A guest post from a new friend of mine Melissa Black (eventually I need to stop calling her my new friend.. lol). She married one of my good friends from highschool and her and I became fast friends! Besides working full time during the day, she also writes a blog about going green, eating organic and whatever else she comes across to make their life less complicated.
A few years ago, when my husband began his career in real estate, we basically became a one income family for a while as he built his business. Around the same time, we really began to become aware of how our choices affect our world. We just became a bit more conscious about what we bought as well as how much we were spending. What I realized is that it’s just all so connected. I’ll show you what I mean:
Individually Sized/Serving Size Items: Sure, if you’re counting calories like me, or carbs or whatever, it’s great to have some of the guess work taken out for you. Or if you have kids, I’m sure it’s easier to grab one of something rather than cut a portion size off or measure out a portion size. But think about all of the packaging that goes into those separate portion sizes. There’s a lot more plastic used in a package of individual 1 oz cheeses than if you bought a block of cheese. It’s also a whole lot cheaper to just buy the block of cheese. Check it out the next time you’re at the store. Listen, I know we’re all busy… But really, how long is it going to take you to cut up a block of cheese and stick it in the fridge? Then when you’re packing lunches, just grab a piece. You can apply this idea to lots of things… yogurt, pretzels, cereal, baby carrots, crackers… You get the idea.
The Bulk Aisle: Not all stores have a bulk aisle, but if you are lucky enough to have one in your local store, take advantage of it! We buy all of our grains, our oatmeal and some of our beans in the bulk aisle. It’s less expensive, and there’s no box or container to discard. You can even bring your own reusable bags to fill up.
New Stuff: Before you buy something new, always check sites like freecycle.org, craigslist.com, ebay.com, amazon.com and your local newspaper to see if anyone is selling a gently used version. Obviously some things you wouldn’t want to buy used (like a mattress) but electronics would be a good example of something you might want to save money and packaging on.
Share Books and Magazines: How many times have you gone back and re-read a book? I don’t think I’ve EVER done that. But I’ve certainly collected a lot of books over the years. I moved recently and definitely didn’t want to take all of those books with me, so I brought them to the office, put them in the kitchen, and sent an email out to the staff telling anyone who was interested to help themselves. My co-workers were thrilled, and even brought in some of their own to share. This type of exchange would work for lots of things… Movies, music, clothing. The possibilities are endless!
Simple changes like this can save you money but also important… These changes can create less clutter, less trash and help you feel good about your impact on our planet.
For more tips on living a less complicated life, visit me at www.ALifeLessComplicated.com.