Posted on April 19, 2016 in Saving Money
4 Simple Living Tips to Save the Planet (And Save Some Green)
Ready to go green on Earth Day 2016? This year, you don’t have to attend any Earth Day activities to make a difference—you can save the planet and save money right at home by adopting a few simple living tips.
From tiny houses to capsule wardrobes, the minimalism trend has been catching on with the masses—and with good reason. Simple living can help you declutter your space, experience more happiness and less stress, and reduce your impact on the planet.
And living with less stuff is a great way to curb spending habits, according to Anna Newell Jones of AndThenWeSaved. “I started thinking about it like this” writes Jones, “the less stuff you have = the less stuff you crave = the less money you need to live.”
What better time to turn over your new minimal leaf than Earth Day 2016—and these simple living tips to get you started?
Declutter Your Life
Getting rid of unwanted/unneeded stuff is usually the first step when it comes to minimal living. Joshua Fields Millburn & Ryan Nicodemus of The Minimalists suggest making it fun with the 30-Day Minimalism Game. “Find a friend or family member–someone who’s willing to get rid of their excess stuff. This month, each of you must get rid of one thing on the first day. On the second day, two things . . . and so on,” they write. “Anything can go! Clothes, furniture, electronics, tools, decorations, etc.”
Sell what you can and stash the bonus cash in an emergency fund or use it to pay off credit cards (instead of spending it on more stuff you’ll probably want to get rid of later). In addition to local consignment stores, check out online services like ThredUp for clothes, MoveLoot for furniture, and NextDoor for all of the above. Or rope your neighbors into a shared yard sale at the end of your minimal month—and make it a party to celebrate your success.
You probably recycle every day, but how often do you look for opportunities to upcycle? Rather than sending items through a breakdown process to be remanufactured, upcycling uses discarded objects to create products of a higher quality or value than the original. The great thing is that there are plenty of opportunities to upcycle the things you would otherwise discard—if you can learn to see the potential.
For inspiration, check out Upcycle That by Jacques Karsten and Judy Rom, a blog that allows you to search by things you’d like to make (e.g., furniture and décor) or what to do with materials you’d like to reuse (e.g., fabric and metal). For example, learn how to create a side table out of scrap wood, a portrait out of bottle caps, or turn a favorite old sweater into a trendy new purse.
Mend & Make Do
Vacuum won’t start? It might be tempting to toss it and head out to buy a new one, but most of the time, fixing household items is a less expensive—and greener—option. “Corporations are selling cheaper goods and hoping we will buy new fairly often, but we don’t have to fall into that trap,” writes Tiffany Washko at NatureMomsBlog. “We can start by buying quality goods that last, made by reputable companies. We can go a step further by vowing to repair rather than replace when they wear out or break down.”
What are some items you can feasibly fix instead of replace? Appliances, shoes, computers, cell phones/tablets, clothing, bicycles, and furniture are good places to start, according to Washko. If you want to fix the item yourself, start by checking YouTube for instructions. If that doesn’t do the trick, search for a recommended repair shop.
DIY Instead of Buy
Want to reduce spending, cut back on wasteful packaging, and find more meaning in the things you do have? The do-it-yourself (DIY) movement has you covered. According to M/Age Magazine, a publication for and about millennial makers, “While it’s easy to pay to have something made, it’s more fulfilling to actually do it yourself, or with others. The simple act of making helps cultivate creativity and meaning.”
From beauty products to cleaning supplies, home décor to gifts, there are plenty of things you can make instead of order from Amazon these days—sometimes from items found around the house. For some Earth Day specific ideas (including an indoor herb garden that can save you a trip to the supermarket), check out this list of 12 planet-friendly DIY ideas from DesignSponge.
Minimal Living; Maximum Results
Adopting even a few simple living tips can help stretch your dollars and reduce your impact on the Earth, according to Miranda at Sustainable Personal Finance. “When you get rid of what you don’t need or want, you clear up your living space,” she says. “Not only do you save money when you stop buying so much stuff, but you are also reducing the need for packaging, and the use of resources to create new products.”
Ready to simplify your savings along with the rest of your lifestyle? Download the Dobot app, the world’s first mobile personal financial advisor.