~Frugal and Organic Living ^.^

living a frugal (thrifty & economical) and organic (or: as natural as possible) life, while keeping ~minimalism~ and ~environmental consciousness~ in mind.

 

or, alternatively, of course, the title and subtitle of this essay could have been:

Minimalism and Environmentalism:
living a minimalistic and environmentally-friendly life, while keeping frugality and organic/natural-made in mind.

 

These 4 phrases (frugality, organic-ness, minimalism, and environmentalism) cannot actually be put in any order of superiority, I think, because no one concept is superior to another. And; all the ideas are intertwined and eternally connected, I think.

For example; living frugally (continuously sparing as much money/earnings as possible) can really help with minimalism, and vice versa. Being careful with spending money—thriftiness—prevents you from owning things that are ultimately unnecessary (minimalism) And, not desiring much to begin with (a minimalist mindset) leads to not spending money (frugality).

But anyways: I just needed a functional title, really >.< I tried to think of a good-sounding one that would cover all four concepts fairly equally. So, I chose the aforementioned. But all the ideas are equally important and strongly related, I believe.

Title clarification is out of the way, now!

                          ******************************

~Last thing~

Important Note on the reading of this essay:

The words highlighted in yellow (like this) are the actual suggestions (my main bullet points) on overall thrifty, organic, minimalistic, and environmentally friendly living. (All the other words/lines/paragraphs underneath each highlight are just building on the main point, highlighted.)

*Also: not every one of my highlighted bullet points are applicable to each and every concept that I have recognized, above. Like, not all of the suggestions on thrifty, organic, minimalistic, and environmentally-friendly living actually cover each one of those ideals. Some of the highlighted suggestions only lead to organic, economical, and environmentally-friendly living, for example. (They knock out three of my four golden ideals).

I have indicated this caveat, where necessary.

~

Time to start the essay!! 🙂 

Beginning with my personal relationship to each of the four concepts, mentioned above. (briefly.)

                                         ↓ ↓

Me and Thriftiness:

Frugal? Thrifty? Economical? That hasn’t really been me, in the past. While I’ve never been too overly extravagant with money, I’ve never been money conscious, either. Not to the level that suited my overall life; not to the level I needed to be, for my own sake. Which really sucks, looking back. Because, I wasted my money (which was actually my parents’ money, in 99% of the cases). (I feel really crummy about it. 😢 They didn’t raise me to waste their money—they raised me to be a good daughter and good human being. ~tears, sighs. and frustration~.)

That being said, I think I’ve always been somewhat in the middle of the two ends (spendthrift-iness and frugality). But I’m trying to move more to the frugality end of things.

And;

In terms of me having a little bit of frugalness;

Something (a character trait) that has helped me not waste every penny I find (and save some of the money that comes into my possession):

I don’t really find that much joy in shopping. I do get joy in purchasing something cool/unique/useful to me/etc. But I don’t think I’ve ever (in my whole life—23 years) gotten much pleasure from shopping, or even from buying or owning things, in a general sense.

So; shopping in itself is not fun…but I do like having something I really like or admire (like a lava lamp, or the best/most upgraded type of storage containers. You know—like that stack of shelves/connected containers that has wheels on the bottom part of it, so you can move it around? And you can open and close the shelves, like drawers? I’ve always thought that is kinda cool).

So; possessing something you like is different from the idea of shopping being fun. Shopping isn’t fun, actually. To anyone, I bet. Lemme prove it (if I may): 1. When you shop, you have to give someone your money. (Often way too much of your money—everything in this world is over-priced, to me. Inflation? Well, I don’t know what that is, but I bet if we all really tried, we could make at least the necessities of life (like; an apartment/home, food, medicine, clothes, etc. highly affordable for everybody).

So anyways; you have to become a few dollars poorer (or; many dollars poorer) in order to get an item or product or service that you need, or really want. I mean, why can’t most things in life be free? That’s a hard question for anyone to adequately answer, I bet.

Another reason why I’m sure nobody truly enjoys shopping (the carefree kind—the kind that is without need) is because nobody likes the idea of being extravagant. Extravagance is an ugly quality. And this idea is actually implanted in each and every one of us, no matter how much we forget it, externally.

Lemme prove it:

We all look up to the best of humanity—the best people who ever walked this earth. And a few of those great people include Christ, and the prophet Muhammad.

Both those figures were extremely sparing and simple, in living their lives. Therefor; we all (deep down) admire those traits, in those men. (Like; if we revere those central figures, then we also by necessity admire their personal traits. like their frugality. It makes sense–trust me :p ).

-Christ (Allah’s peace be upon him, as we say in Islam) only had a few changes of clothing, I believe. He forsook the riches and materialism of this world. And he led a most simple life. He embraced and loved the poor and the weak, and taught “they are blessed, and that they shall inherit the kingdom of God.” He was a personification of simplicity and humility: humbleness, modesty, and etc.

