As the holiday season approaches, think about how you can use your holiday spending to support sustainability goals. It’s not that hard. Here are a few ideas to get you started:
- Shop local–and that doesn’t mean the local branch of a giant international conglomerate, but a locally owned, locally operated merchant. The dollars will continue to circulate in your own local economy, helping to recession-proof your own community.
- If buying food products, look for organic, locally made items whose every ingredient you can spell without looking.
- Consider gift certificates to local stores, or even a town-wide gift certificate redeemable at many participating stores (many Chambers of Commerce offer these).
- Buy some family presents that will pay energy dividends for years to come: window caulk, door snakes, heat-trapping blinds or curtains, even things as simple as foam pads and baby protectors for your electrical outlets on outside walls (you’d be amazed at how much energy you’ll save). They may not be glamorous, but if you point out how the money you collectively save will be channeled into some fun family activity, it’s a good way to make the shift.
- If you live in an area where the tap water is drinkable, or can be made drinkable with a simple filter, make a family promise to give up bottled water, or use it only in special situations (long car trips, extended hikes). for most people in the US, Canada, and Europe, this is an easy one. The environmental costs of bottled water are enormous and complex.
Plenty more eco-friendly gift and living ideas at http://www.frugalfun.com/ – look for the back issues of Monthly Frugal Fun Tips as well as Frugal & Fashionable Living magazine.
Shel Horowitz has been combining frugality and sustainability for over 20 years, including his e-book, The Penny-Pinching Hedonist: How to Live Like Royalty with a Peasant’s Pocketbook.