8 July 2007

A simple change

As soon as you realise that lifestyle change is essential in every affluent country and understand that you must be part of that change, your personal transformation can begin. You don’t need special equipment or anyone else to help, you just need to start and to remain focused and motivated. We got into this climate change predicament over the course of several decades; I believe we will get out of it with each of us taking small steps.

Of course every one's small steps will be different but there are a number of common measures that will probably be a part of every one's strategy. These include:
* Getting off the mindless consumption merry-go-round
* Reduced spending
* Cutting back on your consumption of electricity, petrol, gas and water
* Reduce, reuse, repair and recycle – both at home and at work

It could also include such things as:
* Not eating meat
* Shopping locally
* Growing your own food and supplement it with your stockpiled staples
* Not eating takeaway food
* Cooking from scratch

We had a surprise visitor here yesterday. It was a friend that we’ve known for many years, we had our first babies at the same time and lived in the same isolated town for many years. She is six months older than me but she will be working until she is 70 to pay off all her debts. She was surprised when I told her how little we spend but I doubt that small surprise will be enough to change her mindset. You see that’s the thing. You have to be so concerned or shocked or unhappy that you realise without reservation that you must change. My friend is not there yet.

H and I live on $350 a week. We live well and we are happier now than we have ever been. We have private health insurance, we have holidays, we have everything we need, we have no debt. We live a truly simple life that allows us to choose whatever we want to do each day. We could both still be working if we chose to but our mindset has changed; we don’t view success in the same way anymore. We want to be part of a solution, we don’t want to add to the problem. We’ve implemented strategies that are easy to follow that have allowed us to reduce our electricity consumption to 11.7 kWh per day from 13.9 last year and around 25 kWh five years ago. We’ve reduced our water usage to 100 litres each a day, we use 6000 litres a month. We used to use so much water we paid hundred of dollars in excess water bills.

So you can see that it is possible and they are not huge changes – it’s reducing in small steps. We are just ordinary people, if we can do it, anyone can. All it takes is the change in mindset and the willingness to start. That first step is the most difficult and after that it’s a matter of remaining focused. You can stay motivated by reading the many blogs on this subject and reskilling yourself for your new life. It is that simple.

Ready, set ……… go.


  1. Goodmorning Rhonda!
    yay for Elegant Frugality! It amazes me how LITTLE we spend on food now that we grow lots of our own veggies and get the rest from the farmers market or whole food store. I LOVE not having to go into the supermarket or shopping centre for weeks and weeks on end. It makes me feel empowered and subversive all at once. And I notice now that rather than cruising around with a shopping trolley that increasingly gets filled with packaging and crap, I go in with a small list of 4 or 5 things, once a month.

    I also appreciate how our cooking style has naturally gravitated to be more like my nanna - lots of fresh home grown meals made with love and what ever is in the garden or pantry. It makes me feel very connected to her. I feel RICH with my garen and home grown goodies, not frugal at all.

    And I feel great knowing that the money we do spend on food at the farmers market goes directly to the farmer, and rewards them for choosing sustainable, pesticide and herbicide free farming methods. I happily pay a premium for that!

    Have a lovely day.

  2. Wow! Great cut backs on things. We're not there yet, but we're working on it. Right now our only debt is our new house though...so I am excited about that. Lord willing, it will be paid off quickly!

  3. You are truly an inspiration. I wish my DH would read your blog too. :-)

  4. Well said! Congrats on the award, you definitely deserve it! Your examples are some that seem so easy for others to incorporate so let's hope that more begin to do so. If only we could convince more people to realize that along with the global pay offs they will receive personal payoffs from these choices as well. May you be blessed with a wonderful rest of your weekend!


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