-And prophet Muhammad (may Allah’s peace be with him, as we say in Islam) also forcefully detached himself from the unnecessary qualities of this world. He also embodied simplicity, and prudence—wise regard for the future. He said: “What have I to do with this world? In regards to this world, I am like a rider who shades himself under a tree, and then goes on his way.” I.e., “I am only on Earth for a very short time—I will soon go back to my Lord (i.e., die—move on, in this eternal journey of existence.)

He also warned against extravagance with anything; overspending, over eating, talking too much, etc.

In regards to talking, the prophet said; “Someone who believes in Allah and the Last Day should speak good words (kind, beneficial, necessary), or (otherwise) keep silent.” The Prophet used words so sparingly that, according to a hadith, people around him could often count the words that he would speak (at a time) with ease. Like, they could remember the number of words he said. (And, obviously, the content of what he said). In other words, he (peace be with him) never “talked too much,” as we say.

both Christ and the Prophet exemplified rejecting and distancing oneself from materialism. I really need to do that–to follow that example. We all do, actually ..

Me and Organic Living (or; as natural-as-possible living. #ChemicalFree)

I’m also (in addition to cutting out the unnecessary spending) currently trying my best to rid myself of chemicals, whether in my hygiene products, food, house cleaning products, and etc.

E.g.; the hygiene products that we use, like lotions, deodorants, and soaps are often (most of the time, in fact) laden with chemicals. Especially the fancy shmancy kinds, in my opinion. Even the hygiene items that are the most natural variety of the store-bought products likely have less-than-healthy chemicals in them. What I mean is that; even a brand of shampoo (for example) that is the most natural kind you can find in stores is nowhere near the healthiness of all-natural (100% natural) shampoo. Like African Black Soap, for example.

http://www.treehugger.com/style/what-is-black-soap.html ~

We don’t often think of our hygiene products (or; our food, our cleaning supplies, etc.) being dangerous for our internal health. But; they often (usually, I think) are. But we can make changes!

I mean, I myself (over the past year or so) began to make my own hygiene products, at home. I know that sounds ridiculous, but it is in fact highly economical/cheap, natural, and easy to prepare. (See fourth highlight, below).

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Me and Minimalism:

I’ve also recently become interested in minimalism. Minimalism (from what I’ve read, and how I like to perceive it) is: freeing yourself of things you don’t need (via donating them, selling them, gifting them to others, etc.), being content and happy with what you have remaining, and not feeling the need to obtain much else, of material possessions. “Wealth is not the amount of physical riches you have—indeed, (true) wealth is the richness of the soul.” (–said the prophet Muhammad, peace be with him…as well as many other blessed people. Many people have said variations of this quote, this reality. ❤ ).

Me, and Environmental Consciousness:

Last (but not the least; this might well be the most important): Environmental consciousness.

I. Wanna. Reduce. My. Carbon. Footprint. (Now, I just have to repeat that to myself every day, so I can internalize it and have a greener mindset).

Like every other person (I’m pretty sure), I’ve always liked nature, and both marveled and worried at the fact that there is only one planet that we have. We need to take care of Earth. (Which, incidentally, is “heart,” with the letters rearranged. ~A good heart cares for the Earth!)

And, for a completely unnecessary comment (‘cause, why not; I think it’s at least kind of interesting): Both of the words “Earth” and “heart,” with their letters rearranged, spell my name; “Ethar.” And in addition to that, ‘Ethar’ in Arabic means “altruism; selflessness.”

I think there might be a connection going on, here! 😮

perhaps you can only look at it this way through a stretch of your imagination—but anyways (here’s my theory):

A good heart cares for the Earth.  (-these letters, alphabetically (just to make it easier) are: a, e, h, r, t)

Ethar, (also a combination of ‘a, e, h, r, t), if you claim to have a good heart, you’d better help the Earth. Have altruism (the meaning of ‘Ethar’) for that cause! :O 😮

Ok; I’ve never (ever) been into the whole signs thing (i.e., the universe or God or fate or something else is sending you a sign—to do something, go ahead with something (a decision), to feel something (e.g., to have reassurance in this situation), etc….

But this particular thingamajig (with words ‘Earth’ and ‘heart’ and ‘Ethar’ (my name) is, like, something, I think. It’s really weird, but that doesn’t take away the potential significance, to it (the good meaningfulness.)

Even if this ‘word-miracle’ isn’t quite a sign, I still interpret it as a push to get working. On that selflessness, and/or that stewardship of the Earth, and also the whole ‘having a good heart’ task. None of the above are easy, but I’m determined to do it.

~

Ok, thank you for reading that mushy and slightly weird and sometimes off-topic part of the essay. The actual ‘suggestions, advice, thoughts from my experiences/research’ starts now: ↓

To attain a thrifty, all-natural (or organic), minimalistic, and environment-conscious/env.-friendly life (all there for the taking, in this life), this is what you should do (in no specific order):

  1. go for reusable products (minimize disposable, one-time or short-time use products).

