3 Tips for Eating More Sustainably and Saving Money

One of the hang-ups that many people have about changing their habits to live more sustainably is that there is sometimes a financial cost. Indeed, boosting your sustainability sometimes means paying a little more up front, and this seems especially true when you are trying to eat in a way that is more sustainable and healthy.

The good news is that you don’t have to break the bank to eat more sustainably. Here are 3 tips that can help you reduce the impact your food has on the environment and save money to boot:

1. Look for Community Supported Agriculture

If possible, find out if there is a community program for local farms. It might be possible to buy shares in a local farm, or buy into a program that delivers local produce right to your door, or you pick it up at a local drop-off. In some cases, you get this produce for less than you would pay at the grocery store — and you know that it comes from a local source, so it wasn’t trucked across continents to get to your dinner table.

This option also works for meat (if you can’t quite make yourself go vegetarian). Find out if there is a local source for meat. You can go in with friends or family on beef. My parents did this successfully for years, splitting the cost of a whole cow with neighbors. Everyone got beef for less per-pound, overall, than they could at the store. This works for fish, poultry and other meat products.

2. Grow Your Own Food

The ultimate way to save money while eating local is to grow food in your own backyard. We have a garden that provides us with fresh, low-cost produce all summer. And, since we use sustainable practices with our gardening, we know that we are keeping the carbon footprint relatively low. It’s also possible for us to preserve the excess for winter months. We often turn our apples into applesauce, and dry our herbs for use year-round. Many vegetables can be efficiently bottled for eating during the winter months. If you have the time and the inclination, this is a great way to save money and eat more sustainably.

3. Reduce Your Consumption of Processed Foods

Processed foods require resources to prepare, as well as to package. By reducing your consumption of processed foods, you can improve your health, help the environment, and possibly save money. You can get bulk nuts, peanut butter (fresh), dried fruits, legumes, and other items relatively inexpensively, and you don’t have to worry about the packaging and processing. You might be surprised at what you can get in bulk. My son recently learned how to make his own granola trail mix, and he loves visiting the bulk aisle for the ingredients. It costs less per ounce than buying pre-made and pre-packaged trail mix, it’s fun to make, and it doesn’t harm the environment as much.

You don’t have to pay a lot to eat healthy and reduce your food-related carbon footprint. A little extra thought, and a willingness to prepare some of your food is likely to do the trick.

What are your tips for saving money while eating sustainably?

Frugal and Fabulous: How Utilizing Your Fashion Instincts Can Boost Your Income

Susan Gregg and Eric Koger met while completing their studies at Carnegie Mellon University. Eric was a tech-savvy, business-oriented gentleman, and Susan was a fashionable free-spirit, with an infectious energy and a love for all things vintage. Together, they tried to figure out a way to confront Susan’s overflowing closet and rapidly-shrinking bank account. Eric designed a website from which Susan could sell and trade vintage dresses with customers around the world. And thus, ModCloth was born.

Now, Susan and Eric are spouses and co-owners of one of the most successful vintage clothing markets online. What started as a side-project in Susan’s dorm room is now a lucrative international business with offices in San Francisco, Pittsburgh and Los Angeles. Although originally a host-site for over 700 independent fashion designers, ModCloth now proudly produces its own apparel, accessories, footwear, and home furnishings. In 2011, Susan and Eric (then 27) were recognized in Forbes Magazine’s “30 under 30” issue, and Susan continues to expand her fan-base on Twitter, Instagram and Pinterest to this day!

So what does Susan have that you don’t? The answer (sorry Susan) is nothing. True, it took countless hours to gather a group of talented independent designers together and sell their products from one, tastefully polka-dotted website, but Susan never received any formal training in the fashion industry. Instead, Susan saw that her love for fashion would either be the cause of her bankruptcy, or her ticket to success. Susan didn’t need to apply for a loan or invest in a brick-and-mortar establishment; she simply needed to create a website that would get noticed.

Unfortunately, we don’t all have an Eric around to teach us everything there is to know about web-design. That’s why many techno-phobic entrepreneurs turn to websites like Shopify and Etsy for a little guid

ance. These sites make it easy for lay-people to understand the intricacies of web-design, SEO-formatting, and online marketing. They can also help you manage orders and track purchases once your site is up-and-running.   To find out more, check out Shopify’s page on selling clothes and begin designing your online store today!

Thanks to the internet, it has never been easier to build a career as a fashion designer. Whether your talents lie in jewelry-making, knitting, embellishing, or sewing, you can fulfill your dreams without spending a fortune. Once you’ve built a page from which to sell your goods, gathering an online community is the essential next step. ModCloth stands out from other online clothing stores because its members are involved in picking which clothes are sold. Members can also share photos of themselves in their purchased outfits, enter competitions, and vote on the next featured designer. In conclusion, ModCloth is more than a store; it’s a growing community of like-minded people. Building such a community can mean the difference between success and failure. Like many of her fellow online entrepreneurs, Susan credits much of her success to her followings on Twitter, Instagram, Facebook and Pinterest. Posting flattering pictures of your creations on social media sites is an easy (and free!) way to promote your brand and get noticed. Once your fan base extends beyond your friends and family, the only direction is up! So make the right decision; turn your shopping addiction into a full-time career and see your income (and your satisfaction) increase!