Embracing an eco-friendly, minimalist lifestyle may be simpler than you think. There are many long-term benefits that outweigh and outlast the short-lived joy that material possessions give us.
Every eco-enthusiast knows how judicious use of money and minimalism can contribute to a greener planet.
By considering how we earn and spend money impacts the environment and refocusing our values, we can shift to a mindset that lets us lead more fulfilling lives.
Money, Minimalism and Our Environment
As educated consumers, it’s our duty to make sound financial decisions that impact our daily lives and keep our environment healthy. But, you don’t have to sacrifice your standard of living or make radical compromises to protect the environment.
If you’re an eco-enthusiast, you probably already know about sustainability. It exists in both the financial world and ecology.
For those who are not, living sustainably means leading a lifestyle that minimizes waste and protects renewable resources. The goal is to help biological systems remain diverse and productive.
Sustainability is also a core value of a minimalist mindset.
Shifting to a sustainable society begins with individuals spending and using their money wisely. This includes financial activities such as budgeting, weighing priorities, differentiating between needs and wants, saving, and investing.
People often fear that going green is more expensive or time-consuming. However, it’s essential to understand the actual value of your time and the environment.
Consider how much money you make compared to the hours you spend working plus work-related environmental impacts.
Simply put: $ = hours of your life + work-related environmental impacts
Does $15 of work equal one hour of your life plus a 45-minute commute that involves harmful fuel emissions?
There are a lot of pros and cons you can weigh here. Of course, that $15 an hour can vary and compounds into an eight- or nine-hour shift.
On the other hand, so does that 45-minute commute, which is actually a 90-minute round trip.
Defining Success With a Minimalist Lifestyle
How do you define success in your personal and professional life?
Our culture often encourages using material possessions to gauge success. This might include expensive cars, fine clothes, jewelry, or costly brand-name products.
Success should be something we determine individually based on what we value and not by the value of our things.
We should also ask how our definitions of success influence our career choices and spending habits.
Are you happy with what you do or with what you have?
For some, the amount of work they do for the little they have doesn’t always seem worth it. When we do get that big-ticket item, the happiness doesn’t last a lifetime.
Materialism and money offer people a short-lived sense of joy.
The minimalist mindset offers an escape from this materialistic approach. There are many misconceptions of minimalism, but overall, the minimalist philosophy encourages experiencing more of life, having just enough, and not worrying about comparing your possessions to other people’s. The lifestyle extends this idea of sustainability to financial health and ecology.
A person who uses less is bound to waste less and therefore has a reduced carbon footprint.
How we earn and spend money can help us refocus those values into something more fulfilling. You can invest in environmentally safe projects and support eco-friendly practices.
In the end, you can save money and promote renewable resources for future generations.
Using Sustainability to Shift Your Mindset for More Successful Living
When shifting to a minimalist mindset, you don’t have to drastically downsize or replace what you own.
Some people think living minimally would make them feel deprived. Easing into the lifestyle of daily sustainable living is simple and doesn’t require extra spending.
The investments you do choose to make should have future returns.
Your goal is to have “enough” and not more.
This approach changes your relationship with money and success, introducing a minimalist ideal. The chances are good that with the practical solutions you find below, you can save the money you already have so that you can experience more.
Start at Home
Home is the most accessible place to start your sustainable journey.
Decluttering is a great way to put your head in that minimalist mindset. Changing your surroundings can mentally prepare you.
When beginning a minimalist home makeover, remember you can always take what you don’t need or want and donate it to give back to the community. Other solutions include:
- Starting your own garden to save money and have your own produce or herbs
- Supporting that garden with a compost pile using lawn and kitchen refuse that provides nutrients for plant growth
- Donating clothing, shoes, and furniture to secondhand shops and communities in need
- Planning your meals by the week and only shopping for that week to avoid waste
- Spending more time reading or playing games outside or with the family that don’t require electricity or other devices and resources
- Using natural cleaning products and adopting an eco-friendly laundry routine
When it comes to our careers and whether we love what we do for a living, having a minimalistic mindset can help us feel more successful and fulfilled.
You can refocus your values by working toward society’s betterment as a whole and for future generations.
Volunteering your time, skills, or services at groups in your community is a fantastic way to give back.
Carpooling with coworkers, neighbors, or friends also benefits the environment. Fewer vehicles on the road help reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Plus, when friends chip in on gas money, you all share the budget and save together.
If you live close enough, you can also walk or bike to work, which can improve your physical health, too.
Some people find virtual work to be a rewarding experience. Working from home eliminates many forms of harmful waste and emissions in the environment. You might also discover a new career path with virtual work that excites you and makes you feel like you’re making a positive change.
Managing Your Finances
Optimizing your financial health is key to successful living and maintaining a minimalist mindset.
By shifting your thinking from, “How much does this cost?” to “How does this give back to my life or the planet?” you realize the value of the items and services you purchase.
Be smart with your money.
Managing your budget so that you can increase your savings is a great start. This leads to an increased ability to work fewer hours and enjoy more experiences. By spending less on material items, you can find more value in your time and the life around you.
Acting on Environmental Concerns
When you work long hours and have a hard time managing a work-life balance, it can be hard to act on your environmental concerns.
It’s easy to stay locked into the lifestyle you already have. If you take small steps toward sustainability, you can reflect on your values more and shift toward a minimalist mindset. This helps you protect the environment and live a more prosperous life for yourself and others.
Do you agree with the minimalist lifestyle? Have you tried some of the points mentioned in this post? Let us know in the comments.
Hazel Bennett is a freelance writer and blogger. She has a degree in communications and lives in Northeastern Ohio. Hazel loves writing about numerous topics and showcasing her expertise with words.