My goals were to cut out single-use plastic as much as possible and reduce my energy consumption.
Cutting out single-use plastic meant single-use plastic water bottles, plastic bags, and plastic cutlery/dishes.
When I moved in, I made sure I packed a reusable water bottle, and it turned out to be my best friend (not literally, but you get the idea). One of my friends was not faithful to his reusable water bottle and would end up buying four or five water bottles in a day.
At $2 a bottle, that was $10 a day. $70 a week. $2,100 a month. And that's not counting any coffee or lemonade that will just end up being even more expensive. Just imagine what that $2,100 could've gone towards.
Another thing I made sure to pack when I moved in was a drawstring bag and a cute tote bag.
I knew that I would need to go shopping at one point or another, and I wanted to avoid the plastic bags if I could.
While this one didn't end up saving me any money, it did save me some embarrassment. When carrying plastic bags ten or twenty minutes back to a dorm, it was commonplace for a bag to rip and whatever you bought to go spilling everywhere.
Thanks to my trusty tote bag, I never had to deal with that.
Much to my parents' confusion, I insisted on taking a couple of BPA-free plastic plates, cups, and silverware with me to my dorm.
This ended up saving me money because I didn't have to go out and continually buy paper plates or plastic cups. I invested $10 at the beginning and saved myself so much more throughout the course of the semester.
Not only that, but it also saved me a messy dorm.
When I inevitably snacked on pretzels or ramen, I had dishes that wouldn't crack or rip like throw away dishes would. And I didn't have to take out the garbage nearly as often because I wasn't throwing away my plates. Yes, I did have to do dishes.
But honestly, it took 10 minutes and it gave me an excuse to catch up on my podcasts.
When it comes to my energy consumption, this one was really easy: I didn't have a car on campus which meant I had to take public transport or walk.
I ended up walking for the most part, and I'm so glad I did. On one hand, it gave me a chance to appreciate nice weather when we had it.
On the other hand, it got me up and moving instead of sitting in my dorm on my phone for an extra ten minutes.
It seems daunting to try and be eco-friendly during college, but in the end, it'll keep you sane. These little things are easily incorporated into daily routines and can save you money and your sanity.