Reusable products are products/items that you only buy or obtain one time, with no need to re-purchase more of them, in the future.

This mechanism/choice is thrifty because you will never (or; hardly ever) need to buy ‘another one’ of those types of items, saving you a lot of money as time goes by. It is often all-natural because you can most likely obtain reusables made with zero chemicals to them. It is minimalistic because you’d only have one single item per group of items, in your possession. (E.g., you’d only own and use one ___ (fill in the blank.) It is environmentally conscious and friendly because if/when you take the option of getting a reusable product made of sustainable or biodegradable or recycle-able material,  (e.g., glass, paper/cardboard etc./stainless steel, and all the other good materials), you are not contributing to pollution. (E.g., plastic production and use in our world is too high, and only a fraction of it gets recycled, I believe. That means a lot of trash (i.e., plastic bags, plastic bottles, plastic straws, and etc.) in landfills, and trash contaminating nature (e.g., oceans, and the many animals that live there)…        ↓ ↓

“According to the Environmental Protection Agency, in 2011 the U.S. recycled only 11 percent of plastics. That means most of the plastic bags we use end up in landfills across the nation!

You might ask yourself, what do plastic bags have to do with climate change? Let’s start with the fact that most people tend to use plastic bags once, even after knowing that they are not biodegradable and can sit in a landfill for over a century. Plastic bags are mostly made out of polyethylene, which is a byproduct of petroleum and natural gas. As plastic bags decompose into little pieces, they release greenhouse gas emissions into the atmosphere, adding another number to the long list of anthropogenic climate change sources.”  ~ http://climatesociety.ei.columbia.edu/2013/08/29/climate-change-who-thought-plastic-bags/  ~

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Some items that you can (should, actually) buy in re-usable form:

  • water bottle

A good quality stainless steel bottle can last forever, I’m pretty sure. You wouldn’t need to ever replace it.  

You’ll save a lot of money by purchasing a reusable water bottle. No more paying $1.25 per bottle at cafes, vending machines, etc. And no more buying a pack of water bottles as part of your grocery supply. You would have a lot of incentive to simply fill up your stainless steel bottle with tap water from your sink, and drink from that, instead. Lots of money saved! So a reusable bottle is pretty thrifty.

Reusable bottles are often made out of safe, natural materials. (BPA-free stainless steel, for one example.) In contrast, disposable, plastic bottles become unsafe to use after a certain amount of re-use, because the plastic wasn’t made to stand up to a lot of wear. (I think I read or heard somewhere that even brand new plastic bottles (like; a Deer Park bottle that you just bought from the vending machine) can transmit harmful chemicals to you, simply due to the plastic, itself. Plastic can be harmful.)

Links to what I’m talking about: http://www.mindbodygreen.com/0-11193/7-reasons-to-never-drink-bottled-water-again.html     ↓ ↓

Many bottled waters contain toxins, even if they’ve nixed BPA.

Plastic isn’t just bad for the planet: it’s not good for you, either.

Bottled water companies increasingly use BPA-free plastic, but laced into plastic bottles are other chemicals that can seep out if bottles are exposed to heat or sit around for a long time. Some of these chemicals are possible endocrine disruptors. No one knows for sure what the health outcomes are. Do you really want your body to undergo that experiment?” (from mindbodygreen site, above)

~

So anyway: reusable, BPA-free steel bottles can easily be found. An all-natural material: no harmful chemicals being transferred to your body.

Also: reusable bottles are in line with minimalistic ideals, due to their owners only having one of them. (Would you really need two? Need? Or just want? Besides, multiples of things probably have zero correlation to sense of well-being, or happiness. At best, they help generate a false sense of happiness.)

They are environmentally friendly because they help eliminate plastic bottles from the world.

~

a really awesome bottle brand that you should check out:

S’well (https://www.swellbottle.com/ ) – the main mission of this company (from what I’ve read so far on their site) is; drastically reducing the amount of plastic bottles, in the world. Plastic is toxic to the environment, largely because it often doesn’t actually get recycled, like it is supposed to. It often ends up in landfills. Landfills contribute to greenhouse gas emissions. So; unrecycled plastic contributes to greenhouse gas emissions, in many cases 😮 #OneEarth #Let’sTakeGoodCare

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  • another reusable product: bags. Cloth/tote bags, to be exact.

Thrifty: I (to be honest) don’t really know how a cloth or tote bag will save you any money. 😛 ~here’s one of those caveats/exceptions that I was talking about, earlier.

Minimalistic: Of course, you can choose to have only one cloth bag, in your life. Why not? #de-cluttering. #reducing my amount of stuff.

Organic: well, I’m not sure if bags, in general (cloth, or plastic, or otherwise) can be harmful to your health. Like; I don’t think that choosing cloth bags over plastic bags will particularly benefit one’s health, in any way. -however, the one area in which alternative-material bags really could be healthier than plastic ones is: in wrapping your food. I try to avoid wrapping my food in plastic bags/plastic wrap/cling wrap/plastic containers, because the chemicals from the plastic can transfer onto your food. Instead, I try to use stainless steels containers…and I’m interested in using cloth napkins (and tying them with something of course, so nothing spills), in future.

