Tips for a greener wallet and planet

You don’t have to spend more to do good. In fact, taking steps to support the health of our planet will make your wallet healthier, too! Here are 20 easy tips that help protect our natural resources while also putting extra cash in your pocket — giving a whole new meaning to the phrase “go green.”

  1. Give new life to worn out items. Instead of throwing out old, tired-looking furniture and buying new, look for ways to refurbish them. Think slip covers on sofas, repainting a bookshelf, or applying a vintage distressed look to a chair. Need inspiration? Look online for DIY ideas, like these.
  2. Line dry your clothes. Spring and summer are great seasons to do more outdoors — and that includes laundry! Skip the dryer and set up a drying rack or clothes line outside to save money on energy. Bonus: Your clothes will smell naturally fresh!
  3. Repurpose mail and used paper: If there’s blank space, it’s usable! Envelopes make great grocery shopping lists (you can even stick coupons inside), while used computer paper can be flipped over and used again.
  4. Avoid idling your car. Contrary to popular belief, it actually uses less gas to turn your engine off and restart it compared to idling for as little as 30 seconds!
  5. Use less water. Inexpensive home upgrades like sink aerators and low-flow showerheads can greatly reduce the water you use and the dollar amount on your water bill.
  6. Borrow instead of buying. Like to read? Instead of buying books, visit your local public library where you can borrow hard copies, audio recordings, and e-books for free! If you have to buy, buy used.
  7. Clear off your bookshelf. Speaking of used books … there are plenty of opportunities to make money on your pre-loved books, CDs, and DVDs. Dust them off and sell them online through websites such as Decluttr, AbeBooks or Amazon.
  8. Ditch the disposable. Use refillable, reusable coffee mugs, water bottles, and dishes whenever you can. Buying single-use plastic water bottles adds up in cost — and adds significantly to water and land pollution. Bonus: Many coffee shops, including big chains like Starbucks, will give you a discount on your order if you supply your own refillable cup.
  9. Sell your tech. From smart phones and tablets to gaming consoles and fitness monitoring devices, your unwanted tech can earn you cash. SellCell compares prices from leading used tech buyers, offers you the best available deal, then tells you where to mail in your device.
  10. Turn scrap to cash. Scrap metal, that is … Scrap Metal Buyers will buy your unwanted metal, including old appliances, car batteries, computer parts, tools, and more.
  11. Clean out your closets. As the saying goes, one person’s trash is another’s treasure. Sell or trade unwanted clothing and home décor items on resale websites like Poshmark and ThredUp. Or work with a local consignment shop.
  12. Pass on the pricey price tags. When you need new clothes, save money by buying used at a local thrift store or shop online on second-hand websites like Swap.
  13. Bring your own grocery bags. At many stores, you’ll earn a discount or eliminate the surcharge by saying “no” to store-provided paper or plastic bags.
  14. Plant a garden. Fresh vegetables that you harvest yourself are cheaper and taste better, too! If you’re new to gardening, start small — try container gardening with easy-care plants like basil, peas, tomatoes, and lettuce.
  15. Wash your clothes in cold water. When using detergent designed for cold water, they’ll get just as clean but without the extra cost of heating water.
  16. Switch to LED light bulbs. While these bulbs cost more upfront, they can save you hundreds or even thousands of dollars over their lifespan — and they can last up to 10 years! Watch for sales and gradually replace the bulbs in your home.
  17. Reimagine uses for ordinary items. Large plastic water or juice bottles make great watering cans for outdoor flowers. After you’ve emptied your rice or pretzel rod container, it can live on as a sugar, flour, or dry dog food canister. Think creatively — the possibilities are endless!
  18. Make your own cleaning solutions. Homemade cleaners using basic ingredients like vinegar, baking soda, and lemons work great, cost less, and are better for the environment. Check out these DIY recipes.
  19. Reach for rags, not paper towels. Use old rags or dish towels to clean up the kitchen instead of paper towels. You’ll be saving money and trees, while keeping paper waste out of landfills.
  20. Unplug. This tip applies to electronics and people! The more you “unplug” and enjoy the outdoors, activities with friends, or a good book, the less electricity you’re using. Likewise, unplugging fully-charged phones, powered-off computers, and TVs when not in use will reduce your electricity spend.


“40 Ways to Save Money by Going Green,” Small Footprint Family (
“How to responsibly get rid of the stuff you’ve decluttered,” Barbara Krasnoff, The Verge (, January 10, 2020.
“Minimalist Lifestyle: Get Paid to Recycle While Saving the Earth and Your Wallet,” Intuit Mint Life (, September 30, 2020 (updated July 6, 2022).
“Reduce, Reuse and Recycle: 11 Earth-Friendly Ways to Save Money,” Ami Spencer Youngs, The Penny Hoarder (, May 19, 2017.
“These Are Everyday Items That You Can Recycle for Money,” JoEllen Schilke and Kristen Pope, The Penny Hoarder (, January 12, 2023.
“Tips to Save Money And The Planet,” Nicole Lapin, Forbes (, October 12, 2021.