Why do they label us consumers? Aren’t we people with thoughts, feelings, and passions all our own?
Aren’t we more than working from 9-5, sponsoring a corporation, in order to earn money so that we can support a shopping habit, or live in a large home and own two cars, living lives of luxury dining and entertainment?
Yet, if someone were to take an objective, outsider look into our lives, what would they say?
Is there an alternative?
We are by nature, creatures of habit. We like things done a certain way because we’ve always done them that way, or because someone taught it to us that way, or because our parents did it like that.
We just flat out don’t like to do things differently.
Humans, in general, hate change.
Therefore, purely out of habit, we spend our money, time, and energy on useless things (consuming) and miss out on the joys of frugal living (producing).
In order to break free of the consumer culture and develop new, frugal living habits we have to start looking at the small stuff. Exploring new ways of doing things plays a large part in forming new habits.
Discovering the Minimum Level
Not all, but many of us are in bondage to poor spending habits. We have become slaves to society and corporations. The question then becomes…how do we break free and develop new, frugal living habits?
This will only happen by seeking the minimum level.
What do I mean by that?
We must continue, or start for the very first time, taking small steps toward scaling down. The minimum level must always be on the forefront of our minds. Daily we must ask ourselves “Am I doing this out of habit? Is there a way to reduce or lower ______?” We should persist in the search for the minimum level until the process is no longer acceptable for our standards. Then, be sure to bring it up a notch on the comfort scale.
Here are a few suggestions for reaching the minimum level.
Tips To Help You Reach The Minimum Level
Please keep in mind what we learned on day one of the Challenge. This is not about depriving ourselves, it’s about putting off the “more is better” mentality and learning to enjoy what we have.
Use less laundry detergent. Don’t always feel like you have to use the recommend amount of laundry detergent. Perhaps your clothes aren’t really that dirty and you only need half of what is suggested. And may I propose wearing jeans and using towels more than once before washing.
Cut back on the amount of soap used when washing hands. It could be that only 1 pump of soap will do, rather than 2 or 3.
Reduce water usage. Would a 3 minute shower get you just as clean as a 10 minute one? Better yet, do we really need to shower every day? Is it feasibly to reduce it to a sponge bath on the days when you’re just lounging at home?
Try using less shampoo. Or, consider if a daily shampoo is absolutely necessary.
No need to use the blow-drier everyday. There are days when we could go without using the blow-drier and let our hair air-dry.
Go Au natural. It’s not what you think:) I’m suggesting to go without makeup a couple days a week, or at least scale it down. Your beauty comes from within…embrace that truth.
Stop buying shaving cream. Use a homemade moisturizing soap instead.
Watch out for that toothpaste. Could it be that a quarter inch of paste will work just as well as a full inch. Baking soda’s a pretty cheap alternative too.
Drink water. Boxed or bottle juice is expensive! Soda contains no nutritional value and isn’t cheap either. Drink water!
Set the drier for a shorter cycle. It’s possible that the clothes are dry long before the moisture sensor picks it up. As an alternative, hang your clothes to dry, and toss the drier all together:)
Is your plate always full? Try eating smaller portions.
Satisfy a chocolate craving. Reach for one small piece; the super-sized candy bar really isn’t necessary.
Morning cup of Joe. How about using a french press as an alternative to the electric coffee pot. I promise, once you taste a cup of coffee made with the press…you’ll never go back.
Buy off brands. Let go of this love for brands. Be open to healthier, cheaper ways of eating. Just because things taste different doesn’t mean they taste bad.
Buy in bulk. Not always, but most often, buying in bulk will save you money and allows for a simpler diet.
Eat real, whole food. Maintain a simple diet. Stop buying processed foods and rediscover the wonderful tastes of pure, wholesome nutrition.
Turn down the thermostat. Daily reduce the settings by one or two degrees. Wear sweaters and slippers in the house. Add an extra blanket to the bedding.
Low watt bulbs. Purchase the lowest wattage bulbs you can stand. You can always put the brighter one back in if it’s too dim.
What about the water heater? Turn her down too.
Drive less. Batch errands. Stay home. Ride your bike or take the bus.
There are countless suggestions we could list. But here’s the thing, every one of us have living and lifestyle situations that are unique. Some of these tips may not apply to you specifically. I challenge you to focus on the principle. In order to develop the new frugal living habit, and break old ones, we must always search for the minimum level. Be patient with yourself and your family. It may take days, weeks, or even months to adjust to the minimum level. And then when comfort comes, try lowering even more.
Now It’s Your Turn
Daily Goal: Examine your own unique situation and challenge yourself to the minimum level. How will seeking the minimum level effect the way you live now? What will you reduce today? What can you work on reducing in the future?
Subscribe: Be sure not to miss a day of the Challenge! Click this link to receive the 23 Day Frugal Living Challenge by email.