Reusable Water Bottles Save Gen Z $800 a Year, but This Could Save You Even More

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  • From reusable water bottles to growing your own food, saving money can also save the environment.
  • Survey shows that eco-friendly habits could save Americans over $5,000 a year.
  • Other green activities, such as installing solar panels or buying electric vehicles, can come with larger upfront costs.

Adopting eco-friendly habits could save you over $5,000 a year.

There are lots of ways that going green can also push your bank balance further into the green. For example, the U.S. Departure of Agriculture says we waste around a third of all our food, so one way to reduce food spending is to cut the amount you throw away. Other money saving habits include adopting reusable bottles, bags, and coffee cups. Indeed, a recent survey showed that Americans could save over $5,000 per year by embracing more sustainable habits.

This one eco-friendly habit could save you over $1,000

Consumer Affairs spoke to people from various generations to get a better understanding of their attitudes toward the environment and how those views impacted their spending. Millennials and Gen Z were the most eco-conscious -- over 70% say they are concerned about the environment, compared to 53% of Gen X and 55% of baby boomers.

Gen Z saves over $800 per year by using reusable water bottles. Across the generations, reusing water bottles saved respondents an average of $684 annually. Shopping for secondhand clothing and furniture could save you even more. According to the report, respondents saved an average of $1,040 per year by buying pre-loved items.

There are a lot of ways to buy secondhand items -- whether it's stopping by a local thrift store, a growing number of secondhand online stores, or participating in a clothes swap. The big advantage of online stores is that you can easily search for clothes in your size or find specific pieces of furniture. That said, if you go in person, you'll get a better idea of quality and can try things on.

Eco-friendly money habits highlighted in the report include:

Activity Average annual saving
Reusable water bottles $684
Reusable coffee cups $562
Reusable grocery bags $471
Growing own food $821
Reusable paper towels $660
Shopping for secondhand clothes and furniture $1,040
Composting $559
Plastic-free packaging/containers $482
Total $5,279
Data source: Consumer Affairs survey.

Over three-quarters of Americans said they planned to both reduce waste and reduce their plastic consumption to help the environment. A less-popular option was to cut gas usage, something that 56% of people planned to do.

Green living can also be costly

Behavior that involves reducing consumption or reusing certain items can often help the planet as well as your bank account. However, other eco-friendly activities aren't as good for your bottom line. For example, solar panels can lower your energy bill and carbon footprint and pay for themselves over time. However, the installation and maintenance can be expensive.

Similarly, the average purchase price of an electric vehicle is higher than that of other cars. In some circumstances, it may be possible to offset some of the cost against national or state tax credits. Nonetheless, it could take several years for the lower fuel costs to cover the difference, even with the recent spike in gas prices.

If you're considering adopting more eco-friendly options for ideological reasons, think about how much you're realistically able to spend, and where those savings might come from. It might be that you put the cash you save from reusing, upcycling, and cutting waste toward more climate friendly power or transport.

If you're going green purely for financial reasons, you'll find a lot of crossover between money-saving ideas and eco-friendly ideas. We calculated that adopting all of the eco-habits mentioned in the Consumer Affairs survey could save an average of $440 a month. That's almost 9% of the average American's monthly spending. It could go a long way to offsetting increasing living costs.

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