We all love pristine beaches with clear blue water, fine white sand, and colorful fish darting around our legs. Just like we adore those snow-tipped mountain tops in other states, with foggy clouds hanging overhead, and trees with leaves that change color-even if we don't personally experience this in Florida. We cherish the clear mornings, the brisk nights with hundreds of thousands of tiny bright stars speckling the sky like freckles. Since we all love these wonders of our earth, here are a few simple ways to help our planet continue to offer us such beautiful sights without breaking the budget!

1. Reusable Water Bottles

Look at those beauties! assets.rbl.ms

These reusable bottles are all the rage now, which is great news for the environment! The hottest new accessory is a brightly colored water bottle, didn't you know? So head on over to Amazon or Target and grab a sturdy bottle to quench your thirst-the earth will thank you for it! Though the famous and trendy hydro flask can be a bit pricey, there are many dupes for the same bottle for a fraction of the price. I just picked up a hydro flask look-alike from Marshall's for only $12.00!

2. Metal Straws (or skip the straw!)

The turtles are giving you virtual air-hugs right about now! assets.rbl.ms

I know everyone is probably tired about hearing how the turtles want you to stop using plastic straws, but they have an important point! The tiny pieces of plastic find themselves littering the land and seas more often than they are found in the landfills, which are still not a great place for them to be. I bet you wouldn't like to breathe out of a straw-so let's not subject the turtles and other sea animals to that fate. You can buy a pack of four metal straws and straw cleaners from Amazon for only $6.89!

3. Bring Your Own Tupperware


Krishna for dinner, anyone? assets.rbl.ms

Not all restaurants will allow personal containers over their counter, but some will and it never hurts to ask! Especially at places like Krishna on the UF campus, where taking home seconds in your own container is the best and most economical decision you could make today! Two meals for only $5.00, with the company of friends in Plaza...what more could you want!

4. Purchase a Starbucks reusable cup

What a stunner. assets.rbl.ms

I recently purchased the new cold drink container, which looks almost exactly like a normal venti plastic cup! It's reusable and so much better for the environment, and it is the economic choice! When you purchase the cup, you get a free venti drink to fill it with, and you receive a discount when you bring your cup in with you in the future. The cup I purchased was only about $3.00, so I received a new cup, a venti drink, and future discounts all for that one low price. Sound like a win-win to me!

5. Bring Your Own Utensils



Be the coolest, eco-loving friend at your next food-court outing. assets.rbl.ms

Plastic utensils are also small enough to rarely find their way to the right place. Instead, they are found strewn about all over the earth and impersonating food to animals who don't know any better. Combat this by bringing your own utensils from home, or invest in a bamboo utensil kit! I found a deal on Amazon for a pack of these bad boys (the exact pack in the picture!) for only $11.10! Keep on chowing down with a little help from some bamboo.

6. Bamboo Toothbrushes

A natural beauty made especially for your pearly whites. assets.rbl.ms

Toothbrushes are a piece of plastic that many of us often forget about. Though they are essential, there are ways around disposable plastic brushes, with electric toothbrushes with reusable tips and bamboo brushes! I personally don't have one yet, but you better believe I will be picking myself up a few of these before you know it. I found a four pack of these cuties for $7.99 on Amazon, and I will certainly be adding them to my cart!

7. Bring Your Own Bags

The environmental BYOB assets.rbl.ms

Plastic bags are everywhere, and we often go through a handful each time we take a trip to the grocery store or mall. They are extremely detrimental to the environment; Statistics say that we use more than 500 billion plastic bags a year. This number is shocking, so the best way you can decrease this number is purchasing a few reusable bags next time you find yourself at the grocery store! They decorate the checkout lanes nearly everywhere, and are often only $1.00 a bag! Once you buy them, keep them in your car so you'll be sure to have them for each trip to the store.

Though making these simple switches may not seem like a lot, the impact and change of consciousness are larger than you may know! Our actions do not cause us to think differently; on the contrary, thinking differently often changes our actions.