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Ways to Save Money with Low Waste Living

low waste living

Not only are there major health and environmental benefits to living a more low-waste lifestyle, but there are monetary benefits to take advantage of as well.

Taking care of our planet is important for many reasons. For example, air pollution has been linked to increases in cases of asthma. Even prenatal exposure to air pollution can increase the child’s risk of developing childhood wheezing and asthma.

Likewise, the benefits of recycling and lowering our wastes are great. It can help our environment, our health, conserve our natural resources, and provide more economic security.

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But one major benefit to recycling and living a more low waste lifestyle is that it’s also a way to save money in the long run. Instead of buying single-use items once or twice a month, replace these costs with higher quality products that can last you a number of years. And if you need help paying for these higher qualify single-purchase items, you can always take out a Check City Personal Loan to get you started on your low waste journey.

There are everyday expenses that you can reduce or eliminate entirely just by using a few low-waste living tips.

What is Recycling?

In 2017, the US generated over 260 million tons of waste. We recycled about 67 million tons and composted about 27 million tons.

In waste management, there are 2 types of waste disposal—the conventional method, recycling, and composting.

Recycling is a method of waste disposal that takes waste and makes it into other things. Instead of throwing things away, they are used to create new products. Recycling allows materials to continue to have use rather than piling up in landfills.

What is Composting?

Composting is the process used to turn organic waste, like food scraps, into usable compost, which can then be used as fertilizer. Composting gathers organic waste together and lets it decompose until it creates a soil conditioner (fertilizer) that is very rich in nutrients. You can then use this for soil as fertilizer to help plants grow better.

Composting is a great thing to do at home for your garden, flower bed, or herb garden. It is just another way you can help your household become more self-sufficient and help your plants and flowers grow more abundantly.

What is Greenwashing?

If you want to do your part to help the environment and your local community thrive then you’ll want to be aware of greenwashing.

Greenwashing is an advertising method meant to make products look organic or ecofriendly when in reality they aren’t. If a product or company’s ecofriendly claims are really true then they’ll usually tell you all about it—providing evidence, certificates, and details.

If their claims are vague or unspecific, then most likely they are greenwashing their product in the hopes it will help it sell better. When making purchases do your research and don’t be duped by false or shady advertising.

What is Low Waste Living?

Being environmentally minded comes in all kinds of ranges. You can strive to live the zero waste lifestyle or you can simply try and live a more low waste lifestyle. Either way can save you hundreds of dollars every year.

Low Waste Living is when you attempt to make less waste, be more self-sufficient, and buy products that are quality and long lasting rather than single use products you’ll have to buy over and over again.

All the Ways to Save Money Living Low Waste

You might think of low waste living as something crazy and intense people do or something you need to be really committed to in order to pull off. But there are actually plenty of really simple ways to make less waste and save yourself a ton of money along the way.

There are lots of frequent, recurring costs you could replace for a single purchase to you’re your monthly spending and use that money elsewhere. You just have to know what can be replaced.

1. Plastic Water Bottles

Save $100.00

Filtered water is just better, and many of us don’t live in areas with great tap water. But we need to drink lots of water every day and the cost of water bottles can really get out of hand. Instead you can buy a water filter pitcher, a really nice water filtration dispenser, or a really nice stainless steel faucet water filter so you don’t have to spend so much money on water bottles ever again.

2. Shop in Bulk

Save up to 83%

You can save a lot of money when you buy in bulk. Find the local stores near you that sell in bulk like Sam’s Club, Costco, and whole food stores where you can get basic foods from barrels.

The key with buying in bulk is that you save big on the price per unit and you buy amounts that can stock up your home and last a lot longer, which saves you gas money and time spent at the store. Some experts estimate that you can save up to 83% on your grocery bill by buying in bulk.

3. Make Homemade Cleaning Products

Save $600

We want to keep our homes clean and sanitized but the products we need to do so can get really expensive. Instead, you can just make your own homemade cleaning products with these simple homemade cleaning product recipes. You can also buy your favorite squirt bottles to reuse over and over again as well.

4. Reusable Grocery Bags

Save 10 cents per bag

Plastic bags are still free at most grocery stores but this might not always be the case. Many states have already begun banning single-use plastic bags at grocery and retail stores or created minimum 10 cent charges if you want to use plastic bags.

Save yourself the hassle by getting your own awesome reusable grocery shopping bags now that you can keep in your car and use at the grocery store instead of plastic bags.

You can also buy some tote bags to use when you make retail purchases at other stores, so that you can avoid the hassle of plastic bags there as well.