Environmentally-friendly: Finally—a goal that is 100% attainable, with cloth bags/non-plastic containers! (Yea!) (I couldn’t really see the benefits of using cloth bags for money-saving, minimalistic, or organic living purposes.) But, environmentally: Using cloth/tote bags instead of plastic or paper ones will reduce your carbon footprint, because: 1. you won’t be contributing to the amount of plastic bags, in the world. This means that you won’t contribute to the amount of pollution that happens because of plastic’s greenhouse gas emissions. And 2. you won’t be contributing to paper (bag) consumption. I.e, you won’t be involved in the consumption of trees (which are the main ingredient in paper).

*So: when you go grocery shopping, when you go clothes shopping, and etc.: why not bring like three or four good-sized cloth tote bags to pack your items in, at check-out? (Like; instead of using the plastic bags they give you, at check-out.) # saving trees! (And avoiding plastic.)

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  • a third reusable product: washcloths, and cloth cleaning supplies, in general.

Thrifty: no more spending money on paper towels or sponges. You can simply wash the piece of cloth once it gets too dirty (via hand-washing, or machine washing), let it dry, and reuse.

Organic: ? not quite sure that paper towels and sponges, etc. had any harmful chemicals in them.

Minimalistic: no more having a bottom sink cluttered with paper towel rolls, sponges, and other similar items

Environmentally-friendly: you’d be reducing your carbon footprint by not contributing to the production of paper towels/sponges (via cutting down more trees, and etc.)

***

  • A fourth reusable product (for ladies): reusable menstrual products (menstrual cup, cloth menstrual pads, and etc.).

Reusable menstrual products are period products that you re-use continuously, rather than dispose of after a single use. Reusable period products need to be washed/rinsed, after every use.

#No more disposable tampons or pads!

This option and method of handling your period is thrifty because reusable menstrual products last a long time, as opposed to disposable products, which you throw away after a single use. This long shelf life that is intrinsic to reusable period products means a lot of money saving.

I heard that a menstrual cup lasts between like five to ten years before it should be replaced…and cloth menstrual pads last at least five years, with proper care. That’s like five years’ worth of saved money! The money you would have spent on buying the disposable products (every single month), of course. The tampons, and etc.

Organic: opting for reusable menstrual products is much healthier for your body than using disposable period products. This is because you’d be using (for just one example), natural (or even organic, like I do) cotton cloth pads. Or; free-of-harmful-chemicals silicone (as in the case of menstrual cups). Disposable tampons and pads, on the other hand (like the Always and the Kotex, etc.) have chemicals on the surface/exterior of them. You don’t want that, as this material will be coming in contact with your vaginal area. (*It’s true that you can buy disposable pads and tampons  that are the organic cotton kind…As in; pads and tampons that are single-use, but made of natural material (in essence, organic cotton).  Like; the kind you can find at Wholefoods market…). While this is true, you’d still want to go for reusable organic period products, because 1. it is cheaper for you, in the long run, and 2. reusable anything is better for the environment, because it cuts down on production and potential pollution.

Link to a really good (short) article that talks about this topic: http://www.healthychild.org/is-your-pad-or-tampon-safe/

Another (longer) article:

Minimalistic: by using reusable period products, you will be decluttering your bathroom space, due to only have one single stash of cloth pads. Or; one single menstrual cup.

environmentally friendly: by choosing reusable period products, you’ll be reducing your carbon footprint by reducing your consumption of period product material (e.g., cotton). Also; I don’t think that disposable period products are biodegradable. Organic cotton, on the other hand (as in the case of many cloth pads–the cotton kind) is entirely biodegradable. :

