9 Tips For Sustainable Living

What do you picture when you think of sustainable living? Maybe it’s dramatic changes like ocean conservation work or switching to wind power. While big efforts are important, sustainable living is an aspect of daily life that can be implemented in small ways. You may be surprised at how small of a change you can make for a real improvement in sustainability, especially when that effort is sustained over time. Here are our nine tips for sustainable living.

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Alt text: A sun setting behind windmills and a grass field

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Tip #1: Turn Off the Light

The average annual electricity consumption for a US household in 2018 averaged over 28 kilowatt-hours per day. A kilowatt-hour is equal to one 100-watt light bulb left on for 10 hours. And we’re averaging more than 28 of those a day in our households! Most of this energy usage comes from lights being left on all day.

Turn off your lights when you leave the room. Conserving the light might mean opening the curtains and letting natural light in. Maybe all you need is a small lamp. We tend to overuse electrical lights unnecessarily.

There are also ways to cultivate sustainability in home decor with your lighting options. What are the materials of your light fixtures made from? Take into consideration how your lights are shipped or provided to you. Sustainable packaging can make all the difference. Sources that prioritize sustainability will help you be sustainable too.

Tip #2: Invest in the Reusable Options

A big part of living sustainably is reusing what you can. We have a lot of daily-use items in our lives that are disposable. But, there are also reusable options available like straws, plates, water bottles, towels, and grocery bags. Don’t be afraid to get creative with your reusable materials, and explore all the new items that are being created every week.

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Alt text: A marble kitchen counter with reusable straws and fresh fruit

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Tip #3: Conserve Your Water

Watching your water usage is an oft-repeated eco-friendly measure, but there might be some specific tips you haven’t considered. We’ve all heard about the importance of taking shorter showers, but have you thought about getting a water-saving showerhead or a shower timer? You may not be aware of how much water you’re using or saving until you start to keep track of it.

Tip #4: Rethink Your Commute

Commuting is a necessity for many people, but you can make your commute a part of your sustainability commitment. If you work close to your home, try walking or biking to work. Taking public transportation is better than taking your vehicle. If you have to drive a car, consider getting an electric one, and carpool as much as possible. If you fly on planes frequently, make sure you find an airline that utilizes zero-waste practices.

Your sustainable commuting routine can also be more basic: take the stairs instead of the elevator. It’s the little things like this that add up.

Tip #5: Dress with the Environment in Mind

A sustainable lifestyle includes supporting sustainable fashion. Sustainable shopping isn’t to be confused with thrift shopping — although getting secondhand clothes is more sustainable than buying new ones. When you decide to buy new clothes, it is better to buy “slow” fashion rather than fast fashion — meaning you choose higher quality items that last longer.

Better quality also often means brands are more environmentally conscious. Plus, in addition to choosing the styles that last longer, you can also make your clothes last longer by doing simple repairs yourself.

Tip #6: Take a Closer Look at Your Bedding

A sustainable life looks at the little details, especially for items you use every day. There are plenty of ways to be more sustainable with your bedding.

You want to choose products from a company that utilizes sustainable practices and uses good materials. Bamboo fabric is beneficial for the environment. Sourcing sustainable fabrics is a great way to institute an eco-friendly lifestyle all across your household.

Tip #7: Ditch the Printer

Today’s world is digital. You don’t need a home printer. If you have to print something, you can seek one out. But not having a printer on hand will save you from printing items you don’t need to print. Practice storing files and information digitally to promote a more sustainable lifestyle.

Tell your bank you want electronic statements. Get receipts emailed instead of printed. Take notes on an electronic device instead of on a pad of paper. Go paperless and then encourage your peers to do the same.

Tip #8: Donate Your Belongings

Just because you’re done with something doesn’t mean no one else can use it. When you donate items you don’t use anymore, you help the environment by keeping them out of the landfill. Donate what doesn’t bring you joy and give it to someone who can reuse those items for a win-win!

Tip #9: Save Gift Bags and Wrappings

This is a small tip, but it can have a big impact. Whenever you get gift bags, save them instead of throwing them away. You can do the same with tissue paper or other wrappings that don’t get ripped or damaged when you open the present. This will not only save you some money but it will help the environment.

Encourage Working Together

Sustainable living works best when everyone makes the same commitments. It doesn’t do much good if you take short 4-minute showers and everyone else still takes long 30-minute showers.

And it won’t matter as much if you are the only one taking public transport to work. If everyone else in the office drives their car separately try to address the opportunity to increase sustainability. Encourage your coworkers to brainstorm together and try to coordinate carpooling times. Together you can make a much larger positive impact by organizing carpool groups.

The possibilities for sustainability are endless. And when you work together to achieve your sustainable living dreams you can make the world a lot better. All it takes are small meaningful changes to make a world of difference.