Getting your own shopping bags is also helpful because they won’t rip at the bottom and spill your items everywhere, they won’t squish your items together in small plastic bags, and they can even keep your food cold on the trip home. You can even get specific produce bags with some online shopping.

5. Reusable Straws

Using reusable straws instead of single-use plastic straws can be one of the easiest, and funnest ways to go green. Reusable straws come in all kinds of shapes and colors, and can even come in compact containers that fit on your keychain.

6. Bring Your Own Water Bottle

Water bottles also come in all kinds of creative shapes, sizes, and colors. They can also come with unique functionalities. Instead of using the flimsy paper and plastic cups at restaurants you can use your own bottle instead! This will also keep your drink cold or hot longer and be more comfortable to hold in your hand or travel with you when you leave.

7. Install a Bidet

Save up to $120

The average American spends up to $120 each year on toilet paper alone. While you can’t really get rid of this cost, you can reduce the need by installing a bidet in your bathroom. You’ll save on toilet paper and actually be a cleaner and more hygienic person as well.

8. Start a Compost Bin

A compost bin can be a great way to put all your organic waste to better use. Your compost bin just needs 3 ingredients to function:

  1. Browns: like dead leaves, branches, twigs
  2. Greens: like grass, vegetable scraps, fruit scraps, coffee grounds
  3. Water

When you make your own compost you won’t need to spend money on chemical fertilizers and your garden will grow fuller and healthier. So a compost bin can save you money on gardening supplies and on groceries depending on what you decide to grow!

9. Plant a Garden

Save up to $600

Planting your own garden can both save and make you money. By planting your own herbs, vegetables, legumes, and even fruits you can save up to $600 on food costs each year. You could also make extra money each year by selling the produce from your garden at your local farmers market, or to your friends and neighbors.

10. Raise Chickens

Save up to $400

You can take your little farm one step further by getting a few farm animals of your own. Chickens are a good example for beginners and they can save you on the cost of eggs each year. You could even make money selling chicks to other households that would like to start raising their own chickens as well.

11. Make Your Own Clothes

Save up to $1,800

New clothes can be so expensive and with the rise of fast fashion many clothing brands don’t even provide quality clothes anymore. But you can take your wardrobe into your own hands by learning how to sew your own clothes!

12. Replace Paper Towels with Dish Rags

Save over $200

Paper towels can be nice and convenient but they might also be taking up more of your budget than you realize. Instead of spending extra money each month on the convenience of paper towels, buy a couple of kitchen towels for cleaning and wiping your hands.

13. Replace Paper Napkins with Cloth Napkins

Save over $200

You can also replace the paper napkins in your house with cloth napkins instead! Now your set table will look nicer and your family and guests will feel pampered and fancy when they come over for dinner.

14. Use handkerchiefs instead of tissues

Save up to $100

For instance, a pack of 4 flat box Kleenex costs about $6 while a pack of 6 basic handkerchiefs can cost $5.00 and last you for years to come. Meanwhile, tissue boxes only last a little while before you need to purchase them all over again.

So instead of buying box after box of tissues every year, just get yourself some nice handkerchiefs instead!

Replacing frequent costs with a single purchase is always the better choice. And handkerchiefs are going to be nicer on your nose, not chaff and dry out your nose the way paper tissues do. They’re also more useful because you can use them as a cloth too! If you need to wipe away some perspiration or wipe your hands throughout the day or anything.

15. Make Foods from Scratch

Save up to $4,109

Learn to make homemade things from scratch instead of instant and boxed foods. For example, two homemade pizza can cost as little as $3.25, while 2 pizzas from a pizza place can easily cost you over $20.

You can also learn to do your own canning and make preservatives. There are many things you can make yourself for less than half the cost it takes to buy it from the store. Here’s a short list of some other things you could learn to make from scratch instead of buying it in stores:

  • chicken or vegetable stock
  • peanut butter
  • macaroni and cheese
  • granola
  • baby food
  • spaghetti sauce
  • lunch meat
  • pizza
  • bread
16. Eat More Like a Vegetarian/Vegan

Save up to $700

You don’t have to commit to a vegetarian or vegan lifestyle to take advantage of vegetarian and vegan meals. These meals can be tasty, full of nutrients, and cheaper than recipes that use lots of meats and dairy products.

17. Recycle

Make some spare change!

Get recycling bins for your home and start recycling! You can actually make money recycling certain items at your local recycling facility.

18. Don’t Waste Freezer Foods

You can create a lot of waste and waste a lot of food by not utilizing your freezer enough. Make foods last longer by storing them correctly in the freezer. You can even create a food expiration calendar for your fridge to help you keep track when you need to eat certain foods.

food storage expiration date calendars

There are also a surprising number of things you can make with overripe foods, like banana bread. So always check before you toss things whether you can give it a second life somehow.

