50 Frugal Green Habits To Support Sustainable Living

Being environmentally friendly is very much more in favor these days. Yet if you are on a strict budget can you afford to be a frugal green, interesting in sustainable living too?

We are all more aware of the damage done by plastic not being biodegradable.

I think most of us must have seen the pictures from the Blue Planet series with Sir David Attenborough and the albatross parents feeding their chicks plastic.

It was difficult to watch and not be moved by it.

This has really brought home to many of us the need to do something more than what we are currently doing to reduce our use of plastic.

Recent newsworthy items include:

Lets hope other grocery stores follow suit and don’t wait the full 25 years of the governments plan.

As a result of the increased awareness of plastic floating around our oceans there was much noise on social media and in the press about buying more sustainable products that don’t use plastic.

small wooden hearts next to small shells on sand to depict a seashore scene

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Being a frugal green is Reducing your chronic plastic use

I applaud many of these ideas but their cost in comparison to their plastic equivalents can be off putting.

Especially if you are in debt and have a budget to stick to. Items such as:

  • bamboo toothbrushes
  • soap bars
  • bamboo drinking straws
  • shampoo bars

But what if you are focused on living on a budget and can’t afford to buy the more sustainable product?

What if there isn’t a choice between plastic and non-plastic in your local area?

Fear not, you may well be a frugal green already. Having a frugal mind entwines itself very nicely into the eco friendly scene.

Many of the aims of frugal families directly link to that of eco-friendly living. Aims such as:

These are frugal living tips for people to save more money, make their money go further.

When you are concerned about the environment and want to do your bit, these eco friendly living tips are exactly the same tips you could chose to fulfill that aim.

I want to reassure you that being extremely frugal doesn’t mean you can’t be eco friendly too. Extreme frugal living tips are often exactly what an environmentalist would encourage you to do.

Indeed if you look through the list below you will probably recognize many things you do naturally as a frugal homemaker.

There are many benefits of frugal living and the big one is that you are doing your bit for the environment by living thrifty. Its a win win situation.

Lets look at this list and give yourself a green star for each of the following things you buy or do.

Come and follow me on Pinterest for more money saving hints and frugal tips!

pinterest image to show how to be a frugal green

50 Frugal green Habits

Make car and travel more eco friendly

  1. If its 30 mins or less, walk don’t drive – you will also gain the health benefits of free exercise and fresh air – a triple win
  2. Don’t leave your engine running when stationery – it’s nice to keep the heat or air conditioning running whilst you are stationery but it’s not necessary. 5 minutes without the heat/air con won’t hurt you, but it reduces carbon emissions and saves you petrol/diesel
  3. Drive more slowly and more efficiently (I do this all the time, it’s one of my favorite frugal hacks)
  4. Don’t leave the house without your (full) reusable water bottle – keep yourself hydrated and away from pricey bottled water
  5. Pack your lunch every day and keep it cool in an insulated lunch bag

If you want more interesting ways to save money then check out my post on the best creative ways to save money.

Recycle = frugal eco living

  1. Recycle everything you can – keep your bins near the back door so your family do use. I resorted to going through DD2s bin as she was NOT good at recycling. Yes, she should do it but if she didn’t I wasn’t prepared to allow recyclables in the rubbish bin.
  2. Donate to charity – if you are having a clear out, don’t bin your stuff. If it’s in good condition donate to charity where another thrifty living fan can make good use of it
  3. Create a compost pile for veg peelings
  4. Recycle paper scraps and envelopes into your to-do and shopping lists

Related post: How To Go Green When You Live A Thrifty Lifestyle

shopping receipt with backdrop of food

frugal green Shopping

  1. Reuse your own grocery bags – give yourself an extra green star if you use cloth bags like these
  2. Don’t buy new frugal living books – use the library or buy used via charity/thrift shops
  3. Daily newspapers – no need to buy the paper version you can usually read them online for free these days
  4. Cut down on buying new clothes – create your own work uniform, wear what you have or buy from charity/thrift shops
  5. Buy fruit & veg at your local market – if time allows, cheaper than the grocery store and usually not wrapped in plastic
  6. Focus your grocery spending on cheap food like seasonal, local products
  7. Don’t buy and pay for air fresheners – fresh air is free to use by opening a window
  8. Paper towels – don’t buy or use these, you can use up-cycled rags or opt for these brightly colored microfiber cloths
  9. (Extreme) Do the same but for toilet paper – if you use rags in place of toilet paper award yourself 100 green stars!
  10. Alternatively you could opt for plastic free toilet paper but it does cost more
  11. Buy cat/dog wet food in tins not sachets – half the price per kg and recyclable
  12. Don’t use or buy plastic straws – for an extra green star ask for no straw if buying a drink in a bar/restaurant