“Organic cotton—More than 25 percent of the world’s pesticides are used in conventional cotton production. Organic cotton is grown without toxic, synthetic chemical inputs. Look for natural dyes or colored cotton to further reduce the amount of chemicals dumped into our ecosystem.” ~ http://www.ecowatch.com/7-eco-friendly-fabrics-that-will-green-your-wardrobe-1881821403.html ~
~~~

Quick info. on menstrual cups: a menstrual cup is a silicone cuppie (teeny little cup, which is flexible and oval-shaped) that you insert vaginally, during your menstrual cycle. It collects, rather than absorbs your menstrual blood. You remove it and empty its contents (like down the toilet bowl…probably the most sanitary option, as opposed to the sink or bathtub, or something), and the wash/rinse it well, and then re-insert it. It’s not painful any more than a tampon is painful.

Quick info. on cloth menstrual pads (my personal preference):

 https://clothpads.wordpress.com/faq/   

–There are other options for reusable menstrual products, too! Like sea-sponge tampons. But personally, if you want my honest advice, I would try to avoid using internal cloth products, for your period (like; any type of tampons–even organic kinds). I heard that tampons and things absorb the fluid that your reproductive organs naturally create (like; they don’t just absorb the blood–they absorb all the fluid.) This can be bad, for you. 

~

http://gladrags.com/product/383/Organic-Day-Pad-Plus.html (this is the company that I bought my reusable cloth menstrual products from. I’d give them a 5-star rating! ).

-last thing: all reusable period products (a stash of cloth pads, a menstrual cup, etc.) are more expensive than the disposable variety, but only at first! The amount of money that you will save throughout that 5-10 year period of time (hehe—period of time) will make up for the initial purchase, and then some. I read somewhere that you will ultimately save several hundreds of dollars, per year! 😮 (I’m pretty sure that figure is right. Here’s an article that says this:

Links:

 https://www.thepennyhoarder.com/smart-money/reusable-menstrual-supplies/ 

http://www.treehugger.com/health/reasons-why-you-should-switch-to-reusable-menstrual-products.html 

So; why not make the switch for your own health (avoiding the chemicals present in disposable products), and for your long-term savings.

~happy periods ~ ^.^

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           2. The second way that you can live a thrifty, all-natural (or organic), minimalistic, and environment-conscious/env.-friendly life is by purchasing items second-hand, or used (in other words)

This choice/method is thrifty: used items are cheaper (and often much cheaper; sometimes even an unbelievable bargain) compared to buying new items.

Organic: I’m sure you can find organic, used items. Like: (used) organic-cloth washcloths, and (used) glass jars.

Confession: I’ve never really gone for used and organic items—the thought never really crossed my mind, before. I guess I always thought that I had to choose either used, or organic—that I couldn’t have the best of both those worlds. (Feeling kinda sheepish right now, by the way; I don’t know why I thought that! Haven’t really been using my noodle/brain, I guess.)

Link to some websites where you can find all-natural, second-hand stuff (I found these through a quick Google search; deeper research into this will yield better results, I’m sure): 

{links coming soon iA}

Minimalistic: hmm. Not sure how buying second-hand stuff instead of new, never-before-used items contributes to minimalism, in any real way. (Like; you’d pretty much be purchasing the same amount of stuff that you would, otherwise…But the stuff would just be in used format.) All-in-all, buying second-hand can’t really help with minimalism, in itself (I think).

Environmentally-friendly: buying second-hand is env.-friendly because you won’t be contributing to the production of goods. Like; you won’t be contributing to the system that brings more products into this world (i.e., the mass-markets, which are big sources of pollution, and other environmental threats).

In other words; it’s all about a Reduce, Reuse, Recycle mindset! Have that mentality whenever & wherever you can~! #green!

***

Some places where you can purchase second-hand items:

  • Thrift stores, like Goodwill and Salvation Army. Thrift stores sell items like clothing and shoes, jewelry, small furniture items (or maybe even large furniture items), etc. They are like Wal-Marts to a great degree, except much cheaper (due to their items being second-hand.)

I have found some of my favorite items (like; a dress, and a little table) through thrifting.

And; this pair of pants (the red and orange one, below) was from Goodwill (thrift store). It was no more than $7.00, I’m sure (because I never purchase pants for more than $7.00. That’s my maximum amount I can tolerate. I’m actually trying to lower this threshold to $5.50.)

Here is the pair of pants:

pants from goodwill, 7 dollars. i rly like these , i like the print

~~~

This is the main Goodwill.org website: http://www.goodwill.org/ –To find the nearest store near your place of residence, enter your zip code in the white ‘search box’ near the top of the page.

-I think Goodwill and Salvation Army only operate in the U.S. and Canada. (I could be wrong, though…there may be other countries in which they have stores.)

  • Another avenue through which you can purchase your items second-hand: Websites, like:

Ebay.com, and Amazon.com (just be sure to specify your search by clicking on the “used” option, for every item searched. Or; just simply type directly into the search engine “used chair,” “used table,” etc.)

  • Another avenue for buying second-hand stuff: flea markets! Whoo-hoo.

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Flea_market (comprehensive Wiki article about what flea markets are)

http://www.dictionary.com/browse/flea-market (‘flea market’ short definition)

http://dictionary.cambridge.org/dictionary/english/flea-market (another short definition of it)

