How to Save Money when Buying Sustainable

top down image of feet, jeans, bag and plants

Many people believe that living a more sustainable and eco-friendly lifestyle costs more day-to-day, but with these handy tips you CAN save money and the environment all at the same time. What’s even better is these tips also save you time… time is money, after all.

Take a look at these easy-peasy tips and try to incorporate even one or two into your routine.


Buying in bulk may have more of an initial cost, however bulk buying always saves you money in the long run – not just on the products themselves but from the reduced trips to the shop. These reduced shopping trips means more time to do what you actually want to do.

There’s also the added environmental benefit of less packaging – for example, a bulk pack of 45 toilet rolls will contain less plastic wrapping than five 9-packs, especially if it’s packaged in a cardboard box instead.

Shopping Bags

It’ll come as a shock to no one that plastic bags are bad for the environment. Although they may seem the easier and more convenient choice when popping to the supermarket, there are alternatives!

Plastic bags in the UK are all subject to a government-imposed charge of at least 10p. But let’s face it, finding a 10p carrier bag is less common nowadays, with most shops charging at least 20p. Bringing a reusable bag (even if it’s an old bag for life) will save you money over time. Those 20ps add up!

Reuse older (intact) plastic bags, bags for life, tote bags or even small crates that sit in your trolley and car boot for carrying your shopping. When out-and-about carry a tote bag or foldable carrier bag (they even have ones with a key ring!) in case you pop into a shop.

Don’t forget your reusable produce bags for loose fruit and vegetables. Yes, the plastic ones are free but they are single-use plastic.


I find it so much easier to plan and take my own lunches, drinks and coffee cups to work with me.

16 billion single-use coffee cups are used per year in the UK. I don’t want to contribute to this massive number, so not only do I ensure I have my reusable cup with me, I also use an insulated bottle filled with boiling water to make my hot drinks through the day. This of course saves me a massive amount of money, and I don’t have to spend time looking for a coffee shop (or queueing!)

If you do want to use a coffee shop, remember your reusable cups at the following shops to save money off your next treat:

  • Caffe Nero – double points on the loyalty scheme
  • Costa – double points on the loyalty scheme
  • Starbucks – 25p off (on top of this, they impose a 5p per paper cup charge to put people off using disposable cups.. You’re essentially saving 30p!)
  • Pret a Manger – 50p off
  • Greggs – 20p off
  • LEON – 45p off
  • M&S cafe – 25p off
  • Waitrose – free hot drink (for Waitrose card holders only)
  • Booths – free hot drink 
  • And many more local, independent and chain coffee shops!

Making my own lunches saves me a fortune! It’s even better when I can make lunch from leftovers as there is no extra cost and zero food waste!

You’ll be saving time by not stopping at the shops, which means you can use your lunch break however you want – rather than trekking to the corner shop.

Using your reusable lunch boxes, reusable food wraps and bamboo cutlery means there’s no waste ending up in landfill. No unrecyclable sandwich, salad, crisp or snack bar packets or single-use drink bottles.

Grab a reusable water bottle (or reuse an old bottle) and enjoy free tap water refills using the Refill app, saving you money on bottled water when you’re out and about. Many coffee shops are part of the Refill scheme.

Secondhand Shopping

Fast fashion is killing the planet and is often made in unsafe conditions with underpaid, mistreated garment workers. There are so many options for secondhand clothing shopping, so there’s no excuse not to give it a go!

If you support your local charity shops, you’re helping out local charities, doing good for your community economy and getting a bargain! Staying local means less trips out in the car, and not having to pay delivery fees on online items.

Some charity shops get deliveries of “seconds”, or surplus items, so you’re getting brand-new clothes straight from the high street at a fraction of the price. Have a good look around and find a treasure!

young woman in a white dress posing next to shop window display

Buying secondhand clothes online has come a long way since eBay. There are specialist apps/websites for selling and buying secondhand clothing such as Vinted or Depop. Grab your phone and scroll through the secondhand treasures online rather than looking for a parking space in the busy city centre, paying a few quid for parking and trudging from store to store.

Dig a little deeper and find sites for renting clothes! Perfect for a wedding or special occasion, rentals means you don’t have to buy a new outfit for a special occasion such as a wedding or graduation that you know you’ll only wear once!

Circular or slow fashion is the way to go to help the environment.

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