45 surprising things you're doing that are absurdly wasteful (you could save so much money if you only knew)

Correct these habits and your wallet will thank you.

ByAlexandra Elizabeth
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Creating less waste is a noble goal, but the best way to go about it isn’t always clear. Unfortunately, it’s all too easy to have absurdly wasteful habits without even realizing it. And with so much to conserve — water, electricity, food, money — it can be overwhelming just trying to figure out where to start. Thankfully, this list is here to point out where you might be going astray and how to fix it. By investing just a little in the money-saving, waste-preventing items below, you’ll be able to reap big benefits later, both for your wallet and the environment.


Using plastic wrap to cover food items

Do this instead: Try these food covers that are endlessly reusable

Cut down on single-use plastic while keeping food fresh with these reusable food savers that create a seal without the bulk of traditional food storage containers. They’re made from flexible silicone and can be stretched to fit a variety of packaging and produce alike. And because they’re safe to clean in the dishwasher, they’re incredibly practical too.

  • Available colors: 5


Buying costly herbs at the store

Do this instead: Grow your own herbs with this indoor garden kit

Give your green thumb a little encouragement with this indoor herb garden kit that saves you money. It comes with everything you need to get started, including jute potting bags, soil discs, shears, and more. Inside, you’ll find seeds for basil, cilantro, parsley, and thyme, which make perfect additions to meals and cocktails alike.


Draining electricity by leaving appliances running

Do this instead: Plug lights and appliances into an outlet timer

Make sure you’re not wasting energy by using this appliance timer. Whether it’s lighting or a toaster, this timer plugs into your existing outlet and has an additional outlet for any appliance you’d like to customize. Simply align the dial on the timer, and your appliance will only draw power when indicated for helpful energy savings.


Throwing out the toothpaste tube before you get every last bit

Do this instead: Use these squeezers to be sure you’re getting your money’s worth

Ensure you’re getting every last drop of product out of the container with these toothpaste tube squeezers. Each one slips over the flat end of a tube and presses product upward toward the nozzle, so you can access unused toothpaste that might otherwise get stuck. There are four dispensers per pack and they’re super affordable, too.


Using pricey sprays to clean windows & glass

Do this instead: Use this glass-cleaning kit that only needs water

You can save money by leaning into unique product solutions, like this glass and window cleaner kit. It comes with a textured cleaning cloth and a smooth polishing cloth. All you have to do is add water to the former to buff away dirt and grime, and then wipe everything dry with the latter for a streak-free finish. You’ll save on both cleaning products and paper towels.

  • Available colors: 3


Spending money on dryer sheets that aren’t reusable

Do this instead: Add some cushy wool balls to your dryer load to soften clothes & enhance dryer efficiency

Typical fabric softener sheets cost a lot and just end up in landfills, but these wool dryer balls can be used again and again. They’re incredibly wallet-friendly and work both as fabric softeners and wrinkle reducers for your laundry. Plus, they fluff and separate laundry as it tumbles, reducing drying time for better energy efficiency. They’re also widely adored by reviewers, over 4,200 of whom have weighed in to give them an impressive 4.6-star overall rating.


Letting produce spoil before you can use it

Do this instead: Add these liners to your produce drawers to extend freshness

Snag these fruit and veggie refrigerator liners to extend the life of your produce and create less waste. The unique open construction of the liners helps air flow freely underneath and around your items so they’ll last longer. They’re also absorbent and able to wick away excess moisture that can speed up spoilage.


Ignoring best practices for storing your herbs

Do this instead: Sustain them with a special container that creates optimal humidity conditions

If you plop a plastic bag of cilantro in your fridge as is, it’s not going to keep incredibly long, but this herb keeper can help. It helps create the ideal environment for herbs so that they’ll last longer, saving you money at the same time. Simply fill the bottom with water, insert your herbs, and slide the lid back down for proper circulation and moisture levels.


Loading up your mop with single-use pads

Do this instead: Clean your floors with microfiber pads that can be washed & reused

These reusable floor mop pods have a cult following, and for good reason. Not only have they earned a stellar 4.7-star overall rating after 44,000 reviewers have weighed in, they’re also incredibly soft and can be laundered in the washing machine. The microfiber pads are great at gripping dust and debris and adhere easily to many Swiffer models.


Letting your heat or a/c slip out underneath your door

Do this instead: Apply a draft stopper for better gap coverage

Whether you’re trying to keep heat or a/c from leaving your space, this draft stopper is up to the challenge. Just adhere this flexible silicone strip directly to your door to cover the gap below that could be costing you tons in electricity bills. It won’t obstruct the functionality of your door and it can even be trimmed to size.