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Some good resources on finding flea markets near you:

https://www.yelp.com/search?find_desc=flea+market&find_loc=Sterling%2C+VA

https://www.yellowpages.com/sterling-va/flea-markets

~~~

Some items that you can buy second-hand

Clothes (just be sure to wash them, before wearing).

Electronic devices (e.g., iPads, laptops, etc.)

Books

Jewelry 

Furniture (e.g., sofas, couches, rugs, lamps, tables, ornaments/décor, and etc.)

Random stuff (pens, paper, stationary, storing containers…)

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            3. The third strategy on this list (for living a thrifty, all-natural (or organic), minimalistic, and environment-conscious/env.-friendly life) is; Selecting cheaper alternatives to the over-priced items in our world. This is for time when you have to buy new, never-been-used items.   (i.e.: buying used items will most likely be the best bargain…but if you must purchase new items, get them for cheap, or at least affordable/fair prices. )       ~Also (another thing); buying items in bulk. (Sorry—I just lumped these two ideas–selecting more cheaply-priced items + buying in bulk–together because I thought they complement each other).

Thrifty: you will save money

All-natural: it is very true that all-natural or organic items are often more expensive than the ‘regular’ kind. I.e., organic produce and food (apples, eggs, milk, etc.) are often more expensive than the non-organic kind. So; it’s often really hard to find organic + affordable food (and other items).

And, leaving ‘organic’ aside for a moment: even buying all-natural and wholesome food (that is not even organic—just natural and healthy) is often more expensive than buying processed food.

This really sucks, you know? Healthy and organic should be the cheapest category of food. And the processed, chemical-ly food should be the most expensive. Like; this would be an incentive for people/the general population to eat healthy, non-chemical food. (Instead of fast food, and other processed foods. Like; chips, and so on).

But; the system doesn’t really care about its consumers. E.g., their health and well-being.

Like; there should be a system (like; a government system) that enforces a rule on food companies and grocery stores. Like, a rule that says that organic + natural foods must be sold cheaply. This would really help!

minimalistic:

environmentally friendly:

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Places where you can buy stuff for a fraction of the cost you would spend, elsewhere:

  • Dollar stores!

Like, for one example: Family Dollar https://www.familydollar.com/ (Most items and products here are priced under $10. And many are $1, or even less.)

When it comes to getting value for everyday items for the entire family in an easy to shop, neighborhood location, Family Dollar is the best place to go. One of the nation’s fastest growing retailers, Family Dollar offers a compelling assortment of merchandise for the whole family ranging from household cleaners to name brand foods, from health and beauty aids to toys, from apparel for every age to home fashions, all for everyday low prices. While shoppers can find many items at $1 or less, most items in the store are priced below $10, which makes shopping fun without stretching the family budget.” http://corporate.familydollar.com/pages/about-family-dollar.aspx

Also: Five and Below

~

Dollar stores are really fun places to be. I’m not sure why. Maybe it’s the fact that you subconsciously know (or; very cognizantly know) that you’re getting a really good deal for certain items (compared to what you would find in most other stores). Being inside a dollar store just makes you gleeful because of that, I think. (I can testify to this, personally..).

So, anyways: A Walmart or Target or whatever else there is very over-priced, in comparison to dollar stores.

Just one small example: say you need some miscellaneous items (a toothbrush, a pair of socks, and some stationary supplies). Why pay like $15 on those, when you can pay $3? Just a dollar, per item? Or, at most; like 9 or 10 dollars, or so? :/ 

(I totally understand the convenience of places like Walmart, Target, etc. They have everything in one location; they are “super-stores.” Like; clothing, groceries, electronics, pharmacy (medicine), furniture…even random stuff (like children’s play things, and whatever else…lightbulbs, I guess). These are all available at such stores. But I’d rather drive around and find the items I need for a low price than spend like $200 at one of these places. E.g, some new winter clothes (which are e

Besides! I don’t know if this is just me (like; something that is unique to myself), but whenever I shop for things at Walmart (for one example), I leave the place having bought crap I don’t really need (or even want, as I eventually realize)… + I often feel kinda disoriented. (The disorientation comes mainly from the shopping spree that I never saw coming, but also because Walmart is, like, bright! Like; the lighting is really weird! Being inside there is like having to stare at an overly bright computer screen for three hours. Everywhere you look, it’s uncomfortable.

(Fun fact/update: I *just** Googled “Walmart too bright” (like; right now), and found some forums and stuff where people have said this! Like; I’m not alone!

