How Zero Waste Saves You Money
People often ask or comment on my lifestyle and assume it must be expensive. That I live some kind of luxurious life because I have chosen this lifestyle. Let me just tell you, I have actually saved money by transitioning to zero waste. I find that I spend more money when I'm less conscious about my purchases and stray away from zero waste habits. So here's how zero waste can save you money.
NO LONGER BUY FAST FASION
I have to admit I used to be somewhat of a shopaholic. I absolutely loved shopping and would buy things that I definitely didn't need. I would go into a store and walk out with a bunch of items I didn't need and maybe would never even wear. I got all caught up in buying the latest trends and keeping up with fads. This is such a vicious cycle though. You are constantly buying buying buying. It never ends, because style is always changing. What's hot today could be out tomorrow.
Since transitioning to zero waste however, I am much more conscious of my shopping and clothes buying habits. I thoroughly examine each article of clothing I plan to purchase. I investigate what it is made of and try to picture myself wearing it. Will I wear this five years down the road? 10? Is it made well? Will it last? Or will it fall apart after a few washes? Fast fashion pieces are generally made cheaply, fall apart easily, and are made of synthetic fibers, which leach out during washing and enter our water systems.
Honestly I have not been able to move to only thrift store finds. I love wandering around the thrift store and looking for things that I know I need. However, I live in a small town and there just isn't access to all things that may be available in thrift stores in larger cities. Despite all of that, I do look for things in thrift stores first. Buying second hand is not only better for your wallet, but also better for the environment. Items in second hand stores are are not packaged, therefore reducing the amount of resources. AND they are generally cheaper because they're "pre-owned". You can find some AWESOME things in second hand stores though. Sometimes you can find one of a kind pieces that are in great condition and are a steal. It kind of goes back to the old saying "one man's trash is another man's treasure".
This one goes kind of hand in hand with minimalism as well. Finding multi-use items can save you money and room in your home. If you buy one item that has multiple uses, then you ultimately buy less items. For instance, do you really need a blender and a food processor and a hand blender and a personal size blender?? Probably not. So, opt for one item, such as a general size blender that can replace all the other items. And you might even be able to find one second hand!
One of my biggest pet peeves in America is bottled water. In most places here, clean water is easily accessible. However, people continue to insist on buying bottled water. This is not only SO SO BAD for the environment because of all the plastic and resources required to produce that one bottle of water. Instead, invest in a good reusable water bottle. You can use this for years to come afterwards. Just fill it up with water wherever you go. This is good for your wallet and for the environment.
If the water in your home has a funky taste, then get a charcoal filter. Charcoal filters last about three months depending on how much water you drink and how bad your tap water actually is, and then it can be composted or ground up for plant food! But, if you don't like the charcoal water filter, you could always go with a water purifier, such as a Brita or Pur water filter. Though less zero waste than the charcoal filter, this is still a better option than buying bottled water.
I have found that this has saved me tons of money. I realize some people do not have time to make a ton of products at home. For the people that are interested though, this can save you lots of money. I make my own toothpaste, deodorant, lotion, and soap. Some of the products have the same ingredients required to make them. So, I buy them in bulk and use them to make my own products. This ultimately saves me tons of money. The cost of making my own toothpaste at home is 5x cheaper than buying a tube at the store. And if you're interested, you can find my toothpaste recipe in my blog! DIY Whitening Toothpaste
COOK AT HOME
I had a friend tell me he spent about a thousand dollars a month on food... WHAT?! It actually blew my mind. I could not figure out how he could spend that much money on food, but it was mainly because he couldn't cook and ate out EVERY meal. Eating out costs soooo much money. It is nice to have a meal out with friends every now and then, but doing it regularly will definitely dent your wallet. Buy groceries about once a week. Plan ahead for meals and make a list. Then cook throughout the week. Cooking at home for one can cost like $1-2 a meal. If you were to eat out though, that same meal could cost like $10-15. The math definitely adds up quickly!
LESS FOOD WASTE
This kind of links with the section above. I buy groceries for only a week long at a time. This helps me prevent the amount of food waste I produce. Buying only a week's worth of food helps me ensure that I will be able to eat all the food before it spoils. I have learned that when I buy more than a week's worth of food, I get busy or something in life happens and then I am not able to eat the food before it rots and have to throw the food away :(