1. Donate the money you saved on something bad to a good cause – I recently bought some extraordinarily cheap glasses from firmoo.com. They were less than $40, including expedited shipping because I am a princess and could not wait four weeks for them to get all the way here from China. A normal pair of glasses can run 10x that, so with all of the yucky guilt that came with the idea of a plane flying these glasses 22 hours first class from Shanghai, I decided to make a monthly recurring donation to GiveWell. More on that here. So basically, I get it. It’s hard not to shop at H&M sometimes. Just throw some cash at trees or something after.
2. Exchange problematic gifts for something you’ll actually use. This Christmas, I got a cute sweatshirt from Victoria’s Secret. I liked it, but I also already own several sweatshirts that get the job done, and if I did need a new sweatshirt, I’d buy one secondhand or recycled. But ya know what I’ll absolutely never buy secondhand? Underwear (no explanation necessary, I hope). And boy, does Vicki’s S. have a lot of nice underwear. So, instead of crowding my closet with another sweatshirt that I didn’t truly need and wouldn’t take full advantage of, instead I went and exchanged it for some boring black thongs and a bandeau bra that makes me feel trendy but also like my boobs are dragging around on the floor all day.
3. Try to splurge/cheat on things that you’re proud to buy for at least one reason, even if it’s not ideal. For example, when I support local food banks and cutting back on food waste with the SnackPass app, I get a free prosciutto flatbread from one of their partner restaurants in exchange. I normally wouldn’t eat prosciutto, but at least I know that all of the leftover prosciutto at this restaurant is going to a good and green cause, so fuck it, I’ll be a carnivore for a minute and not think twice. Also, it’s free, so…
4. Reduce and reuse. I absolutely love long, hot showers. The idea of taking a cold shower and/or doing something ludicrous like turning the water off while I shave all of my body hair makes me feel ill. So, instead of doing that, I try my best to just skip a shower when it’s not important for me to suuuuper clean. As someone who does not work out, this is fairly easy. Ever get a plastic cup of iced coffee even though you have nine reusable tumblers at home? Forgive yourself, but maybe carry it around for the rest of the day and refill it with something instead of chucking it and buying another one with your treat receipt deal at Starbucks (uhhh yeah, I’m pretty plugged into deals)
5. Keep yourself in mind. If denying yourself something is making you miserable, just don’t. Remember, the best diet is the one you can stick to. If eliminating meat from your life makes you cranky and drives you to eat a bunch of processed and packaged junk food, you’re not doing yourself or the Earth any favors. You’re going to be most sustainable when you’re at your best, so keeping yourself happy is important. Don’t be a hero. Or a martyr. Everyone knows they’re the lamest saints.