You can’t spend more money than you make. The current financial crisis has painfully illustrated this to many individuals, causing almost everyone to take a hard look at his or her balance sheet to reconsider if there is enough income and savings to pay for needs and wants. Many are looking for ways to cut expenses and live within their means.
There are some amazing websites that can help with budgeting, one i’ve been using lately is Pigly, their budget planner is so helpful and easy to use, and I love the lunch saving calculator it certainly makes you think before you go and but yourself a lunch instead of making it!
The financial crisis has hit us hard at a time when many people are also concerned about living in a more environmentally-conscious manner. The financial and environmental crises are alike on a very basic level: you can’t spend more money than you make and you can’t use more resources than are available. Perhaps the easiest way to cut expenses is to live more sustainably.
Common sense tells us that by using fewer or less resources, we help ensure that food, clothing, and housing are available for ourselves and for future generations. In addition, but living sustainably we contribute to our health and the health of the planet.
Incredible as it may seem, learning to simplify and live more sustainability takes effort and sometimes requires us to do things that may seem unusual. Do a little at a time, however, to save on food, shelter, and transportation. Watch savings grow and feel good about what you are doing for the earth.
Make better food choices. Buy real food, not pre-prepared meals. Cut out the fast food and eat out at restaurants less often, if ever.
Locally grown and organic foods may not always be the least expensive food items, but good food is important for your good health, which can reduce medical costs. Raise a few plants on your patio or in a sunny window. Plant a garden. Join a Community Supported Agriculture group.
Eat foods in season. Buy lots when they are less expensive and freeze or can them to use later in the year… just like our grandparents did.
Homes have gotten much larger than most people need. Large homes use up more than their fair share of resources from building materials, to energy, to maintenance cost. If possible, right size your life by moving to a smaller house. Slowly replace durable goods with more energy efficient models of water heater, furnace, and washing machine.
If that seems too drastic, there are many other ways to cut expenses and live more sustainably. Start by cleaning your own house, washing dishes by hand, and hanging clothes outside to dry. Get rid of excess furniture, clothes, and accessories at a garage sale or consignment store to turn your excess into cash. Don’t take what doesn’t sell back inside: take it to a thrift shop.
Let your yard “go natural.” Landscape with native plants that use less water. Fill flower beds with vegetables, herbs, and berries. Save vegetable scraps and leaves to make compost to improve soil nutrients and hold moisture. Sell your lawn mower.
By moving to a smaller house, you may also help save money on transportation. Smaller houses are usually closer to stores and services such as bus routes, libraries, banks, and doctors’ offices. Cars, especially a second car, become less essential. Biking and walking become easy options.
By taking public transportation you save money on gas and may be able to do without a second car or any car. Rent a car for special trips. Some cities have car co-ops.
Walk or bike whenever possible to save money and gain the health benefits of exercise.
There are many simple actions you can take to cut expenses and live more sustainably. Some projects take more time, but incorporating them can make living less stressful and more enjoyable. You can increase self-confidence and satisfaction while decreasing the strain on your wallet and the planet.
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