14 Easy Steps to Save Money with Zero Waste Part 2

  • Less fast food & more food prep 

An estimation is that the typical American spends about $1,200 on fast food annually. That is around $100 a month and approximately $12.50 spent per meal. 

Eating fast food less frequently offers many benefits – you save money, eat much healthier, and reduce trash from packaged food. Here are some ideas that will help you to save money:

  • Farmers’ markets – By buying your food from there, you will support your local farmers and have a great choice of fresh veggies and fruits. 
  • Bulk shops – Buying in bulk is often much cheaper. You can get grains, seeds, nuts, spices, and other staple foods there. 
  • Meal prep – Start bringing your lunch with you instead of eating out.
  • Store food properly – In the US and Canada, around 40 percent of wasted food is thrown out by consumers. Always try to empty your fridge before filling it out and learn how to store veggies & fruits properly to keep them fresh for longer.
  • Buy fewer packaged snacks & sweets 

The average annual amount for packed snacks is $570 per year ($47 a month) for: 

  • Sugar and sweets – $143 
  • Cookies – $49 
  • Other bakery products – $165 
  • Ice cream – $59 
  • Potato chips and other snacks – $115 
  • Crackers – $39 

These snacks come in plastic packaging and are filled with refined sugars, fats, palm oil, additives, etc. To save up & eat better, you can make easy and delicious, wholesome treats, like fudgy brownies, healthy cupcakes, caramel fudge, chocolate chip cookies, etc. You can use more nutritious ingredients without compromising the taste.

  • Buy second-hand clothes


A statistic for 2017 found that, on average, all this impulsive shopping equates to about $152 per month. So, for a year, that is approximately $1,833. 

The worst part is that most of these clothing pieces lay untouched in the wardrobe. Additionally, a massive amount of clothing is disposed of within a year of production, ending in a landfill.

Some ideas to avoid wasting money on unsustainable fashion:

  • Second-hand shopping – A great affordable way to save clothing items from going to landfills. Check my article with the best online thrift stores worldwide.
  • Clothing swap – You can organize a clothing swap with friends. Ask each of them to bring clothes they don’t wear and have some fun by switching your clothing.
  • Sustainable clothing brands – Most sustainable clothing brands are expensive, but there are some affordable options, too. The point of slow fashion is to spend more for better quality but less frequently.  
  • Sell unwanted clothing – Another great way to eliminate clothes you don’t wear. In that way, you can return some of your money, too.
  • Ditch plastic razors 
  • Disposable razors are designed for one-time or short-term use. According to a report, 163 million consumers in the US used disposable razors in 2018.
  • Now, let’s quickly calculate. 4 Gilette disposable razor blades cost $5.97 ($1.49 each). They can last between 3-10 shaves. Of course, it’s hard to guess or be precise, but let’s say you shave 2-3 times a week. 
  • Usually, the best indicator to replace a disposable razor is when the blades feel dull, but it is recommended to use one disposable razor for not more than 2 weeks. 
  • So, for a month, that’s around 2 or 3 disposable razor blades. For a year (if one is $1.49), that’s between $35.76 – $53.64. 
  • Additionally, it doesn’t make sense to keep using single-use razors because they create a lot of waste and are challenging to recycle since they contain mixed materials (plastic, silicone, steel). 
  • To save money & prevent waste, you can get yourself a stainless-steel safety razor & razor blade. It costs between $20-$40, and the replacement blades are super cheap – a pack of 100 is usually less than $10.  If you feel intimidated to use it – it is not that big of a deal and you can check on-line to safety use one.
  • Get recycled toilet paper 

Saving paper is a common eco-friendly step, but have you ever considered your toilet paper usage? The truth is that we cut A LOT of trees to make toilet paper. 

It is estimated that Americans use around 2-3 toilet paper rolls per week. Let’s make a quick calculation with two rolls per week:

2 rolls per week = 104 rolls a year 

For a year, you will need 13 packs of 8 rolls like this one. A pack costs $16.69, so 13×16.69= $216 for 1 year. 

That number can go up since we often use toilet paper for other purposes, such as makeup removers, cleaning spills, cleaning mirrors, etc.

The low-waste alternatives will save many trees and resources, plus you can save up some cash –

  • Recycled toilet paper – Who Gives A Crap (48 rolls) or Scott (80 rolls) 
  • Tree-Free toilet paper – Who Gives A Crap (24 or 48 rolls)  
  • Bidet like Tushy, Brondell, or a portable one – It is not only so much more hygienic, but it will also help you to save a lot of toilet paper – up to 50%. 
  • Ditch cigarettes 

The Bureau of Labor Statistics calculated that, on average, tobacco smokers spend around $332 on Tobacco products and smoking supplies. Cigarettes are expensive and dangerous for you & wildlife.

Zero waste steps to save money:

  • Electronic cigarettes ($30-$50) – Not the best solution, but they are better for the environment & your pocket. 
  • Repurpose, reuse, and repair things 

Repurposing, reusing, and repairing items instead of buying new ones can save you a lot of money. It is hard to calculate how much you can save, but it can be anywhere from a few bucks a month to a few hundred dollars a year. Find a few ideas below:

  • Single-use cotton rounds → DIY reusable cotton rounds from an old t-shirt (cut in small squares and keep in a small jar).
  • New fancy jars → Reuse the jars from foods that you buy. 
  • Damaged clothing → Sew the holes or fix the buttons. 
  • Broken electronics → Before throwing it away, try to fix it. Search online and try to find a solution to your problem.
  • Shoes –> You can repair them to a local shoe repairman. 

In summary, this could be your savings (This is just an estimation as prices for goods can vary depending on many factors) for a one year period: