How to save money when going zero waste/clean/sustainable

Gabrielle KosterLeave a Comment

Living a zero waste/natural/clean lifestyle, isn’t that super expensive? Well, yes and no. Yes, because it takes some investments, and yes, some products are more expensive. No, because a lot of things can be used in the long run. And you need a lot less, also.

Here are some ways of saving money, while adapting a more green lifestyle.

Second Hand shopping

I’ll admit: vintage shopping in big cities like Berlin and Amsterdam can get expensive. But visiting the second hand stores that are less ‘cool’ can be really rewarding. It’s often cheaper than ‘fast fashion’ and you contribute to a more sustainable way of consumerism. On top of that: the chances are less big of running into someone wearing the exact same outfit as you. I scored the white dresses at a vintage per kilo-store in Amsterdam, not necessary cheaper, but definitely unique items.

Also a great idea: a fashion swap party. Bring the clothes you don’t wear anymore and trade them for new items that somebody else has had enough of. New wardrobe: check. Sustainable way of shopping: check. Cheap (or free, even): check.


Did you know that when you bring your cup to certain coffee- and tea places, you’ll get a discount? Starbucks is one of those places that gives you a discount. So invest in a bamboo take away cup and it’ll pay for itself within a few months. But it’s not just cups that can be refilled, it’s also cosmetic packaging. There’s a store in Amsterdam called DIY Soap, where you can bring your own jars to be filled with 100% natural cosmetics, from deodorant to day cream. Of course, if you’re the creative type, you can also make your own cosmetics and fill your own jars.

Also a great alternative to packaged cosmetics: Lush produces a lot of zero waste products, without packaging. If you’re into a 100% natural lifestyle, carefully check the ingredients as not everything is natural.


Do you know ow much plastic you use by using tampons or pads every month? News flash: it’s a lot! By using a mooncup, that you buy once, you use less or even no tampons (wrapped in plastic) or sanitary towels (also packaged in plastic). The cup lasts at least ten years, which saves so many plastic. Plus: it’s also very favorable for your wallet! Of course, it’s around $30 that you spend in once, but if you divide that over those ten years, it’s very cheap isn’t it? Now clue how the cup works? Read my article about it here.

Groceries & every day products

Washable products

Did you know there are so many things ‘washable’, instead of single use? Take makeup remover pads, for example. You use them to put on some product, take off your make-up and then you will throw it away. Not very sustainable. But you can actually get washable make-up pads, that last up to 300 times! But there’s even washable menstruation pads and diapers. Yes, these things are more expensive than the regular products, but you buy them once every now and then and they last way longer. So, if we do a little calculation, it saves you money in the long run.

Market shopping

When it comes to grocery shopping: there’s a lot of products like veggies and fruits to be found on the local market. And they’re often cheaper than in the supermarket. Just bring your own jars and bags, and you’re good to go.


Another tip: I recently discovered the website It works like this: you buy a membership and then you can shop all sorts of zero waste and natural products (like those washable products, but also natural skin care) with a discount up to 35%. It really depends on how many members your house hold counts, but within months, you have earned back your membership. And because I love you all so much, I’ve arranged a discount code: if you use GABRIELLE20, you get a 20 euro discount on your membership.

Too Good To Go

Last but not least: available in The Netherlands (and maybe in some other places too), the app Too Good To Go. You download the app and there you’ll find restaurants nearby who have food that hasn’t been sold yet. Like bread from the bakery, but also breakfast from the hotel around the corner. You can buy a Too Good To Go-package for a couple of euro’s, which is a cheap way of buying food. Plus: you’ll contribute to less food waste. The only down side: you can’t pick the food, so it’s not for those amongst us who have allergies.

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