  • Available colors: 4


Removing makeup with costly prepackaged wipes

Do this instead: Wipe it all away with this reusable cloth that just uses water

This makeup eraser cloth is the perfect solution for both conserving the environment and your cash. Its tiny fibers wick away makeup with ease, including long-lasting formulas like waterproof mascara. All you have to do is add water and gently scrub. When it needs a cleaning, just toss it in the washing machine.


Cleaning all your surfaces with paper towels

Do this instead: Make the switch to these absorbent cloths that are reusable

You can cut down on paper waste and monetary waste all at once with these Swedish dishcloths. They’re both incredibly absorbent and reusable, plus they have a large surface area, making them the perfect paper towel-sponge hybrid. They have a textured side that’s ideal for scouring and since they’re biodegradable, they can even be composted when they’ve lived their useful life.

  • Available colors: 18


Not blocking hot or cold air from your windows

Do this instead: Swap in these thermal-insulated curtains that help maintain ideal indoor temperatures

You might be letting money seep right out your windows if you’re not using these thermal-insulated curtains. The thermal insulation keeps hot and cold air firmly outside, meaning your electricity won’t be working overtime. Meanwhile, the blackout panels can block out up to 99% of light. They come with classic metal grommets and are available in multiple lengths.

  • Available colors: 38


Using up your lint roller sheets on just one job

Do this instead: Remove pet hair with a reusable roller that works like a champ

If you’ve ever gone through nearly an entire lint roller on one couch alone, you need to make the switch to this reusable pet hair remover, stat. It uses friction and static cling to grip fur, so all you have to do is roll it back and forth across your surface. When you’re done, just open the top covering, remove the hair, and it’s ready to use again.

  • Available colors: 2


Storing your leftovers in disposable bags

Do this instead: Stash food in these reusable bags that are highly rated

Thanks to these reusable food storage bags, you’ll have the perfect way to stash snacks and leftovers of all types. They come 10 to a pack in gallon, sandwich, and snack sizes. Since you can hand wash and reuse them, they’re bound to save you tons of cash compared to disposable varieties over time.

  • Available colors: 4


Lighting traditional candles that burn away in hours

Do this instead: “Light” these LED candles that look just like the real thing

If you find yourself spending tons on fancy candles that you’re constantly replacing, look no further than these flameless LED candles. They come in a set with three different sizes and are even made with real wax for a realistic look. They sit inside tinted glass jars and come with a remote that lets you customize the brightness or set them on a timer.

  • Available colors: 6


Letting heat & a/c flow to rooms that don’t need it

Do this instead: Use these magnetic covers that block air in spaces where you don’t need it

You can thoughtfully redirect the flow of heat and a/c through your home with these magnetic vent covers. They cling to most metal grates, preventing air from seeping through where you don’t need it, thanks to the airtight seal — that way, you’ll only get air in the rooms where you want it, which will save you money. They’re well loved by Amazon reviewers, too, nearly 4,500 of whom have weighed in to give them an impressive 4.6-star overall rating.


Drinking a glass or two & letting the remaining wine go bad

Do this instead: Seal up the bottle with an air-removing pump

If you find yourself tossing half a bottle of wine because it went bad before you had time to finish it, try this wine saver pump to save some money. The set comes with four stoppers and one pump — all you have to do is insert the stopper as usual and pump until you hear a clicking sound, which indicates all the air that can cause spoilage has been removed.


Letting deep lint buildup downgrade the efficiency of your dryer

Do this instead: Keep your machine lint-free with a vent cleaner

A clogged vent can make your machine work harder and crank up your energy bill, so keep your dryer clean with this vent vacuum hose. It attaches to many vacuum varieties and thanks to its narrow shape, can slip into tight vents for easy cleaning. It even comes with a handy guiding wire for more precision. Not to mention, deep cleaning your vents can help reduce the risk of dangerous fires and costly damage.

  • Available colors: 4


Letting your coffee get stale in a standard tin

Do this instead: Maximize freshness with this coffee canister that has a CO2 valve

You’ll spend way less on your morning joe by preserving the grounds and beans you already have with this coffee canister. It has a unique venting system that keeps oxygen out while still releasing CO2, which can help maintain optimal freshness. It comes with both a scoop and a date tracker on the lid, so you’ll know when it’s time to change out your beans.

  • Available colors: 4


Spending tons on coffee pods that end up in the landfill

Do this instead: Swap them out for this reusable version that’s more eco-friendly

Customize your morning coffee and save money at the same time with these reusable coffee pods. Rather than being stuck with one flavor, you can use any grounds of your choosing, all while reducing the amount of trash in landfills. Just fill up the stainless steel mesh basket, close the lid, and run it through your machine as usual.

