Little by little!
By Notes From The Frugal Trenches
In my last post, I shared how small changes really do add up when on a downshifting journey. I have had many people contact me personally about the post, sharing that they enjoyed it, but in their situation they felt they simply can't make changes. They asked me to share some more suggestions as to where to begin on a journey towards a more simple, green and frugal life. So today I thought I'd put together some sort of list with ideas of where to begin. I believe that we all help each other so if you add any suggestions, I'll put them into the post!
Remember, the key is to start small and build. No one becomes a simple, frugal and green expert overnight. I still have a long way to go and I've been on this journey for a year.
In The Home
Get yourself some sturdy bags (handmake them if you can, or support a handmade business) to bring to the shops with you instead of taking plastic bags.
Switch your lightbulbs to energy efficient light bulbs
Hang your laundry to dry
Switch to eco friendly soap, washing up liquid, shampoo/conditioner, laundry detergent.
Learn how to make your own soap, detergent, shampoo
Get rid of cleaning products and use vinegar, water, baking soda etc.
Get rid of paper towels and use a reuseable towel instead
Try growing herbs, basic fruit/veg.
Stop buying books and either borrow or go to the library
Limit activities to 1 or 2 paid classes/hobbies
Limit the number of Birthday parties they attend - 1 a month worked for us!
Get them involved in growing, cooking, chores around the home
Take your kids outside, making use of parks & nature instead of spending time at paid activities like jungle gyms, the cinema etc.
Play sports with friends instead of sitting infront of the TV
Join a toy library
Make presents for friends and family
Make videos, games, books birthday presents for your children not weekly or monthly treats
Get clothes and books from second hand shops
Have a clothes and book swap with friends
Use cloths instead of buying baby wipes
Use cloth nappies instead of disposables - even start with 1 or 2 cloth nappies a day
Try buying local - look at coops and farmer's markets in your area
Switch to organic if you can, choose which foods are the priority for your family to be organic
Buy fresh fruits & veggies
Get an allotment
Stop buying processed foods
Make your own baby food
Switch to drinking water instead of juice or pop
Make a food budget and stick to it
Take a calculator with you on your shop
Get into the habit of checking your cart & putting things back before you
Understand the difference between need and want
Buy in season
Make your own meals
Try no spending days - give yourself a couple days a week where you don't spend anything - not on coffee, petrol etc
Try to use your car as little as possible. See if you can not use it 2 days a week
Join a car share organization
Get a bus pass
Bike, walk, hike as many places as you can
Make use of open/free days for the theatre, museums, galleries etc.
Join or start a book club
Volunteer (this saves money on socializing and let's you give back to your community)
Join or start a knitting/sewing club
Hold pot lucks/bring and share dinner parties with friends
Join free cycle - donate and receive free items
Regularly check your utility companies for any reduction in rates
Schedule time at home, time to relax and simply enjoy your family. Life doesn't have to be a mad rush from one place to another - a weekend spent at home is not a bad thing!
These are just a few suggestions of how to begin a more simple, green and frugal life. You can't start everything at once, consider wisely what you can do and simply start. Over time add in one new suggestion a week or month and you will quickly see the positive changes adding up!
Please feel free to share your suggestions!