In a previous post I said I would explain in a future post how one could save heaps of money and thereby decrease financial stress, even to the point where one could conceivably work far less or change to a lower paying job (or reconfigure notions of employment altogether) due to having minimal expenses. I aim for such an explanation in this article.

What I offer below is in one sense quite radical, in that it is based on my ‘extreme’ experiences of (almost) completely ditching the common consumer lifestyle of instant gratification. I understand that most people do not want to do what my partner and I did, namely put put up a couple of tents on friends’ land and build a home from mainly recycled materials, largely liberating ourselves from the ‘conveniences’ of what has become common domestic lifestyles. However, many of the suggestions below can be implemented by anyone and everyone in most situations – nobody has to be as extreme as we were/are.

Note that I am making no claims here that permaculture ‘requires’ one to take steps such as the ones I discuss below. Permaculture can be implemented in a variety of different ways, starting from steps as tiny as making a small raised garden bad in a yard for the growing of mixed herbs, or catching some rain-water in a tank from a roof. Both these steps will save a person money; not loads, mind you, but some. At no point does permaculture have to become a kind of ‘living activism’, as it has become for us; we take permaculture to an ‘extreme’ end of the spectrum, and the points below are mainly formulated on the basis of such an approach.

Okay, intro and disclaimer over, let’s summarise the main theme of the approach by referring to the commendable lyrics of a Red Hot Chilli Peppers song: “throw away your television”. All the steps offered below are focused on eliminating specific items and practices familiar in the common household that everyone could do without. Indeed, should do without, because in my experience not only will you save money by ditching them, but far more importantly, you will liberate yourself from the opinion that they are necessary. Instead you will realise that they are choices, choices that you have been duped into believing are ‘the realities of life’ by the propaganda machines of ‘free’-market consumer capitalism. And by ditching them, you begin to play an active role against ecological disregard.

Ditch the TV. You do not need a TV. It is highly likely that you will be be better off without the television. You paid for it; you pay for TV licenses; you pay for satellite feeds. Selling your TV means making some money; not needing a license or paying for subscriptions means saving you money (dah!). Furthermore, you spend time watching the TV when you could be doing things like growing vegetables, exercising, reading, starting an ethical business, etc. – all things that will save you money directly or indirectly, and possibly help in liberating yourself from the rat race.
And anyway, what do you get when you watch television? Less brainwave activity than when you’re sleeping. So you passively absorb the (mediated, agenda-set)’norms’ you see in sitcoms and series, the competition in sports, the trivia of game shows, the despair and distress of the news… and then you believe that the world is really like this, and you impose this belief onto the world, perpetuating the ‘norms’, the competition, the trivia, the despair and distress.

Ditch the meat. You do not need to eat meat. It is highly likely that you will be be better off without eating meat. Meat is stupidly expensive, so not eating it means saving money (dah!). It is often packed with hormones and antibiotics, which makes you unhealthier in the long run, so by not eating it you save again because you will get sick less and stand a stronger chance of avoiding chronic illness; clearly, this means saving some money on medical bills, but the healthier life in the long term is invaluable.

The meat industry is also largely responsible for the deforestation occurring in the Amazon area, and in smaller green areas around the world: indigenous forests, which act as the lungs of the earth, are cleared so that soya or grain can be grown mainly to feed cows that will be slaughtered for your culinary enjoyment. Think of the transport-miles associated with national and international food transit and realise how much oil is involved, and the consequences this has economically for a global system where oil is becoming scarcer. The millions of happy, healthy vegetarians and vegans around today, as well as the endless recipes for vegetarian food online, are testament that the meat bitch can definitely be ditched.

Ditch the milk. You do not need to use milk. It is highly likely that you will be be better off without using milk. Obviously, you will save some cash by not buying milk (dah!); use water instead. The ‘other’ factors in the case of meat above, however, are also relevant – health, deforestation and oil-reliance. And if you haven’t tried going without milk for a while, do so and see how you feel. Many (dare I say most) people report a de-congestion in the mucous realms and a freer sense of respiration.

Ditch the fridge. You do not need a fridge. It is highly likely that you will be be better off without the fridge. You’ve ditched the meat and the milk, and with a little adjustment, you can change your approach to food so that you consider what you need for the next few days only and avoid buying for, e.g. meals that you will only prepare in five days’ time. Leftovers can become something to be eaten ‘the next day’ as opposed to ‘the day thereafter’. There are plenty of ways to make cold storage areas where the fridge used to be. So sell the fridge and get some cash back, and save money on electricity bills (dah!) – the fridge is a massive power-drain.

Ditch the sugar. You do not need sugar (dah!). It is highly likely that you will be be better off without sugar. By not buying sugar you will save cash (dah!). Sugar is increasingly linked to ill health; not using it may mean being healthier, which will mean decreased medical bills; never mind the increased quality of life. You will also start actually tasting things, and not the sugar added to things, when you ditch sugar. This means more variety of flavour, and variety is the spice of life.

