No one can do everything at once. So I have prioritised areas of my life to target in terms of boosting my journey to sustainability and financial independence. The more of a FIRE/sustainability badass I become, the more areas I will focus on. But as of now, I am prioritising food, travel and clothes.
Related article: How to Make Sustainability and Financial Independence Common Goals
Eating plant-based and reducing waste
Food has been a great place for me to start making a transition to more sustainability and frugality. It’s a big budget item, and especially meat, dairy and eggs have a huge impact on the planet. So, my husband and I have gradually made the switch from eating like the average Dane (lots of meat and processed food) to eating primarily plant-based. We also focus way more on how much we spend on food. We try to:
- Not eat any animal products: meat (including fish), dairy and eggs
- Eat more veggies, whole-grain and legumes (lentils, beans, chickpeas)
- Pay attention to reducing food waste
- Make meal plans (finally!)
- Only buying what we need
- Really, really trying not to eat too much of our delicious food!
- Only go out for dinner once a month or less
Related article: How to Eat Budget-Friendly Sustainable Food: 6 Tips
I also have an ambition to find out where I can buy my kitchen staples the cheapest. So far, we only shop in one place because it is super convenient. And some day, I would love to have a small garden where I can grow some veggies of our own.
Bicycling and less overseas travel
I bicycle almost everywhere because I am in the luxurious position to be able to do so. My job and most of my friends are less than 10km away. I did use to take the metro more often for convenience if I was tired or the weather was bad. From time to time I still do this, but I am trying to live by the mantra that I am a person who bicycles everywhere. It actually works! This means we don’t have a car, which saves a bunch of money and CO2.
Related article: Sustainable and Cheap Transportation: How to Go About It
On our journey to sustainability, we decided a few years back that we were going to cut back on overseas travel – or any travel including an airplane, really. Although airfare can be cheaper than other types of public transportation (which is utterly, utterly ridiculous), it is a big polluter. This in itself is a great reason to cut back. Also, it is cheaper to simply decide not to travel as much. Yes, I said it (or wrote it, technically). No one – no one – needs to travel to another country for vacation every year. Even less so multiple times a year. For us, it has meant discovering the joys of alternative travel: taking the train to a small cabin in the Swedish forests and interrailing to Spain.
Sustainable and frugal clothes: Buy what you need, buy second-hand and repair
I used to love shopping and spending ridiculous amounts of money on clothes I did not need. Now, I absolutely hate shopping. Not so much because of the money wasted, but because walking into a store full of shopaholics, where people try to sell me stuff and I can’t find what I am looking for is horrible. So I only walk into a clothes shop if I am in desperate need. Which, to be honest, I very rarely am because I really have all the clothes I need.
Usually, though, I will go for a second-hand store first. I like the vibe much better. And I might actually find something that is good quality. But even before I’ll make my way into a second-hand store for that new pair of jeans, I will attempt to repair the old ones first. In Copenhagen (in non-COVID-19 times) we have this awesome concept called Repair Café, where volunteers help you repair your clothes. I’ve been once and am definitely going back, because it is so satisfying to prolong the life of a favourite clothing item. Becoming better at repairing things myself is a must in my journey to sustainability and financial independence, and Repair Cafés are a great place to start.
Related article: Sustainable and Affordable Clothes: A Choice We Can All Make
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