19 Nov 9 tips for saving money with a low waste lifestyle
Sometimes when we suggest buying vegetables loose, getting reusable items rather than disposables and all-natural cosmetics in glass tubs, some people no longer feel addressed. It is a common misconception that an eco-friendly lifestyle is only for high-income earners. Yes, particular zero waste swaps can be more expensive. Nevertheless, going low waste is not an elitist luxury lifestyle. On the contrary – it is an efficient way to permanently reduce your daily costs.
We have put together some tips for your daily life on saving money with a low waste lifestyle:
1. Shop regionally, seasonally, healthy, and without packaging
A healthy diet and an eco-friendly mindset go hand in hand. If you buy mostly vegetables, you can make the biggest part of grocery shopping in markets and most of them unpacked and cheaper. Animal products are more expensive. Those who shop regionally and seasonally are not only more sustainable, but also save some money. In particular, weekly markets and local vegetable markets offer a wide selection of regional and seasonal foods. These markets will not only allow regional and seasonal, but also packaging-free, shopping. And the amount makes all the difference. Of course, it is extremely expensive to put good meat and artisan cheese from the health food store on the table every day. Both are luxury items and should be consumed in moderation. As it was when meat cost as much as it was worth and a chicken was still viable without antibiotics. It is better to rarely buy meat – but with a clear conscience.
2. Make food such as pasta, bread, spread or almond milk yourself
It is much cheaper to make food such as pasta or bread yourself. A mixture of durum wheat semolina, water and flour with a ratio of 1: 1: 1 creates a wonderful pasta dough. You can process the pasta dough into the pasta shape of your choice. In addition, a good and healthy bread can be made with stoneground flour, water, seeds and baking powder. Blend oats or almonds with water and strain them through a cotton bag and you will get your favourite milk alternative. Also, vegan spread recipes are very easy made of legumes, nutbutters and/ or vegetables. Certainly, you need a lot more time to produce food yourself, but you have created a plastic-free alternative that costs much less in the end.
3. Drink tap water
Tap water is probably the best money saver in a low waste lifestyle. On average, you pay 0.018 cents per litre. That means you get around 56 litres of tap water for R1. The mineral water from the supermarket, however, costs between R5 per litre (calculated based on the cheapest water supplier we found).
But it is not only a torture for your wallet, also for our planet and our earth. Plastic water bottles can release chemicals and be harmful to your health. In addition, plastic water bottles require up to 3.5l of crude oil for 1l of drinking water for the production and disposal of the bottles, for filling the water and for transport to the destination. The longer the transport route, the greater the amount of fuel required.
Drinking tap water is cheap, saves time and the hassle of hauling around. If you like sparkling water, you can invest once in a sparkling water device. When you are out and about, buying a reusable water bottle once saves water costs in the long run.
4. Save your food
Unfortunately, food wastage is a massive problem across the globe. While many people go hungry every day, it has been established that South Africans waste one-third of all food in the country – roughly 10-million tonnes of food annually. A sad fact that can drastically reduce your food costs. A tidy refrigerator with manageable contents avoids rotting food, for which you have of course spent money beforehand. And we can usually eat more of our vegetables than we know. The broccoli stem, for example, tastes just like broccoli itself. If we cut less, we will have to buy less here too.
5. Skip takeaways
Something on hand here, a coffee to go there…All small prices, but in total probably what is missing in your wallet at the end of the month. If you are more careful with garbage, you will automatically be very conscious about your takeaways that create lots of unnecessary waste. If you cannot do without your takeaway coffee on your way to the office (or elsewhere) rather get a reusable coffee cup. A lot of coffee shops give you a discount if you bring your own cup. Yay!
Disposable products such as kitchen paper, dish sponges, handkerchiefs, cotton pads, and wrapping not only make up a large proportion of our bins, they also cause recurring costs because they have to be bought repeatedly. If you swop them for reusable alternatives, you may have higher costs in the beginning, but it will be a lot cheaper on the long run.
7. Buying bulk
The smaller the packaged content in the supermarket, the more expensive. Buying in larger containers saves money and packaging waste. Anyone who is not impressed by the lure offers at the checkout and compares the kilo prices will quickly notice the difference. The chocolate bars, sachets of chips and sample packs in particular are more expensive per kilo.
Buying, exchanging or lending of certain goods saves money and increases the use of things that already exist. Less has to be produced and less has to be thrown away. Buy and swap Facebook groups, flea markets and thrift fests are just a few options.
9. The garbage collection
Just think about what it might cost to empty, transport, sort and deposit all of the garbage bins in your house and in every neighbouring house, in every town and village, every single week of your life. How many public garbage bins have to be set up, serviced and emptied in the city? What all the street sweepers cost, who laboriously clean up streets and green spaces? We accept unbelievably high costs for the fact that we no longer have anything to do with our waste. Producing less rubbish and picking up rubbish when it’s lying around can reduce these costs too.
Try implementing some of these costs in your lifestyle and soon you’ll have more money than month, instead of the other way around!