Focusing on environmental living while having to be frugal can be hard to maintain long term (but definitely doable). Sometimes frugal fatigue can creep up on you unawares so be vigilant for the signs and learn how to stay frugal for as long as you want.

Best books to help you live frugally and save money

These books will help you learn more about frugal living and saving money. Packed with actionable advice and creative ways to save money.

green piggy bank among grass and coins

Reuse = frugal sustainable living

  1. Fix things that get broken rather than buying new – you can use Youtube, Google and Pinterest to find tutorials for almost anything these days
  2. Borrow specialist items from friends and neighbors – return the favor with your equipment
  3. Repair and re-heel your shoes – Use a local shoe repairer to extend the life of your shoes, keep them out of landfill and keep money in your pocket
  4. Repair your clothes, don’t replace them – sew on that missing button, learn how to replace a zip using Youtube tutorials
  5. Re-purpose old sheets & towels – turn them into rags, napkins and handkerchiefs to keep them out of landfill
  6. Use cloth napkins not paper ones – wash and reuse
  7. Reuse plastic food bags & ties – don’t bin existing bags, make them last and reuse them

Many of these tips to reuse instead of buying new have been around for many years. There are many frugal living tips from the great depression that I still use today. Because they save me money!

Old fashioned living will help you save money today and next week. Your thrifty grandparents know what they are talking about when they say they were more thrifty than folk today.

If your years are slowly catching up with you (like mine are!) then check out my post on frugal living tips for seniors for some age specific tips that are good to know.

 Frugally sustainable food tips – cooking at home

  1. Meal plan before you shop – you only buy what you need and you avoid food waste
  2. Cook the right portion amount with no leftovers
  3. Cook from scratch because it costs much less than using boxed and packet meals
  4. Don’t waste food, use your leftovers to make another frugal food meal
  5. Use a microwave or pressure cooker instead of your conventional oven – both use less energy
  6. Eat more cheap vegetarian meals as meatless recipes are often the cheapest frugal meals

For more frugal recipes and budget meals check out these helpful posts:

80+ Frugal Meals For When You Feel So Broke

20 Easy Cheap Vegan Recipes Everyone Will Devour

15 Cheap And Comforting Chicken Dinners On a Budget

20 Best Slow Cooker Dessert Recipes

green & frugal eco-friendly Living tips for Heating And Cooling your home

  1. Keep your room thermostat higher in summer and lower in winter – in the UK it’s rare to have air conditioning installed but we definitely make good use of our central heating. Dialling back on your thermostat can really reduce the energy you use as well as your bill
  2. Make use of curtains to keep your house cool in summer – a tip from Mediterranean countries, stop the sun from heating up your house by blocking it out on sunny days.
  3. Open windows to cool your house, don’t crank up the air conditioning
  4. Wear a sweater and/or use a blanket before putting the heating on – I love getting cosy with my blanket!

You may also like: How To Keep Your House Warm and Your Energy Bills Low This Winter

baby in a blue plastic tub of water using a metal cup to throw water around

Frugal Green Washing & Cleaning

  1. Turn the tap off whilst brushing your teeth
  2. If it’s yellow, let it mellow! – Don’t flush your toilet unless you really ‘need’ to see here for more water saving ideas
  3. Always run a full dishwasher and washing machine
  4. Use natural cleansers like vinegar and baking soda – for all your cleaning needs
  5. Alternatively use a concentrated cleaner for all your cleaning if you don’t want to do the above, decant and dilute into a spray bottle
  6. Use large bottle of bath bubbles to refill kitchen hand soap
  7. Using bar soap in the shower and bathroom – supermarket bars have 1 wrapper for 4 bars and are much cheaper than shower gel in plastic bottles
  8. Use big box washing powder instead of liquid tabs or liquid – both have much more plastic packaging
  9. Implement the sniff test and wash clothes only when they fail the test! Clothes don’t automatically need washing after just one wear
  10. Line dry clothes your clothes (inside & out) throughout year – I have been known to hang washing out when there is a frost (your washing can still get 80% dry on a winters day)
lightbulb with green grass and dollar sign inside

