Well hello. It’s been a minute, hasn’t it? I’ll be honest - I needed a break. Between getting married, starting a new job (and increasing my commute time by about an hour each day), adding a dog into the mix, managing a side hustle, and gosh, so much more, I’ve been a little overwhelmed. Frankly, this poor little blog was the only thing that could reasonably be put on the backburner.
But I’m back with a renewed sense of energy, and I have lots more eco-friendly, money-saving, and style tips for you.
Our Lifestyle Changes
Along with the big life-in-general changes, hubs and I have been making a lot of lifestyle changes, too. Like, I mean a lot. We decided at the beginning of the year that we were going to pay off our house as quickly as possible. It’s meant living a lot more simply than we were before. I used to spend a couple hundred shopping ThredUp and Poshmark each month, and we’d go to dinner about three times a week. Definitely not the case these days. Now, we’re evaluating each purchase carefully.
But here’s the good news. That aligns with my eco-friendly philosophy. It’s amazing how much you realize you no longer need when you actually start thinking before hitting “confirm purchase”.
The Amazon Dilemma
In no case was that quite so true as with Amazon. It was around Christmas that I started to realize a real issue. Week after week, our recycling bin was stuffed with Prime packaging. We’d be at dinner talking about a sudden “need”. Minutes later, I’d purchase with one swipe, and two days later I’d be adding another cardboard box to the pile.
Amazon is really, really good at e-commerce. The free two-day shipping, quick purchase sequence, and colossal inventory make it so easy to buy anything and everything. And we were. Sandy needed a new toy. Josh needed this hat cleaning thing (honestly, still no clue what it is). Those notebooks had too cute of a print for me to pass up. Need, need, need. Swipe, swipe, swipe. Hundreds of dollars, and tons of packaging later, and still we weren’t willing to change.
I have an eco-blog, and I preach being green, but it was definitely a glaring hole in my personal practice. I’m not perfect, and I’m not near being zero waste (yet), but this was out of hand.
A Budgeted Wakeup Call
Our Prime subscription came up in January, and with our newfound mission to pay off the house, we had to make a choice. Did we want to spend $120, or were we willing to sacrifice some convenience? The guilt I felt when looking at the waste we were creating made it a much easier decision. We cut our subscription.
And you know what happened? We stopped buying stuff that we didn’t really even care about. It’s amazing how much money we saved when we took time to evaluate if it was really worth the cost of the shipping that we were now on the hook for. Since canceling our subscription in January, we’ve made two Amazon orders. Quite a shift from when we were ordering multiple times a week. (I know, bad, right?)
It’s also meant that we’ve been supporting local. We try to buy at truly local shops when we can, but even if it means a run to Target or another national chain, we’re still contributing to the need to keep retail jobs in town. Before, it seemed like so much work to drive five minutes to buy soap when I could just order it on Amazon. Now, after really thinking about my choices, it feels like I’m contributing in a better way to the local economy.
Most impactful for me, though, is that we’ve been able to cut down on our waste. We use our reusable totes pretty much everywhere we go, and our packaging use has been significantly reduced.
A Shift in Focus
As you know, a lot of bloggers make income from posting links to affiliate sites. A lot of mine came from links to Amazon. I no longer feel comfortable asking you to purchase online when I’m doing my best to cut it out of my own life. So very rarely will you see any affiliate links from me moving forward. If you do, it’s because it will be a specialized product that is hard to find locally. Does that mean I won’t be generating as much income? Yeah. But oh well - I wasn’t planning to quit my day job anytime soon.
And if you see something you like on here and want to hunt it down on Amazon or another online retailer, I’m not here to stop you. The goal of this blog isn’t to shout “BE GREEN OR YOU’RE INADEQUATE” every opportunity I get. I’m not perfect, so I can hardly expect anyone else to be. We all have to make choices that fit our lifestyles, and sometimes, shopping online is the best way to achieve the balance we need.
For me, it just means swiping a little less often and heading outside a little bit more.