I do find that in my little corner of the world, being frugal also usually means being "green". While my first choice is not always the environmentally kind choice, the fact is that I am a frugal person both by necessity and choice. This means that I generally promote sustainability simply by default. This is a good thing, even if it's a side benefit of my life.. Often, it seems to me, people assume making the greener choice is the more expensive choice. While that may on occasion be true, much if not most of the time the two mesh well, even if unconsciously. For example:
- I don't use disposables (except for toilet paper) because I "did the math" and it's cheaper for me to wash cloth napkins than to buy paper. Of course, I also like the look of cloth napkins. Now, some might say that there's water used in the cleaning process, but a few napkins (or a rag for cleaning) go into the regular wash, at the regular level. I have applied this philosophy to eliminate paper plates and cups (If a dish breaks on the patio it isn't the end of life as we know it), the use of towels and dishrags (used daily and washed) and other so called disposable items.
- I try to save as much on energy costs as I can. This means I take heat and electricity to my lowest comfort level (which isn't very low, especially in winter). I hang clothing when I can, and I only water once a week (yes, even in Texas). I cook stove meals together and use ceiling fans. Again, I do these things for financial reasons but the end result is sustainability.
- I reuse or re purpose everything I can. This is a necessity for me. The Easter basket that was lined with spring fabric and filled to decorate my living room will now be painted with a sponge and filled with a candle on hand for the patriotic holidays. Whether it's decorating for a holiday, setting a table for entertaining or another cause-I look to what I have on hand first. The immediate result for me is financial, but this also means I am unlikely to put much into a landfill or trash pile.
- When I need to buy, I look to the used market for most things. I do this from a financial stand both because of cost, and because if something is well made and working in a thrift store, it's stood the test of time and will probably last much longer. From a sustainability standpoint, again, this means that I am not putting things into the land fill. Since petroleum products and chemicals are used to make everything from plastic dishes on up, I'm environmentally friendly in more ways than one. I've even considered joining the compact, at least for a brief try.
- When it comes to transportation costs, I try and save much of my car budget for travel, so I am very conscious of commutes and trips and do my best to conserve gas (even as I road trip once a month). Hopefully this contributes in some small way to the planet in general. I've chosen to try a variety of income streams from home to eliminate commuting and "dress for success" type costs, with the same result.
What about you. Do you aim for Frugality, Simplicity, or Sustainability first. How often to more than one of those things mesh in your life?