Miscellaneous Frugal Ecofriendly Living tips

  1. Online billing for your utility bills and bank accounts
  2. Use a handkerchief – negates the need to buy paper tissues
  3. Plant a garden and grow your own – even if it is just herbs on windowsill
  4. Use eco friendly LED lightbulbs – replace as and when old lightbulbs die
  5. Unplug & turn off electrical appliances when not in use – the standby button still uses energy, make sure you turn your computer off as well!

Frugally Sustainable & Living Green Questions

How do you live green on a budget?

I live green on a budget by finding ways to stop wasting resources and keeping my carbon footprint small. I recycle, use cloth napkins instead of paper, and buy local produce as much as possible.

I try to follow as many of these frugal green habits as possible. Every time I do so I know I am living green and frugally while saving money.

What is meant by living green?

Living green is a term that is used to describe the idea of living as close to nature as possible. This includes using more frugally sustainable methods for energy, water, and waste management. It also includes the idea of living with a smaller ecological footprint.

What are the benefits of eco living?

Eco living can be beneficial for frugal people who are environmentally conscious, or those who want to reduce their carbon footprint. Eco living is a step towards reducing your impact on the environment.

How do you completely live green?

You live green by using the minimal amount of resources you need to survive. You use things like solar panels, wind turbines, and geothermal energy to generate power for your home or business without using fossil fuels.

You support green businesses and buy products from them, such as organic food and renewable energy services. You live green by using the minimal amount of resources you need to survive.

This is a tall order when you are on a budget. Do what you can, get green & frugal as much as your budget allows. Don’t sweat it when you can’t. You’re doing your best!

living green and frugally

As you can see, to go frugal and be careful with your money has the added benefit of being environmentally friendly as well.

Next time someone asks you why you are careful with your money you can tell them truthfully you are all about frugal eco-friendly living. You can be fabulous & frugal!

So how many stars did you award yourself? Do you have a tip that can be added to the list above?

Come and follow me on Pinterest for more money saving hints and frugal tips!

pinterest image to show how to be a frugal green
pinterest image to show how to be a frugal green
pinterest image to show how to be a frugal green

Last Updated on 4th March 2022 by Emma

About Emma

I'm here to help you become confident in making the best money decisions for you and your family. Frugal living has changed my life, let me help you change yours.

32 thoughts on “50 Frugal Green Habits To Support Sustainable Living”

  1. This is am awesome list! I earned 38 stars… So I’m obviously not using cloth toilet paper… yet ?
    Thanks for writing this all our and including a link to mine!

    • I’m afraid I didn’t get the coveted 100 stars either. Although it did instigate a conversation with Mr2p about the prospect of using cloths in the future! I do like the idea, not sure about living with the practicalities.

  2. 30 points, which I don’t think is too bad. Some of the options I couldn’t get stars for eg, I don’t have pets, I don’t do the curtain thing as the house is always cool (even in rare heatwaves), I’ve never needed to borrow items from friends/neighbours.

    But I’m doing and it doesn’t feel like any effort so I guess it’s all just part of ‘routine’ which makes it easier to maintain.

    • 30 points is great! Doing things as part of your routine makes life simpler and frees up brain space to think about other things, eco friendly, frugal or not. Our house is south facing hence the curtain routine, I don’t like to complain about having to close our curtains as in the autumn and winter we get free central heating on sunny days. Nice to have a cool house when we have a mini heatwave though.

  3. These are great ideas! We do tend to think that it’s more expensive but you’ve shown it doesn’t have to be. We’ve moved away from paper towels and request no straws as well. I’m not at the giving up toilet paper yet, though!

