4 Small Changes to Reduce Waste & Save Money

reduce waste save money

Tips to shrink your environmental footprint and grow your wallet.

Sometimes it's hard to do the right thing. If you've ever felt like you need to sacrifice to make the best call, you're not alone. Doing good doesn't always have to be a struggle, though. Taking steps to minimize your waste can help you maximize your bank account. Save the earth, save money. It can be that simple! Here are four ways you can reduce your waste and keep some more money in your own pocket.

1. Carry a cup. 

Do you like paying a 300x markup? Then keep buying bottled water! If, however, you'd like to keep a little more of your hard-earned cash from going down the drain, start carrying a reusable water bottle. On average, bottled water costs $1.22 per gallon. From the tap, it's just $.004 cents a gallon. Skip the pesky plastic and save! Plus, you won't be contributing to America's plastic bottle waste problem. 

2. Tote a travel mug. 

Similarly, bringing something for your hot drinks can help you go green and save green. Did you know that to-go coffee cups aren't recyclable? I didn't either! Turns out, separating the inner plastic liner from the surrounding paper is a serious challenge. Companies are trying to come up with solutions but, in the meantime, you can lend a hand. Bring a travel mug with you and you can enjoy your hot drink guilt-free! What's more, some coffee shops will give you a discount for using a waste-free cup. Starbucks, for example, will take $.10 off your drink if you get it in one of their for-here mugs. 

3. Skip straws. 

Admittedly, skipping the plastic straw in your drinks probably isn't going to save you big bucks. But if you like the ocean, you may want to think about forgoing that little tube of plastic. Straws impact the ocean so significantly that activists have declared a National Skip the Straw Day. (We just missed it at the end of February). Whether you skip the straw for a day or for the rest of your life, you'll be doing your part. And if it helps you skip the unnecessary soda now and again, more power to you and your wallet. 

4. Adjust your thermostat and water heater. 

You might be surprised how adjusting two little dials in your house can help you save big. For every degree you set your thermostat above 78 degrees F in the summer, you can save as much as 8 percent on your utility bill. Keeping it below 68 degrees F in the winter will similarly help you save. Here's a handy guide to help you optimize your HVAC to save money and energy.

Adjusting your water heater can help you keep more money in your pocket, too. While many water heaters recommend a setting of 140 degrees F, your household probably doesn't need water hot enough to scald. Turning it down to 120 degrees F can help you save over 20 percent each year! Energy.gov has this useful how-to article for dialing in the best water heater temperature. 

These are just a few tips to help you save energy and money, but don't stop here! With a little consciousness and creativity, you can find tons of tiny hacks to reduce your waste and grow your bank account.