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Day 50: Shift your Habit (book review)

Shift Your Habit: easy ways to save money, simplify your life, and save the planet

So, my reader JM recommended this book. And it's thesis -- that you don't have to compromise environmentalism/being green just to save money -- is really great. This is one of the things I'm struggling with in my quest for a frugal life (see my post about switching pharmacies, or not).

Because sometimes it seems like doing the green thing - buying local or organic, getting something re-usable instead of disposable - is costlier. What this book points out is that, it doesn't have to be. Or to reframe that as something may be costlier in the short-term, but the long-term benefits will make it worth it.

For instance, buying organic food may be costlier, but it saves you money in the long-term because you will be healthier and your health bills will be less. It also looks at the big picture -- by supporting independent businesses, fair-trade businesses and organic businesses, you are helping save money for everyone in the long term.

Now, a lot of what this book mentions is common sense to me already. It may not be to some people, but everybody was not raised by The Most Frugal Parents Ever. Things like, "don't buy paper towel - use reusable dischcloths instead!" just makes sense to me. Or "buy reusable plastic lunch containers, instead of Ziploc bags!" or ever, "re-use your ziploc bags!"

But maybe some people don't think that way. The book also recommends using public transit instead of owning a car (my family never owned a car, and I don't even have a driver's license, so it's all walking, buses and bikes for me already), buying things within walking distance to your home, not having cable (*note: I didn't have cable for years and year, and only have it for the next 3 months because of a promotion that makes my internet cheaper).

There are also introductions to the various "Shifters," people who have taken on this challenge. The  main things from this book that I will try are: use up all of my food, not let it spoil and throw it away. This is a hint I've read elsewhere, in other thrifty books as well as books about living more greenly. She also reminds us to unplug appliances when not in use (I've been more diligent about that lately).

There are great tips in here for home owners, people with families and kids. There's less info for single people living in rental apartments, but maybe I'm having less of a carbon footprint anyway.

I do recommend this book, because it reminds you that you don't have to buy everything from Evil Giant Big Businesses in order to save money. But that you can live thriftily and in a green manner at the same time.

Obviously, I recommend borrowing this from the library, not purchasing it. Not only because that's the frugal thing to do, but also because I don't see this book as a necessary purchase especially because most of the info is already on their website.


cjv said...

also, I find produce I buy at the market last longer so I have longer to use it up. Also frugal.

Foster said...

Thanks for the tip, C! And it makes sense when I think about it -- grocery store produce has been picked, shipped, delivered and is older by the time I buy it. Farmer's market stuff is picked and then sold right away, lengthening its shelf life.

And it's cheaper too, I suspect. Just need to motivate myself to go to the market! But planning meals ahead should help.

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