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Frugal Is the New Black

By Chantal O'Keeffe
October 5, 2010
File under: Books, Eco-Friendly Activities, Saving Money

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Navigating the ever-evolving world of eco-friendly living can be overwhelming, underwhelming, and sometimes just confusing. The people behind Coupon Sherpa, which is a really neat website, have created the Eco-Frugal Life Guide.

You can access the Life Guide online or download it as a PDF.

I downloaded mine onto my droid, and passed the time on longest subway ride of my life reading it all.

The Eco-Frugal Life Guide aims to give its readers lots of new ideas and approaches to not only make the best environmentally conscious choices, but to do so frugally, which they accurately connect to environmentally living at its best. As they say: “Cheap is the ugly, tawdry stepsister of virtuous Frugal. Whereas one indicates being economical in the use of money and resources, the other is just plain stingy.” Couldn’t agree more.

The Life Guide, after its quick depression-era history of the beginnings of frugality, jumps right into seven different chapters: Our Daily Bread, Green Does a Body Good, Recycling, The Emerald House, Leisure and Tourism, Getting There, and Shopping.

Each section is full of helpful tips, statistics (which I am always a fan of), and links to other helpful sites. This was possibly one of my favorite parts about the guide- the links to other sites, like green hotels40 ways to repurpose a house, and 27 ways to clean with baking soda.

Some of the information covered I was already aware of, some information was reminders of practices I have sort of forgotten, and some ideas were brand spanking new. I especially enjoyed the Loving Leftovers—leftover rice for a quiche crust! Who knew?—and the Smart Storage sections.

I also liked the Green Does a Body Good section, but I must admit, I have a new and deep fascination with creating my own everything—from shampoo to wood cleaner—so they were preaching to the choir on this.  I worry a little about their ‘baking soda for the face’ regimen, but everything else sounded fun to try.

I do wish they had given me even more ideas (I can be a bit greedy like that), and I was surprised that they left out one of the best face mask ideas ever: egg yolk mask.  Five to seven minutes of egg yolk on your face, and you will end up with the softest skin ever. (And use the whites for a healthy omelet, yo.)

I found some great links for my future traveling, courtesy of their Leisure and Tourism chapter,  which includes sections on the Great Outdoors, Service Trips, Hostels and Hotels, and creative cookouts.

Overall, I found the Eco-Frugal Life Guide to be helpful, easy to access, and full of good links and tips. I couldn’t help but feel that the life guide has just scratched the surface, though. There are so many ways to do good by the Earth and good by your neighbors and friends, and consequently, even less room for excuses for bad behavior.

This life guide brings up some awesome tips and ideas, but there’s so much more out there. I am looking forward to the Life Guide growing with each year and updating their guide with even more new ideas, links, and ways to bring your frugal ‘A’ game to every choice you make.

I also really want them to turn this into a phone app (for the droid, please?), where I can type in ‘beets’ and they give me a leftover dinner option, or where I can type in ‘batteries’ and they link me up with where I can recycle them.

What can I say, the Eco-Frugal Life Guide has the potential to change my world. Keep it coming, Coupon Sherpa. Keep it coming.

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