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From Saving Tips to New Appreciations: Loving My Leaner Life

My husband and I went to see the film No Impact Man last week, and it made me wonder how far I could take my own savings, and my own awareness of my personal and global impact, financially and otherwise. In the film, this guy in New York City pledged to live impact-free on the earth for one year. That means his wife and two-year-old child lived without electricity, and bicycled everywhere among other surprising habits in a metropolis.

When you get that committed to a cause, your philosophies get tested. I suppose it’s not so surprising that after a year of churning out budget tips, my philosophies have been deepened and evolved, as we continue to contract from the money heyday. What started out as important ways to save and organize through the hard times have evolved into the sensual pleasures of every day living, conscious of the bounty I overlooked before.

Convenience versus Quality Time

In my effort to see how far I can take savings—and be curious about what hidden opportunities lie in that lifestyle—I have found vibrant community, the joy of beautiful produce, better quality time with my family, and a sense of accomplishment that comes from both meeting the challenge of leaner living, and the most delicious surprises…that come from the kitchen, nature, ingenuity, and my relationships.

I’m fascinated. I’m amazed and intrigued that what felt like buckling down and holding my breath in money matters has now created space and beauty in my life. Out of that fascination, I wonder, how far can I take it?

  • What if we don’t buy anything new for a whole year? Do clothing swaps, buy from Craigslist and thrift or second hand stores?
  • What if we perfect the hand-me-down circuit with kids’ clothing exchanges? In this area, I’ve been lucky. I haven’t bought anything new for my two-year-old son since he was born.
  • What if I grocery shop only on the weekends so I can ride my bike, and take the kids to the farmers market or the produce stand? It becomes the most fun experience when we do, beautiful vegetables changing throughout the season, and a community of people we see every week. We share recipes and mark time as we see each other’s families growing up.
  • What if I do research on who sells local? Make a weekend excursion of driving out the farm with neighbors and picking up food we’ll share for the week or month?

Soon, more than cutting costs, I’m increasing the quality of my family’s life. I’m becoming an active part of my community, ridesharing and walking my way to increase my health the environment’s. I’m supporting the local fish market, whose local fishermen caught the fish that day. My life is becoming immediate and sensual and earthy. My kids are making memories they’ll cherish. Convenience is losing its appeal to experience. 

Originally published on GreenSherpa