I’ve been talking about making life simpler a lot over the past several months. I have a deep admiration for people who live off the land. I am inspired by stories of those who work and sustain themselves by their own means. It’s intriguing and pulls me in.
I will likely never live on a huge farm or ranch, and my husband will never be on board with that sort of sustainability. Neither of these will stop me from doing what I can to make less of an impact on our world while conserving more for myself and my family.
Here are a few simple ways to reduce your impact on the environment and keep a little more green in your pocket. Small savings over time can lead up to big savings over several years.
- Cloth diapers and wipes
- Cloth menstrual pads or a menstrual cup
- Family cloth instead of toilet paper
- Cloth towels and cleaning rags instead of paper towels
- Use your washable plates, cups, and eating utensils instead of paper or plastic counterparts
- Compost food scraps for nutrient rich garden soil
- Recycle plastic and paper containers when applicable
- Upcycle clothing. Learning to sew can be an invaluable tool for saving money. Thrift store finds can easily be mended, altered, or completely changed into new pieces. Jeans with worn out pockets can be upcycled into children’s jeans and fabric can normally be obtained more cheaply than a finished garment.
- Break the fast food habit. I get it – we do it. It is a hard one to break. You’re tired after a long day and stopping by the drive-thru is simpler than preparing a fresh meal. But it’s bad for your health and wallet. Start small and agree to a set number of times per week you think you can afford to eat out. Slowly lower that number and watch the money start flowing into your savings account. Most people don’t even realize how much they’re spending on fast food.
- Use coupons for items you actually need. The trend of extreme couponing is NOT what I am talking about here. No one necessarily needs 30 bottles of laundry detergent. But watching sales ads and using coupons for items you do need is smart. I routinely save $20+ per week just using coupons. That doesn’t even include the store loyalty card savings. It is worth a small time investment.
- Choose to grow some of your fruits, vegetables, and herbs. These savings can really add up and many of these items can be grown in small containers, even indoors.
- Consider switching to cheaper internet and cable services. Or cutting them altogether if that’s a logical option for your family.
- Ditch the landline and use your cell phones.
- When weather permits, dry your clothing outdoors instead of in your electric or gas dryer. The sun is also an excellent stain remover.
- Use central heat and air less. Lower the heat and up the air on your thermostat. Open the windows when it’s cool or breezy out.
- Hand wash dishes to conserve water and electricity.
- If possible, install rain barrels and use them to water lawns and gardens, wash your car, spray off the patio.
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