13. Banish boredom with board games
Instead of electronic entertainment, gather your crew for old-fashioned board games like Monopoly, Clue and Scrabble. Or assemble a jigsaw puzzle, deal a game of gin rummy or play a round of charades.
14. Buy used
Secondhand or consignment shops are great places to find clothes, kitchen equipment and even furniture. Buying used costs less and cuts down on packaging waste, thus reducing your carbon footprint.
15. Disconnect and reconnect
Take time every day to disconnect from electronics. At dinnertime, turn off the computer and television, and let all phone calls go to voice mail. Bar all hand-held devices from the table. This will open the way for eye-to-eye contact and genuine engagement.
16. Write financial affirmations
Identify a specific financial goal and write it down affirmation-style, as though it is a current reality (“My mortgage is retired,” or, “I am gloriously debt-free”). Then post the affirmation on your fridge, bathroom mirror or as a screen saver. Keep your affirmation short (no more than a dozen words), sweet and upbeat. Your affirmation will help set the stage for a future reality.
17. Stop and chat
When you’re out for a walk in the neighborhood or standing in the supermarket line, make small talk. Ask the cashier about her earrings or tattoo; compare notes with your neighbor about growing tomatoes. You will find that “small talk” isn’t small, but surprisingly big and meaningful.
Wanda Urbanska is a sustainability activist and author who writes about the benefits and joys of simple living. She is also the host and producer of the television series Simple Living with Wanda Urbanska, which airs on select PBS stations nationwide. This is the second of a three-part series drawn from her most recent book, The Heart of Simple Living: 7 Paths to a Better Life (Krause, 2010). Visit her Web site at www.simplelivingtv.net.