Many of us would love to be able to completely live sustainably but for the vast majority of people, it is just not financially possible. In this horrible economy, the prices of groceries are skyrocketing and the costs of utilities have gone through the roof. However, it seems that people’s paychecks are still staying the same. There are tons of ways that you can enjoy living simply without having to file for bankruptcy.
It’s Time to Give up the Bottles
Most municipal water systems provide consumers with water that contains a variety of additives that aren’t necessary. Plain, fresh water is best for maintaining a healthy life. To avoid consuming these chemicals, many people have opted to buy bottles of water for drinking. This is certainly healthier for you but it can be problematic for our environment. The energy used to recycle the bottles that actually do get recycled pollutes our environment. Only thirty percent of all the water bottles sold actually make it to the recycling plant.
In home water filtration systems are the best way to go. Systems that purify the water in an entire home range from $150 to as high as $1,500. Whole house systems are truly the best as lead contaminants can even enter and poison the body just by bathing or showering with it. For those that don’t have the financial wherewithal to buy a complete system, a faucet filter system can be purchased for around $35. This will save you tons of cash in the future as you can use regular drinking glasses or containers as opposed to purchasing plastic water bottles. It’s a win-win situation. Your family will have healthy and contaminant free drinking water; you’re saving money by not buying water and you’re helping to save the planet. Living simply can be cost effective.
There’s Nothing Wrong with Playing in the Dirt
A lot of people say they want to live sustainably but rarely begin to enact sustainable living. One of the easiest things to do is to start a compost pile. Composting is essential to simple living as it replenished the earth’s soil. A healthy compost pile will provide you with enough soil to maintain a wonderful garden in the spring and summer months.
Sure, there are dozens of high end composting bins on the market but are quite expensive. However, building your own compost box out of scrap or reclaimed wood is cheap, easy and earth-friendly. The entire construction should take less than 30 minutes of your time. Again, you’ll save money by composting as you won’t need to buy any soil from your local garden center.
Eating Healthier Can Be Inexpensive
Most of us know how expensive it is to buy organic produce but realize that it is essential to do so in order to live sustainably and reduce our carbon footprint. A simple way to reduce your grocery costs and still eat organic foods is to grow your own organic victory garden. It may sound like a lot of work but they are well worth the time and effort once you serve your family organic produce that you’ve grown yourself.
Be sure to prepare your garden area well in advance of planting time. Use the wonderful compost that you’ve been making to enrich the soil. The compost will also help to nourish your plants. If you have kids, let them help with the garden. A contest as to which child can pull the most weeds helps to get the weeding done without whining. Gardening can be fun and educational. Once your crops start coming in, be sure to can some or freeze some for future use. This will cut down on your grocery costs throughout the year and help you with simple living.
Let It Rain
Rain is essential to your garden but there are days when it doesn’t rain. You’ll still need to water your plants. This can be done without using your home water system. A rain barrel can effectively collect the water necessary to take care of your garden when it hasn’t rained in a day or two. These aren’t expensive to make and will usually take less than an hour to create a completed rain barrel. You should be collecting rain water to take care of your plants all season. The rainwater can also be used to water your indoor plants as well. Rain barrels are a great way to maintain sustainable living.
Let There Be Light
Everyone that practices sustainable living tries to save energy in as many ways as possible. A relatively easy and inexpensive way to do so is by installing the right light bulbs. CFLs are certainly great for saving energy and are pretty cheap however; they contain mercury. The mercury can get into the atmosphere, once broken. LEDs are much better than CFLs but costlier too. Not many people know that if you contact one of the LED companies and explain that you want to replace all of the bulbs in your house with their product, they will mail you coupons for incredible discounts. You’ll save money purchasing the products as well as on your electric bill, if you have one. Living simply doesn’t mean that you need to break the bank.
You Can Freecycle Nearly Anything
Everybody’s heard the term that one man’s trash is another man’s treasure. This is absolutely true for those that live sustainably. Freecycling is a really popular thing with people that are dedicated to simple living. The items that you no longer want can be listed on the club’s website or brought to your local freecycle swap meet. This is a great way to find items that you need as well as help others that live sustainably get the things they need too. It reduces the amount of items going into the landfills and polluting the earth.
Let the Sun Shine
Many people that live sustainably have the desire to eventually go solar. This is a great ambition and can actually help you to earn money. A lot of people that run their homes completely from solar energy get checks from their electric company. This is a great thing but few people have tens of thousands of dollars to make their homes powered solely by the sun.
There are smaller yet effective ways to start out with solar energy. A simple hot water heater can be replaced with a solar unit for around one thousand dollars. People rarely realize that the water heater uses about one third of a home’s energy bill. Imagine living simply can cut your electric bill by a third. This is a huge savings for most people and makes sustainable living not only a green option but a cost effective one too.
Whether you have only a few dollars to spend or a few thousand, when you choose to live sustainably you will be directly helping our environment for future generations. You’ll also save a boatload of cash living simply as well. The greener you are, the more greenbacks you’ll have.
Contributed by Roseann Leahy