Sustainability has been defined by Leslie Paul Thiele as “meeting current needs in a way that does not undermine future welfare.” Environmental sustainability has been seen as a rather expensive practice – and it’s not an unreasonable view! Studies show that the higher prices of environmentally friendly products were considered a barrier towards going green. However, we must understand that sustainability is not only about buying green: there are budget-conscious sustainable practices that everyone can implement in their lives!  

Below, I have gathered three simple practices to help you embark on the journey of saving the planet, while also taking care of your budget!  

1. Plan your meals 

Household food waste is a real current issue, contributing towards 53 percent of the global amount of waste. In fact, The Netherlands is the country with the biggest food waste in Europe, with 541kg per person in a year, followed by Belgium, with 345kg! For every ten euros you spend on groceries, four are thrown into the trash! How can this be prevented…by meal planning! 

Before going to your local supermarket, write down what you intend to eat for the next 3-4 days, list the needed ingredients, check what you already have at home and go shopping! Oh, and don’t forget to bring your own reusable bag! Meal planning prevents you from buying unnecessary items and it will surely make a positive difference in your budget. With this method, you only need to go shopping twice a week, so you also save time and effort! 

Looking for delicious recipes for your meal planning? Check Kitchen Stories, a highly-rated cooking app suited for beginners and more talented people alike!  

Do you have some leftover ingredients and don’t know what to make out of them? Tasty is a cooking app that offers an option to find recipes based on what you already have at home! 

Check it out here for Apple and here for Android!

2. Make your own universal cleaning product 

A quick trip to the cleaning sector of a grocery store will present you with products targeted for every different section of your house. Household items, such as sprays for cleaning kitchen surfaces, others for floors, some for disinfecting your bathroom, fill up the supermarket shelves. Don’t be fooled however, as you don’t need all that! One DIY universal cleaning product will keep your house nice and clean. Furthermore, studies have shown that many common household chemicals, found in cleaning products, pose a major risk to human health. For example, the regular use of such products can as much as double the incidence of asthma and respiratory problems.  

Go green and make your own cleaning products with natural ingredients at home! 

Check this link for a 4-ingredients multi-surface recipe: 

If you prefer having your cleaning products tailored for certain surfaces of your home, this YouTube video presents 20 DYI natural cleaning recipes: 

3. Repair, don't replace!

Remember that pair of old jeans you stained and decided to throw away, along with all the memories they held? Probably a colourful patch sewn on the stain would have been enough to bring them back to life! So why not think more about repairing instead of replacing?  

Of course, a lot of household items break and probably nobody could fix them all. However, the internet is a wonderful place for finding tips and tricks for most problems of this sort. If you still cannot work it out, ask for help! Maybe your neighbors will be happy to help you fix your broken kettle, or the nice old lady next door would love to sew the hole in your sweater. Practice gratitude – is your homemade carrot cake better than any store-bought one? Then offer them something back! 

If there is truly no way to fix your item, think about upcycling! Also known as creative reuse, upcycling is the practice of repurposing items by transforming them into new products with a higher perceived quality. A t-shirt can be made into a trendy pillowcase and candle jars can become your new pen holders!   

Follow Upcyclethat on Instagram for more ideas about repurposing your unwanted items!