15 Simple Ways to Live Waste-Free and Save Money in the Process

The idea of cutting down on waste may seem to some like a massive undertaking. But it actually is quite easy to do — and can save you and your family money in the process! With help from $ix Dollar Family, here are 15 simple ways to live waste-free and save money in the process. (We had never heard the tip on page 13 before, but we’re very intrigued!)

1. Buy reusable glass bottles

Glass bottles | Ryan McVay/ iStock/ Getty Images

Just getting started with cutting down on waste? One good way to start is to stock up on reusable glass bottles to put all of your liquids into in favor of buying plastic disposable ones. $ix Dollar Family recommends starting with this glass bottle from Amazon.

Next: One of the best ways to cut down on food waste …

2. Create your own compost

Composting container | curtoicurto/ iStock/ Getty Images

What better way to up your gardening game than to reintroduce your food scraps into your fertilizer? “If you aren’t currently composting, learning how to start a compost pile isn’t hard and is well worth the time,” $ix Dollar Family says. “Our compost pile saves us both time and money and generally helps us to have a larger, more bountiful harvest each year.”

Next: A delicious way to cut both waste and cost …

3. Save your bacon grease

Bacon slice being cooked in frying pan. Close up.

You’ve probably considered saving bacon grease for making specific recipes. But it actually serves as a great flavor enhancer for many foods. Straining it into a mason jar, as $ix Dollar Family suggests, and storing it keeps all that grease from going down the drain and saves you the hassle of buying cooking oil later on.

Next: You may have tried this before …

4. Use meat bones to make your own stock

Leftover chicken wing bones | nortonrsx/ iStock/ Getty Images

This doesn’t just work for chicken bones, either. Beef and pork bones can also be used to make stock, saving the time and money you could be spending going to grocery store to buy pre-made stock. $ix Dollar family takes it a step further, too, and recommends rendering the meat fat into lard.

Next: A great potential money-saver …

5. Old t-shirts can become rope toys for dogs

Rope toy | Cicy/ iStock/ Getty Images

Knotting your raggedy old t-shirts into rope toys for your pooch achieves multiple things. It cuts down on discarding old clothing, saves you the money that could be spent on expensive store-bought toys, and most importantly, keeps you dog entertained.

Next: A sweet-smelling trick that saves both money and waste …

6. Citrus peels can make potpourri

Peeling a tangerine | Greentellect_Studio/ iStock/ Getty Images

Don’t want to put your citrus peels into compost? They can also be used to make potpourri. And best of all, all it takes is owning a medium-sized saucepan and a couple of ingredients. $ix Dollar Family is a fan of this homemade potpourri recipe.

Next: Speaking of fruits …

7. Apple scraps can become apple cider vinegar

Apple core | lucielang/ iStock/ Getty Images

Love apple cider vinegar, but hate how expensive it is? This waste-cutting tip is definitely for you. According to The Praire Homestead’s recipe, all you need is some sugar and water to create your apple cider vinegar concoction, then two to four weeks to let it settle.

Next: A great alternative to throwing it all away …

8. Turn stale bread into breadcrumbs

Loaf of bread | orinoco-art/ iStock/ Getty Images

Have a French loaf that is rapidly losing its freshness? $ix Dollar Family recommends accumulating the heels of bread loaves in the freezer so they don’t completely lose their freshness, and then putting them through a coffee grinder with your choice of seasoning.

Next: More ways to make your home smell good without spending …

9. Lemon rind can become cleaner

Lemon peel | ValentynVolkov/ iStock/ Getty Images

Most household cleaners are lemon-scented anyways, right? So why not make your own with your leftover lemon peels? Consider using this homemade cleaner recipe from SimpleBites.net — it’s super easy to follow and will save you money on cleaning supplies.

Next: What a great way to up-cycle your old jeans …

10. Old denim can be made into bags

Jeans | ollinka/ iStock/ Getty Images

Instead of throwing away those worn-out jeans the second they become unwearable, consider putting that denim to use in other ways. $ix Dollar Family has found a couple uses for old jeans, including turning them into sturdy reusable bags. (More on those in just a minute.)

Next: Speaking of recycling clothing …

11. Turn old shirts into cleaning rags

Crumpled stripe button-down shirt | Evgeniy Skripnichenko/ iStock/ Getty Images

What’s the point of spending all that money on rags if they’re just going to get gross anyways? Save yourself that headache and, instead, start using old throw-away shirts as cleaning towels. Pair those towels with your homemade cleaner, and you have a waste-free cleaning combo!

Next: Here’s an interesting idea …

12. Upcycle empty bottles for storage

Bottles and scattered change | Canonmark/ iStock/ Getty Images

Reusable glass bottles aren’t just good for storing liquids. They can also serve as storage. “Another way we use them is to use them as traveling safes,” $ix Dollar Family says. “Most have openings wide enough to hold small items such as cash or jewelry and since the average person won’t look twice at a bottle of sunscreen or shampoo, our items are kept a bit safer when we’re traveling.”

Next: This is very intriguing …

13. Turn milk jugs into lunch boxes

Gallon of milk | CrackerClips/ iStock/ Getty Images

$ix Dollar Family found this amazing idea: Clean out your empty milk jugs and get your arts-and-crafts on turning it into a lunch pale. Not only does this cut the cost of buying over-priced lunch boxes for your kids, but it’s also a surefire conversation-starter!

Next: If you aren’t doing this already …

14. Invest in reusable bags

Eco-cotton bags | Bogdan Kurylo/ iStock/ Getty Images

And on the off-chance you forget your reusable bags at home and have to purchase one, you can reuse that as well. “Plastic bags get used as trash bags in our bathrooms and paper ones get composted as long as they don’t have too much colored ink on them,” $ix Dollar Family says.

Next: Last but not least …

15. Turn unused books into safes

Old stacked books | artisteer/ iStock/ Getty Images

This may sound like something out of a mystery novel, but it’s a pretty smart and innovative way to store your belongings. Instead of tossing your old book for storage, hollow them out and keep your belongings in them.

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