19. Buy Used Instead of New

Not only does buying used items help recycle things and maintain the environment, but buying used can also save you a lot of money as well! If you need new furniture, you can find great deals on beautiful pieces at antique shops and on the Facebook Marketplace.

20. Support Local Farmers

By shopping at the local farmer’s market for food items instead of big chain grocery stores, you can support your local farmers, reduce consumption, and save money on cheaper and fresher produce.

21. Don’t Waste on Basic Bills

Save up to $2,060

Overdoing it on utilities can put a strain on the environment and your wallet. So take measures to reduce the use of your utilities like heating, cooling, electricity, and water.

For example, you could save your AC by opening windows to keep things cool instead. You could also make some homemade dry shampoo so you don’t have to wash your hair so frequently and conserve water that way. This will also help your shampoo last longer for when you do wash your hair. You could also put less use on your drier by hanging things up to dry instead.

22. Find a Local Tailor

Sometimes we get rid of clothes when they could be fixed! Find a local tailor and have them fix up your old clothes, pants, shoes, or even hats so you don’t have to replace them as often. You’ll also be supporting local businesses which is always a good thing.

23. Replace Plastic Loofahs

Save up to $120

Instead of rebuying plastic loofas over and over again throughout the course of your life find a more permanent solution. You can find bath brushes in all kinds of shapes and brush types and they’ll actually help exfoliate and clean you better than a loofah anyway.

24. Rechargeable Batteries

Save up to $20

Not many things still use batteries but our need for batteries is far from over. But instead of rebuying batteries every time they die, just buy a pack of rechargeable batteries that you can use for life! That way you won’t be throwing away harmful batteries all the time, and you won’t have to buy them all the time either.

25. Make Reusable Gift Bags

Save up to $240

We spend so much on wrapping paper each year for birthdays and holidays. It’s fun to give gifts and being able to open the gift is one of the best parts! But you can keep the surprise while getting rid of wrapping paper costs by crafting together some reusable gift bags or clothes of your own.

26. Ditch Sponges for Brushes

Save up to $40

Sponges are important for helping you wash dishes, but they can get gross and need replacing really fast. Ditch the cost of sponges all together by buying dish brushes instead.

27. Use Public Transit, Walk, or Bike

Save up to $2,000

The average American spends over $2,000 a year on gas. That’s a lot of money that could be going to other parts of your budget. By taking the bus, using a bike, or walking you can greatly reduce this cost and reduce your emissions.

How To Live a Low Waste Lifestyle

The above list doesn’t list all the things you can do to cut down on waste and costs, but just with the tips above you can potentially save up to $13,000 a year by becoming more self-sufficient and replacing single-use purchases with single-purchase items you only have to buy once.

What will you do with all this extra money? You could put it all into a savings account, a checking account, use it to help reach your savings goals, or pay off credit cards, or start an emergency fund. Start saving money today and make your future brighter and more waste free.

These are a lot of really helpful ideas, but most of them boil down to a few key tactics to living a more low waste lifestyle.

  1. Make things from scratch
  2. Be self-sufficient
  3. Support local businesses
  4. Choose quality over anything else

Now all you have to do is create your own master plan of attack for living the low-waste way and watch how much your budget grows with all those savings!

 

written by Kimber Severance, Check City Copywriter

3 Tips to Wean Adult Children into Independence

With the new school year starting young adults are moving out on their own all across America. If done incorrectly the process of teaching your young adult how to be self-sufficient can be difficult. In this post we’ll cover three of the best ways to wean your young adult or adult children into independence.
Many adult children are still extremely reliant upon their parents for financial needs. Even into their mid-twenties, mom and dad are still paying for absolutely everything. And although this can be helpful to get through college, it isn’t always the healthiest approach.

Many students don’t take their education seriously when they’re not paying for it themselves, and others find it difficult to adjust to independent life after they graduate.

If you’re one of these parents but want to help your kids become independent, the following are three great ways to help wean them off of your bank account.

First, the joke, “he probably lives in his mother’s basement” is truer than a joke these days. Considering how cheap it is to live at home, many adult children default to a parent’s basement rather than pay for an apartment. It’s easy to do because mom loves to have her kids around, and it saves them a lot of money. The crazy thing is that it’s not just single children who are doing this either.

Many children move in with their spouses. It’s true that they first years of marriage can be difficult, especially where finances are concerned. These children will sometimes nest in for years to come. They have children and stay at home. Their children head off to elementary school, from their grandparent’s home. These families should be sheltering their kids under their own roofs, especially when they have a job that could be paying for their lives.