    • Yes, me and you both – I’m still waiting for someone to tell me they claim the 100 green stars for using cloths in the bathroom! I hadn’t really put two and two together regarding frugal and eco friendliness until we had a sudden surge on banning plastic in the UK media. Having given thought to wanting to give up some plastics I was pleasantly surprised I already had 🙂

    • Indeed we can Kim. It’s great to see companies and people sitting up and taking notice and trying to be more proactive about looking after our planet.

    • Absolutely! Not buying ‘stuff’ helps on so many fronts, frugalness, eco friendly and living simply to name but a few. It also frees up what I call your brain space which can help with emotional wellness.

  4. So many great tips! I totted up 36 green stars so still loads I can do. For me, reckon it all starts with buying less, and therefore consuming fewer resources in the first place. Thanks so much for joining #MondayMoney!

    • 36 is a great start, especially when you know there is more you can do. Buying less really is key isn’t it? If you don’t buy it, you don’t need to re-use, or recycle it.

  5. Yes! Love this list. Just goes to show you that you can save money and save the planet. As a sustainability and personal finance enthusiast, love that going green can mean more green for the pocket. We don’t realize it but it’s our constant consumption that is draining our time/money and the Earth’s resources.

    One thing I would add to when you start moving towards natural remedies (like fresh air, ACV for cleaning, walking exercise, etc.) is that you take on a more healthier lifestyle which means less money (hopefully) for health care, which where I am in the US is rising each minute.

    • You’re right, the healthier lifestyle results in less everything really. Less consumption, less money and less impact on your health. I am very grateful we do not need to factor healthcare (monetary) costs into our retirement plans. We would be working until 67 if we were in the US me thinks. Thanks for stopping by!

  6. I think the financial freedom / financial independence movement and environmental responsibility have a lot in common. Forethought, conscientiousness, resourcefulness, frugality, mindfulness, the list of similarities goes on. The intersection of these two interests is one of my favorite topics.

    A comprehensive list! I tallied up an even 40 stars for our household. And I’ll submit our bathroom situation below for your review as to whether it qualifies for the coveted 100 bonus stars!

    We do not purchase toilet paper for home use, but use bidets instead. We have two different models, a toilet-mounted unit in our master bathroom and a hand-held unit installed in the guest bath. The hand-held unit was purchased primarily as a sprayer to clean solids from cloth diapers prior to laundering them, but doubles as a bidet if needed.

    We repurposed old, worn-out washcloths to pat dry with, which eliminates the need for any and all paper products in the bathroom. We do out of courtesy maintain a roll of toilet paper in the guest bath for guests uncomfortable with the idea of using a bidet. But we source that toilet paper responsibly, purchasing a brand that’s not only 100% recycled, but which consists of 90% post-consumer recycled paper products.

    I was a bit surprised to read the tip regarding microwave use consuming less energy than a conventional oven. We substitute our gas-fired oven for reheating food such as leftovers rather than using the microwave, primarily due to health concerns. I haven’t done a voltage test, but I believe a microwave would draw significantly more energy than an oven to do the same job. Might be different in the case of an electric oven, though.

    Your final tip on unplugging appliances when not in use is a good one. Vampire energy draw is very real, and can be measured. We’re paying for our appliances even when they’re not in use!

    I’ve found the best way to combat vampire energy draw is through the use of “Smart” Energy Strips. These utilize a given socket as a “control” sensor to determine whether to turn on other ancillary devices plugged in to the same power strip. Best used for entertainment systems or home offices, with your TV and your home PC as the “control” device.

    No need to have your cable box, DVD/Blu-Ray player, stereo, sound bar, speakers, printer, or PC monitor all pulling energy unless you’re actually using your TV or Home PC! These strips make combating vampire energy draw much easier than constantly plugging and unplugging devices in hard to reach areas, with the added bonus of having built-in surge protection.

    Thanks for the read!

    • I hereby award you the coveted 100 green stars! I think your bathroom set up is fantastic and something many of us could aspire to. Thank you for sharing the details.

      Vampire energy draw is a great way to describe the leaking of energy whilst your appliances sleep. I picked up the smart energy strip tip from another blogger recently and have duly installed one to manage the entertainment electronics. You make a good point about the surge protection as well – something I hadn’t even realised until I bought my smart strip. Thanks for your thoughts, really interesting read.

