Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Living Simply, Consuming Less

Anyone else notice that the concept of "Green Living" is turning into a big money maker? Everywhere you look someone is using the concept to promote their product. It's no secret people are leaning towards more sustainable living and corporations big and small know that the trend means big business. Their goal is to keep you feeling good about consuming their products so that they can make more money. I believe that simple living and cutting our consumption are two components that must be incorporated into our lives in order to live both frugally and green.

Here are two examples of what our family is doing to live more simply and consume less:

*One of my husband and my goals for 2009 is to abstain from purchasing brand new clothing for one year (with the exception of undershirts, bras and underwear - aren't you all relieved :). So here we are at the end of April and we haven't purchased anything brand new for ourselves. A couple of things that this has resulted in:
- We realize that we are fine without new clothes. We already have PLENTY.
- We have saved money by not purchasing items we don't need.
- We look for ways to extend the life of the items that we already have.
- We have a new picture or "necessity".
- We realize that in order to live more simply and consume less that sometimes it means resisting what is popular, or not always having the latest and greatest and we are ok with that - actually, we're happier that way.
- When you resist the urge to buy, buy, buy, the result is a sense of power and the good feeling that you are not at the mercy of corporations!!!
- In consuming less we do good for our world - Cotton crops pollute. It is estimated that in the Third World, half of all pesticides used are used on cotton fields. When you recycle a single gently-used T-shirt and one pair of jeans, you help save a full pound of chemical fertilizer and pesticide from being released into the soil, water, and atmosphere. "Cotton accounts for only 2.5% of all agricultural land use, but for 22.5% of all insecticides applied in agriculture." (guardian.co.uk - very interesting article by the way).

*The second area that we have chosen to live more simply and consume less is in the food arena. We eat a lot of beans around our house and because of that, we have chosen to stop purchasing cans of beans and instead purchase bulk beans. The result has been:
- We save a lot of money on beans -dry beans are cheap.
- Our waste consumption goes down as we do not have to dispose of the container that we purchase the beans in (by the way, did you know that the inside lining of cans, if coated, contains the all-too-familiar chemical BPA. I just found this out the other day - Booo Hissss!).
- We are in control of all the ingredient that cook our beans (canned beans are particularly high in sodium and they also usually contain some kind of preservative).
- Soaking our beans releases all the nutrients and health benefits available.
- It takes time and forethought to use dry beans - I consider this a bonus and part of living simply - many might not think the same:)!
- As a side note here is a informative blog post that explains how to soak and cook dry beans in great detail: Kitchen Stewardship you can also fine a ton of information on the internet.

So there you have it - just a couple of little things that we have been able to incorporate into our lives. Sometimes the effort seems small but the benefits have been great for us. So what about you? I'd like to hear of the changes - small or big that have allowed you to live more simply and consume less.


Kitchen Stewardship said...

Definitely good ideas. It's nice to be counter-cultural and anti-materialism! Thank you for the link!! Katie

Katie said...

I've moved to a new home! Can you change the link by deleting the ".wordpress" and it will direct you to the same info, new site. The old one will be erased in a few weeks. Thanks!

C and G said...

Katie - done! thanks for the update

VeganLinda said...

Dried beans made at home are so much better tasting! I love the entire process. So much more fun than opening a can.

Cheryl said...

I always look for jeans for my 2 dd's at Goodwill. Just made a trip and got 4 pairs at $3.99 each, hemmed them up and they look great! One pair still had the tags on them and another was from Limited Too! My 5th and 7th grade girls love them, so they must be cool! :)

Anonymous said...

how to live green, practical advice and tips only..no bs

Jennifer M. said...

The link to that other blog isn't working, btw.

I've tried soaking my own beans but hate how much time it takes! I must say, I'm a quick cook - I don't want to be in the kitchen longer than I need to be!

RE: clothes. I have been trying lately to only buy clothes when my old ones wear out. It's interesting to see how long you can really wear something, rather than just getting rid of something because you're bored of it. Also it forces you to think long-term when you do buy stuff, helping you to buy versatile pieces that will last a long time and go with lots of things you already have.

AbigailDawn said...

I notice this blog doesn'tseem to be active but if you get this can you share some recipes that use beans, our household would love a bew variety of dishes!

Katie @ Kitchen Stewardship said...

Abigail Dawn,
I guess I'm subscribed to comments, and I saw your message come in. I actually have an entire ebook on beans recipes, from appetizers to desserts. Check it out over at Kitchen Stewardship: http://www.kitchenstewardship.com/2011/03/01/now-available-the-everything-beans-book/
Enjoy! :) Katie

A to B Homes said...

Love it! I used to work in a clothing shop and bought a lot of stuff. I have since changed jobs and taken a resolution to not to buy any clothes unless I make them. Now when I am out and about, there is no pressure to buy. Hopefully I will save more than I spent last year!