If you’re housing a single guy, a girl’s not going to want to find out that he’s still living with his mom. He has a much better chance at a social life outside of the home than he does where he’s at. He may even get married.

If this has happened to you, and you’re ready to have your kids get a move on with their lives, be up front with them. Reaffirm your love, but make it clear that they should be working on finding a place for themselves. It is your house. These are your rules, and you can still lovingly talk to them about how much better it is for them to seek their own life style.

After they move out, a great way to show love for them is to invite them over for dinners once a week. Show them that your home can still be a safe haven from the worries of the world with a free meal and familiar company, and that can give them encouragement during their time of adjustment.

Second, if they still rely on you to pay for their lifestyle, adjust that. You don’t have to drop every financial responsibility in the book on them all at once. That kind of adjustment would be extremely hard. It can be extremely good for them, but they might resent you for it and you might even hate the idea.

Wean them off instead. Set up a plan. Tell them that in three months from today, you no longer intend to pay for an expense: tuition, books, car, food, or cell phone bills for example. In six months you will no longer pay something else. In a year, you won’t pay for something else, etc., etc. until they are finally financially independent.

You can help them find ways to support themselves though. If they’re not working, they will need to learn to find a job. If they have a job that isn’t making enough, encourage them to find a better one. If they are going to school and aren’t sure how they’re going to pay for tuition, encourage them to get a scholarship or grant. Student loans are always another option. You can guide them on a path to financial independence, helping them to grow up and helping you to gain financial independence as well.

Three, sit down to discuss their long-term goals. Have a good chat with your son(s) or daughter(s) about what their future goals are for independence. Ask them questions. When do they see themselves becoming independent? How long do they intend to live with you? What do they want out of life? See what goals for independence they’re trying to achieve and offer your help to get them there. Sometimes just talking about the issue can help them meet future goals much sooner than you expected. They might just need a bit of support from an interested parent.

Take these three ideas to heart and give them a shot. Your kids will have the best chance of success in this world when they’re introduced to financial independence, not sheltered indefinitely. Although you don’t need to kick them out and cut them off, you can go a long way to help your adult children seek complete financial independence starting today.

5 Secrets to Stop Living Pay Check to Pay Check

Wouldn’t it be nice to stop living with an uncertain financial future? Wouldn’t it be great to not only have enough for what you need, but to be able to put aside a bit extra every month for a rainy day? With your current situation though, you may not be able to see a way to get out of this financial deficit so you can save for a rainy day.

Amazingly, people with less money and more financial responsibility have found ways to reach their goal of not living from pay check to pay check. Here are some secrets that could help you do likewise. Make each a habit and encourage savings at every corner.

First, create a weekly meal plan that uses the same ingredients for a variety of meals. The thing that tends to increase your shopping expenses is purchasing different ingredients for every meal you plan.

For example, Monday night is pasta night; Tuesday is Mexican; Wednesday is soup; Thursday is Hot Dogs; and Friday is Steak night. Your shopping list tends to build up because each meal requires a different set of ingredients, which costs a lot more than buying just fewer ingredients in bulk would.

There are websites, like supercook.com, that will help you determine what variety of meals only take a set amount of ingredients, e.g. chicken, noodles, bread, cheese, lettuce, tomato, etc. Choose a meal you want to cook that week, type in the names of these ingredients into that website, and see what other meal options you can try out. Then go to the store with that same list and purchase in bulk for the week. This can often save you quite a bit of money in the long run, while increasing your home menu.

Second, determine to save $1 every two weeks. Surely one dollar isn’t that hard to put aside. You can often willingly forgo a more expensive brand name item for generic if it means you get to put $1 to your future.

Habits are created with simple, persistent effort. One measly buck every paycheck is a great start. After a year, you’ll have created such a deep habit that it will seem unnatural to not save. You may even lift your sights to $2 per paycheck (and in fact, you should strive to shoot for more if you want this savings to grow). For now though, concentrate on what you can manage, and save $1 every pay check until you’re ready to increase that expense.

Third, change your spending attitude. If you live from pay check to pay check because you throw money around at your leisure, then you have the financial opportunities to quit that lifestyle. Go back through your bank statements over the past three months and identify what was (1) needed, and (2) frivolous.

Keep the needed expenses in place, but make a goal to cut the amount of money you use frivolously. Frivolous expenses are a necessary part of life, but it should be limited to an affordable amount. Make a goal for how much you want available for discretion and then track your spending every day throughout the month. When you have a goal and then track your progress, you are far less likely to spend as frivolously as you did before. Save the surplus money for another day.

