3 ecological habits that have helped me save thousands of people
- In 2021, I decided to become more aware of my environmental impact and found some surprise savings along the way.
- Canceling my Amazon subscription has helped me cut down on compulsive spending on things I don’t really need.
- Preparing the meals saved me $ 1,200, cut down on my food waste, and helped me on a six-week trip to New York City debt-free.
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After watching the wildfires ravage California in 2020, I knew I had to do something different in 2021. I set a vague New Year’s resolution to be more mindful of the environmental impacts of my actions, and, like most poorly planned resolutions this was not the case. it really works.
In March 2021, I looked at my finances for clues about my environmental impact. I noticed I was spending around $ 500 a month on groceries, but I was throwing out tons of food and keeping boxes and boxes intact in my pantry. I also reported $ 200-400 monthly spending for random Amazon stuff, but noticed I was constantly decluttering and donating to Goodwill.
Once I realized that doing good for the planet comes with significant savings, I was even more motivated to stick to these three eco-responsible habits that saved me $ 3,500 in 2021 .
1. I canceled my Amazon Prime subscription
Because I’m a nerd about organization, I’ve spent hours sifting through Amazon for the best space creation solutions. I was also spending too much on household items which generally looked much better in photos than they did in person. I was caught in a cycle of buying and returning items to Amazon, or simply donating brand new items that didn’t match my style to Goodwill.
Once I canceled my Amazon Prime membership, I noticed a huge change in the way I spent money. Without the intoxicating lure of free two-day delivery, I took a longer break to figure out if I really had needed something before you buy it.
How far am I actually willing to go to get plastic organizers for my waste drawer? If I didn’t feel like driving to pick it up or paying for shipping on another website then I probably didn’t really need this. I even got creative with old plastic food containers to make my own DIY organizing dreams come true.
Reducing impulse buying on Amazon has saved me over $ 1,300 in 2021 on top of the monthly Prime fee of $ 14.99. Amazon is also one of the biggest ocean pollutants due to overseas shipping, not to mention all the paper and plastic waste from all the packaging.
2. I started to bring reusable bags to every grocery store
I have experienced financial difficulties in the past, especially at the start of the pandemic, so the food shortage was a new concern for me. Because of this, I realized that I had a tendency to accumulate food once I got to the grocery store. I would buy a lot more than I really needed because I had an unconscious fear of running out of food.
To curb this habit, I started bringing my own reusable bags to the grocery store. After grabbing my shopping cart, I open my reusable bags so that I can easily insert my groceries into each bag. Once I started doing this I understood how much I was bringing home with me.
As a single person with no kids or partner, I have never needed more than a bag of meat and vegetables. I have also become more concerned with buying whole foods instead of processed foods which tend to generate more plastic and paper waste from packaging. This method of shopping has helped me reduce my grocery bill from $ 500 per month to $ 300, which is over $ 1,500 in savings.
3. I prepared meals, even though I hated it
Even though I love to cook, I hate preparing meals with the fire of a thousand suns. It takes forever, it’s messy, and I’m easily fed up with eating the same meals over and over again throughout the week. Sometimes I had to listen to personal finance audiobooks while cooking to remind myself why I was doing all of this in the first place.
I noticed that I was throwing away less food at the end of the week, and I cut down on plastic and paper waste from take out food, which is in line with my original New Year’s resolution.
I have to admit that this money-saving technique didn’t last long and I ended up investing in a healthy meal delivery service towards the end of the year to save time. But even the few months I spent preparing meals helped me save $ 700.
Combined with my savings of $ 1,500 from groceries, I was able to save $ 2,200 for a six-week trip to New York City to see my family for the first time since the start of the pandemic, take time off and treat myself to a peaceful writing retreat in upstate New York while watching the leaves change color.