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Often, being frugal and sustainable while on the go can be the most intimidating.
Often, we don’t want to be perceived as being different. It is tempting to go with the mass ideology and just use the single-use products that are provided for us while out and about.
It can also be difficult to remember to bring your own reusables while out and about. It’s not as convenient to bring reusables, or to take public transit.
These are just some of the reasons why I started the Frugally Sustainable series of posts. We’ll move through every area of life and home to give ideas on how you can not only save money, but also make eco-friendly choices!
If you missed the other posts in the series, you can find them here:
12 Ways to Be Frugally Sustainable in the Kitchen
5 High-Impact Ways to Make Your Wardrobe Frugal and Eco-Friendly
And if you’re looking for more ideas to save money and live sustainably, join our Facebook group here!
1. Bring Your Travel Coffee Cup
Did you know that Starbucks will give you a discount for bringing your own coffee cup? It is only $0.10, but still! Every little bit counts.
Ultimately, though, bringing your own reusable coffee cup is a painless way to help the environment.
Besides, I’m willing to bet you already own a travel coffee cup, which makes this tip pretty easy to implement–at least in some ways!
However, it can be so difficult to remember your travel coffee cup. I often don’t leave the house planning to get take-out coffee–usually, grabbing a cup of joe is an impulse decision. So I don’t always have my travel cup with me!
I’ve found a few solutions for this.
Drink Your Coffee In-House
If you’re not in a rush, sit down at the cafe and enjoy your cup of coffee! Most coffee shops will put your coffee in a mug if you are planning to drink it there, which lets you avoid the takeout cup!
Carry a Hot/Cold Insulated Water Bottle
Insulated water bottles have become incredibly popular in the last few years, and many people don’t realize that they can be used for coffee too!
I’ve definitely poured out my water so I could use my cup for coffee. I personally love my Iron Flask water bottle for this because it actually comes with a separate lid for coffee!
Since I usually have my Iron Flask with me, I just keep the coffee lid in my bag and switch it out whenever I use it for coffee. Super simple, and doesn’t take up much space in my bag.
When I’m done with my coffee, I use the next opportunity to rinse out my water bottle with some soapy water and refill it.
Keep a Travel Mug in the Car
Sometimes, the best way is to just keep a travel mug stowed in your car! A glove box or center console would both be great storage spaces where your mug isn’t likely to get in the way.
The trick is to remember it’s there when you need it, and to remember to replace it after you use it and wash it!
No matter what though, it’s okay to give yourself grace when you forget. We all forget sometimes.
After all, perfection is not the goal here! Progress–any amount of progress–that’s the goal.
2. Bring a Reusable Straw
Reusable straws are fairly small compared to some of the other items on this list, so it’s fairly easy to just throw one in your bag and go. If you want, you could even throw some reusable silverware in your bag too! (I personally don’t, because I have small kids and I’m carrying a thousand pounds anyways).
Of course, not everyone can use reusable straws. So by all means, if you yourself have a disability or you have a child with special needs who requires the use of a disposable straw, then use it! Medical needs must always take higher priority than environmental concerns.
However, many of us–myself included–use straws only for convenience or enjoyment. In which case, I think we should all invest in some reusable straws.
It doesn’t have to be a large investment, either–I have 6 or 7 reusable plastic straws, and 4 kids straws. Start with whichever type of reusable straw is most available to you right now, and you can always try out a different kind later!
3. Carry a Reuseable Water Bottle
Carrying a reusable water bottle is one of the simplest ways to save a great deal of money!
The average cost of bottled water is $1.29 for each disposable bottle of water.
This means that a $25 reusable water bottle pays for itself after only twenty disposable bottles of water!
Tap water is free, of course. But even if you don’t like the taste of your tap water and buy a filter system, your tap water is still cheaper–and less wasteful–than buying bottled water.
4. Carpool or Take Public Transit
Searching out shared transportation options is another way to save plenty of money and help the environment at the same time!
Public transportation isn’t efficient enough in most areas to be the only transportation option. But if you live in a large city that does have extensive public transportation, going without a car entirely would save you quite a bit of money.
However, carpooling is probably a more realistic option for the majority of Americans. You can carpool to work, to school, to kid’s extracurriculars–there are so many options!
If you want to set up a carpool, try talking to the people you already know. Getting to know your neighbors can also be helpful!
Another option is to connect with others through ridesharing.
5. Ride Your Bike or Walk
This is another tip that isn’t necessarily for everyone or for every situation.
However, if you live in a quiet town, this might be an option for you. In that case, it would be worth it to make your life easier by investing in a nice bike, helmet, and bike trailer, or quality walking shoes.
How do you save money and live sustainably while on the go? Let me know in the comments below!