There are a lot of misconceptions about living an eco-friendly lifestyle, particularly the idea that it’s expensive, inconvenient, and requires a full head of dreadlocks.

But in reality, it is easy being green—giving the planet a helping hand is just a matter of making one simple change at a time. And there’s a big bonus: these small lifestyle changes can often save you money, too!

1. Use cloth napkins

Not only are they more durable, but ditching disposable napkins will also save  money over the years. It’ll also reduce your waste output, which means less energy is used transporting waste to landfill. Using recyclable paper napkins is good for the planet, but it’s even better to not have anything to recycle in the first place.

2. Cook from scratch

Although what you eat is usually more important than how it’s cooked, eating food that’s been processed in distant industrial kitchens, wrapped up in plastic and cardboard packaging, and trucked to your local supermarket eats up a lot of energy.

3. Cook with residual heat

Turning off the oven five minutes before the meal is ready will allow the food to continue cooking while also saving some energy. It’s even easier with pasta: Once the pot’s been boiling for five minutes, cover the pot, switch off the stove, and let it sit for five more minutes.

4. Eat less meat

Meat isn’t cheap, and it’s not great for the natural world, either. Learning to cook a few choice vegetarian meals will save money, add variety to your palate, and give the planet a helping hand.

5. Grow your own food

Cherry tomatoes, salad greens, and green beans are the best foods to grow if saving money is the goal. For those of us who don’t have a garden, simply growing herbs on a windowsill can save hundreds in the long run.

6. Start a compost pile

A compost heap will save money on fertilisers, maintain soil health, and keep all those food scraps from rotting in a dump and releasing greenhouse gases into the atmosphere. It takes up to 18 years for a corn cob to decompose in a landfill, but only a couple of months in a compost pile.

7. Ditch disposable bowls…

… and the plates, and knives, and forks. While the temptation of having nothing to wash up after a meal is hard to resist, increasing the pile of waste left after dinner is no way to help the planet. The less you throw away, the less you spend. More great tips from: