Green Low Budget Challenge – Final words

Amazing how fast one month goes by – even if you don’t have much money to spend since doing a green low budget challenge.

Low budget in this terms meant trying how to survive with only 500 Euros a month (for everything – rent, side costs, food and lifestyle). In my case that resulted in having 120 Euros left for food and fun after paying all fixed costs.

The whole thing was green because heading to the cheap discounters and having toasts and canned soup every day was not an option. Instead, I wanted to stick to my personal ‘sustainable consumption rules’, meaning buying as organic, regional and plastic free as possible, with wasting as less as possible.

In the end I can say: I succeeded and it was far less challenging than I expected it to be. A reason surely is that I am already living a quite frugal life without excessive consumption. I don’t feel the urge to buy and own more and more stuff anymore. So things like going to the shopping mall on Saturdays and spending money on clothing or cosmetics was something I used to do in the past, but not anymore. I wear the clothes I have or exchange them with friends and my bathroom shelf is rather minimalistic with self-made products included.

Furthermore, since it was summer time, I was perfectly happy with going out for a run, chilling out in the sun with a friend and a beer or reading a book. Consequently, I could use almost all 120 Euros for food.

13 pieces of wisdom

  1. You can perfectly use a tea bag twice (at least).
  2. Old bread + (oat) milk + oat flakes + honey give a wonderful French toast.
  3. Preparing oat milk yourself is super easy and doesn’t cost more than 30 cents a liter.
  4. Food sharing is definitely worth a try.
  5. Not spending any money for several days does work – and feels incredibly releasing.
  6. Multi-functional products like lemons, (cider) vinegar, baking soda, (palm oil free) soap or coconut oil can make your life way easier.
  7. Blondes can lighten their hair with lemon juice – and use the squeezed fruit for cleaning the sink afterwards.
  8. Learning a language via a language partnership (‘tandem’) is fun – and doesn’t cost a cent.
  9. Bringing your own bottles and hiding them in front of a concert location is not something only teenagers can do.
  10. It can make you truly happy to bring back your deposit bottles and spend the extra 3.50 Euros on something special.
  11. Going by bike instead of taking the bus is great for your purse – and legs.
  12. To stop drinking coffee is an option – but not mandatory.
  13. Same counts for beer.

However, I also felt that such a way of life will become more challenging with time. One month was easy, because I still had some food basics at home, which in consequence I didn’t need to buy.  With each week yet I saw my stocks decreasing more and more and if I continued living on low budget another month I’d probably get some serious shortage. One month was also easy, because there are a lot of things you can do in your free-time without spending money. I am pretty sure though, that after a while I would feel a bit restricted in flexibility and travelling.

For living such a low budget life in the long run, I would need to try harder, becoming more minimalistic and probably going for a food sharing supplier position to meet my nutrition needs. Probably, I would need to get rid of my coffee addiction then as well… Surely it would be a deep change in lifestyle; however, I truly think it is possible.

I am now switching to my general ‘medium budget life’ again. But I will certainly keep an eye on the hard way and step-wise try to improve my budget skills. This challenge will not end here.

Photo: Fabian Blank│unsplash.com (adapted)

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