Our family is frugal. Living an inexpensive lifestyle has always been a part of our process for saving money to travel, but over the past year we have taken it to a new level. Our motivation to save money has now become secondary to our motivation to live a green lifestyle.
10 Ways to Save Money to Travel & Save the Planet
1. Eat lower on the food chain.
The simple fact is, meat production has a huge environmental impact and the average North American eats 2-3 times more protein per day than their body needs. Our family now only eats meat on special occasions, if we go out for dinner, or if we eat at someone’s house. Meat is expensive and moving to a plant friendly diet saves us major money on the grocery bill.
2. Re-evaluate your transport options.
In some places being a car free family is easily doable. But the lack of public transport where we live makes it pretty hard to be car free. We are however, now a one car family. Although not always convenient, it has not been a hard adjustment. Insurance, repairs, and maintenance bills have all been cut in half. And because we are very careful with planning our outings our gas consumption has been drastically reduced.
3. Second hand shopping.
I view second hand shopping as a sport. I absolutely love second hand shopping. Almost all our clothes, toys, games, and household items are purchased second hand. I am sure the savings are in the thousands of dollars and we opt out of the environmentally detrimental consumer mentality.
4. Wash clothes in cold water and hang to dry.
I find hanging my clothes out on the line to be the most zen like “chore” I do. And if you ask me, a towel doesn’t feel clean if it’s not crispy! Your dryer is a huge energy hog so save your money and let the sun do the work for you! And your clothes will be just as clean if they are washed in cold water.
5. Xeriscape your yard.
I dislike grass. Sure its nice to touch and pretty to look at but it is such a stupid plant. To keep it nice you need to use a ridiculous amount of water and most people like to fertilize and weed kill to keep their lawns looking beautiful. We have gone with a low maintenance, no water yard choosing to save our time and money for more important things.
6. Grow a garden.
Our garden is the only place in our yard where we use irrigation and we get fresh veggies all summer long. It’s not a lot of work and it is so satisfying to pick the fruits of your labor and serve them up in a salad. There is nothing more local than your own back yard! I estimate that we save around $200-$300 per year by having a veggie garden.
7. Make your own cleaning products.
Water and vinegar are my trusted cleaners and I now make my own laundry detergent. No phosphates or harsh chemicals are going down my drain and it is so cheap to do!
8. Eat local, freeze food!
Every summer we stock up on our local produce at farmers markets and u-pick farms then we freeze, freeze, freeze. My preferred container for freezing is in glass jars because I am concerned about BPA leaking plastic (just make sure to only fill the jars up 3/4 full). At the end of summer we have our deep freeze full of fruit and vegetables that we will eat all winter long for a fraction of the price of buying fresh or frozen fruits in the winter. It’s all local, and we are supporting local farmers.
9. Conserve Energy.
Turn off your lights, lower your heat a few degrees, take short showers, use your oven sparingly, turn off the air-conditioner and turn on a fan, turn off the TV and read a book…..there are so many ways we can lower our energy bills!
10. Place a greater emphasis on experiences and a lower one on stuff.
Instead of buying that new toy or game for our children we spend time with them. Our best days are days spent as a family doing things that are free! We hike, bike, swim, explore. We go to art galleries and museums on their free days. We frequent the parks and the beaches. We camp in the mountains. Time spent as a family is more important than anything you can buy, and your kids will thank you!
Do you have any other tips on saving money for travel and saving the planet? I’d love to hear them!
This post was inspired by a recent guest post I wrote about reducing our household garbage to one bag per month on Uncommon Childhood.