Life without Plastic

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Is Being Green Affecting Your Wallet?

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Is Kermit the frog right when he said, "It's not easy being green."?  Is the zero waste lifestyle only for those who can afford it? Many zero waste and plastic-free lovers seem to be able to buy their way to an eco-friendly lifestyle. They have the store bought beeswax wraps instead of plastic wrap, the organic cotton produce bags, and the stainless steel or glass water bottles. They shop at the farmer's market and avoid the plastic produce stickers and other plastic packaging.

What about the working class? Are there any "normal" people who also live zero waste and plastic-free lifestyles? You know, who don't live in a rich community in California and go on European vacations several times a year? Or this lifestyle simply unattainable for anyone who lives below a certain income?

Good news! Many eco-friendly practices are also wallet-friendly practices; and it all starts with a budget. If it's not in the budget, it simply won't happen in our house (which by the way, is a working class, one-income family until this blog produces serious income). Yep, I said the family-friendly "B" word.

If you haven't been using a budget, now is the time to start. Once you control your money and it doesn't control you, you can see where you can make wallet-friendly changes. Similar to a waste audit, budgeting lets you see where your money is being wasted and where it's being used wisely.
So, how to set up a simple budget? Start where you are at! Are you paid weekly, fortnightly, or monthly? Then set your budget up with how often you are paid. Even if you are paid every two weeks (fortnightly), you can break your budget down for a weekly grocery trip, etc. if it works better for your family. Mr. Greenie is paid weekly, so we budget on a weekly basis. 

Next, are you salaried or paid hourly? If you are salaried, then your budget will be easy to make consistent. If you are paid hourly, then you average out what your paychecks are and use that average as your total budget. This is your base line. As needed, you adjust your budget to the size of your paycheck.

Use this free budget tool from Dave Ramsey for easy, automatic math budgeting. Or you can create your own paper or spreadsheet using my instructions below.

(See this screenshot for a visual example of a weekly budget)
Next, you make five columns. In the 1st column you name the sub categories of your budget, Paycheck, Groceries, Toiletries, etc. In the 2nd column, you list the main categories such as Income, Food, Personal, etc. and do your math for your overall total for that sub category from the last pay period combined with this pay period. In the 3rd column, you enter the budgeted amount. In the 4th column, you enter what's left over after the budgeted amount is subtracted. You keep working your way down from the 4th column to the 3rd column line just below it. In the 5th column, you show the overall total from your 2nd column math, straight across.

For either an easy digital, paper, or spreadsheet budget, zero waste and plastic free "Reusables" sub category would go under the Personal category and Debts category comes last, where you allocate the last of your money after everything else is figured out.

Practice using your budget for 2-3 months and fine tune it so that it works best for your family. Once you have figured out where your money is going, you can see what zero waste changes you can afford right now. If you want to start with a few free changes, sign up for my email list!

While the working class zero wasters may not be able to completely buy their way into eco-friendly living, budgeting for making some beeswax wraps,etc. may be attainable. So Kermit, it can be easy being green.

Plastic-Free July Challenge Update:

We haven't been out much lately, but here is what I collected this week for our Plastic-Free July challenge!

Shared to:
Bouquet of Talent PartyInspiration Galore Party ProjectNifty Thrifty PartyInspiration MondayMakers Make PartyMix It Up Monday,Creative CornerCreative GalleryA Round TuitThe Scoop Link PartyClever Chicks BloghopLou Lou Girls' Fabulous PartyProject InspireTotally Terrific Tuesday Link PartyHome Away From Home PartyInspire Me TuesdayLove Learn BloghopShare It TuesdayUrban Naturale Blog HopCreative Muster PartyHomestead Blog Hop,Wow Us WednesdaysWonderful Wednesday Blop HopHomesteader Blog HopWine'd Down Wednesdays,Wise Woman LinkupWow Me WednesdayWildly Original Link PartyArtsy Fartsy Link PartyThink Tank Thursday Link UpThis is How We Roll ThursdaySimple Homestead BloghopWhat to Do Weekends PartyPretty Pintastic PartyHome Matters PartyFriday Feature Linky PartyFriendship FridayDear Creatives LinkupSimple Saturdays BloghopDare to Share LinkupSaturday SharefestShare One More Time PartyCreate Bake Make Party

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