Exactly two months ago today I stumbled across the fascinating world of No Waste.
It hit me at the perfect stage when my brain was open and ready for more knowledge, and my desire for minimalism was ready to be pushed into overdrive. So on an emotional high I vowed to never throw anything away again this year! WOW!
Okay, not really, haha – that was a lie – but I did swear to pay attention to my trash more and stop being such an asshat to the environment ;) And so far we’re doing pretty decently! I’m even a composter now – what??!
But it all started with Bea and her 5 R’s of No Wasting, of which I have adopted as my own personal set of No Wasting MONEY. Because as much as I love helping Mother Earth, I have to be honest and say I love how it affects my mindset and wealth building even more. The wins go all around with this lifestyle.
Here is my adapted set of R’s:
- Refuse stuff you don’t need — The less you bring into your home, the less you’re spending! Even when the stuff comes for free (remember – clutter is clutter).
- Reduce stuff you don’t need — Less house, less car, less stuff = faster retirement! This goes for *information* consumption too. No need to be subscribed to every last news channel or social media update, not to mention stores or coupons or even every finance site (*gasp*).
- Reuse what’s not broken — Old TV, iPhone, Gameboy? Keep rocking it ’til it dies!
- Reshare/Resell what you cannot Refuse, Reduce or Reuse — Done with your clothes, records, awesome money books? Pass them on to others to enjoy! :) “When you’re holding stuff you don’t need, you’re keeping them from other people. You’re keeping them from being useful to other people.” – one of my favorite lines from Bea. My new favorite person if you haven’t caught on yet.
- And lastly, don’t Rot your financial future! (See what I did there?) — Any time you’re spending more than you have, you’re turning your cold hard cash into cold hard dirt. And you’re not having that much fun in the process. Stop composting all that beautiful cash and start building a savings garden instead! Get those money trees growing!
I’m telling you, this whole No Waste thing really changes your outlook… it’s no wonder Bea’s family has cut their expenses down by 40% with this lifestyle – it keeps you so conscious of your actions!
I don’t have any grand illusions that I’ll be as hardcore as she is w/ waste (her family of 4 literally produces one single mason jar worth of trash in A YEAR!!), but I’m much better for having re-assessed things. You really do have to check out her blog – it’s empowering: ZeroWasteHome.com. And again, you don’t have to be a Rah Rah Save-The-Environment-Type person either to appreciate it.
Anyways, here’s how my experimenting has gone so far…
Refusing Stuff: B+. It should be an A+, but I’m having a hard time saying no to gifts and items people (*ahem* my mother) bring me that I normally would have accepted. They’re just so sweet and thoughtful that whenever I politely try to decline I can’t help but feel like I’m offending them! It’s hard to explain such a downsizing effort when most people are doing the complete opposite. And God forbid I say it’s one of the first R’s of “No Waste” Haha…
Reusing Stuff: C. This one’s been a bit harder than the rest, but we’re getting better thanks to kids and their love for art projects :) We’ve started incorporating a lot of the junk mail, as well as old newspapers, magazines, and even corporate stickers I get randomly from $$$ companies that I didn’t refuse, haha… Here’s the latest artwork from my 3 y/o:
Recycling Stuff. A. We’ve donated over 7 boxes of stuff in the past two months – more than in the past two years! – and we’re also in the process of giving y’all a ton of great money books. With more to come on Friday :) Our recycling efforts have doubled as well, by simply taking an extra second before chucking stuff directly into the trash. It’s amazing what we throw away out of pure laziness!
Rotting/Composting: A+. We’re doing great here too! I now put all scraps and leftovers we’re not eating into my little jar beneath the sink, and then once a week take it all to the composting bin and give it an ol’ spin or two. And slowly but surely the nasty food is becoming not-so-nasty dirt :) I have a growing infestation of worms going on inside the bin now (they’re the most disgusting thing I’ve ever seen), but baby steps on getting all the levels right inside of that thing for the perfect compost… I was under the impression you just left it alone and magical dirt spilled out, haha… oops.
Paper Towel Swapping: C. I picked up this batch of microfiber towels to replace all the paper towels we use in the house, but sadly the habit just hasn’t caught on yet. But I give myself a couple grades above failing for a) buying them in the first place (can’t use what you don’t have! haha….) and b) because on the days I actually try hard I absolutely kill it :) I just need to find a better system or have better patience or both.
Milk Substituting: A+/F+ Last we chatted I had started buying gallons of milk from our local butcher since they came in glass jars which they’d then recycle and use again for future milks. But after paying DOUBLE for an entire month (no exaggeration – we were paying $8.00 a gallon!) my wallet just couldn’t take it any longer. Even though the milk did seem to taste better and feel healthier too. It’s also nice not having to make an extra trip each week since we still shop at regular ol’ grocery stores (another area we’ve failed at because it seems we don’t have many options that’s super close by).
All other changes I’ve made: F. Because I haven’t made any other changes – yet ;) Those three alone were more than enough to handle at the same time, so now that I’ve gotten the composting on lock and I’m at least making progress w/ the microfiber towels, I’d like to start trying other areas of this lifestyle… Perhaps making some of the things I use regularly from scratch, which Bea says is super easy to do. Like making mustard and even lip balm! Can you imagine never having to pay for Chapstick again??? That’s what, at least $100,000 a year saved, jeesh…
All this to say that the mission continues on, and every week it seems like I’m learning something new. I’ve been failing too along the way as you see, but hey – at least it means I’M DOING SOMETHING right? Which should make up for the previous 34 years of hardly paying attention :(
So remember: Refuse, Reduce, Reuse, Reshare, and don’t Rot your financial future.
Go ahead and print that line off now and stick it to your computer. You can thank me and Bea later when you’re rolling in trash-free millions :)
PS: Here’s the original post we did on this stuff – it’s worth a read! The Zero Waste Lifestyle