The type of lifestyle we choose is important for our overall quality of life. For those of us who didn't grow up in a home focused on making health and earth-conscious decisions, the transition to choosing safer products and less consumptive habits can feel like it comes at the cost of great sacrifice. It may seem as though the sacrifices are both convenience, effectiveness, and cost — some people even assume that organic foods taste worse than their conventional counterparts simply because they are "healthy".
The good news is that making green lifestyle changes can be as simple as you'd like it to be. Start with easy swaps and, when you're ready, move on to bigger things. None of it has to be complicated or expensive. As with anything, there are ways to do it on a budget - or go fancy and go all out. From personal care products to ways to green your home, you can find products and methods that can meet you where your needs are.
DIY as Much As You Can
There was a time when the smell of bleach, synthetic pine, or ammonia was synonymous with 'clean' but that's no longer the case. Not only are most commercially available cleaning products toxic, but they are also quite expensive. For pennies on the dollar, you can create your own cleaning products that work every bit as well, won't leave gross residues, and will leave you feeling great about doing something great for your home and your health.
Skip the Car From Time to Time
Cars are highly effective and necessary, but it's not always necessary for everything and you may find it beneficial to your health to skip the motors as well! Choose to walk or ride a bike and you can easily save emissions and sneak in the recommended 30 minutes of physical activity a day.
Less air pollution and a healthier heart are pretty great effects from a simple decision to skip the car for a short trip, right? Walking costs nothing, and a bike might not either if you already own one. If you'd like to save more on emissions you can even consider skipping gas entirely with an electric vehicle.
Get into the Habit of Recycling
Recycling isn't just about plastic and paper. Food (composting), upcycling, donating, etc. Recycling may cost you little to nothing to do and may even save you money in the long run.
Use buckets or inexpensive trash cans to set up bins if your center requires sorting. You can save aluminum and other metals to take to a local scrap metal center for some extra change. It takes a good bit to add up to anything substantial, but every bit helps.
Composting is another great way to recycle. By using food scraps you can create quality nutrients for your garden - even a container one. A quality composter can be purchased for under $80, or you could even make your own with free pallets.
Depending on where you live and what your trash and recycling service charges are, you may be able to save money each month by lightening your weekly and monthly waste.
Save Money by Growing Veggies at Home
There are certainly ways to save on organic foods at the grocery store, like buying in-season and/or on sale, but gardening is also a great way to save money and get in touch with your food. You may even find that it helps you lower your stress. Seeds are generally inexpensive, and you may be able to harvest your own for the following year or get them free from swaps.
Start with easy to grow varieties for the biggest bang and learn as you go. Gardening can be done for nearly free, though it does require a bit of elbow grease.
Speaking of growing your own food, one great way to be more green is to limit the consumption of commercially farmed foods. Have you ever seen a factory farm? They're not pretty, and neither is most of the food that comes from them. The supply chain is incredibly draining on Earth's resources and the result is often an over-processed food product that is costly and provides little to no value.
From dinners to lunches (which can be packed!) you can save a bundle and make organic options the norm much more simply. To give you more bang, you'll want to look at your method of preparation as well. Work to phase plastic out of the kitchen - especially when it may come into contact with warm foods (ditch the plastic spatulas, spoons, etc.) and opt for stainless, bamboo, or wood. While you're at it, skip the non-stick coatings (which have been linked to a variety of health problems).