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Hippies are masters at saving money. They look for ways to lighten their carbon footprint but also enjoy the splashback of being green. 

I should know. I am a certified hippy with the peace symbol to prove it! 

I am actively trying to capture a greener lifestyle and save money, which is all the same. It’s a lifestyle that won’t attract everyone because it involves investing in reusable products and washing clean instead of leaning into the disposable routine.

Ditch the Disposable 

Instead of buying more paper towels while grocery shopping, I prefer reusable microfiber cloths. These fuzzy washcloths do all the heavy lifting of cleaning. I use them like I’m live on an episode of Dirty Jobs for anything involving grit, grime, and grease. 

Depending on the dirty job, I may have to prewash it before I throw it in the washing machine with the rest of the laundry. Similar to the prewash of a dishwasher, its the manual phase of rinsing the big stuff.

I use a bit more human energy but the savings is worth it.

Low Flow

There are many ways to save with greywater.

Greywater is water that has been used for washing dishes, laundering clothes, or bathing. Essentially, any water, other than toilet wastes, draining from a household is greywater.

New Mexico State University

An easy way to reduce greywater is to install a low-flow showerhead. When I need to ratchet the hippy intensity to level Jane Goodall, I take a shower in 15 minutes or less. Long deployments on a ship with 5,000 sweaty sailors and limited freshwater taught me this trick, compliments of a 4-year Navy contract.

Shower breaks are a thing too. It’s a fancy term for pausing water flow while sudding up with soap. Some low-flow showerheads have a little lever to stop the water. It’s one way to conserve water and save money. Last year in the BuLL household, the internet was more expensive than the water bill.

Eat the Rainbow

A colorful concoction for breakfast, lunch, and dinner is a feast for the eyes and stomach. Fruits and veggies are a bit more expensive than prepackaged food but, prepacked food will also inflate medical bills. 

I would rather spend a bit more on quality food than pay a lot more on quality health care. 

Pack your plate full of color and boost your daily intake of important, and often overlooked, nutrients.

Colorful foods, which are generally fruits and vegetables, contain many of the vitamins and antioxidants we need – with few calories. Along with maintaining good health, the nutrients in vegetables and fruits work together to protect against cancer, heart disease, vision loss, hypertension and other diseases.

Mayo Clinic

As a hippy, I love fresh, local food with zero packaging. A hippy’s version of a good time is wandering the isles of a Farmer’s Market Saturday morning with a hot cup of coffee in a reusable mug carting around a recycled bag full of local goodies. 

For the hardy hippies who live in six months of winter and six months of construction (Montana), in-season produce is not always an option. 

Instead, I have to wander the frozen vegetables and fruit aisles. Freezer food is flash-frozen at its peak ripeness which is about as good as it gets when its -20 outside.

Compost is Latin for Happy Soil

Compost in Latin means: bring together, like bringing together soil goodness. Composting is easy and takes a minimum about of effort. 

The composting method in the BuLL household is lazy and cheap. We have a fancy organic bucket (an empty ice cream container) and put food scraps into it. 

Food scraps are everything not eaten but were attached to food (banana peels, apple cores, eggshells, moldy food, etc.). This container of goodies hangs out in the fridge until full. 

The organic bucket has a premium parking spot in the fridge because, if it’s left out, it will start to decompose in the kitchen. Not an ideal place for the stench of rotting food.

Once full, it joins its compost friends in a barrel outside. The barrel is a large black container that has no bottom. The point of this barrel is to make a warm, moist place for bacteria and other tiny life. They eat the scraps and turn it into dirt. The tiny life needs water, food, and a nice place to live create more tiny life. We provide the food and occasional watering and, they do what they were born to do, turn waste into soil!

Randomly, it gets stirred to make sure everything is cooking evenly. It used to take six months to convert table scraps to premium garden soil, but it’s less in a warmer climate. 

Nature is My Drug of Choice

Nature is the best or, as I half-jokingly call it, NEATure. 

There are so many possibilities once I leave the house. It’s is all fun, free, but rarely clean. Sweat is the payment plan for most outdoor activities. Hiking and running is a frequent pastime hobby. Then there is camping which is way cheaper than hotel rooms or casinos.

I prefer outdoor activities because everyday nuances get strained out and life becomes simple with the thought revolving around food, water, shelter, and fun . Doom scrolling and meme stock trends are pointless when I’m free from the chains of WIFI.

Pass the Tissues Hanky

At one point, there was no such thing as disposable.

Were people harder?

Yes! 

Did they lack basic hygiene?

Absolutely! 

However, I leverage their survival skills to a modern-day advantage. I had to slowly build into using a handkerchief because it’s gross a bit different. 

It all began when Mr. BuLL and I were doing many miles of backcountry camping and hiking. My allergies decided to react to everything green turning my nose from fully functioning into a leaky faucet version of its former glory.

Carrying around three boxes and a bajillion worth of snotty tissues was not an option. Instead, I tried a hanky and I haven’t looked back.

It became a crusty harmony between ancient knowledge and modern-day cleanliness.       

Growing Green

Life is messy! Messy financial situations are as frequent as a trip to the bathroom to let the yellow mellow.

The average American has $90,460 in debt, according to a 2021 CNBC report. That included all types of consumer debt products, from credit cards to personal loans, mortgages and student debt.

The average amount of debt by generation in 2020:

Gen Z (ages 18 to 23): $16,043

Millennials (ages 24 to 39): $87,448

Gen X (ages 40 to 55): $140,643

Baby boomers (ages 56 to 74): $97,290

Silent generation (ages 75 and above): $41,281

Debt.org

Growing green is all about ditching consumption. It takes some adjusting and an upfront cost, but the green and growing lifestyle is worth it. What better way to help the planet, and my wallet, than by conserving it? 

Do you have any gross/odd/interesting financial lean and green habits? Share your secrets in the comments!

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2 thoughts on “Going Green to Increase the Financial Lean

  1. Loved this one! I’m trying to channel my inner hippie and live greener, too! Next on my list: acquire a compost bin!

    I love your writing, friend. Always witty, packed with resources and ideas, and leaving the reader feel like “hey, I can actually do this!”.

    1. Oh, your my favorite! Thank you for sharing your kind thoughts. I appreciate your warm words as much as Charlie and Holly appreciate food. 💜

      Let me know if you need any help with the compost bin. 😉

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