Ditch the constant hot water supply. It is highly likely that you will be be better off without the constant supply of hot water. The geyser / boiler is one of the biggest users of electricity in the common household, so at very least, turn it off for most of the day. Not using as much electricity in this regard will save you some cash (dah!). You will probably use less water, because it won’t be hot all the time, so you will less likely fall for your old hedonistic way where you use hot water as-and-when you feel like it. Instead you work your hot-water needs around the geyser’s on-time, and you thereby become more disciplined, which is also invaluable (filtering into other areas of ‘saving’).

You could also get a solar geyser with the money you’ll save from ditching the other ‘bitches’ mentioned in this article and save energy and water in the long run. And in the ‘extreme’ case, hook up a coil of black plastic pipe to the mains, secure the coil to the roof, and use hot water only when the sun has heated it up ‘naturally’. Sure, you’ll have a cold shower every now and again, and your dishes may accumulate a bit more than you’re used to, but these factors are easy to adapt to.

Ditch the flush toilet. You do not need a flush toilet. It is highly likely that you will be be better off without a flush toilet. Not everyone will take to this point easily, but a compost toilet negates the need for water-flushing (save money on water bills – dah!); it produces compost in which food can be grown (save money on food bills – dah!); and it radically changes a person’s awareness of our systems – flushing fertility away is just plain stupid. Get a compost loo going and learn how to make humanure compost.

Ditch the microwave oven. You do not need a microwave oven. It is highly likely that you will be be better off without the microwave oven. Sure, it’s easy, just like many of the things I’m here suggesting could be ditched. But it uses unnecessary power, which means you can save some money by not using it (dah!). Eat things cold; you’ll get used to it. Get a rocket stove and a supply of scrap wood or twigs and thereby cook or heat food.

Ditch the ‘regular’ oven. You do not need a regular oven. It is highly likely that you will be be better off without a regular oven. For the same points as above. Use a rocket stove. You’ll see your electricity bill almost disappear by this stage.

Ditch the two dozen light bulbs. You do not need two dozen light bulbs to light your home. It is highly likely that you will be be better off without the two dozen light bulbs. You save on the energy bill (dah!) and you save because you don’t need to buy as many as you once did (dah!) but you also find a new respect for light in general. You put lights on and off where needed rather than leaving them on constantly, obviously saving you money, but heightening your awareness of your energy-use in general. Then you consume energy less and less, saving you money (dah!), but you also become less inculcated in the planet’s destruction so concomitant with consumer capitalism.

Ditch the gizmos and gadgets. You do not need gizmos and gadgets. It is highly likely that you will be be better off without the gizmos and gadgets. They cost money to buy, so you will save money by not buying them (dah!). They tend to be built to break, so not getting them in the first place means less rubbish to end up in landfill. And they tend to distract from the important things in life, which are luckily not the topic of this particular article.

Ditch the take-away foods. You do not need take-away foods. It is highly likely that you will be be better off without the take away foods. They tend to be expensive; save money by not buying them (dah!). And no, it is not as expensive to make your own equivalent food – it depends entirely on what you are making; do some research into inexpensive healthy food. Take-away food generally tends to be unhealthier; this may mean more medical bills in the long run; reduced medical bills means saving money (dah!) never mind the invaluable improvement in quality of life.

Ditch the shorter car trips: you do not need to drive to the corner shop. It is highly likely that you will be be better off without driving to the corner shop. You will save petrol by walking to destinations within 5 km from the home, which means saving money (dah!). Walking is exercise, which keeps you healthy; being healthy means higher tolerance to illness, which means not having to rely on pharmaceutical drugs, which means further savings (dah!), never mind the increased quality of life.

Ditch the bad habits: You do not need to cling to them. It is highly likely that you will be be better off without clinging to the bad habits. You will save money if you stop smoking cigarettes, drinking alcohol, having several cups of coffee a day, buying and eating sweets and chocolates (dah!). Not having these things will make you incomparably healthier, meaning you won’t fall victim to the pharmaceutical industry’s evil ways of dealing with the consequences of such bad habits. So you will save money in the long run (dah!) but you will also liberate yourself from the suffering associated with such bad habits.

Ditch the mask of frivolous consumerism. You do not need to consume frivolously. It is highly likely that you will be be better off without frivolous consumerism. I acknowledge that we all consume things: food, water, energy, etc. But this is not consumerism. Capitalist consumerism is an ideology of reductive materialism that advocates a complete disregard for the planet and her people, and thrives off of making commodities out of everything. You are not even really you when you consume frivolously; the real you is a flesh and blood sovereign being connected intimately to a physical and non-physical dispensation in which your actions matter profoundly.

We are all beings of incredible potential – we can elevate our consciousness to resonate at higher frequencies and thereby explore exciting, inspiring, uplifting, progressive layers of conscious existence. Yes, you will save money by overcoming frivolous consumerism, but such financial saving is just a small consequence.

IN CONCLUSION: You have many, many options if you really need to save money or decrease your expenses. You might not want to make the changes suggested above because you’re addicted to your hedonism, but then you don’t really need to save money in the first place, do you? If you needed to, you would make the changes. Bare this in mind when you next complain about expenses or a lack of money. But if you make the changes, the result will be far greater than mere financial savings; a de-conditioning begins to occur with each step, and you slowly reconnect with a sustainable lifestyle, one far more in tune with the way human beings lived for millennia.  So throw away your television.