead of eating out, reusing, repairing, and buying used all have the added benefit of saving money! Here are some tips to help you keep saving:
- Sell your stuff – Selling things you’re not currently using can be a great source of income and a good way to support the secondhand market. Make it a habit to regularly post books, clothes, and household items on sites like Craigslist, Ebay, Facebook marketplace, etc. You can even offer to sell things for your friends and family and give them a commission. Everyone has stuff they don’t need, but most people don’t have time to sell it.
- Repair – Instead of buying new stuff, make an effort to repair broken items to extend their lifetime. Don’t know how to repair things? Maker Works has free Fix It clinics on Fridays to help you out.
- Borrow – For items you only need for a short period of time, reach out on your local Buy Nothing Group to see if someone in your area would be willing to lend it to you. Less cost and less clutter in your home!
- Always bring a container – One of the easiest ways to save money while going zero waste is to always have an empty food container with you. You’d be surprised how often there’s leftover food at events that you can take home and turn into a free meal.
- Shop secondhand – Shopping at thrift stores or secondhand shops is a great way to save money while avoiding all the emissions that go into creating new items, and used options cost a fraction of the cost of buying new. Thrift stores often have way more inventory than they can sell, so you’re also saving things from the landfill when you shop used.
- Buy in bulk – Buying in bulk is a great way to save money on your grocery bills and is one of the best ways to reduce packaging in your home. You can find bulk stores in your area on Litterless or Let’s Go Zero Waste.
- Make your own products – Making your own products is a great way to save money while reducing your waste. You can make anything from cleaning supplies to beauty products with simple ingredients like vinegar, baking soda, and essential oils.
- Cook more – Cooking simple meals at home is way cheaper than getting takeout or delivery and will also save you tons of trash. Try out some of these recipes to get started.
- Reuse and repurpose – Instead of buying something new, try finding ways to reuse things you already have (or that someone you know already has). It can be fun to find new purposes for your existing belongings, like turning glass jars into planters or old t-shirts into shopping bags.
- Pause – You can save a lot of money by just asking yourself the question “Do I really need this?” Avoid impulse purchases by waiting at least 24 hours to buy something so you can consider whether it’s something you really need. The planet and your wallet will thank you!
In general, the best way to save money is to avoid buying new items which support the extraction economy. When you reuse and repurpose items that already exist in your home or community, you contribute to the circular economy, so you can feel good about your environmental impact while you save money. Win-win!