I must admit that I wasn’t always the green shopper I am today. Like many of us, I used to think that the best way to save money was to buy the cheapest thing possible. After some life experience, I soon realized that being a cheapskate wasn’t the answer; instead, I began shopping with a sustainable mindset and the savings started rolling in.
Read below for five easy ways to change your shopping habits that will keep more green in your pockets and in your parks.
1. Bring Your Own Bag
Keep reusable tote bags in your car or by your front door to ensure you use them any time you shop. If you live in an area that charges for plastic bags, like DC, or that has banned them entirely, like California & Hawaii, having a reusable tote can save you a few bucks and decrease waste. The EPA found that only 9 percent of total plastic waste generated was recovered for recycling — so don’t contribute to this statistic!
2. Buy Local or Natural Products
If you buy online or at a brick-and-mortar store, make sure to keep it local! Find out where the items you buy are being made. Buying an item that is shipping from overseas creates a lot more pollution because it uses several modes of transportation. Just imagine, the peas on your dinner plate may have been shipped from as far away as Kenya! Be a green shopper and use the USDA website to find grocery stores that sell local foods. These local stores tend to run specials on food products to keep them moving off the shelves since it is so fresh!
3. Use Energy-Efficient Products
I live by mom’s mantra of “turn off those lights!” Using a lot of energy can really make for an expensive electric bill. Thankfully, a lot of products today are made specifically to save energy. I recommend doing a little research to find energy efficient items like lights, tools, toys and electronics to help save money on electricity. Although you may pay a little extra for an energy efficient item up front, your energy use will decrease substantially — helping you save in the long-run. Plus, I love that these items tend to last longer and need to be replaced less frequently.
4. Buy What You Need
A great deal is hard to pass up, but all too often impulse purchases end up collecting dust in our closets. These items lead to clutter and waste, and eventually end up in landfills that harm our environment. Next time you’re on the fence about a purchase, wait 24 hours and deliberate it. I have found that doing this keeps me from buying unnecessary cheap items and allows me to spend more on quality ones.
5. Shop at Companies With Sustainable Values
My guilty pleasure is online shopping. I can buy so much without having to leave my couch! You can find great deals online especially if the company sells open box, refurbished, or gently used items. Not only are you saving money, but you’re keeping these items from being trashed, forgotten and wasted. Shopping at sites like BLINQ, that offer deep discounts on new and like-new goods, keep you shopping green while shopping smart. That sounds like a pretty good thing for the earth and for your wallet — a definite win-win!
We’d love to hear what tricks you use to save money and positively impact the environment. Leave your thoughts in the comments section below!