  • Available colors: 2


Running your dryer every time you do laundry

Do this instead: Dry your clothes on this rack that doesn’t drain electricity

You can reduce your electricity costs by using this clothes drying rack instead of your dryer as needed. Boasting 24,000 perfect five-star ratings, it’s fully collapsible for easy storage and features 11 bars for draping wet clothes. The bottom comes equipped with nonslip feet, so it’s nice and stable, too.


Overdoing it on the air conditioning at night

Do this instead: Sleep on these pillowcases made with a cooling material

If you run hot at night, make the switch to these cooling pillowcases instead of reaching for the thermostat. One side of the pillow is made with pure cotton for lots of breathability and air circulation, while the other is comprised of specially designed cooling fibers that stay chill to the touch all night. Each set comes with two cases.

  • Available colors: 18


Throwing away plastic bags after you put away the groceries

Do this instead: Line smaller trash cans with them to save money

Use this plastic bag saver to hold onto your grocery bags until you can find another use for them, like transporting items or lining small trash cans. It has an attractive stainless steel finish that’s sure to blend into a variety of decors, and is easily mounted with the included hardware. Just load the bags through the top and pull them out from the center as needed.


Wasting food by losing track of it inside your fridge

Do this instead: Use clear food organizers for a neater space

A tidy refrigerator means less food waste since you can see what you have on hand, and these fridge organizer bins can help. With all of your food and produce on display thanks to the clear construction of these bins, you’re less likely to forget about food, which can lead to spoilage. The set is shatterproof and comes with six different containers in a range of sizes.


Spending way too much on flavored water & other fancy drinks

Do this instead: Infuse your water with fresh fruit and herbs

As tempting as the beverage aisle is, you can make delicious drinks right at home with this infuser water bottle. It has an inner infusing rod into which you can insert fruit or herbs of your choosing. Once it’s had time to add flavor to your water, simply open the flip-top lid and enjoy.

  • Available colors: 45


Letting your bread get stale with improper storage

Do this instead: Wrap your baked goods in these specially designed bread bags

These bread bags are an excellent option for both homemade and store-bought loaves. Unlike single-use options, these bags have a food-safe inner lining and a zipper closure. To create a tight seal, close it up and roll the top down, then secure it with the handle clips. It’s machine washable and is even safe for freezer storage.


Overpaying for coffee shop drinks

Try this instead: Whipping up your own drinks with a frother

Take your at-home coffee drinks to the next level with this milk frother. It’s activated with just the push of a button and boasts a powerful motor and stainless steel whisk that can froth up milk and more in seconds. When not in use, store it in its included upright stand.

  • Available colors: 8


Using more water than you actually need in the shower

Do this instead: Install this water-conserving option that still feels amazing

If your water bill is sky high and you’d like to conserve resources, give this water-saving showerhead a try. It has three different spray modes and can rotate 360 degrees for a customized shower experience. It also comes equipped with “pressure-compensating technology,” so even though it’s using less water, you won’t feel like you’re sacrificing pressure. One reviewer wrote, “Does not feel like a water-saving shower shower fixture. It feels marvelous. I would definitely buy it again.”

  • Available colors: 3


Neglecting to prevent charger cord fraying

Do this instead: Support vulnerable cords with these flexible coils

Save yourself tons of cash by extending the life of your charging cables with these cord savers. They’re made from flexible silicone and coil around the end of your cord to give it support and keep it from fraying. They come in a multipack with varying hues, which makes them great for color coding, too.

  • Available colors: 3


Relying on cling wrap for all your leftovers

Do this instead: Cover your food with these reusable beeswax wraps

These genius beeswax food wraps are an environmentally conscious alternative to single-use products. The unique construction of the wax-coated cotton wraps allows them to be molded into a particular shape, so you can get a good seal. Just wash them with warm soap and water to clean and reuse.

  • Available colors: 8


Losing track of time in the shower & wasting water

Do this instead: Keep tabs on your shower length with a waterproof timer

You can cut down on unnecessary water waste in the shower with this waterproof timer. It can display both the time and a countdown, with three quick-set timer buttons that are easy to use. Better yet, it’ll chime for 15 full seconds when you’ve hit zero, but it’ll shut off automatically, so you won’t have to fumble around with soapy hands to turn off the alarm.


Letting your clothes get eaten by moths in your closet

Do this instead: Prevent moth damage with these cedar rings

This cedar block set can help you save money by improving the longevity of the clothes you currently have, so you don’t need to replace them as often. Not only is cedar a natural deterrent for moths, it’s also a powerful deodorizer that helps prevent mustiness. The set comes with 15 slim-profile blocks with hooks that make them easy to hang.


