As a single mom, saving money is normally at the forefront of any major plan. Living in a city that encourages that you do exactly the opposite, it is not always easy. I have never believed in living an unrealistic lifestyle so in order to give in to some of my “necessary” budget requirements- like eating out several times a month, I have created a sustainable way of living that saves me money in other areas so that I can afford some basic luxuries. I know that this style of living may not work for everyone but it does well for my family.
Walking Is Good For Your Thighs and Wallet
I have lived in Atlanta for nearly a decade and in those ten years, I have only had a car for two of them. At first this was mostly due to economic means- being an 18 year old college student making $10 an hour didn’t exactly leave room for car notes and gas money. Being carless meant I had to be very strategic about where I lived, making sure I was in a location close to public transportation and convenient to grocery stores, hospitals, and entertainment. Because I did not have a car, I could afford to stay within the city. As years went by, I really began to enjoy my lifestyle of being able to walk and move easily around without a vehicle. If I had to be somewhere out of walking distance or train, I can call an Uber or use Zipcar. This has made a great difference in my finances but also plays a big part in sustainable living. I am not using emissions or polluting the air with my vehicle.
Lighting Makes A Difference
I live in an apartment that does not provide overhead lighting. Meaning, that each resident is responsible for bringing in their own lamps and lighting. I use Bright Tech Lamps as a great way to continue a sustainable way of living. Bright Tech lamps use LED lighting that can last over 20 years meaning you never have to replace the light bulbs. Bright Tech lamps are money saving, energy efficient, and provide great lighting in any space. While these lamps may be costly at the forefront, the money saved makes a huge difference in the long run.
What Happens In The Kitchen Makes A Huge Difference
We practice sustainable living the most in our kitchen. Growing up, my mother went grocery shopping maybe twice a month. We ate a lot of canned foods and frozen foods which as we have gotten older, have learned may not be the best option. Making the switch to fresh fruits and vegetables were a bit of a struggle at first because I still wanted to use the same method of shopping. We would toss so much food at the end of the month because it would spoil. To fix this, instead of shopping twice a month, I try to grocery shop about twice a week. It ensures the food will not go to waste and I only buy what I plan to cook that week.
Another way we practice sustainable living in our kitchen is in our tupperware. True, plastic food containers are inexpensive but they are also terrible for storing food. Plastic tupperware is marked microwave safe- meaning it will not melt in the microwave but it is packed with harmful chemicals that will leak into your food overtime. By using glass containers, you can be sure your food will be safe and the tupperware is guaranteed to last longer.
Speaking of microwaves, we tend to stay away from them. Microwaves are great for convenience but not so good for the atmosphere. By using radiation to cook your food, it kills beneficial nutrients and has also been linked to certain types of Cancer. While there is no definitive proof that microwaves cause Cancer, many people are playing it safe and keeping them out of their homes.
This last bit is a little harder to live by but I am striving to be more consistent. Since I grocery shop so often, I accumulate a TON of trash bags. To minimize this, I try to remember to take my own cloth bags to the grocery store to carry my groceries back home in. It saves space and saves the environment. Plastic bags are very harmful because they pollute aquifers and are derived from petroleum; not to mention, it takes a least 450 years for plastic to decompose!
Remember this, every small bit helps. Switching over to a completely sustainable lifestyle is hard work but it is worth it. Protect our planet and incorporate some of these easy methods into your lifestyle.
If you are already practicing eco friendly living, what are some ways you and your family strive to make a difference in the environment?