Is living a more sustainable lifestyle possible without breaking the bank? We all have to live within our means — prioritizing our purchases and not spending resources we don’t have. That applies to our planet and its resources.
Recent research shows that while they want to be more sustainable, the average American also worries about their finances as often as six times a day1. One study of 2,000 adults found 17 percent believe it’s too expensive to be sustainable, and they think they “simply can’t afford to be a more eco-conscious shopper.”
But we think it’s time to bust the myth that sustainable living has to be expensive. We gathered some tips on how being more conscious of our spending can help fight climate change. Read on for some tactics to get started living more sustainably and saving money while you’re at it.
Sustainability Tips That Don’t Have to Break the Bank
1. Look at your belongings with new eyes
Here’s a tip that’s easy to understand, but challenging to implement: The most sustainable product is something you already have. That’s all there is to it. Avoid spending by not spending.
- That pricey cardigan made from recycled materials sitting in your online shopping cart? It’s actually better for the Earth if you wear the perfectly good one that’s collecting dust in your closet!
- You don’t need to buy stainless steel straws if you can stop using straws altogether.
- Electric vehicles are great, but that can be your next car, when the time comes. You don’t have to make the change now. In the meantime, look into how your driving patterns (i.e. idling too often) can help save fuel.
Hyperconsumption just isn’t sustainable — for your finances or our planet.
Of course we all need new things sometimes, and in that case, we fully encourage choosing more sustainable products over gas-guzzling vehicles or fast fashion2. But the very best thing you can do to fight climate change and save money is to reuse and repurpose the belongings you already own to give them a new life.
When we focus on being mindful about what we buy — purchasing things to fulfill basic needs and values, instead of filling a void3 or making a social statement, we set our future self and planet up for success.
2. Try a “no-buy” or “low-buy” year (or month…or week)
Americans weren’t always hyperconsumers. Before the 20th century4, consuming was more about the necessities of life — food, shelter, and clothing — and there wasn’t much of a motive for increased consumption. It was around the 1920s when people were encouraged to “give up thrift and husbandry, to value goods over free time.” And, thanks to a post-war world and a lot of money in advertising, it stuck.
Money spent on small purchases is still money spent, and it accumulates quickly. The average American spends more than their allocated budget5 by $7,400 a year, with the top culprit being online shopping. It’s so darn easy to hit that “Buy Now” button!
That’s why so many folks are challenging themselves to “no-buy years.” Think of a no-buy year like a consuming cleanse — dedicating 365 days to cutting out extraneous purchases, with the intention of resetting spending habits for good.
Not only is a no-buy year (or month or week) good for your budget, it’s better for our planet too because buying material goods means manufacturing…which often means plastic and packaging and the use of transportation logistics to get items to a shelf or doorstep. By reducing what we purchase, we automatically reduce our carbon footprint.
There are other great ways to “be green” and save green at the same time. Take, for example, online neighborhood groups. Many cities have “buy nothing” pages on Facebook dedicated to giving away gently used items for free. There you’ll find many posts from people who’d rather see the items they no longer need given directly to someone who needs them, thereby paying it forward to someone, too.
3. Share what you can
There’s a growing movement around collaborative consumption6 where multiple people share in the cost, maintenance, and use of certain products and services. For example, the average drill is used 12 to 13 minutes in its entire lifetime before it’s dumped into a landfill. But if every neighborhood had a shared drill, think about the extra money and product that would be saved.
Now, imagine if we developed this same mindset for things like baby clothes and toys or formal clothing that’s only worn once or twice. Sharing is caring, and there are countless ways to incorporate the “sharing economy” into your life, no matter how big or small. Here are a few examples of how it’s being done in some communities:
Neighborhood swap & sells
NextDoor, OfferUp, and neighborhood Facebook groups are great places to buy and sell gently worn items. From appliances to furniture to baby equipment, participating in these groups is an excellent way to score deals and use items that might otherwise get thrown into a landfill.
Men’s tuxedos are on to something. It’s easy to fall into a trap of thinking you need a new outfit for every wedding or formal event that pops up. But instead of buying, what if you rented? More companies are making7 high-end clothing accessible to a greater variety of people and are encouraging people to buy less often.
Cars are one of our most valuable — and also fastest depreciating — assets. As more and more people work from home, some are choosing to share cars with their partners or forgoing the need for a car altogether in favor of ride-sharing services. Depending on where you live (and how often you drive), choosing to walk/bike/hitch a ride is great for the environment and your bank account.
Do Good Chicken is an easy way to make a difference.
When you know you can do better, you can do good.
Fighting climate change doesn’t mean you have to drastically change your habits to make an impact. In addition to sharing where you can, giving the items you already own a new life, or having a low-buy year, we encourage you to examine the foods you buy at the grocery store, too.
If you’re buying premium chicken, take a peek at Do Good Chicken — good for your plate and our planet. At Do Good Chicken, our chicken feed (made from surplus groceries after community donations) diverts food from landfills where it would otherwise generate greenhouse gasses, thus helping combat climate change.
By being more efficient in the production of chicken and helping to end food waste, we make real chicken with a real impact:
- Easy accessibility. We put our chicken into the grocery stores you know, love, and shop at every day, making it easy for you to make a delicious, Earth-friendly choice for you and your family.
- Sustainable packaging. Our chicken trays are made from rPET8 (otherwise known as recycled PET containers) and can be recycled9 with most municipal recycling centers.
- A plan for expansion. These aren’t just big dreams. They’re already in action. And one day, you’ll be able to find our climate-change-fighting chicken at your favorite restaurants.
What are you waiting for? Get ready to toss some chicken in your shopping cart and bake up some buffalo chicken dip. Progress is for dinner.