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06/23/2011

What's Old is New: The Green, Money-Saving Amish Lifestyle

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Skd283890sdc We sometimes think that going green, making our lifestyle more environmentally conscious, requires spending: buying compact fluorescent bulbs or even solar panels, maybe even trading in the old gas guzzler for a new hybrid or electric car. In our consumer culture, our default mode is to think we have to buy something in order to do something.
The truth is, you don’t have to spend the green to go green. In fact, if you start with the intent of being thrifty, you’ll probably end up making “green” choices that actually help the environment. One of the best examples of "un-consumer lifestyle" can be seen in today's Amish families, who save money—and are gloriously green—but incidentally so, with frugality a common thread in the Amish community.
 
Every product that we buy new not only costs us money, but it also has a carbon footprint: the fuel used in manufacturing it, getting it to the store, getting us to the store to buy it, and so on. Every time you decide to reuse something you already have—even if it is a yogurt container—you’re not just helping your budget, you’re helping the planet.

When it comes to greening up, why not take a cue from the Amish lifestyle? 
 
Repurpose: Find a new use for an old thing, rather than just throwing it away, to keep it out of a landfill and also cut costs. Save empty glass jars for storage, use the good fabric in worn clothing in craft projects, be creative!
 
Recycle: If your town has a recycling program, participate! But also consider recycling yourself: clean out plastic containers to reuse for food storage, swap tired-of children's toys with friends or neighbors, donate old books to the local library.
 
Garden: Like the Amish, plant a garden and put a dent in your summer grocery bill, reduce your carbon footprint, and make the world a little greener—literally. If you don’t have a green thumb, but still want to be green, buy from a local farm or farmer’s market.
 
Hand-Down: Small children don’t stay small for long, so they typically outgrow their clothes before they wear them out so consider reusing them for the next child. Most Amish families have at least half a dozen kids, so they naturally clothe the younger ones with hand-me-downs.  If your family is slightly smaller, find other families you can trade with, or at the very least, donate used clothing to charity instead of them hitting the landfill.
The Amish often say, “use it up, wear it out, make do, or do without,” to describe their thrifty lifestyle. Who knew that doing just that would also help the environment?  

Source: Money Secrets of the Amish

 

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