Natural Dividends
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Natural Dividends

Life Hacks That Make an Impact: Saving Money & The Environment

It all started with wanting to save more money and be healthy. Along the way, we started to save the environment.

How often have you been at the store and purchased a bag of bread, a jar of jelly, or strawberries in a plastic container? When you order something off Amazon, and it comes in boxes, little plastic bags, rubber bands, twist ties, bubble wrap, etc., where do these items go? What about the other items you buy daily, food in to-go containers, paper towels, tissues? The list can go on and on.

Most likely in the trash, and then it possibly ends up here:

Photo by Dustan Woodhouse on Unsplash

But then you find yourself going to the store to purchase zip lock bags, rubber bands, food storage, and boxes. You are already receiving all these disposable items indirectly! It seems crazy, right?!

So what is the whole point of another life hack article anyway? Well, I’m Chris Banas, who’s co-founding Natural Dividends with John Humphrey and leading this challenge. We wanted to kick off our launch with some challenges to get you inspired and energized to Increase Nature’s Share in simple, fun ways and maybe save a little money along the way.

Part of our mission at Natural Dividends is to empower individuals to make concise decisions that help Increase Nature's Share. At the same time, the change that is needed today has to happen on many levels (big/small business, political local/federal, and in local neighborhoods). The easiest place to start is in your individual life.

The Challenge: How much money can you save while saving the environment.

What this looks like will be completely up to you! If we were to tell you that you need to live a low-consumption lifestyle just like us, then we would be lying. The fact is trash is still prevalent in our lives and impossible to avoid in society today. But we have started to make a concise effort to decrease the amount of waste we produce each year. We encourage our community to start doing the same thing. Any small gains made today will only pay big dividends down the road, and this will only be compounded as more individuals get involved.

Getting Started:

This is something that can be intimidating, especially if you’ve never embarked on this before, so we’ve also listed some of our own hacks and tips to help get yourself started.

How We Stopped Throwing Things Away:

I live in LA, so it’s easy to go out and hand things out to the homeless. Or I will sell items very cheaply on Craigslist or Nextdoor.

My roommate and I rode our bikes to hand out extra socks to the homeless on Thanksgiving.
  • First, sell
  • Then give to the network
  • Then give to the homeless
  • Then give to thrift stores
  • Then throw away

When I reach the end of that chain, very few things get thrown away or even make it to thrift stores.

How We Hacked Household Items:

There are a ton of blogs on how to do this, but below are some of the things that we do. Pretty much we save everything as there is always a way you can reuse it.

  • Hand towels replace paper towels and napkins
  • Reusing food containers and bags
  • Handkerchiefs replace tissues
  • Refilling soap dispensers.
  • Reuse dryer sheets a few times and then use them to clean up surfaces
  • Old clothes become rags
  • Clips from bread bags
  • Saving to-go containers
  • Save any plastic bags. If food came in it, wash it out and put food back in it.
  • Glass jars replace drinking glasses
Here are some examples of items you can reuse

How We Hacked Fashion:

Thrift stores, especially Goodwill on $1 Thursday, are great to shop. Also, you can avoid the sales tax in CA. Also, sell old designer clothes to Crossroads for store credit and use that to buy the few things you can’t find at Goodwill.

Still, Left To Hack:

The only non-reusable thing that we buy today is toilet paper (which right now has become more expensive than gas) because there isn’t a good solution for it yet. Please share your ideas with us to help our community.

Being Part Of The Solution

At Natural Dividends, we firmly believe that you vote with your dollar and with your actions. By being mindful of the items and products you are using, you can have a lasting effect on the world around you. A big part of this is opting out to stop buying things you don’t need. The other part is to stop buying disposable items. In that case, you are throwing away money each time you buy them.

Amplify Your Voice!

Taking on the challenge for yourself? Let us know about it! Join along on social media, and we encourage you to share your journey and stories with us on Facebook and Instagram. Join our group NaturalDividends to get helpful tips from members who have already started their journey and share what challenges you are facing or wins you have! Post about your success on Instagram and tag us #naturaldividends #increasenaturesshare. We might share your story and help inspire others to make the jump to increasing nature's share!

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