Green Doesn’t Grow On Trees

Recently, I walked through our backyard and checked every tree and there wasn’t one coin or bill dangling from the limbs. We just took our last vacation for the “summer” to the Bay Area and I’m tired of it; not the vacation, but the Bay Area. I’ve lived it and done it several times over. I want to visit some place exotic like Bolivar, TN where my in-laws live. The only problem is that what I want to do isn’t what I can afford to do right now. I want economic change in my life and I want it now.

Just to let you know, I’ve tried it and wishing upon a tree hasn’t created any monetary blooms. As a homeschooling family, we have made the decision for me to stay at home while my husband “brings home the tofu.” Living on one income has its challenges and unfortunately, even today dual income families are feeling the pinch. At this point, for many families, the extra money (or money) just isn’t there.

Earlier this summer, I made a few changes at home before our country (the world) was experiencing an economic crisis. At the time, I was trying to save a few dollars while also being sure that when they were spent, I was getting the most value out of my dollars. It also didn’t hurt that they were ones which promoted green living. I joined a food co-op that delivers locally and stopped driving almost one hour away to Costco, started meal planning and cooking through my kitchen cabinets instead of buying food on the go, and took up bartering with some friends and a few businesses for goods and services. I had no idea that those changes would become a way of life for, at this point, I’m not sure how long. Now, going green just makes so much more cents.

Food banks are running short on stock, second-hand stores are seeing an increase in sales, the amount of Freecycle E-mails I receive has picked up, and I’m seeing more friends who are starting to grow their own food, raise their own chickens, and bake their own bread. There are many who are experiencing difficult financial times, but also others who are finding ways to maintain their homes and family by adopting more eco-friendly activities in their lives.

For many people, going green was too time consuming, costly, something their fanatic relative did, and a way of life they would never embrace. The 80’s had Scared Straight and now we have Scared Green. I wonder how many people will listen to us now when it comes to going green. I’m sure there will be quite a few who will make lifestyle changes out of necessity rather than out of consciousness. Who knows? Maybe through the course of forced changes, a spark of interest may occur and people will want to learn more about providing for themselves, preserving their environment, utilizing natural resources, and saving money while also supporting each other.

I just parted with some clothes I had been hoarding holding onto that my now four year old daughter wore when she was a new born and a few years older than that. Rather than sell them, I gave them to families who had a need for them now. I also have another friend who has been giving my daughter clothing that her child wore. Although we were not in desperate need, the clothes were useful and that was money I didn’t have to spend. They will also get passed on to another who needs them after she outgrows them.

My local grocery store sells produce and other grocery items from local businesses and I consider those before buying from a remote or out-of-state vendor. Living in a rural area almost prohibits me from buying anything other than local. Directly supporting people who put food on our table is my pleasure.

Our family has a small business and we try to support other local (and sometimes not) small businesses. These are people and families like ours who deserve to have an opportunity to survive. Plus, I like personal and good customer service and I always seem to get it when I buy from the “boss.”

These are just some ways I continue to save a few dollars, support and promote the cause, and continue my dream of going to Tennessee. What changes have you made lately that help you maintain your home during these tough financial times?

Laugh, learn, and live more green and natural with Jennifer at Little Green Secrets where country living is a little easier. Also visit the Homeschool Roster where she writes about the experiences of her homeschooling family. It doesn’t get any better than learning at home.

4 Responses to Green Doesn’t Grow On Trees
  1. Beth (Coming Up For Air)
    October 17, 2008 | 9:16 am

    This is terrific post. You are making some terrific steps!!

  2. [email protected]
    October 18, 2008 | 8:10 am

    Turning down (or up) the thermostat and walking more are two ways I’m saving some money and being more environmentally friends. Unfortunately, living in the desert means not a lot of local produce but I do shop at home, so that’s something.

  3. The Nooge
    October 20, 2008 | 1:43 am

    I think an important thing to point out is that it really doesn’t matter why one “goes green” just the fact that they are trying.

    I, for one, am going green just to save a little bit of money, and if I help the Earth on the side I’m happy. I don’t think that makes me less “green” just more conscious of the other green.

  4. Jennifer (LittleGreenSecrets)
    October 23, 2008 | 5:42 pm

    Beth,

    Thank you for the encouragement. Sometimes, it is hard to not spend money. I don’t understand my urge to eat out all of the time, especially since I like to cook. Hey, I’m going to start making my own bread too!

    Mary,

    I understand living far from resources. I do have it a little better that I’m in a community of farmers. I’ve started shopping more from home too since my non-food items are not as readily available as were in the city.

    The Nooge,

    Just try! That is all many of us are saying. I am still learning about green living. Many of the things I do are because of practicality. As I mentioned, I love eating out, but eating at home is more economical. My desire to save money and get as much value out of my dollar has caused me to incorporate more changes that happen to be better for the environment too. You are about as green as many of us will ever be.