Make 3 Simple Life Swaps To Save Money And Our Planet
We're all looking for ways to save money these days, and many of us also care about the environment. Instead of getting bogged down with the 946 things that would get you to zero-waste, just start with our simple list of 3 things that are realistic for almost anyone.
Swap #1: Food Optimization and Waste
How it Saves Money: Buy less food. Sounds like no fun, but stick with me. Food waste in the average household is 30%. So, if you normally spend $100 per week on food, you’re likely tossing out $30 worth of that food because it goes bad before it gets eaten. Whatever you threw out the last time you cleaned out the fridge, try not buying it this week. See what happens! It'll help your budget plan, too.
How it Saves the Earth: Food waste usually goes into the trash, then into landfills, where it creates boatloads of methane gas as it decomposes. If we buy a bit less, or we buy frozen/canned so that it lasts longer, this means less trash overall.
Want a bonus earth-saving tip? Start composting. The National Resource Defense Council (NRDC) shares "If your family composts just 50 percent of its food waste, you will reduce your greenhouse gas emissions by over 455 pounds, annually." Here’s a simple video on how to start:
Swap #2: Save Money With Bar Soap Self Care
How it saves money: Switching to bar soap means that you spend as little as $1 for a bar of soap that will last you up to several weeks. Liquid body wash is used up more quickly (some sources say we use 7x more liquid soap to hand wash than if we use bar soap!) so naturally it is more expensive per wash. It can also be more likely than bar soap to contain iffy ingredients like parabens, if that's something important for you when considering your options.
How it saves our planet: A 2009 Swiss study found that the carbon footprint of liquid soap (body wash) is about 25 percent more than bar soap per wash. Liquid soap requires 5x the energy to produce and 20x the energy to package! And it's packaged in plastic. One thing to note, though, is that we tend to use about 30% more warm water when washing with bar soap. Still, the cost and environmental benefit scale tends to tip in the direction of bar soap even considering the water usage. Because, after all, liquid body wash contains a bunch of water itself!
Swap #3: Save Money With LED
If you're not on the LED train yet, you should seriously consider it.
How it Saves Money: Energy.gov stats show you'll save $225 per year, on average, just by switching out your incandescent light bulbs for Light-Emitting Diode (LED) ones. Plus, LED bulbs have a lifetime that is up to 25x longer than incandescent, so you'll be replacing them a lot less often. They're much cooler to the touch than regular bulbs, and LEDs are much cheaper than they used to be. Win-win-win!
How it Saves Our Planet: Energy Star Certified LED bulbs use 90% less energy than traditional incandescent bulbs. Less electricity use = less impact on our environment.
New to LEDs? Here's a hot tip:
Lumens (how much light is emitted) are the common denominator to help you in comparing different types of bulbs, so here's a quick guide:
Replace incandescent bulbs, measured in watts (W), with these approximate lumen counts for LED bulbs:
100W = 1600 lumens
75W = 1100 lumens
60W = 800 lumens
40W = 450 lumens
If saving a few bucks on these planet-friendly swaps isn't enough to save your budget, you should check out our Ultimate Budget Plan guide.