The term “green living” is heard frequently now that we are becoming more consciously aware of the impact our choices have on the environment and on the future.
Possibly, when considering our current economic situation, the term “elastic living” might be a good way to describe the lifestyle many of us find ourselves needing to adopt.
My definition of elastic living, which is my basic lifestyle, is living on a budget that requires stretching dollars as far as possible. I’m certain that in today’s economy there are many like me who are trying to get the most out of each dollar they earn.
Green living and elastic living can function as complimentary lifestyles. Both lifestyles discourage wastefulness and encourage resourcefulness. Both lifestyles urge us to recycle, reuse, and reinvent the purpose of an item to avoid throwing it away.
The various ways in which you can develop an elastic lifestyle depends somewhat on your individual needs but there are a few general suggestions that can help you stretch your dollar. Apply the following ideas to your way of living and shopping and add ideas of your own.
You can stretch your household expense dollars by shopping at discount and dollar stores. Paper products and personal hygiene products are usually less expensive at these stores than at specialty or grocery stores. Stock up on items when they are on sale. Make your own cleaning supplies from inexpensive products such as vinegar and baking soda.
You can find instructions for making your own products at various websites. Obviously, you will spend less if you use less. Reducing the use of paper towels and using washcloths and towels instead will help you with both green living and elastic living. Washing dishes is a better choice than using paper plates and cups that add to the accumulation of trash you have each week.
You can stretch your utility dollars by turning your thermostat up or down a few degrees, depending on the season. Dress more warmly or add an extra blanket in winter. Use a small fan to circulate air in summer. Ceiling fans are beneficial year round. Take advantage of a sunny day. Raise the blinds to let the sunshine warm a room in winter. Hang your clothes outside to dry rather than using a clothes dryer. It is best to keep the blinds closed on a sunny day in the summer so that the air conditioner doesn’t have to work so hard.
You can stretch your grocery dollars by planning your weekly menus according to weekly sale items. Less expensive cuts of meat can be used in slow cooker recipes. Marinating meat is also a way to tenderize it. Use rice or pasta to stretch hamburger or chicken. One of the best ways to reduce your grocery bill is to grow your own vegetables. Fresh herbs in the store are rather pricey. Herbs are easy to grow and require little space to be grown in. A container garden can provide an abundant amount of fresh vegetables in the summer.
You can stretch your leisure activity dollars by seeking at local, free events such as concerts in the park. Find activities to enjoy at home. Family game time is a great leisure activity that doesn’t have to damage your budget. A family picnic or a romantic picnic for tow can be inexpensive but incredibly enjoyable. Take your dog for a walk in the neighborhood or at a dog park.
On a final note, as a work of caution, it is important that you do not neglect certain things even if you find yourself in need of adopting an elastic living lifestyle. If you stop and think about it, elastic will last longer when properly cared for. The same works for the elastic living plan. There are some things you need to properly care for, even if it pinches the budget, in order to ultimately save yourself some money.
Medical costs are high but your health is an area that you should not neglect. Explore all of the possible options for saving yourself money in this area but don’t neglect to care for your health.
Home improvements can be tough on the budget but in some circumstances, a little money spent can save you a significant amount of money over a period of time. Spending money to insulate your home is just one example of money well spent to ensure future savings.
It is also important that you properly maintain your car with regular servicing and good tires. Regular maintenance can be less expensive than major repair that might be the result of neglect.