Sunday, 21 June 2009

How do we change?

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

In General

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!