Five Ways to Save Money, Help Environment

A great deal of my recent blog posts have touched on the importance of financial freedom, especially so for my peers in the their early to mid 20’s. Increasing savings accounts and decreasing unnecessary or excess expenses. Last week on a few of my social media platforms I highlighted a few ways to document spending in order to effectively budget and determine where most of our income is going. This week I wanted to give a few tips and tricks on how to not only save money, but also be a little kinder to our environment.


1. Stop using plastic bags, go canvas 

Several retailers have “BYOB” policies or “bring your own bag.” Not only are these BYOB policies helping use reduce the amount of plastic that winds up in landfills or our oceans, we can also save money! Below find a list of retail stores that have BYOB incentive programs.

Target – earn a $0.05 discount for every reusable bag you bring in (no bag number limit).

Whole Foods – earn a $0.10 discount with every reusable bag you bring in (no bag number limit).

Trader Joe’s – earn a $.05 discount per reusable bag you bring in. Some Trader Joe’s stores even offer one entry into a weekly raffle for a $25 Trader Joe’s gift card each time you shop with reusable bags. Offers vary by store (no bag number limit).

Kroger (Ralphs, Fred Meyer, Tom Thumb, Harris Teeter King Scoopers, QRC, Fry’s and others) – earn 5 fuel points for every reusable bag you bring in to use (10 bag limit per shopping trip). Some locations offer a $.04 discount off your final purchase total.

Lowe’s Foods – earn $.05 for every reusable bag you bring in (limit 20 bags).

Brookshire’s – earn $.05 discount per bag you bring in (no bag number limit).

Foodland – earn $.05 discount per bag you bring in (no bag number limit).

Reasor’s Foods – earn a $.06 discount per bag (no bag number limit).


2. Avoid beauty or health products with microbeads (often used for exfoliation)

First, take a few minutes to watch this brief documentary. At just 0.3mm in size, the tiny microbeads in your facial scrub are doing more bad than good. Eliminating these products from your beauty regime will not only help our environment, but make you more savvy on products that are all natural and use no sort of microbeads or plastics. Below are a few examples of commonly used products that contain microbeads.


On the contrary, all natural beauty or health products are not only good for the environment (and your skin), but also can be less expensive and have a longer shelf life due to the use of natural ingredients.

3. Shop at Lush, save five black pots, get a free fresh face mask.

Totally the gift that keeps on giving! Outside of Lush being one of the best places to find beauty and health products that are vegan or vegetarian (Yes, I am a little biased because I work there), they have some great incentive programs that help your pockets and the environment. If you bring back five clean, black Lush pots for recycling you will get a free fresh face mask (valued at $9.95 and up)


Lush also encourages the use of canvas bags and does not offer plastic in store.

4. Buy, sell or trade used clothing

For many the idea of buying clothing that’s not new is absurd, yet what do you think the environmental implications of throwing out old clothing are? Click here to find out why you should never throw old clothes in the trash.

Moroever, a great way to make some extra money is to sell clothing that no longer fits your fashion needs. Buy, sell, trade (BST) stores may vary by location, but a few commonly known stores (in person and online) are Plato’s Closet, Style Encore, Scout Dry Goods and Trade, TradeUp, Poshmark, or even eBay!


Supporting local stores is also a great way to add stylish pieces to your wardrobe and supporting the local economy.

5. AVOID fast fashion, I’m begging you

This is a tough one because at the root fast fashion is cheaper, this is what makes stores like Forever 21, H&M and so on appealing. You can go in find a cheap outfit and not feel too guilty about spending money, yet fashion fashion is absolutely destroying out planet and in the long run your pockets/our economy via the elimination of jobs.

According to a 2013 report, the global apparel industry produced 150 billion garments in 2010, enough to provide 20 new articles of clothing for every person on the planet. And it’s only gotten worse since then. Today, the fashion industry is the second most polluting industry on earth. The major issue is right now is that we don’t keep our clothes. And the amount of clothing production needed to meet our new level of demand creates a wealth of both environmental and human rights issues. For most people to be able buy a new wardrobe every year, clothes need to be cheap. And that’s where the problems start.

Also, in order to sustain fast fashion demand, natural fibers have largely been substituted for synthetic ones, i.e. plastics, i.e. fabrics made from oil. According to the article in Fast Company, oil-based polyester has now replaced cotton as the number one fiber in our clothing. And then, just to add to this ongoing environmental clusterfuck, there’s the issue of shipping, which both consumes non-renewable energy sources (oil) and adds more pollution into the environment.While brands like H&M try to soothe our consciences by launching celebrity-hyped recycling campaigns, the simple fact is that such moves will do little to help the clean up the planet. After all, you’re probably going to buy new clothes to replace the ones you just recycled.

So, I get that this is a tough one, but do your best to be a conscience shopper. While a $6 skirt or $15 pair of jeans may be appealing ask yourself a few questions before heading to the check out:

  1. will it last longer than season? 
  2. do I really need it?
  3. what are the environmental implications of this purchase? 


As always,

Devin J.

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