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5 Ways to Save Money by Recycling and Reusing

How do you save money? We all have our tricks for saving a little bit of cash here and there, but after a few weeks of forgoing your morning caramel macchiato or packing a PB&J every day, things can start to feel a little spartan.

Photo: West Elm

Instead of purging all those little pleasures from your life, try saving money by recycling or reusing things around the house. You’ll conserve cash and help the environment along the way, so it’s a win/win.  Plus, you won’t have to feel as guilty about satisfying those caramel macchiato cravings every once in a while.

1. Buy a water bottle. A reusable bottle may seem a little pricey upfront, but think of all the money you’ll save when you’re not burning through plastic water bottles all the time.

2. Start a compost bin. If you’re a gardener (or want to be one) there’s no reason to spend cash on store-bought fertilizers. Start tossing your vegetable peels and eggshells in your compost bin and you’ll be hanging out in free-fertilizer city in no time. You can make your bin out of things like a garbage can or even an old pot. For more details, read: Make a Compost Bin.

3. Reuse wrapping paper. When the holiday season hits, store-bought wrapping paper can wind up costing you more than some of the gifts you buy. Cut the cost, by making your own wrapping paper out of household materials. You can go classic and use old newspapers, or you can tape together an assortment of things like envelopes, magazines and old maps to create an eclectic aesthetic. Save old ribbons and bows as well, they look just as nice atop their second, third or even fourth gift!

4. Return plastic bottles. Depending on what state you live in, you’ll be able to return certain types of beverage bottles in exchange for a few cents. To find out if your state is one of the nine states with a "bottle bill," read: Which Bin Does This Go In? Recycling Made Easy. In reality, this “bottle bill” charge is added to the original price of your drink, so you’re not saving money so much as having it returned to you. To learn more about setting up your own recycling system, read: Learn How to Recycle.

5. Give containers a second life. If you need some help organizing, but don’t want to spring for a new container or makeup case, keep an eye out for things lying around the house. Old boxes are great for clothing storage, and an ice-cube tray works great for holding jewelry and earrings. You can also use a ton of different objects like eggshells and vegetable peels to hold seedling for your garden. To learn more, read: Plant the Seed: A Potless Approach to Spring Gardening.

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