How is Financial Stability Linked to Green Living?

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In another post of mine, 21 Free or Cheap Things You Can Do Today to Live More Sustainably, I listed “Develop an income generating hobby” as one of the ways to live a more sustainable life. As she often does, (which I love!) Melina Bee asked about the link. To tell the truth, I was hoping someone would ask. This is something I've grown really passionate about so I'm happy to expand on the topic.

First, a little background: I grew up with financial difficulty being the norm. It's really all I've ever known. Even in the first few couple of years of marriage, my husband and I struggled quite a bit due to dumb decisions and underemployment. It took (takes!) a lot of commitment and discipline (and we've never gotten it completely right..) to get ourselves on more sure footing. Dave Ramsey's plan and radio show are an enormous help and encouragement to us. While it's most definitely never easy, I'm excited to be building a better future for our family.

The truth is, developing an income-generating hobby isn't necessarily a “sustainable step” in and of itself. But it's a step toward financial stability if you play your cards right, which is absolutely conducive to greener living. “Time is money” after all, and if you can find a hobby that you enjoy that also doubles as an income generator, you can get ahead pretty quickly!

I never saw it coming, but getting past the point of paycheck-to-paycheck (or worse.. ugh!) has helped me make greener choices overall. I never would have believed this before I saw it in my own life, because so many of the “green” things I do are also quite frugal. But, it is what it is.

Here are a few ways getting ahead with money can help you live a healthier and more eco-friendly life:

  • While you definitely can't buy happiness, having your financial life in order does make life a lot less stressful. Less stress = more sustainable. Less stress means better health, better decisions, greater time management abilities. 
  • You'll eat and shop more sustainably when there's room in the budget to choose organic and otherwise eco-friendly products and foods – even when they cost a bit more.
  • You'll be prepared for emergencies – no more relying on credit card or payday loan companies and other traps when things break down or someone gets sick.
  • You'll be more able to invest in quality items that last longer rather than the chieaper items that get you by for now.
  • You'll be able to build ethical businesses that contribute to your livelihood, and maybe someday the livelihood of others!
  • You'll be able to vote with your dollars more effectively when the dollars aren't spread quite as thin as in “survival mode.”
I usually think about sustainability in a broad sense – fuels, natural resources, that sort of thing. But it can totally be applied on a very personal level: finances, health, and time management. Stress, high interest debt, and an unproductive lifestyle are not sustainable. Pursuing wealth, health, and happiness – in an ethical way – is ultimately better for you and the rest of the world.
I know how stressful and overwhelming it is to get started when it feels like you're trapped, though – I've been there, done that. A few resources that have been helpful for me (and a post I wrote) are:




7 Responses

  1. thanks! I guess I asked because I always sorta associate sustainable with physical materials being used/saved ( not using gasoline and replacing paper products with reusable etc.) and hadn’t thought about it in a more abstract sense of what’s happening with your time/energy. I do need some help in this arena, for sure. I guess one sustainable part of an income generating hobby is that instead of relying on something consumed for entertainment (tv, shopping) you are often using a learned skill. glad I helped inspire something

  2. oh and I guess if you were successful at it, you’d technically have a local business, thereby keeping $ in the community/spread out

  3. Great post! So many great ideas here. Thanks so much for stopping by and commenting at my blog. I’m glad you did, because it enabled me to find your awesome blog! Looking forward to reading more.

  4. Green = Frugal!
    We’ve always taken care of our garden with hand tools: it’s peaceful, you’re not breathing stinky fumes (even the grass gets done with a push mower), and it’s great exercise. We save money on lawn “service” _and_ a gym membership: win-win!
    Also, I’m a firm believer in buying quality even if it costs more because it ends up saving money in the long run, as well as time and effort that goes into any repairs and such.

  5. One of my goals in life is to get a solar panel to power my home. In the meantime (they are outrageously expensive to buy!) I’ll be doing as much as I can to save so I can one day have one. It makes so much sense to do as much reusing, upcycling, gardening, etc. as possible but for most people (myself, included) it take a conscious effort. Thanks for the links to your other posts that I someone missed.

    “Waste not, want not.”

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