Wasting electricty on appliances when they’re not being used

Do this instead: Use these smart plugs that monitor energy & can be set on schedules

Your electricity bill will thank you for installing these smart plugs. Once plugged in and set up, you’ll be able to use timers and schedules, so appliances or lights aren’t draining power when you don’t need them. In the accompanying app, you can even monitor just how much energy items are using, so you can cut back as needed. The slim design means each one can plug right into any AC outlet without blocking the socket above or below it.


Tossing out cosmetic products before you’ve used them up

Do this instead: Scrape everything out with a tiny spatula

This last-drop spatula does exactly what the name suggests: helps you use your skin-care and makeup products down to the last drop. The angled head and slim design ensures it can get into even the tiniest of jars and bottles to reach the remaining product you’d otherwise be forced to throw away. Better yet, it’s dishwasher safe, too.


Damaging your floors by scraping your chairs across them

Do this instead: Shield your floors with furniture foot covers that are soft on surfaces

Replacing flooring and furniture can be expensive, so protect the things you already own with these chair leg covers. They’re made from stretchy silicone, so they’ll fit a variety of leg shapes and sizes. On the bottoms, you’ll find felt padding, allowing your furniture to glide across your floors without causing scratches or scuffs.

  • Available colors: 6


Overspending on pricey hand soap

Do this instead: Use these foaming dispensers that create more lather with less product

If you want to waste less soap, try these foaming soap dispensers. They allow you to use less product by whipping up the soap into a sudsy foam that covers more surface area with less product. The dispensers come two to a pack and have an upscale amber design.

  • Available colors: 4


Throwing away product bottles because you can’t reach the bottom

Do this instead: Try this clever bottle inverter that drains the contents

If you find yourself throwing away bottles with product still remaining at the bottom, try this bottle-emptying kit. Just remove the existing lid and screw this one into place, then invert it. It has a clever tripod design, so the bottle will remain sturdy on its head. It’s excellent for viscous condiments like syrup and honey, but it’s also great for hand soap with traditional dispensers, since the straw pumps typically don’t reach the bottom, leaving you with unused product you’d never be able to reach otherwise.


Letting food go stale before you’ve eaten it

Do this instead: Secure your products with these fan-favorite bag sealers

Cutting down on food waste can make a big difference on your bottom line, so keep your product packaging firmly closed with these bag sealers that boast a sky-high 4.8-star overall rating after 10,000 reviews. All you have to do is fold over the top of the bag and slip the guiding tab under the fold while pulling the sealer above and across. It creates an airtight seal that helps prevent premature food spoilage.


Losing food items to dreaded pantry moths

Do this instead: Use moth traps to protect your food stores

Food moths can infest your pantry and get into your dry goods, so prevent that from happening with these pantry moth traps. The design is simple: The hollow triangular structure is lined with glue on the inside, keeping the outside safe from sticky residue. The formula attracts the moth, and all you need to do is throw it away when it’s full.


Over-purchasing food items you don’t actually need

Do this instead: Try specialized containers to keep your pantry organized

If your cabinets are messy, it’s easy to lose track of what you already have and purchase duplicates, which is where these food storage containers come in handy. They feature airtight lids to help lock in freshness for your dry goods and prevent staleness. The clear construction and handy labels ensure everything is neatly on display so you can avoid overbuying.


Spending way too much on fancy cocktails

Do this instead: Make your drinks at home rather than going out

Skip the bar and sharpen your at-home bartending skills with this cocktail shaker set. It’s made from handsome stainless steel and comes with a weighted shaker, a strainer, and a double-sided jigger. For a little inspiration, you’ll even find 20 cocktail recipe cards included. Choose from finishes like black, copper, and classic silver.

  • Available colors: 4


Draining your power resources with standard lighting

Do this instead: Switch to motion-activated lighting options

You don’t have to sacrifice safety lighting just to waste less power, and these motion-sensor night-lights prove it. They come in a range of colors and even have adjustable brightness, so you can customize the amount of illumination. And since you can set them on motion-activation mode, they’ll only power on when someone is nearby.

  • Available colors: 7


Replacing fruits & veggies because they went bad so fast

Do this instead: Use special preservation bags to extend their life

There’s no need to throw away produce after just a few days when these reusable GreenBags can help it last much longer. Unlike standard produce bags, they minimize air exposure and control humidity to extend freshness. Whether you’re storing items in your refrigerator or on the countertop, these bags are up to the challenge. All you have to do is place you items inside and wipe away any moisture that may accumulate.


Taking the garbage out before it’s truly full

Do this instead: Pack it down with a compacting tool to save a trash bag

Don’t reach for another plastic garbage bag until you absolutely have to, thanks to this trash compactor tool. Its rectangular shape fits many trash can sizes, and the convenient handle allows you to keep your hands clean as you press downward to compress the garbage, creating more empty space at the top. When it needs a cleaning, just toss it in the dishwasher.