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:
- The UK government has announced its 25 year plan for a greener future
- Iceland supermarket has announced plans to remove plastic from own label products by 2023
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.
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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:
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:
- Not buying new cars, drive your old one for as long as you can
- Reduce your energy bills by reducing your energy/water consumption
- Spend less on clothes by using charity/thrift shops
- Saving money by growing your own food
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.
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50 Frugal green Habits
Make car and travel more eco friendly
- 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
- 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
- Drive more slowly and more efficiently (I do this all the time, it’s one of my favorite frugal hacks)
- Don’t leave the house without your (full) reusable water bottle – keep yourself hydrated and away from pricey bottled water
- 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
- 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.
- 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
- Create a compost pile for veg peelings
- Recycle paper scraps and envelopes into your to-do and shopping lists
Related post: How To Go Green When You Live A Thrifty Lifestyle
frugal green Shopping
- Reuse your own grocery bags – give yourself an extra green star if you use cloth bags like these
- Don’t buy new frugal living books – use the library or buy used via charity/thrift shops
- Daily newspapers – no need to buy the paper version you can usually read them online for free these days
- Cut down on buying new clothes – create your own work uniform, wear what you have or buy from charity/thrift shops
- Buy fruit & veg at your local market – if time allows, cheaper than the grocery store and usually not wrapped in plastic
- Focus your grocery spending on cheap food like seasonal, local products
- Don’t buy and pay for air fresheners – fresh air is free to use by opening a window
- Paper towels – don’t buy or use these, you can use up-cycled rags or opt for these brightly colored microfiber cloths
- (Extreme) Do the same but for toilet paper – if you use rags in place of toilet paper award yourself 100 green stars!
- Alternatively you could opt for plastic free toilet paper but it does cost more
- Buy cat/dog wet food in tins not sachets – half the price per kg and recyclable
- 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.
Reuse = frugal sustainable living
- Fix things that get broken rather than buying new – you can use Youtube, Google and Pinterest to find tutorials for almost anything these days
- Borrow specialist items from friends and neighbors – return the favor with your equipment
- 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
- Repair your clothes, don’t replace them – sew on that missing button, learn how to replace a zip using Youtube tutorials
- Re-purpose old sheets & towels – turn them into rags, napkins and handkerchiefs to keep them out of landfill
- Use cloth napkins not paper ones – wash and reuse
- 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
- Meal plan before you shop – you only buy what you need and you avoid food waste
- Cook the right portion amount with no leftovers
- Cook from scratch because it costs much less than using boxed and packet meals
- Don’t waste food, use your leftovers to make another frugal food meal
- Use a microwave or pressure cooker instead of your conventional oven – both use less energy
- 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:
green & frugal eco-friendly Living tips for Heating And Cooling your home
- 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
- 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.
- Open windows to cool your house, don’t crank up the air conditioning
- 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
Frugal Green Washing & Cleaning
- Turn the tap off whilst brushing your teeth
- If it’s yellow, let it mellow! – Don’t flush your toilet unless you really ‘need’ to see here for more water saving ideas
- Always run a full dishwasher and washing machine
- Use natural cleansers like vinegar and baking soda – for all your cleaning needs
- 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
- Use large bottle of bath bubbles to refill kitchen hand soap
- 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
- Use big box washing powder instead of liquid tabs or liquid – both have much more plastic packaging
- Implement the sniff test and wash clothes only when they fail the test! Clothes don’t automatically need washing after just one wear
- 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)
Miscellaneous Frugal Ecofriendly Living tips
- Online billing for your utility bills and bank accounts
- Use a handkerchief – negates the need to buy paper tissues
- Plant a garden and grow your own – even if it is just herbs on windowsill
- Use eco friendly LED lightbulbs – replace as and when old lightbulbs die
- 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!
Last Updated on 4th March 2022 by Emma