Getting Debt-Free by Going Waste-Free

As I learn more about money management, I can’t help wanting to learn more about life management as well. And part of living a balanced life involves being mindful of what I consume and how I consume it.

One girl I follow on social media, Lauren Singer, has been my main inspiration for transitioning to a waste-free lifestyle. What does that mean? To me, that means learning ways to produce less waste and live more naturally – not because I’m turning into a hippie, but because being mindful of my consumption is leading me to a healthier way of living.

How do I do that? I’m starting by taking baby steps. After I’m finished with my current plastic toothbrush I plan to buy bamboo toothbrushes, which break down much faster than plastic. I am also using bar soap for my face and body. Bar soap requires less packaging than body wash or other liquid soap, and can also be more beneficial for the skin if it contains natural ingredients. A third step is changing out my plastic razors for a stainless steel safety razor. That is my most recent purchase, and I have to say I’ve actually enjoyed the progress of learning how to use it.

Not all of the change is fun, however. In addition to using bar soap for my skin, I have also started using a shampoo bar for my hair. For the last six weeks, my hair has been one greasy mess as the residual silicone and chemicals from drugstore shampoo have slowly disappeared. In their place, my body is having to re-train itself on how much oil it produces to regulate my hair. One thing that has helped with this is rinsing my hair with lemon juice on occasion; it functions as a conditioner as well as a way to cut through the grease. Showering in the morning has also been very helpful, instead of going to bed with wet hair (although I’m usually a night-shower-er, so that’s really weird for me!).

The most challenging and probably most tedious next step for me will be reducing my food waste. I find it much more convenient, and often cheaper, to buy frozen vegetables in plastic packaging than buying fresh ones and cutting them up and potentially having to throw them out because I didn’t eat them quickly enough. I also don’t like cooking and meal-planning in general, so my journey with eating habits has always been a difficult one. I hope to remedy this by developing more consistent routines with meal-planning, and perhaps even utilizing the local farmers’ market more.

I still live pretty wastefully, so when I say I’m taking baby steps I mean really baby steps. I imagine it will take many months for me to transition to where I want to be, but it starts with becoming a conscious consumer and growing from there.

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