Using Sustainable Choices to Rein in Debt
Creating a sustainable lifestyle can be the key to financial freedom for many people. Take a look at your household’s current monthly budget. How many of your monthly expenses could be reduced by making consciously sustainable choices or embarking on your own homesteading adventure? Let’s examine 5 key ways to reduce your expenses with thoughtful, eco-conscious methods.
Declutter and downsize
This is probably one of the hardest steps to take, but one of the most beneficial. Ask yourself how much it costs you to house and maintain all the material things you own? Ask yourself, “How much of this is really a necessity?” Is it worth the valuable space and maintenance that it will require in your life? Once you’ve determined what you feel is necessary for your life, ask yourself “How much space do I really need now?” If the answer is less than you currently occupy, downsize! Consider more sustainable options such as a tiny house and/ or homestead that will meet your needs without as much expense to own and maintain.
Grow/ make your own
Now that you know what the necessities in your life are, how many of those can you grow and/or make yourself?
There is a great deal of personal satisfaction in knowing that you’ve saved yourself a heap on heating and cooking by cutting and splitting your own wood or on personal care and health expenses by making your own bath products and herbal medicines or tinctures.
It can be as simple as growing your own canister garden for a few basic produce items or making your own bread to save on grocery costs!
Buy local and/ or in bulk
If you can’t grow or make it yourself, what can you buy locally or in bulk? Buying produce in bulk from a local farm allows you to can, freeze, smoke, or dehydrate for later use at substantial savings when compared to your local supermarket. Does your supermarket or local health food store offer items in bulk such as grains, beans, etc.? These products are often substantial savings as well as an eco-friendly choice because they create far less waste and do not require the same excessive packaging as other products.
Trade or barter
Money doesn’t have to be the only language our commerce speaks. Use your expertise, time, labor, or homegrown/ made goods to trade or barter for items you cannot grow/ make on your own. This is an excellent way to save money and also build community.
Make a commitment not to create more waste than necessary. What items can you buy gently used at your local thrift shop? Before you toss it, can it be reused or repurposed? Perhaps you have a neighbor who could reuse or upcycle it?
It’s important to note that these choices are not the only step to reining in debt and achieving financial freedom, though. The most important step is examining your savings and applying them appropriately. Once you’ve calculated the money you’re able to whittle from your monthly expenses by making more sustainable choices, make a plan to redirect those savings to relieve your debt load.
In order to experience the biggest savings and pay off the debt in the least amount of time, you will want to start by directing your savings toward your highest interest liabilities first. By directing your savings to the highest interest rate first, you will save yourself a great deal of unnecessary interest. Once you’ve paid off this obligation, move on to the next highest interest rate and apply not only your continued monthly savings but the money you would normally have spent toward the payment of the first debt. Continue to increase the payment made to each debtor by the amount normally paid toward these paid off debts, combined with your monthly savings.
As you continue to consume less and make more and more sustainable choices, you will find yourself spending less and reaping the benefits of a simplified life. Leverage your decisions to focus on an eco-friendly lifestyle and build financial security for your family in the process!