Articles Lifestyle 9 Ways To Shop and Be Eco-Friendly On A Budget

9 Ways To Shop and Be Eco-Friendly On A Budget

Shifting to more sustainable and eco-friendly shopping habits doesn't have to break the bank. Practice conscious shopping with these helpful tips.

More young professionals today than ever are embracing eco-friendly and sustainable practices. From running errands to driving vehicles, the options to go greener seem inescapable, and rightfully so. People are slowly realizing the adverse effects of neglecting the environment, and gen Z among other cohorts are the most concerned with reducing their carbon footprints and being better environment caretakers than the previous generations.

Bamboo toothbrushes on an orange overlay.

However, sustainability and saving money seem to almost always clash. The cheaper options in the market are usually the non eco-friendly ones. If you're one of the many people who are torn between caring for the environment or caring for your bank account, it turns out that you actually don't have to! Both are absolutely possible with some thorough research and strategic planning. Below are simple tips and tricks to shop consciously without going over your budget.

Shopping Less Frequently

A woman in a clothing store shopping for sports bras.

We all know how hard it is to resist the payday sale on our favorite fast fashion outlets or online shopping apps, but if we really want to care for the environment, training ourselves to fight our shopping impulses will do a world of good for the future generations. Less sales for fast fashion shops and companies means less funding for overseas factories that dump toxic waste directly on marine life. Shopping less also means saving more money and spending them on more important things like bills, credit cards, transportation, and food expenses, among others.

Buying Food From The Market

Fresh produce in baskets in the local market.

We've grown up helping our parents unload groceries from our family SUVs. We're used to boxed packages and pushing carts in grocery aisles. However, a new option we can explore is going to the local market. Fresh produce that's also often organic is one of the upsides of buying from the local market, but more than this is the shorter travel time to take the goods from the farms to the market. This means less emissions of greenhouse gases from the transportation of the market goods compared to grocery items that come from farther places.

Thrifting Clothes & House Items

A man sitting down on a chair inside a thrift store.

Flea markets and thrift shops may be seen as having little to no quality control, and the obvious wear and tear in the goods that they sell. However, having huge clothing hauls and buying constantly from fast fashion stores usually translates to clothes that only end up in landfills 10 or 15 years down the line. Clothing waste is a serious issue that people need to focus more on. Instead of buying new clothes, you can settle for hand-me-downs without compromising on quality. From chic office wear, to trendy street wear, to prom outfits, thrift stores on Instagram give you lots to choose from. Online thrift shops even sell cute and quality clothes that are washed and disinfected, and ready to wear after buying them!

Holding Garage Sales

Personal belongings lined up on a wooden table.

Just like you want to shop ethically and sustainably, let the people in your neighborhood get some of your older and unused stuff. Instead of them wasting away in your storage areas, or being thrown away, you can sell them to people who want them! Leave notes on the items that have sentimental value to you, such as "please take good care of this!" and encourage your buyers to thrift and buy from ethical and eco-friendly stores as well.

Swapping Clothes With Friends

Models sitting down on an indoor basketball court with basketballs in hand.

Have you borrowed a really cute sweater from your best friend? How about taking it up a notch and seal a swapping deal between you and your friends! If you have clothes that you and your friends don't need or use anymore, then get together and see if you have something that you like from each other's closets. It may be funny seeing your old shirt or your dress from high school on one of your friends, but at least you've helped saving a bunch of clothes from going to the landfill.

Reusing & Repurposing

A woven basket filled with vegetables and a reusable mesh pouch with pepers.

It would be great for the environment if your shopping bag, water jugs, canisters, straw, cutlery when eating out, and laundry bags are all reusable. Refrain from buying disposable products because every utensil or item made of plastic that you've used in your lifetime still exists today, probably in the ocean or clogging your town's drainage system. As much as possible, bring reusable bags when grocery shopping, sip your Starbucks staples with reusable straws, and never go to a laundromat without your trusty reusable laundry bag.

Shopping Off Season

Two women looking around and passing by stores.

The highest demand for a fashion piece is the season when it's needed the most: swimsuits, sunglasses, and beach slippers are priced highest during dry seasons, while sweaters, turtlenecks, raincoats, and boots are the most expensive during the wet seasons. Aside from budgeting reasons, imagine the hundreds and thousands of cars flocking to malls and other commercial establishments during peak season: the gas that people consume, the containers they use when picking up a quick snack like cups of Cold Stone ice cream or a tub of fries from Potato Corner and the plastic water bottles after shopping. Remember that these sale days are done nationwide too. That's a lot of shoppers! It's way better to stock up on the good stuff and use them next season rather than squeeze your way into malls and shops along with other eager buyers, getting items in bulk with inflated prices.

Following Ethical Brands & Watching Out For Their Sale Season

Multiple shopping bags in different colors and sizes with "SALE" on them.

Monkey see, monkey do. What you follow online and see on the regular are usually the brands that stick to your memory. Hardwire your green thumb and follow pages and accounts that sell eco-friendly products, practice sustainable manufacturing processes, promote a zero-waste lifestyle to consumers, and are overall ethical brands and companies. Among many eco-friendly brands are  Soak Opera, The Bamboo Company, ActivGreen, The Good Store, Happy Camper, and Gaea. In the Philippines, we have Kawayan PH, Jacinto and Lirio, and Human Heart Nature.

Investing In Actual Eco-Friendly Products

A person buying shower gel in a jar in a sustainable store.

There's no other way to put it: living sustainably and having a zero-waste lifestyle is quite expensive! But eco-friendly products are great investments. Gaining popularity over the last months are eco-friendly products like shampoo bars, which don't use plastic containers, and cassava starch bags, which mimic the texture and durability of plastic bags but melt in hot water. It's also good to patronize products that use less plastic than they did before or make their products with recycled materials. Some stores you would want to consider are Loop, Croft Bulk Foods, Got Heart Shop, Paraluman, Humble Market, Katha, Girl and the Outdoors, Wala Usik Store and Happy Earth Store, among many others.

Was Anything Missed?

A notebook cover that says "Reduce. Reuse. Recycle."

There will surely be more creative ways to zero-waste, conscious, and sustainable shopping in the coming years. Established companies and new, fresh brands are both taking the initiative to do this. Hopefully it doesn't take long for the whole country (and world) to catch on. To know more on eco-friendly shopping, check out this article and this video.


Çaki, S. (2021, February 10). 30 Ways to Be More Eco Friendly in 2021. GreenMatch.

GMA Entertainment. (2019, May 3). 10 zero-waste stores to visit for a sustainable, eco-friendly lifestyle | GMA Entertainment. GMA Network.

Good Energy Limited. (2017, August 22). The Ultimate 20 Step Guide to Eco-friendly Living.

Greener Ideal Staff, G. I. (2021, July 29). 10 Eco Friendly Shopping Tips. Greener Ideal.

Sanchez, J. (2020, December 30). The Best Eco-Friendly Online Stores for All Your Sustainable Lifestyle Needs. SPOT.PH.