Thursday, April 26, 2012

10 Things You Can (And Probably Should) Live Without

Shutterstock image by Tischenko Irina

Not everyone will agree with this list, and that's ok. I'm not here to make you feel bad about your choices, only to think about ways to simplify your life, save money, prioritize your time, and decrease your environmental impact on our planet. We all hold onto little luxuries that we don't want to give up (mine happens to be that one morning cup of coffee with real half and half and two teaspoons of sugar). We all can do better in the small daily choices we make. Over time small things can have a big impact. And if you have anything else to add to the list, feel free to leave me a comment below. I would love to hear your thoughts. Plus, there is probably something in my daily life I should give up that hasn't even occurred to me yet :)

10 Things You Can Live Without:

  1. Paper Towels. It is just as easy to reach for a reusable cloth towel and you save a bit on your grocery bill. I use worn out bath towels, dish towels, and cotton bed sheets cut down to size so I am recycling and not spending money on anything special. And if you hang them outside on a line to dry, the energy it takes to wash them is minimal.
  2. TV. Yes, you can live without it. I haven't had a television in my home in years. I find them to be huge time wasters. Now don't get me wrong. I can fall into other time waste traps like Facebook, but I just don't miss having a television around and I feel like my kids have benefited from it. If we want to watch a movie at home we do so on the computer. No big deal. I was also quite happy not to have to deal with all the added expense and hype about the switch to digital TV.
  3. Soda. Very rarely do I buy soda. Soda is simply just not good for you. It increases your chances of obesity and diabetes. I have taken to drinking water with a slice of lemon or homemade flavored water such as the spa water recipe I posted a few days ago: Cucumber Spa Water
  4. Fast food. It usually constitutes a major emergency or poor planning if I stop at a fast food restaurant, or quite usually both. But we all know fast food is not healthy for us and not just because it is usually full of calories and high in sodium and sugar. Its not good for our well being to eat on the run and the conditions fast food is prepared under can be horrid.
  5. Anything prepackaged for convenience. It really doesn't take that much more of your time to buy larger sizes and then divide in reusable containers. It saves your wallet and its better for the environment.
  6. Credit cards. We are no doubt a nation of debt. I, too, have fallen into that trap and am digging my way out of it. Make a point of carrying a set amount of cash with you for emergency purchases and simply use your bank issued ATM card for everything else. No spending money you don't have and no debt owed at high interests rates. No handing our money over to a system just about everyone agrees is corrupt.
  7. Buying New. You can save a lot of money going to thrift stores and garage sales, or even by getting things for free off of networks like I buy all my jeans for about $7-9 a piece at our local thrift store and they usually have plenty of wear. I recently got a table for free that I painted with paint I bought at the Habitat for Humanity ReStore for under $3. Garage and yard sales are great places to find used furniture and baby items. I usually avoid buying shoes unless they look hardly worn and avoid things like swimwear and intimate items. 
  8. Your Morning Stop at Starbucks. Starbucks is a treat for me, a very rare occasion. Instead, I save money and time by using my little one cup coffee press and making my own. I love my coffee press and it is so easy to use. I heat up a mug of water in the microwave, add my coffee grounds to the press, pour in the water, and get breakfast ready for the boys while it brews. Simple. I could cut back on the sugar and half and half but I just haven't been able to learn to drink it black.
  9. Paper plates, plastic silverware and cups. Buy reusable and you'll do less damage to the environment and save money over time.
  10. Regrets. We all make mistakes but we can't dwell on them or let them eat us up. We spend more than we should. We say things we shouldn't. But they are lessons to be learned. We need to stop being so hard on ourselves, myself included.


  1. This is great, and I agree with most; however, I don't agree with number 5. If you are single, or even just two people, it isn't always best to buy larger quantities. Most of the time it is impossible to consume the larger quantities before they go bad. If it goes bad, that is just money and resources wasted. Sometimes it is best to purchase only what can be consumed.

  2. Thanks for your comment. Yes, I see your point. It does depend on how large the larger quantity is or how perishable the product. It is just me and my two boys so I'm not going to buy an institutional sized item because it will go bad before we eat it all, but a lot of snack items can be purchased in regular bags instead of the snack packs and this is both better for the environment and often cheaper, though sometimes you have to watch the price too.