First of all what is sustainable living? We have just recently started our journey down this road but we realize after starting our research that we have always been prone to this way of life. Sustainable living is an actual lifestyle that attempts to reduce a person’s or family carbon footprint. Just like anything it takes a bit of practice and reconditioning but you can reduce the waste that you are generating. We have become a throwaway society which not only increases our landfill but makes us all more dependent on corporations to take care of us. It only takes a bit of research to find hundreds of ideas on how to live a more sustainable life.
Why care about a Sustainable Living?
There are only so many resources on the planet and as the population grows it is depleted quicker and quicker. There are so many ways to incorporate in your life even if you live in an apartment or a rental home that can make you a more sustainable human.
Here are just a few general reasons to try the sustainable lifestyle:
- Using Less Resources which can save trees, energy, water and natural resources.
- Saving Money by eliminating the need for large corporations to provide for you which also eliminates the middle man to sell you the products.
- Eliminate Harmful Chemicals in your home by going greener.
- Simplify your life by taking a look at what is in your closet and your kid’s room and ask yourself the question “Do we really need all of this crap?” Maybe it would be better to spend time with our kids in the garden than renting a movie from the cable company.
- Building more of your own stuff will increase your knowledge and give you a lot of satisfaction knowing you did it yourself. This reduces your dependency on corporations and eliminates the packaging waste for shipping your stuff.
We started out by looking at all of the bills we paid and the items we purchased and tried to find alternatives for each thing on the list. Sometimes our choices were based on saving money because our ultimate goal is to live life on a homestead but that is not everyone’s goal but you can still be more sustainable and who knows maybe you will want to be a homesteader someday.
Here is a basic list of bills that we were paying and I suspect it very similar to everyone’s list more or less:
- Rent or Mortgage
- Gas and Electric
- Cable TV
- Car Insurance
- Cell Phones
- Water and Sewer
- Garbage Collection
Rent or Mortgage
We are currently renting a home but are in the process of purchasing a trailer and renting a horse property to put the trailer on. The property does have power and water but no house. This means a drastic reduction in rent until we purchase our own land and a great staging area for our ultimate homesteader lifestyle.
Gas and Electric
We are actively reducing the amount of electricity and gas consumption. We are in a rental that has a wood burning stove so our gas bill is very low but we found that our firewood was costing us over $180 per month so we found that we can get free pallets and low cost pallets and reduce our wood cost. All we have to do is cut down the pallets and this only takes 10 minutes a pallet and we go through about 1 pallet a day. It does leave nails behind but they clean up easily after burning. Even if we bought all of our pallets it comes to about $2.00 per pallet for a cost of $60 per month. Make sure you do not use pallets that have been used to ship chemicals. We are also planning to make a solar furnace and wind turbine to provide some relief to high energy cost. When we purchase out property we have plans to implement multiple forms of alternative energy.
We currently have Netflix, Amazon, Gaia TV and Silver Package of TV. We have been cutting back a lot on the amount of TV we watch and have it down to a few favorite shows and these we record so we can fast forward through the commercials. We know that when we get to our homestead that we will be do without cable and the cost associated with it so until then we are deciding what to remove next.
We will not be doing without Internet. We have found that there is no better tool than the Internet for new ideas and how to do just about anything. I am also a writer and a website designer and I will be using this to generate income on the homestead.
A necessary evil in today’s society unless you have no vehicle. We have paid off our vehicles and will not be purchasing any newer cars or trucks so we will not have any payments and we can just have liability insurance. If you are a veteran then I highly recommend using USAA. They have saved me hundreds per year and they seem to really care about veterans.
I am old enough to remember life before a cell phone but I cannot imagine not having one now so it will be something that we will continue to have but we are looking into prepaid rather than the high monthly cost of a newer phone and a contract.
Water and Sewer
If you are in a rental then your hands are pretty much tied with this one. Even in a home that you own if you are in the city then you are connected to the sewer system so your only viable alternative would be composting toilets which could be of great use if you are going to have an awesome garden.
The amount of garbage that we generate has significantly gone down once we made the decision to make it so. We burn all of our cardboard and paper in the fireplace. We save all of our Styrofoam and melt it down into useful plastic items. We are currently experimenting with plastic bottles for building. Our food wastes will be used to feed worms and crickets once we get that setup. Until then we are setting up am compost area.
Our plans for the homestead include a large garden and eating more of our meals from the garden even though we are not vegetarians. We will have chickens for eggs. We want to live entirely off grid and become totally self sustaining but do not envision ourselves butchering the chickens or much of anything else for that matter. We would possibly raise some animals and have a butcher come in and trade his services in exchange for some of the meat. If you are in a rental situation and this applies even in an apartment you can grow vegetables. If you have never picked a fresh tomato from the vine and eaten it then you have not experienced the best taste of tomatoes or any other vegetable for that matter. This is just one of the benefits of growing your own food. Give it a try on a small scale and you will never go back to store bought.