    • Absolutely! I wasn’t even aware that some of these were eco friendly, you just do what you need to do to balance your budget and the environment gets helped too. Thanks for stopping by!

  7. Another great post!! The car thing though…so we got a brand new hybrid CHR and swopped in our 80k miles on clock 7 year old diesel smax. It is costing us money per month as its on a PCP deal, but we are saving £100 per month in petrol (as the hybrid runs at 53MPG, smax was 28MPG) and the environmental impact is HUGE. Not frugal I know as we got a new car, but much better for the environment.

    • If you are in the market for a new car a hybrid absolutely makes sense and that fuel saving is great. We will certainly look for a hybrid next time we change cars as I know their running costs are great for the environment. We are at 120k and still going strong but it’s a VW tainted by the emissions scandal so no trade in value. And I’d have to take a lump sum out of our savings to buy another car so am holding off as long as possible!

      • I’m waiting it out for the Tesla model 3 to become affordable. Or any other similar spec’d EV. Don’t see the point in going hybrid when EVs are getting so good now!

        I really liked your list! It made me feel good about myself as I already do many of these. Could always do better though of course… Not sure about the rags for TP though?! 🙂

        • Yes, I hadn’t ever considered myself eco friendly before the recent focus on plastics. Took a plastic use quiz (couldn’t find the link to include in post) and came out as being very eco minded! As a result I’m trying even harder. I’m not sure I’ll ever get the coveted 100 green stars either, maybe I am just too set in my ways?

  8. This article is awesome! I got 36, and am constantly looking for ways to reduce my impact on the environment. Many of these are not just beneficial for the Earth but help foster a frugal mindset especially with reusing things. People here in the U.S. really make use of the A/C and heating in the winter, it can make such a substantial difference (on the environment and your bill) just to lessen the differential by a few degrees! Loved your post.

    • Thank you Lexie! A more deliberate and conscious mindset is helpful in so many ways, whether protecting our environment or protecting our finances. And it’s great when the two are combined, double win.
      We certainly try and dial down the heating every winter. Much easier when it’s just the two of us, children and teens seem incapable of adding layers if they are cold. Now that DD2 is at university I have noticed she doesn’t complain about the cold as much – living in a student house in the north of England has obviously toughened her up a bit!
      Thanks for popping over!

  9. Line dry? People still do that? I can’t tell the last time I saw or heard someone line-drying there clothes! Takes me back to chidlhood. It never even occurred to me re use plastic food bags until I had a Korean roommate who was both shocked and appalled. She said in Korea they pay for trash so they re use it all! She washed and dried those ziploc bags and i’ve been better ever since!

    • I don’t actually have a dryer! It’s line dry outside in the lovely fresh air or inside cluttering up my doorways and blocking my radiators. I know which I prefer! The only problem with line drying in the winter is half frozen finger tips at 6.30am whilst hanging out wet washing.

      Well done on re-using your ziploc bags, it’s amazing how long they actually last for, saves those pennies as well.

  10. I’m really pleased that we got up to 44 stars.
    We don’t use rags for toilet paper but DD and I do use washable cloth sanitary pads, which is similar and a lot cheaper over the years. Also, due to allergies, I make all our cleaning products, including laundry soap and dishwasher powder. At the start of the year I made a batch of laundry soap for about £19 that I’m only about half through 8 months later!
    These, and other habits have evolved over many years for both financial and health reasons. As you say, they also happen to be eco-friendly. Triple win.

    • Hi Cath – wow, 44 stars, that is great going! I have visions of a huge bucket of laundry soap lurking in your cupboards! All my eco friendly habits started out due to financial necessity, it’s only in recent years that I’ve realised they are just that, eco friendly, and continued with them as our money situation has got that bit easier.

  11. Thank you for sharing this thought-provoking post. It is critical to recognize all of these things. I always reuse grocery bags and buy fruits and vegetables from the local market. I’ll take your advice and continue to live frugally.

    • Hi Jennie. Thank you for supporting your local market, right now that is so needed. Kepp doing what you are doing and you’ll be frugal and eco friendly. Thanks for stopping by!

    • Hi Ching. You’re very welcome – remember to count how many stars you should award yourself! Thanks for stopping by!


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