5 Signs Your Current Lifestyle Will Lead to Your Financial Demise

Your lifestyle is very closely tied to your finances, as it often indicates how much you spend. Living frugally or spending with abandon are two very different lifestyle experiences, and the results of each will clearly show in your bank balance.

Here are five signs that mean you are heading for a cliff edge in terms of your financial situation.

1. You’re not saving 5%

Advice from experts suggests that you should be putting aside at least 10% of your income each month, if not 15%. But if you aren’t even managing to put 5% in your savings, then you are definitely living beyond your means. It’s even worse if you haven’t been able to put any savings aside at all.

If you feel like you can’t save that much each month, then you may need to cut back on your spending. Maybe that means not going out to dinner, limiting yourself to non-luxury items when shopping for groceries, or cutting back on some of your subscriptions. If you’re already living as frugally as possible and still not making savings, then the truth of the matter is that you’re simply not earning enough. Downsizing your home and looking for another source of income could be the solution in this case.

2. You don’t have an emergency fund

Everyone should have an emergency fund – again, experts recommend that you have around nine months’ worth of living expenses set aside, the minimum amount of money you would need to live during that time if you didn’t have any income at all. Why? Because life happens. You might find yourself unable to work, or suddenly lose your job – even if you have been an exemplary employee so far. You could crash your car and have your insurance fail to pay out, or lose your home in an accident which is not covered by your policy.

Vet bills, medical bills, legal fees, a broken-down car or boiler – these are all expenses which can come up from time to time and really knock you for six. You need to be prepared for these situations. If you aren’t, then you could have a nasty surprise waiting around the corner which could leave you bankrupt or in heavy debt.

3. You’re paying overdraft fees (or credit card fees)

It came to the end of the month, and you didn’t have quite enough to get you through to the next payday. Now you’ve got overdraft charges on your account – or you might even have credit card fees to pay until you pay them off. This is a bad situation, as it is the beginning of a spiral into debt. In both situations, you are being charged extra money because of the fact that you didn’t have enough to begin with.

When this happens, you should see it as a huge red flag and stop spending right away. Don’t be tempted to put more things on a credit card.

An interesting technique you can use is to stop paying with your card at all, and instead use a cash envelope system. Withdraw your money for the week or the month, and divide it into envelopes for specific purposes: groceries, shopping, going out, and so on. When the envelope is empty, you just have to stop spending in that category – simple as that.

4. You don’t have a budget

Not having a budget in place might seem fine when you have enough money to make ends meet easily. However, it’s a problematic situation to be in when one of those emergency situations strikes. Suddenly, you are spending far more than you can afford, and you have to suddenly put on the brakes to try and learn how to budget for the first time.

Set a budget now, and learn how to stick to it, as well as what constitutes a realistic budget based on your spending habits. This will help you a lot when changes in your situation occur.

5. You spend out of fear

Fear of missing out, or FOMO, is something that can drive us to spend money on crazy things. Do you really need that new piece of Victorian furniture, or are you just scared that you’ll never get another chance like that again? Don’t let fear dictate your spending. Don’t overspend on going out just to keep up with your friends, or buy a house you can’t afford the payments on because you want people to be impressed. It’s a road to nowhere.

By recognizing these signs and making changes now, you might be able to turn things around. Don’t let the worst happen – get in control of your lifestyle now, and stop your finances from suffering.

About Alana: Alana Downer is a personal finance expert and an avid blogger, who often shares her money tips and tricks online. Alana is also a part of the team behind Learn to Trade – a useful resource for all those who wish to start trading and investing. Should you have comments or questions, feel free to contact Alana on her Twitter.

HOBBY LOBBY Craft Store Coupons

Hobby Lobby Craft Stores coupon page:

www.hobbylobby.com

Then click IN STORE SPECIALS at the top in a tab…..

Then click on the 40% OFF Coupon……

This takes you to a stand alone coupon page where you can print multiple coupons. One per person per visit…. A child can use one, Your partner can use one, A friend can use one…. and I always print out more than I need and either drop off one here and there throughout store or find someone who I think could use one and hand it to them. It amazes me that people didn’t know they are available or those who forget it at home.

Hobby Lobby is by far one of my favorite stores and I always ask for gift cards for every celebration in my life…. I can always buy something there.

Please give a comment if you find this web page not to display coupons or if you get an error message when clicking link. Thanks for helping!

MICHAELS Craft Store Coupons

Michaels Craft Stores coupon page:

http://weeklyad.michaels.com/stores/2101/coupons

You will need to click “Change Location” towards the top so you can get the specials that are current in your area.

Please give a comment if you find this web page not to display coupons or if you get an error message when clicking link. Thanks for helping!