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50 easy ways to save the planet | Environment | The Guardian

Science of Success I've been a millennial therapist for 5 years—and this is their No. Matt and his fiancee went from living paycheck-to-paycheck to saving more than half their income. Downsize "Live big in a tiny home," recommends Matt. VIDEO Simple money habits that will help you build wealth in Make It. Negotiate your rent "When we signed our lease, we went through the tried and true process of negotiation to lower the rent, " writes Matt.

Go car-free This may be more feasible for some than others, but if possible, trade in your car for public transportation, a bike or your own two feet. The most important things to do with your money before Cancel underused subscriptions "I would venture to say most people have some type of subscription they barely use," writes Matt.


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Cash Diet. Distinguish "wants" from "needs" Matt and his fiancee saved a couple thousand dollars by cutting back on things like dry cleaning, massages, Starbucks and going to the movies. After all, you can't save until you know where your cash is going when it disappears. Easy ways to make progress with your money on your lunch break. Change your mindset "We stopped a nasty habit we had of reading about great tips and then failing to implement them," Matt writes.

Trending Now. Best of all, the minute counseling sessions are free of charge and come with no obligations. Get started here. Freeze your credit, literally. If you are having trouble controlling your credit card use, but don't want to cut up your credit card in case you need it at some point, freeze your credit card in a bag of water.

Take advantage of your library. More and more libraries are offering e-books, so you don't even need to visit in person. Many libraries are also part of an intra-library loan system where you can borrow anything you want, but that they don't have, for a minimal shipping charge. Just ask. And some libraries allow you to borrow things like tools and sewing machines. Get unadvertised theater ticket discounts. Call, email, or tweet your nearby theater to ask about discount options that are often not well-advertised.

Many theaters offer discounted seats for seniors, students, and young adults, such as pay-your-age or pay-what-you-can programs. Or they'll offer rush discounts of any unsold seats immediately before a show. Volunteer at local festivals. Cultural festivals and events often offer free admission to event volunteers.

Contact the organizers of your favorite event to ask about volunteer opportunities and benefits. Create a family spending limit on gifts. These limits tend to reduce expenditures and be greatly appreciated by family members with less financial flexibility. Plan gift-giving well in advance.

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That will give you time to decide on the most thoughtful gifts, which usually are not the most expensive ones. And if these gifts are products that must be purchased, you will have the opportunity to look for sales. Start saving for college at the baby shower. It's never too soon to start a college savings account for junior. Don't buy cheap clothes for cheap's sake. It sometimes make sense to prioritize quality over price when purchasing clothes for the family. An inexpensive shirt or coat is a poor bargain for older family members if it wears out in less than a year, but could make sense for quickly growing children.

Consider fabric, stitching, washability, and other quality related factors in your selection of clothes. Organize a neighborhood swap meet. Each ticket entitles you to one item from the swap meet. If you contribute six books, you can leave with up to six new-to-you books. If you contribute seven items of clothing, you can leave with up to seven new-to-you items of clothing.

All leftover items are donated. Designate one day a week a "no spend day. Cook at home, and plan out free activities such as game night, watching a movie, or going to the park. Brown bag your lunch. The reason you hear this tip so much is that it works! Save money without sacrificing your lifestyle by taking small steps to reduce your dining budget. Start off with reducing the amount you eat out by just once per month. Plan your meals in advance and stick to a list while grocery shopping.

People who do food shopping with a list, and buy little else, spend much less money than those who decide what to buy when they get to the food market. The annual savings could easily be hundreds of dollars. Shop by unit price. Many grocery stores list a cost per unit of each item, such as the price per ounce or pound. Stick to water. So an easy way to cut down on your restaurant spending without changing your habits too drastically is to skip the beverages, alcoholic and non-alcoholic. Save time and money by doubling the recipe.

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That way you can get two meals out of one and use the ingredients more efficiently with less waste. Aluminum pans of various sizes can be purchased on the cheap, especially when buying bulk, and make freezing and reheating a snap. Don't skimp on preventive healthcare. Routine dental checkups, for example, help prevent fillings, root canals, and dental crowns, which are expensive and no fun. Go generic. Ask your physician if generic prescription drugs are a good option for you. Generic drugs can cost several hundred dollars less to purchase annually than brand-name drugs.

Comparison shop for prescription drugs. Make sure to check out your local pharmacist, supermarkets, wholesale clubs, and mail-order pharmacies. Purchase store brand over-the-counter medications. Store brand medications often cost percent less than nationally advertised brands, but are the exact same formula. The premium you're paying on brand names is for nothing but the marketing.

Take the Pledge

Comparison shop for homeowners insurance. Refinance your mortgage. And, you will accumulate home equity more rapidly, thus increasing your ability to cover large emergency expenditures. Audit your home energy use. Ask your local electric or gas utility for a free or low-cost home energy audit. Keep in mind that a payback period of less than three years, or even five years, usually will save you lots of money in the long-term.

Weatherproof your home. Caulk holes and cracks that let warm air escape in the winter and cold air escape in the summer. Your local hardware store has materials, and quite possibly useful advice, about inexpensively stopping unwanted heat or cooling loss. Keep the sun out.

Keep your blinds or curtains closed during hot summer days. Blocking the sunlight really does help to keep your house cooler. Use less water. Install low-flow showerheads and faucet aerators to reduce your water usage and water costs.


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  • Cut laundry detergent and dryer sheet use in half. The laundry detergent sold today is usually highly concentrated and powerful. Use the smallest suggested amount, and often you can use less than what's on the bottle and still get clean clothes. And tearing your dryer sheets in half gives the same result for half the price. Lower the temperature on your water heater to degrees. For every 10 degree reduction in temperature, you can save up to 5 percent on water heating costs.

    Comparison shop for auto insurance. Invest in car maintenance.

    8 strategies for saving money from a couple that banked $50,000 last year

    Keeping your car engine tuned and its tires inflated to their proper pressure saves money in the long run. Check multiple sites for low airfares. Don't rely on a single airline search engine to show you all inexpensive fares.