Between a course on spiritual disciplines, living around Portlanders and liberal Christians, and eventually coming to Fuller I've had a lot of ways of living simply suggested to me. Somehow I thought, oh, I know what that means, and I'm just seeing what fits into my lifestyle. But I'm realizing there is still a whole new world waiting out for me regarding learning how to live green and to be responsible as a consumer. Even this week I learned that nail polish and lipstick are very chemically, which means bad for the environment and bad for your body.
In the past month we have been learning to do things more simply. This started with a dry period of time (didn't get the taxes back, APU didn't pull through on Donovan's raise, etc) but turned into a sort of game for Donovan and I. How much fun could we have on how little money? What was really a "need" in our lives? We quickly realize, there are LOTS of things we waste money on. Here are a few key ones for us:
1. Coffee trips. Making coffee at home with good ingredients tastes just as good, if not better, and usually can make more than 15 servings at the price of about 4 cups from the coffee shops. Savings #1, check!
2. Planning grocery trips instead of buying spontaneously when we get there. We had twice as many dinners and lots of healthy food after planning and sticking to our list and we spent $75 for the week instead of $100. Of course we didn't have pre packaged food, we limited our meats, and we had no candy.... but our bodies thanked us for these changes. Alright!
3. Just not doing the extra things... cutting back. No meals out, no unneccessary additions to our Target bag, no "shopping" for fun. It seems restrictive and un-fun, but really, it makes you feel a sense of pride that you're being more thoughtful about how you are spending your hard earned dollars. No more status quo... check!
4. Drive less, bike more, walk when you can. Save on gas, parking meters and lots, tickets, insurance, maintenance, the list goes on and on!
5. Spending less on the expensive entertainment culture in Pasadena takes a bit more thinking, but in the end, a lot of times it's a lot more fun! We went to free concerts, shared movies with friends, walked instead of went out for dinner, and played together (lawn bowling, swimming, etc). Being more intentional about not spending money on entertainment was actually more fun. Sweet!
So take a chance, do something different than those around you... embrace a concept of living simply. Hey, you might already have to because of your wallet, but at least you will be more at peace in your mind. Instead of thinking, gosh, my friends have all these great things and I have nothing... you can think, gee, I'm so grateful to have a nurishing meal on the table and a roof over my head. So many people in the world can't say that today, so be grateful if you can.
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