~~~
                                              ******************
~~~
~And another thing wrong with Walmart stores; the layout! The layout of the store is really weird to me, too! Like; everything in the store is sort of just spread out there–like; there are no clear divisions between the grocery section, the clothes section, the home stuff section, etc. This makes me oddly dizzy and confused; like: I feel like I’m face-to-face with the entire store.
Ugh I’m so glad I don’t go to Walmart for anything, anymore! Too much to deal with, visually. Like: the aesthetic experience of it is awful: disorienting.
I bet there is like a secret science to the layout and stuff, though. They probably want to (purposely) disorient you so that you can’t  think clearly, and end up buying stuff you don’t need (out of sheer lack of focus and mental clarity).
Like; I wouldn’t be surprised at all, if this is in fact true.
***

So, anyways: I try to always get all of my stuff for a good deal (all of my new stuff, that is–the stuff i have to buy new. Like; food, or undergarments).

Other places that you can buy things for a much more affordable price:

  • Thrift stores (which are discussed above, under “Buying items second-hand/used”)
  • Flea markets (discussed above, as well)
  • Amazon or eBay, and other similar sites (discussed, above). *This method of buying things at an affordable price only works if you go for the ‘used items’ option. (like; if you buy new items from these sites, they’ll be the same price as purchasing them from a brick-and-mortar store. I.e., sites like Amazon and Ebay are not cheaper, inherently. They’re ‘just’ online stores. So; go for their used items, to save money.

~

Methods that allow you to buy stuff more cheaply:

  • Couponing: You can find coupons on the back of receipts – I always find some on the back of Safeway receipts, for one example. You can also find coupons in newspapers and magazines, and even online. 

Awesome website on’where to find coupons, including online ones’:

http://embracingbeauty.com/2011/03/22/extreme-couponing-where-to-find-coupons/ 

  • Store discount cards. I make sure to get the kind that don’t require a monthly fee, for having it. A yearly fee to me is the only real time frame that I am willing to pay for a store discount card.
  • Always keep an eye out for clearances/sales. Like; holiday sales (e.g., Christmas sales), and Black Friday 
  • Price matching. A lot of stores have this option, for their customers.

~

             4. The fourth strategy that I have: Make certain items/products, yourself (do-it-yourself, homemade products). And (this is related): buy 100% natural products

Thrifty: By making certain products and items yourself, you save money, over time. (Store-bought items are oftentimes more expensive than the items and products you make, yourself.)

Some examples of items/products you can make yourself, at home:

  • Food (like, cooking)

Preparing food from home saves you a lot of money, over the long run (it’s economical)

Cooking food at home can absolutely be (and; often is) all-natural. You can tailor all of your food to be natural and wholesome. And you will be 100% in charge of what goes in your meals. (Compare this to restaurant food, where you often really have no idea what’s in the food. It’s most likely comprised of unhealthy fats, too much salt, too much sugar, too much starches, and etc.)

  • Hygiene products

Believe it or not, you can actually make most of the hygiene products that you use, instead of buying them from stores.

Some examples:

  • Toothpaste: coconut oil, baking soda, and peppermint essential oil, mixed.
  • Shampoo: African Black Soap. This is all you really need, but you can add essential oils like lavender oil and tea tree oil to make it even more beneficial for your hair.
  • Facial moisturizer: sweet almond oil, or coconut oil, or argon oil. Or any type of oil that is safe for facial use. Or; butters, like shea butter.
  • Facewash: black soap, again. Or, castile soap: https://shop.drbronner.com/

There are lots of recipes for home-made hygiene products, online! Many of them involve organic ingredients, too.

My favorite website for stuff like this is:

https://wellnessmama.com/4992/natural-skin-care-options/ check this website out, please! You’ll love it.

                 5. Miscellaneous strategies (for adopting & keeping up a thrifty, all-natural, minimalistic, and environmentally-friendly lifestyle. These points don’t really fit into the categories above, of course. They’re kind of random): –

  • Clearing your space/letting go of things you don’t need.

e.g.: through donating and selling

 

donate your unwanted possessions (e.g.; to thrift stores, charities, and religious organizations, like churches). Perhaps make this a task every six months, or every year. e.g: Every year near the holiday time (Thanksgiving, Christmas, Hanukkah, etc… I wish I could add ‘Ramadan’ to this holiday list, but Ramadan starts 10 days earlier, every year. #lunar calendar, lol)…. -Anyways, at the end of every year/near the holiday time, you can gather all the items that you don’t want (or; want, but would rather see it given to a needy person…like one of your winter coat + scarf …), and donate them/give them away to an organization that collects them.

Goodwill accepts donations year-round; no need to wait til the holiday season (or some other time) to drop off your things.

http://www.goodwill.org/donate-and-shop/donate-stuff/  -this link shows you how to donate your items to Goodwill.

I have also copied and pasted the relevant parts of the above article, below:

How to Donate (to Goodwill)

Step 1: Gather Your Stuff

Walk around your home and collect items you and your family no longer need — that shirt that’s been hanging in the back of your closet for three years, the toy trike your five-year old has outgrown, the holiday gift from grandma you never quite found a place for, etc.

Step 2: Give Them a Look Over

Donating items that are in working condition, contain all of their pieces and parts, and are free of stains and rips is the best way to ensure that your goods do the most good. While we accept most clothing and household items, there are a few things we can’t accept – such as items that have been recalled, banned or do not meet current safety standards. In addition, if you’re looking to donate specialty items such as computers, vehicles or mattresses, it’s best to give your local Goodwill organization a call first to find out any rules or restrictions around these items.

Step 3: Go to Goodwill

Ready to drop off your items? Just use our locator at the top of the page or on our homepage  and check the box for “Donation Site” to find your nearest Goodwill drop-off location. Donating a lot of items? Some Goodwills offer donation pickup services – give yours a call to find out what’s available in your area.

Each year, we also get together with our partners to offer unique donation drives, giving you the chance to drop off your items at retail stores, college campuses and more. Stay tuned to this space for information about new opportunities to donate through our partners.

SPECIAL NOTE: Donation Bins

While we invite you to visit one of Goodwill’s many attended donation centers, we understand that donation bins may represent a more convenient option for your donation needs. Unfortunately, many goods that wind up in donation bins end up supporting for-profit groups, rather than aiding nonprofit, charitable organizations. To help you make informed donation decisions, we offer the following handy guide.

