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By: AgFed Credit Union

Welcome to AgFed Credit Union's MoneyDig blog! 

Get confident about your personal finances with a number of articles, tips, advice and more.


Affordable Sustainability - 8 Tips for Environmentally Friendly Consumer Choices

 Jan 29, 2024
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As environmental concerns continue to grow, adopting eco-friendly shopping practices has become increasingly popular. By making conscious choices and adjustments in your shopping habits, you can significantly reduce your environmental footprint and contribute to a more sustainable future. It doesn’t have to cost a boatload of money, either. Let’s take a look at eight ways you can shop responsibly without breaking your budget. 

  1. Plan ahead 

One of the best ways to shop sustainably is to plan ahead. This can be as simple as creating comprehensive shopping lists before heading to the store, or as detailed as planning a monthly menu before stocking up on staples and other ingredients. This way, you’ll make fewer trips to the store, instantly reducing your carbon footprint. You’re also more likely to cut down on your impulse purchases when you shop with a list in hand, reducing the chances of food waste and excess packaging. 

  1. Choose eco-friendly brands

Whenever possible, choose products from brands that prioritize sustainability. Look for eco-friendly certifications, such as Fair Trade, USDA Organic or Energy Star, as they signify a commitment to ethical and environmentally responsible practices. Supporting these brands encourages more companies to adopt sustainable production methods.

  1. Buy local produce

When buying produce, opt for local and seasonal fruits and vegetables whenever possible. Locally grown food typically has a smaller carbon footprint because it requires less transportation. Visit farmers’ markets or join a community-supported agriculture (CSA) program that supports local farmers and reduces the environmental impact of your food choices.

  1. Buy in bulk

Buying more of an item you use often will significantly reduce the amount of packaging needed for the product. As a bonus, you’ll usually save time and money when you buy in bulk. Just be careful to only purchase items you use on a constant basis and that you can store or finish up before they expire or get stale.

  1. Invest in reusable shopping bags

Whether your state has already banned plastic shopping bags or not, it’s a good idea to invest in strong, reusable shopping bags. Eco-friendly tote bags will help reduce plastic waste in the environment and you can use them again and again. You’ll also avoid any bag fees your grocery may charge when you bring your own bag.

  1. Prioritize quality

It’s not always advisable to go for the cheaper product. When shopping for goods you hope to enjoy for a long time, prioritize quality over price. Well-made, long-lasting products may have a higher initial cost, but they can save you money in the long term and reduce the overall consumption of resources. Also, consider investing in products that come with warranties and tend to require fewer replacements.

  1. Avoid fast fashion

Fast-fashion brands may offer a vast selection of bargain-priced clothing, but they often rely on cheap labor and unsustainable practices. This is especially true of super-cheap retailers that operate overseas, where there may be very little, if any, oversight. Instead, take your business to fashion brands that use ethical materials and manufacturing processes. Rather than shopping for disposable clothing, invest in high-quality, timeless pieces that can last for years. 

  1. Stay informed

Finally, educate yourself about environmental issues and sustainable practices. Be sure to stay updated on the latest eco-friendly products and technologies and to support legislation and organizations working toward a more sustainable future. By being informed, you can make conscientious choices that align with your values and reduce your environmental impact.

Yes, you can shop responsibly on a budget! Use the tips outlined here to make sustainable shopping choices that don’t drain the wallet. 

Your Turn: How do you shop responsibly on a budget? Share your secrets in the comments.