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We should all be trying to make our lifestyles greener for the sake of the planet. But working out where to start and how to afford that lifestyle can be a little trickier.
A greener lifestyle can be much cheaper in many ways. As some of the main ideas around green living are to have as little impact on the planet, you can’t really justify going out shopping for new stuff every weekend and disposable fashion is a firm no.
On the other hand, setting yourself up to begin a new greener lifestyle can be quite expensive in the beginning. While you can see many of the products you need as an investment, if you don’t have the cash to start with, you might have to build up to a greener lifestyle over time.
That said, here are a few things you can start doing right now to save the planet and save money.
Reusing, Recycling and Repairing
The more you can reuse and recycle, the less stuff you will need to buy. For a long time, we have all been encouraged to buy more and more stuff with the disposable economy leading us towards single-use products for greater “convenience”. The result is that people are spending more money buying the same products over and again when they could buy a product once and reuse it.
So how can you start to avoid this cycle?
Repairing items instead of buying new is a really big issue. In many industries, it is almost too difficult to repair because buying new has actually been made cheaper. The automotive industry is particularly bad for this and when you compare the cost of a new vehicle to the cost of parts on a site like Solomotoparts, it’s actually shocking that this is allowed to continue!
Even if you don’t really want to keep an item, you should try to sell things on second hand or at least pass them along to someone who does want them. For example, you might decide to upcycle some old furniture you no longer want and then sell it online. This is actually a great way to turn your old junk into a bit of cash.
Buying for Longevity
The fashion industry is particularly problematic because it relies heavily on people changing their look every season and keeping up with the latest trends. This means that people are encouraged to throw out last season’s wardrobe and almost completely replace it a few times a year. To achieve this, we are all guilty of buying cheap, badly made clothes that will only last the season anyway. And who feels guilty about throwing away a top with holes in it?
A key part of green living is reducing the amount of stuff we buy each week. Buying for longevity is about choosing a high quality product you can use over and over again for years to come. For example, a great pair of jeans should last you years and we can be reasonably confident they won’t go out of fashion. Quitting fast fashion isn’t easy but it is possible.
Buying once might be more expensive but when you actually add up how much you would spend on disposable products of the same type, you will quickly see how much of a difference it makes.
The Sharing Economy
At first glance, the sharing economy is a great opportunity to reduce our reliance on stuff and to share more. However, this idea is becoming increasingly commercialized by people buying assets specifically to earn a side income from the sharing industry. This benefits asst owners enormously but isn’t really what the sharing economy should be about.
At it’s best, the sharing economy is a community-led process. The basic principle is very simple someone owns a thing someone else needs to borrow and they come to an agreement. This could be in the form of peer-to-peer lending or it could be more like knocking on your next door neighbor’s door to borrow a cup of sugar.
Connecting with your community through social media is a great way to bring people together and start sharing what you have got. The more you come together and get to know each other, the easier it will become to find someone with something you need or be able to lend a hand yourself.
Shifting to a greener lifestyle does take some practice and you need to be willing to invest. But once you have reached a nice equilibrium, you will be surprised by how much healthier your bank account looks.