The moment my son was born my entire concept of time and the future was altered forever. Born in 2019, he could live until 2119! What will his world be like then? I now clearly see that the choices I make today will have an impact on his future, and the future of your children for better or worse. Inspired by the youth, parents and many other members of the community who spoke at the Fargo Town Hall meeting on climate change last November, I knew I needed to do something for the planet and future generations. So began my journey to become a more eco-conscious, green mom.
To embrace this new “green mom” life, I knew I had to take a hard look at my current lifestyle and habits. I consider myself moderately eco-friendly and minimalistic with a passion for thrift, but I know I need to make some additional changes.
When searching online for green living tips I can easily find an endless amount of pricy “green” products and things to buy that would make me more “eco-friendly.” A lot of it is clever marketing and I am not all that excited about buying new moderately more sustainable items to replace what I already have. Is that more eco-friendly?
I hit a roadblock.
Then it happened! After spending an hour passively looking on Facebook Marketplace and considering household items I didn’t really need, I realized my spending habits might be a good place to start. I was surprised to learn that our spending power as moms and women is massive:
“Women drive 70-80% of all consumer purchasing decisions;”
“94% of women between the ages of 15-35 spend over an hour per day shopping online.”
So I began making some easy practical changes.
First, I thought about how I shopped. When I analyzed my own shopping habits, I began to see ways I could be more efficient, save time and money, as well as be more environmentally conscious. Better yet, when I started to put them into action, I noticed a bunch of personal benefits almost immediately; being more organized, finding time to bake or do YouTube yoga sessions, feeling generally happier and less stressed. I am also spending more time playing with my son and being more present and mindful. The house is tidier and clutter-free which makes me feel more relaxed and at ease. On top of that, I am curbing my consumption and having less impact on the environment!
After just a few weeks, I was so surprised that by focusing on this one part of my life – shopping – and by making some rather minor shifts, I am experiencing a range of wonderful improvements to the quality of my life. I’m starting to think there is a whole lot more to this green mom life than I originally thought.
Curbing my Consumption: Smart Shopping Guide
To take on a new approach when making my next major purchases, I created this smart shopping guide. I began to see that I could slow down, be more informed and look at other ways I could find what I really needed. I also want to take more responsibility for things that I get and maximize their lifecycle by taking better care of them.
I am not impervious to ads and clever marketing, but no longer want to be a passive consumer. With SO MANY people reviewing products online, I feel more empowered with candid product reviews than ever before. The best thing I did was shift my time from impulse shopping to doing quick research on products before buying them. I was surprised to see some things I was convinced I wanted that I didn’t end up getting, or I found a lightly used one for a fraction of the cost with a few more clicks.
My source of inspiration is also my greatest weakness. My son is my world and I absolutely want him to have everything he needs to thrive. However, I also don’t want to play a role in jeopardizing his future. So most of his toys, clothing and major kid purchases also follow this smart shopping guide. Between Facebook Marketplace and the wide variety of second-hand stores here in Fargo, finding the next set of gently used items for him is easy! It is also fun to support and connect with other local moms through Marketplace.
Five Everyday Green Mom Shopping Tricks
In addition to the smart shopping guide, for regular shopping needs I do these five things:
- Do shopping once a week for dairy, eggs, fruit & veggies
- Buy meat and household items in bulk. (portion divide meat and freeze)
- Keep a running grocery list and then shop when there are enough items needed
- Bring my reusable bags everywhere
- Avoid areas of the store that I am tempted to buy things I don’t need
Here is the rundown of the initial benefits I experience from embracing this new approach to shopping smarter.
Saving Time & Money!
For starters, buying groceries once a week makes me a much more efficient meal planner. I am even able to shop just twice a month now! I also do far less driving, use less gas as well as save a ton of time. Buying necessities in bulk also saves time, reduces unnecessary packaging and is also cheaper.
This alone, I noticed immediate savings in money and time! I am more proactive and efficient. With a running shopping list on the fridge, I now shop only once I have enough to make the trip worth it. I use a reusable bag as my purse so I always have it with me. When I shop, I avoid the majority of the grocery store. I go straight to the dairy section, meat section, and then veggies and fruit. If there is anything else on the list I get those as well but try to avoid any impulse buys. Most notably, with this subtle change in the way I shop, I feel way more empowered!
This simple approach has worked really well for me and I hope helps you too!