Fourth, work together with your spouse. If you’re married, then work through your finances together as a couple. No one person should think they have full control of the money. This creates inequality, and that inequality often ends up in relationship trouble, or over/unexpected spending on either side of the equation.

Approach your finances as equals. It’s not about what’s “yours” it’s about what’s “ours.” Plan and address your current spending habits like the frivolous spender would. Identify your needs. Find places you can improve on your discretionary money and start saving today.

Fifth, save everything you can and find ways to make more money to save. Any extra money you find in your budget should be saved. Reduce spending on unnecessary luxuries like cable TV, or air conditioners set expensively low at 68 degrees.

Any old items that you want to get rid of can be sold. Take the money from that sale and put it away. Find ways to sell your skills or hobbies outside of work to get a few extra bucks to put away.

Living from pay check to pay check can make you feel imprisoned. Shed those shackles and be free from the pain of financial worry every month by applying these five secrets to your life.

Cutting Costs on the Water Bill

Summer is in full swing and that means that water bills across the country are on the rise. Historically water usage goes up exponentially in July and August so in this post we’ll cover some simple ways that you can save on your water bill not only during the summer but year round.

The once a month water bill can sometimes be the forgotten child of the monthly utility bill round up. With other utility bills, like the gas and electric bills, often adding up to be more than what is owed to the city water provider, the monthly water bill can often times go over looked by those who are striving to save money by home conservation practices.

But this should not be the case as saving on the monthly water bill can actually save a household up to hundreds of dollars per year, and those savings will be even more important in the future. The saving practices and conservation efforts by homeowners on their water usages will soon become a vital money saving technique due to the upcoming repairs on water pipelines across the nation.

According to the American Waterworks Association, there are over one million miles of water pipelines spanning the United States that will need to be repaired or replaced by the year 2035. The costs of those repairs are estimated to reach over one trillion dollars and the majority of that money will be garnered from the citizenry’s monthly water bills.

While the estimated increase to homeowners and property owner’s water bills will be nation-wide and seemingly unavoidable, the practices of in-home water conservation will still be vital for a family to over spend on their already increased water bill. Conserving water every month in the home can be simple for those who will take the time to turn water saving techniques into habits.

It Starts in The Kitchen

One of the major areas of the home where water saving practices can come into effect is within the kitchen of the home. The kitchen area of the home is often a leading area of water use due to the kitchen sink being in use for cooking and cleaning, as well as the dishwasher using gallons of water to wash the family’s dishware.

Don’t Wash By Hand

While some may think that washing dishes by hand will save them money on their water, the truth is that washing dishes by hand will actually expend more water than if a family uses their dishwasher correctly. So the first way that a family can save money on their water utility bill is to stop washing their dishes by hand.

It is estimated that those who wash their dishes by hand will expend up to twenty seven gallons of water in the process while those who use their dishwasher to wash their dishes expend only fifteen gallons of water per load, or, if they own an energy efficient model dishwasher, that number could be closer to four or five gallons. As one can see, choosing to use the water over washing the dishes by hand can save a family gallons of water per cycle and per month.

Use the Dishwasher Correctly

Along with using the dishwasher over washing dishes by hand, a family can save even more water if they will use their dishwasher correctly and efficiently. The first way to use the dishwasher of a home effectively is to make sure that the dishwasher is fully loaded before every use.

Having the dishwasher completely filled on both top and bottom racks will directly translate into having an efficient dishwasher, as less water will be used to clean the dishware per dish. Additionally, another way that a family can get more from their dishwasher is by understanding the dishwasher’s capabilities. Many modern dishwashers have settings such as energy efficient or eco-friendly cycles as part of their options for cleaning and switching the dial to have the dishwasher run on these settings will have the machine use less water overall. Likewise, most modern dishwashers can handle the grim of food stains and little pieces of excess, meaning that a family no longer needs to pre rinse their dishes before placing them in the dishwasher.

Not only is pre-rinsing dishes is literally a waste of water if a family owns a modern dishwasher, but it also leads to another water waster while in the kitchen—running the disposal. Every time the disposal is engaged, the water must be turned on.

Running the disposal can be avoided by simply saving the leftovers for future consumption (another helpful money saving tip, by the way) or by throwing the unwanted leftovers into the trash or a compost pile. Saving water in the kitchen is a primary way for families to save money on their monthly water bill.

Shorten Those Showers

In connection with saving water in the bathroom by taking shorter showers or smaller volume baths and by turning off the water while brushing teeth, saving water in the kitchen will help to save a family potentially hundreds of dollars per year on water bill costs.

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