~~~

as for selling your stuff that you never use (e.g., books, clothes, and etc.);

An awesome website for selling your used books (I’m about to register for this; I have like a million old textbooks from college that are just laying around):

https://bookscouter.com/?utm_source=aff&utm_campaign=aff-511& 

This is a paragraph i took from the site: ↓ ↓

About BookScouter

“BookScouter helps you sell textbooks and used books for the most money by comparing offers from over 35 book buyback vendors with a single search. This allows you to quickly and easily find who is paying the most for your textbooks. Oh, and BookScouter is 100% free with no registration required.

To start, simply enter an ISBN into the field above. Following your search, you’ll see several offers for your books from various vendors. Identify your desired vendor to whom you’d like to sell your book and you’ll be taken to their website where you’ll complete your transaction. Before you decide on a vendor we invite you to read user reviews left by other BookScouter.com users.

Once you’ve completed your transaction on a vendor’s website, you’ll have been emailed or given the option to print a free shipping label. Pack your books securely and drop them off at your local shipping center. Once the vendor receives and inspects your books for damage, the vendor will send your payment. It’s that easy!”

                               ~
Another website for selling used stuff:

https://www.thredup.com/tou  (online used clothes store. You become a seller of your old clothes. But it looks to me like they have kind of strict prerequisites, for the clothes they accept. I am planning on reading more on this company in future, though, because it does look like they sell really trendy clothing (if you’re into that: )

  • Use the three-day rule, when it comes to purchasing new items.

3-day rule: Before you buy ~anything~  , let three days pass. In many cases, you won’t want that item anymore, after three days of thinking it through & clearing your mind (of any reckless impulse to ‘just buy it.’)

*extend the three days to a week, if you have to. Even two or three weeks. I’d say if you still want the said item after around two weeks or so, you’ve gotten a solid green light to go ahead and buy it. Some items really are worth it.

  • Never purchase water. Rather, get it for free from a water fountain or a nearby café, like Starbucks. (There’s a Starbucks in like every neighborhood, I think! Seems that way, anyway). A cup of water is free, there. Quench your thirst for free!

One tip (about getting free water from Starbucks, and most cafes, I believe):

-just keep your reusable water bottle on you at all times, so that when you ask the barista for water, you can ask her/him to fill up your personal bottle. They’ll totally do it! No matter how big your personal water bottle is. Even if it’s like a 32 ounce one (a big one), they’ll fill it up to the top if you firmly and kindly ask. (Like; they can’t say ‘no,’ because their overall policy is that their tap water is free.)

Don’t forget to ask them to put ice in your bottle, too, if you like water with ice. Don’t be shy about it—it’s part of their duties to give customers/people drinks, anyway. They get paid by their boss for just being there (at the counter). Like; it’s not as if they get commission on the number of drinks sold, or something. No it’s their time that gets them their paycheck.

So; ask for like 10 seconds of their time, to fill up your big 32 oz. with the free water. (with ice, don’t forget. Starbucks ice is like good quality ice, I think! 😂 Like, it doesn’t melt that fast, rofl.

Free 32 ounces of water , w/ some super ice! All in your super cool and handy (and earth-friendly) reusable water bottle. My afternoon would be, like, made! ^.^ 😉

~

Ok, I’m just about done. I will probably add some more (a few more) points to this blog post, in the future. 

there are a lot more ways that a person can live a thrifty, organic/natural, minimalistic, and eco-friendly life, too! hopefully, i can find them and add them to this post, in future.

~

~thank you so much for reading this really long blog post~

Some final thoughts/hashtags:

Life isn’t supposed to be expensive.

Or: unhealthy-for-you (like; with no way of avoiding chemicals, bad foods, toxins, etc. Nuh-uh! As long as it is your body and your life, you can choose what goes into it, and what you eat, and what you rub on your skin (creams, deodorants…or their natural-made alternatives), and what you clean your house with, and etc. Why not? You make choices every day, anyway. Why not choose to live organic, natural, or chemical-free?

Life isn’t supposed to be about accumulating as much stuff as you can, or even about owning things (or; anything, it could be argued). It is about being a good person, and having what is necessary to survive.

#Life is transient, anyway; we are only journeying to a better place. Don’t get attached to things. Don’t have a lot of things. (likewise; don’t let people get you down, don’t be sad about things. this is soon all over…this will soon be done. guaranteed, promised. ❤ ❤ ❤ )

 

Lastly: life is very much about being responsible inhabitants of the Earth. The pollution and etc. (and wastefulness, as opposed to conservation) is a mark of our own negligence and disregard. We can do better, as people.

*~*~*~*

~~~

Key Terms (used in this blog post)

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