With God’s leading, I came to realize that I need to find a better balance in being a good steward of my family’s finances, our bodies, my time and this earth. This is when I came up with the idea of being frugally green.
You can be frugal without being green as I talked about earlier. You can also be green without being frugal. Since being green is now so trendy, there are lots of expensive products out there that are marketed to help you “go green”, when really there are often cheaper alternatives that are just as, or maybe even more, “green”. You could spend a lot of money on “going green” if you wanted to.
Some frugal things are also not what is best for your health. I am beginning to understand that eating cheap, processed, chemical filled food is not being a good steward of the body that God has entrusted me with. And lots of frugal or green things may also take up more of your time. Hanging laundry outside on a clothes line takes more time than throwing it in the dryer. Baking your own bread and cooking from scratch require more time in the kitchen than using pre-made and processed foods.
Let me first just say this… finding balance is a journey. It is one that I am really just beginning with God’s help. I am no expert and I definitely have not arrived! I just want to share what I am learning and doing as I go, and I hope and pray that it can be an inspiration and encouragement to others.
How do you begin this journey? Baby Steps! It really is all about making a lot of small changes that add up to a big difference in the way you live your life. Also, baby steps are important because there is A LOT of information out there that can get very overwhelming and make you feel defeated, like there is no way that you could ever do enough. I’m here to encourage you that small changes are good (actually the best) because you can’t overhaul your whole life in a day, or a week, or even a month. It takes time to learn new ways of doing things and to form new habits.
So, here is how I am finding balance:
I want to be green more than I want to be frugal. I don’t want to sacrifice this earth and it’s resources, or our bodies and our health, just for the sake of getting things as cheaply as possible. This is why I call it “frugally green” and not greenily frugal. Fortunately, I am finding that so many things that are green, really can save you a lot of money.
But, sometimes being frugal keeps me from being as green, and taking the best care of our bodies, as I wish I could. I would love to buy all organic produce and free-range, grass-fed, antibiotic free meat and poultry, but it really does not fit into our food budget right now. So I am learning to do my best to feed my family healthy meals on our current budget.
Some things that are both frugal and green are also much better for our bodies. Using natural cleaning methods has eliminated a lot of nasty chemicals from our household. And some of the new health and beauty things I am trying are much better for me than using chemical filled commercial health and beauty products.
As far as my time goes, I am a stay-at-home-mom, God has given me the role of homemaker and home manager at this time. I realize this is not possible for everyone, but if something takes a little extra time, but saves money, is kind to the earth, and is better for our bodies and health, than it is completely worth my time, effort and energy. And I am learning to try to not spend my time on things that are wasting any of those resources.
I still cut coupons for things we actually need, and I still watch the sales at the one grocery store where I shop. But, I am trying a new way of meal planning in which I just buy what we need for our meals for two weeks, and maybe a few other things if they are a really good deal, and I try to use up all the food that we have so that we’re not being wasteful. I still have extra food in my pantry and freezer, but it’s not a stockpile the way that it used to be.
Finally, I am learning to live more simply. God is showing me that simplicity is central to good stewardship of His resources.
As I said though, this is a journey I am just beginning. And thankfully, by God’s grace, I don’t have to do everything perfectly all the time, or even part of the time. I worry that if you are someone that knows me in real life you will look at me and think – she writes nice things about living frugally and green and simply, but I don’t see that in her life. Oh, that is what I am most afraid of. I don’t want anyone to think that I think I have this all figured out, or that I always live this way all the time. I don’t. I wish I did. God still has a lot to teach me, and I striving to learn as much as I can as I go, and seek Him first as I seek to find balance.