The type of lifestyle we choose is important for our overall quality of life. From the products we choose to purchase to the places we choose to live. Once we find what works, we move our energy to other areas of our life that need attention and, happy with our decisions, we put those previously determined areas on auto-pilot. For those of us who didn't grow up in an 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". Even without assumptions to overcome, it can take some time and effort to create new habit and that can make the desire to change seem too complicated and insurmountable.
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. And 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. Let's look at some of the simpler ways that you can achieve your goals without spending a fortune to do so.
DIY as Much As You Can
Who says that every product in your home needs to be purchased off the shelf?
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 works 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.
Check out some of our favorite articles for green cleaning below!
- 10 Most Effective Eco-Friendly Home Cleaners
- Tips for Naturally Cleaning Your Bathroom
- Top 5 Ways to Deep Clean Your Carpets Without Chemicals
- Amazing Homemade Laundry Detergents
- Top Tips for Deep Cleaning Your House
- 7 Tips to Naturally Care for Wood Cutting Boards
- 8 Fabulous Uses for Oxygen Bleach
In addition to cleaning products, you may also be able to DIY some of your favorite home design items by upcycling and you may even be able to make some great personal care products like those below:
- Homemade Natural Make-Up Recipes
- DIY Teeth Whitening Products
- How to Make Your Own Homemade Herbal Shampoo
Skip the Car From Time to Time
Cars are highly effective and necessary – we all know that, 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 own. Either way, we're sure it'll pay off in gas savings in no time. If you'd like to save more on emissions you can even consider skipping gas entirely with an electric vehicle. Let’s embrace change, especially when it helps to improve our overall quality of life.
Get into the Habit of Recycling
Recycling isn't just about plastic and paper. Those things are important, of course, but it can be so much more. 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.
Here are some of our favorite tips to get you started:
- How to Start a Permaculture Garden
- Organic Gardening Tips for Effective Pest Control
- Grow These 3 Healing Herbs to Keep the Doctor Away
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). With a little practice you can cook anything, without stick, in stainless or cast iron.