There are a lot of misconceptions about living sustainably. Although many people believe that living an eco-friendly lifestyle is expensive, inconvenient, or only for hippies, recent advancements in technology make living green easier than ever before. If you want to take small steps toward living more sustainably, here are five easy ways to be eco-friendly on a budget.

Use Less Energy

Use less energy
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Using less energy in your home can significantly reduce your energy bill. Energy-sucking appliances, referred to as “vampire appliances,” use electricity even when they’re turned off. While set-top boxes like Google TV and Apple TV use the most electricity, DVD players, modems, and computers also use power when turned off. Invest in a power strip to turn off appliances when they’re not in use, or manually unplug each appliance when you’re done using it.

Additionally, investing in energy-efficient appliances can help you save more in the long run. Energy Star Appliances are durable, eco-friendly, and can help you save on utility bills. For instance, an Energy Star washing machine uses 50 percent less electricity and 50 percent less water than a traditional washing machine, leading to big savings over time.

To save even more on energy bills, search for a cheap electricity provider. Although the cheapest electricity rates or the best discounts might be tempting, they’re not always the best option when it comes to being eco-friendly. To find eco-friendly options in your area, compare cheap green electricity plans with iSelect.

When Possible, Buy Used

Buy used goods
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According to a study published in the June 2017 edition of the journal Environment and Behavior, wealthy people tend to produce more carbon pollution due to overconsumption. Since reducing our consumerism can reduce our carbon footprint, shopping secondhand is a great way to live more sustainably. From thrift shops and secondhand marketplaces like eBay and Craigslist, it’s easy to find almost anything you need secondhand.

Although the secondhand movement has gained momentum in recent years, consumer sales of refurbished electronics have fallen due to the flood of new devices that are comparable in price. But is a new laptop really a better deal than a refurbished laptop in the long run?

If you’re looking to live more sustainably, refurbished laptops are clear winners. According to a 2003 study by the UN, one desktop computer requires 48 pounds of chemicals, 1.7 tons of water, and 529 pounds of fossil fuels to manufacture. Opting for a refurbished laptop means fewer new resources need to be extracted and less waste is produced. To save money on a refurbished laptop, buy from TheStore, a reputable online store that sells directly to consumers.

Start Cooking More

Start cooking
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Cooking at home not only saves money and encourages healthier dietary choices, but it also uses fewer resources than eating out or buying premade food. Think about it—eating food that’s been processed in an industrial kitchen, packaged in plastic and cardboard, and transported to your supermarket eats up a lot more energy than cooking a meal from scratch.

To save time, money, and energy cooking at home, try using a pressure cooker or residual heat. Pressure cookers require less time and energy to cook a meal, and you can use them to prepare chili, soup, cornbread, and even desserts. Using residual heat allows your meal to continue cooking while saving energy. Try covering your pot of pasta after the water begins to boil and turn off the stove—you’ll free up stovetop space, and your pasta will be perfectly al dente in the same amount of time.

Although there are numerous misconceptions associated with living sustainably, being green is as easy as making one simple change at a time. Making small adjustments to your lifestyle can help you save money and live a more eco-friendly life.