How Going Zero-Waste Can Improve Your Finances

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going zero-wasteHave you ever thought about going zero-waste? The zero-waste lifestyle may sound a bit hippie and a hard lifestyle to obtain, but it’s easier to do than people think. Not only is the zero-waste lifestyle growing in popularity, but it’s also looked at as a great way to improve your finances. Here are the top 5 ways that going zero-waste helps you financially (while helping to save the planet).

How Going Zero-Waste Can Improve Your Finances

This post has been written by our talented staff writer, Kimberly Studdard.

1) Simplifies Your Life

Think about how many clothes, shoes, and accessories you have. Now, think about how many cleaning products you have. Last but not least, think about how much trash you’ve thrown away in the last week. It’s most likely staggering. You may have clothes that you haven’t worn in 10 years. You may have dozens of cleaning products, with only 4 that you use on a regular basis. And, your trash may be overflowing right now.

Going zero-waste not only helps the environment, but it also helps you simplify your life. And when your life isn’t so crazy, you’re able to enjoy more and spend less. Instead of spending hundreds on clothes and cleaning supplies, you’ll know exactly what to wear and use simple cleaning items (like vinegar) to get the cleaning job done. And who doesn’t love a simpler, less cluttered life?

2) Saves You Time

How many times do you go to the grocery store? How often do you “lose” something, only to find it later in your junk drawer after you’ve ran out and bought a duplicate? When going zero-waste, everything has a purpose and many items serve multiple purposes.

  • You’re less likely to waste food, which means fewer trips to the grocery store.
  • You’re less likely to lose items, which means less time searching or running out to replace something.

So much time is wasted in society because we are go, go, go, for reasons that many of us don’t even understand.

Going zero-waste means that you:

  1. know what you have,
  2. you know what to do with it, and
  3. you are spending less time focusing on things that don’t really matter anyways.

Boom. Sounds like a no-brainer to me!

Related: What’s Your Spare Time Actually Worth?

3) Saves Money In The Long Run

One of the biggest objections I see from people when they first start going zero-waste is that the lifestyle is expensive. You start thinking that you have to buy a reusable water bottle, a ton of mason jars, and other random tidbits that means more money out of your pocket. So why would you want to go zero-waste if it costs more money up front?

Easy, it saves you money in the long run.

This lifestyle isn’t something that is perfected over a short period of time. It starts with something easy, like buying a reusable water bottle. Sure, a reusable water bottle may cost you $10, but it will save you at least $2+ dollars every week from buying disposable water bottles from the store. That $10 is easily saved over the course of just a few weeks, and because many reusable bottles last for years, just think about that overall savings (likely hundreds of dollars)!

  • You can also save money going zero-waste by using towels instead of paper towels (the average American spends over $800/year on household items).
  • For us women, using a Diva Cup (or another reusable alternative) can save thousands of dollars on personal hygiene products.
  • And let’s not forget about all of the money you can save by not purchasing foil, plastic bags, and trash bags!

When looking at the long-term benefit, going zero-waste definitely saves you money. So, if you’re serious about the zero-waste movement, don’t be afraid of the up-front costs. You WILL ultimately save money!

Related: 10 Extreme Tips to Cut Your Expenses in Half

4) Increases Mindfulness

When going zero-waste, you’re also increasing your mindfulness. Shopping becomes a fun game of “Do I really need this?”.

When you start realizing what’s important, and what can be left behind, you’re able to keep more money in your pocket. Plus, this helps you become aware of what you’re doing with your hard earned money. Who wants to waste money on shoes that are going to break down after only a month or two? You might as well invest in a pair that will last you years. Who wants to pay for a pre-made salad when you can buy a couple of bags of lettuce and veggies and make salads for the next week or two?

Keep your brain thinking like this, and it might even make you a happier person in the long-term. (Mindfulness often does that. ;))

5) Helps You Say No

The zero-waste lifestyle is all about abundance, but society hasn’t really caught up just yet (although businesses like Starbucks and McDonalds are trying!). Going zero-waste will also teach you to say no, which in return can improve your finances.

When you don’t want to create more waste, you’re:

  • less likely to go out to eat,
  • drive your car for an unnecessary trip, or
  • buy a bunch of items you don’t need.

Saying no not only helps the planet, but it helps you see what you value and how to keep more money in your bank account. Why spend $20 on lunch out with friends when you have food at home? You can say no to eating out, and instead invite your friends over for lots of good zero-waste food  and some catching up.

Going Zero-Waste – Are You Ready to Try the Movement?

Going zero-waste doesn’t have to be hard, and it can certainly save you a lot of time, money, and energy. What could you do when you have

  • more time on your hands,
  • more money in your pocket, and
  • peace of mind?

I think it’s time that you get in on the movement. I mean c’mon, what’s the downside?

Are you ready to start going zero-waste?

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4 comments to How Going Zero-Waste Can Improve Your Finances

  • Liz

    Thank you for this post! Trying for a zero waste life style is so important for the planet. If if seems overwhelming, it helps to know it doesn’t have to be done all at once. For example, this month you can buy reusable water bottles for the family. Next month you can quire rags to use in place of paper towels.

    Also, it seems to create a beneficial circle that helps financially. For example, I saved a bunch of money on garden soil and supplements by composting. This, in turn, led me to growing more vegetables which saves money on groceries. This led to healthier eating, which I hope will save money on medical bills down the road.

  • With saving money and limit expenses as our aim, in 2013-14 we implemented the KonMari method in our house. We threw out all the stuff that we decided we didn’t need in the next 6 months. And we have been following that since then and so far, we have saved a few hundred dollars on our monthly budget compared to how it was back in 2012 and before. We put more money into our emergency funds now.

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