There’s no denying that we live in a consumerist society. You see it every day, from the ads on your phone to the items piled high at your local department store. But you don’t need to be part of this problem. The truth is, many people are looking for ways to become more sustainable when it comes to money choices and their spending habits.
While you don’t need to move to the woods and build log cabins with your bare hands, there are plenty of ways to become a sustainable consumer. Here are some tips and tricks on how you can still get what you want while making better choices:
Buy used clothes, furniture, and cars. Buying used goods is a great way to save money and reduce your impact on the environment. The best way to do this is by going shopping at Goodwill or other thrift stores, but you can also find great deals by looking online for people selling small pieces of furniture or clothing items on sites such as Facebook Marketplace, Craigslist, and eBay.
Get second-hand books from libraries and friends or buy them from Amazon Marketplace sellers. If you’re looking for something specific that isn’t available used in your library’s system, try searching Amazon Marketplace sellers who are selling gently used copies of books they no longer want themselves. You might be able to get some awesomely cheap finds this way.
Choose Green Banks
What is green banking? A green bank is a financial institution that specializes in sustainable investing. They tend to focus on environmentally and socially conscious projects, and invest in businesses with commitments to being more eco-conscious.
When you choose green banking, you choose to use credit cards and financial services from a bank with a sustainable focus versus ones that give to oil and gas projects and other non-sustainable industries. Green banks are also known for offering community development loans at low-interest rates, which can be especially helpful if you’re looking to start up a small business but don’t have much cash flow yet.
Repair What Breaks
Not everything that breaks needs to be thrown away. Staying away from the landfill and repairing items rather than throwing them away is a great way to be sustainable. When an item breaks, it can often be repaired in order to keep it out of the trash and usable for you or someone else. It’s easy to learn how to repair things yourself. If you’re handy with tools and have some experience then this could be something fun for you. Even by buying supplies to repair the items, you’ll spend less and contribute less waste by making the fixes.
Bring a Swap Party to Your Neighborhood
If you’re interested in living a more sustainable lifestyle, and you want to bring your neighbors along for the ride, this is an easy way to accomplish that goal. If you’re short on time or resources, feel free to ask them to help you prepare. A swap party can help you get rid of things you no longer need while gaining a few new things that you do need.
Use Fewer Resources
People spend a lot of money on energy and gas costs. Making changes that are sustainable means that you consciously use fewer resources. There are many ways to reduce your environmental footprint and make your life more sustainable. This can be done through a variety of methods, including using less energy, and water, reducing packaging for products and food, and recycling materials when possible.
The supply chain has a lot of waste built into it. Things that are shipped from all over the world use more resources than your sellers from around the block. Buying locally is an easy way to contribute to the sustainability of your community.
Buy food grown in your area. You can find farmers’ markets, town-wide festivals, and stands at grocery stores that sell locally produced food. Buy products made by people who live near you. When possible, choose items that are created with fair labor practices, such as from Fair Trade companies or certified organic brands. Support local businesses that provide services like accounting or moving companies instead of large conglomerates with headquarters outside of town.
Hold Businesses Accountable
Be a good customer and hold businesses accountable. The best way to ensure that your dollar is going toward sustainable practices is by choosing the products that aren’t contributing to the problem. This means avoiding products or services from companies who engage in environmentally damaging practices, such as fossil fuel extraction or factory farming, and instead supporting those who are working toward a more sustainable planet.