5 Ways to Live Green on a Budget

Photo of potted herbs

Polling shows that 55% of consumers are willing to pay more for products and services from companies committed to sustainability. But living greener doesn't have to drain your wallet. Here are some tips for affordably reducing your impact on the environment.

1. Save on gas.
We all know that driving less and carpooling saves money and helps the environment. Here's a tip you don't hear as often: clean out your trunk. An extra 100 pounds in your vehicle can reduce miles per gallon up to 2%.

2. Grow your own produce.
Produce travels an estimated 1,500 miles before it's consumed. Growing your own food doesn't only reduce your carbon footprint — it's fresher and will lower your grocery bill. If you don't have a yard (or don't want to put in all the effort required by a garden), start small by growing herbs in planters indoors.

3. Don't toss your unwanted stuff — donate it.
The average American throws away 81 pounds of clothing per year, even though 95% of worn or torn textiles can be reused. By donating your old clothes, furniture, electronics and more to Goodwill, you're sending usable goods to a new home instead of a landfill. (Plus, you get a coupon to use on your next purchase.)



A truck trailer at Goodwill Minnesota HQ is loaded with plastics for recycling.

4. Shop second hand.
What goes into creating a single t-shirt? Water to grow the cotton. Energy to manufacture and transport that shirt to a store or warehouse. Cut your carbon footprint by buying gently used items at Goodwill.

5. Use natural household cleaners.
Vinegar. Baking soda. Lemons. Follow a recipe online to mix up your own household cleaners. It'll reduce chemical exposure and save cash. Bonus tip: make a list of natural cleaning ingredients and stock up next time they're on sale.