Going green can seem like a mammoth chore when the reality of life includes an already eventful schedule. For many of us, making huge changes to turn EVERYTHING green can seem overwhelming and quite frankly impractical. The best way to advance towards living a lifestyle that is a brighter shade of green is by taking baby steps. Each day, or each week, (or even each month) you can choose something that is important to you and simply give it a try. No pressure, no expectations…just give it a whirl and see what happens. You might find that you’ve had fun, saved a bit of dough and possibly inspired others around you to join in and bite off a bit of green as well.
Here are a few ideas to get you rolling on your ride to a life that features a slightly lighter footprint and adds the benefit of a slightly fatter wallet. So, choose one or two, or all and let me know what you think.
Make Friends With Your Local Farmer
As a city girl this one was a bit more difficult for me to grab on to. However, over the last decade I have tried to purchase close to (as much as possible) 100% organic when it comes to produce. I quickly realized that all this clean living comes with a high price tag. So, along the way I’ve learned a few tricks. Each season has its harvest and you can save money on produce by learning what your local farmers are growing each season. Most areas have CSA – Community Supported Agriculture. This is where consumers buy directly from the farmer and save the cost of the middleman. You essentially buy a share of the farm and get to basket (or box) of seasonal produce each week of the season. You can also find local vendors at your neighborhood co-op. You can search for a local CSA at http://www.localharvest.org/csa/ .
Putting the green spin on your wardrobe does not necessarily mean that you must adhere to a rule of purchasing only organic materials. When you choose vintage, you are making the choice to give new life to something that has already been around the block a few times. The carbon footprint for choosing to shop at a vintage store is itty bitty. Not to mention that you will be an original, unique fashion diva wearing a cool vintage dress that did not come off of a conveyor belt.
Make Your Own Stuff
I know most people don’t have the time or inclination to make presents or stuff for themselves. However, there has been a resurgence of crafting and people choosing to make things instead of buy them. Recently I wrote an article about a grassroots movement turned film called Hand Made Nation . This film and movement highlights the emerging trend of people who are choosing to fire up the old sewing machine and hot glue gun to create something original and made by their own two hands. If you are thinking “I could not do that”, or “I just don’t have the time” you can still benefit from this movement by visiting great online resources like Etsy.com  where hundreds of thousands of crafty, talented designers from jewelry to furniture are waiting to be discovered at a fraction of what you would pay at a retailer AND you get to support a crafty artisan.
Shopping consignment is something I discovered when I had my son several years ago. For the parents of little growing people, it makes perfect sense to find a trusted, clean consignment store where you can turn in clothes your munchkin has outgrown and get credit or cash to buy the next size up. This works pretty much the same way for adult consignment stores. EcoDivas in the know have been shopping thrift stores for years, but consignment takes it to a level of actually making putting some dough in your pocket as a thank you for cleaning out your closet. Plus, you get the added bonus of de-cluttering and getting the Zen from living a life in flow.
There are many hidden treasures in your pantry and refrigerator just waiting to make your skin more supple, your hair oh so conditioned and your feet pampered in style. The next time you find yourself craving a trip to the spa, but not wanting to part with your paycheck, try looking up a few at home recipes with natural ingredients such as avocados, bananas and eggs to create a spa style treatment for yourself without the expense of the spa. Here are a few that I have found to work wonders:
There will always be those items that you simply must purchase from the beauty counter. I’m sure we have all notices that the cost of organic beauty can certainly be daunting. It is always worth it in the end to choose ingredients that will not make you sick. If you are still unsure of whether your current brand has clean ingredients, a great resource to check is CosmeticsDatabase.com . At Cosmetics Database you can conduct a search by product line or by ingredient to check whether you are putting something on your skin now, that you may pay for with more than cash later.
Do you have any favorite green tips that save you green? Please share in the comments!
This is a guest post by Elena Ecodiva, check out TheEcoDiva.blogspot.com  for more tips, reviews and interviews on Ethical Luxury.