A large part of homesteading is self sufficiency and a large part of self sufficiency is being sustainable with what you own and do. When homesteading you don’t want to be creating tons of waste because using products that turn into waste are not sustainable.
A great example of this is using paper plates. While they are easy to use and bountiful in supply at the store they are neither sustainable or efficient to use. Once you use them up they have to be thrown away and then you have to buy more. Their lifetime is single use. In an effort to cut down on single use the simple paper plate can be subsituted with a more sustainable option such as a regular dishwasher safe plate. While a paper place is more convenient using a dishwasher safe plate will save you money, time, and cut down on your waste in the long run.
Here are some examples of things you can stop buying this year to become more self sufficient and make your home or homestead more sustainable.
While everyone loves paper napkins they are extremely wasteful. Instead of using paper napkins replace them with cloth napkins for a more sustainable, long term, environmentally friendly option.
It seems that everywhere you turn there is someone addicted to coffee. There are men and women convinced that they would never function without their morning coffee and it’s probably true because they’ve allowed themselves to become addicted to the substance. While coffee isn’t inherantly bad, being addicted to anything is no way to live. To be more self sustainable cut back on your coffee intake until you feel you could cut it out without any feelings of loss or withdraws.
Bottled water is necessary for many but not for everyone. If you live somewhere with access to clean, filtered, drinking water work on cutting out the bottled water. Not only are those plastic bottles bad for the environment, they add unnecessary expense to your wallet. Focus on being more self sustainable by buying reusable cups, filling them up at home and bringing them with you wherever you go. I personally love my Yeti, have been using it for over a year now and still get the same great quality from using it that i did when I first bought it.
In our consumerist society it is not uncommon to own far more makeup that we need. While this doesn’t apply to everyone, many buy and own far more makeup than any one person could possibly use. Stop the cycle of wasteful makeup buying. Limit yourself to the necessities. You’ll not only enjoy massive savings all year long, you’ll also simplify the amount of decisions you have to make on a daily basis which in turn translates to better time management and more time available to spend doing whatever it is you love to do on your homestead.
Trust me, I enjoy a great meat at Chick-fil-A as much as the next person but regularly eating fast food can kill your budget and increase your level of waste fairly quickly. Cut down on the fast food by even one meal from your regular fast food intake and you’ll see slow but significant savings over time. Not only will your wallet and health than you but the fact that you’re decreasing your waste in this world is a positive side effect too.
Everyone loves seasonal decor but that doesn’t mean you have to go crazy with it. If you’ve just moved into a new home put yourself on a budget for how much decor you can purchase or if you already have some seasonal decor determine to not purchase anything additional.
There are a million different kinds of soap out there but only a handful of them will actually help save you money in the long run and be equally as good for the environment as it is for your budget. Focus on buying soap from local businesses that use sustainable ingredients or find a brand that uses ingredients that are truly good for you and for our environment.
If I was president for a day nobody would eat big huge meals. Instead we would all snack on things throughout the day as our body informed us it was hungry. Doesn’t that sound great? Okay, I know that not everybody enjoys eating that way but certainly everyone enjoys a snack or two. To cut down on your waste and to help out your budget, cut down on the prepackaged treats that you can find at the store. Instead, create your own pre-packaged treats by buying things in bulk and then self packaging or even cook, bake, cut, or freeze your own snacks. Not only will it help save you money and cut down on waste, it will also help you be more healthy because you’ll be aware of everything going into your body!
I live in Florida, married to a guy from Alabama, so trust me when I say I love sugary drinks, or more specifically SWEET TEA! To help cut down on waste make your sugary drinks at home or only purchase them by the gallon. Not only will it help you save money and reduce waste but when you think about the fact that you purchased an entire gallon of a sugary drink and finished the entire thing in 3 days, you’ll become more aware of exactly how much you truly consume each week.
There are litterally thousands of other ways to build a more sustainable life but we can’t build the list forever. If you have something you do to build a more sustainable life share with us in the comments below! We’d love to hear what you’re doing to better your life, homestead, and environment.