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. When I was younger and married to my first husband, 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 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:
- Living Paycheck-to-Paycheck? 30 Tips on Gaining Traction and Saving Money!
- Funding your dream: paying rent before meaningful work pays.