Naturally Frugal, Frugally Natural

I embarked on a 31-Day Frugal Natural Living Challenge from Don't Waste the Crumbs for the month of October. It was arranged so that I received daily emails with ways to frugally live a more natural lifestyle. These two things are often seen in opposition with one another, as many natural products are expensive. However, as this challenge proved to me, there are more frugal ways to adopt natural practices. I found some of the challenges to be easier than others. Each day there were two or three ways to implement change in a specific area-- usually offering beginner, intermediate, and advanced applications. I liked having the opportunity to choose my level of involvement to customize the challenge to fit where I'm at in my journey toward healthy living. I wanted to challenge myself, but knew I had to have realistic goals, or I would never follow through with them.

It was encouraging to see how well some of my current habits aligned with the suggested applications, as I was already doing some of the things included in the daily emails, like flossing my teeth, maintaining a budget, trying to get enough sleep, and reducing my use of disposable items (like paper towels, paper plates, and plastic baggies). It made me feel like I had already gotten the ball rolling, giving me momentum to continue.

Some of the more difficult challenges included using natural cleaners (which I hope to do, but will focus on more once I deplete what I already have so as to not be wasteful), avoiding a pretty comprehensive list of toxic ingredients in personal care products (it's more difficult than I thought to find products without them), and eating seasonally (I'm working on it, but sometimes I just want that banana in November).

I really liked how the challenge ended. On the last day, the email had the same format as before, but the action steps were left up to us to fine-tune. The last challenge was to set new goals, to continue moving forward in our natural frugal living journey in whatever way best suits us, knowing that it's a journey that never really ends. It reminded me that this wasn't meant to only last a month while I was receiving daily emails to keep pushing me in the right direction, educating me about harmful ingredients in common products, and natural alternatives that are easier than I would have expected.

As a result of this challenge and the other reading I've been doing, I am working toward making and buying better personal and household products, sticking to my budget, getting more sleep, eating more seasonally, and trying to embrace a slower, more natural lifestyle. Won't you join me?