Live on Less: How to Save Money and Enjoy a Simpler, More Sustainable Life

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Self reliance and simple living have always been a big part of what MOTHER EARTH NEWS is about. These days, we’re finding those ideas more useful than ever as more and more people strive to live greener lives that consume fewer of the Earth’s resources. More people are also on the lookout for simple ideas for saving money — in these uncertain economic times who doesn’t want to make every dollar go a little farther?

The good news is that saving money and saving the Earth go hand in hand. Even better — many of these strategies for living lightly are simple, satisfying and even fun. To us, simple living means not so much going without, as it means making the most of the resources you already have.

Below you’ll find some of our most recent content about living on less. They include some of the long-standing features of the magazine:

Country Lore: Short and simple tips from readers with all sorts of practical advice that’s easy to apply to your home or homestead.

Firsthand Reports: Longer more detailed accounts from readers who have chosen a greener and more self-sufficient lifestyle, explaining how and why they’ve chosen the self-reliant life.

Bootstrap Businesses: Articles with ideas for home businesses and other simple ideas for earning a little extra income from your property.

DIY, Low-Cost Homebuilding: This is a recurring theme we’ve featured in numerous articles over the years. There are a lot of strategies to consider, but two at the top of our list include making your existing home more energy efficient, and learning more DIY skills so that when you build new or remodel, you can do more of the work yourself.

In all of these articles, you’ll find a lot of reducing, reusing, and recycling involved, as well as ideas for learning to be more self-reliant and developing skills you didn’t know you had. So check it out!

For even more great ideas for living on less, you can sign up for our free e-newsletters. Enjoy!

Country Lore

Country Lore: Recycled Wool Rugs Last Forever You can make an heirloom braided rag rug from recycled wool blankets, skirts and suits.

Country Lore: Online Seed Exchange You can get lots of seeds for this year’s garden by trading with other gardeners on a seed exchange Web site.

Country Lore: Stout’s ‘No-work’ Method Works This simple method of using heavy straw mulch is an easy way to expand your garden and produce more of your own food.

Country Lore: Debt-free Dream Home This family’s mortgage-free house includes many energy-efficient materials and strategies.

Country Lore: How to Build Debt-Free This entire house was built with used and leftover building materials.

Firsthand Reports

From Boston to the Florida Keys, we make our home on our 30-foot sailboat.

Simple Ideas for Sustainable Living A voluntary simplicity class inspired us to live a greener urban lifestyle.

Simple Living in the Southwest We’re discovering the wonders of solar power, desert gardening and living on less.

Living Lightly in the City This remarkable family has discovered the greener side of urban life.

The Self-sufficient Homestead With motivation, hard word and an internet connection, the dream of going back to the land is more attainable than ever.

Water in the Desert A Firsthand Report from a couple in Arizona whose off-the-grid house includes a water catchment system.

Bootstrap Businesses

How to Manage Woods for Fun and Profit A woodlot, whether three acres or 100 acres, can provide a myriad of things: fun and recreation; a bootstrap business for firewood and lumber; and the sheer satisfaction of having trees nearby.

How to Start a Bootstrap Homestead Business There are hundreds of ways to generate cottage industry income while homesteading. The challenge is to create a stable market for your bootstrap products or services.

Grow and Sell Heirloom Tomatoes Meet Pat Kennedy, aka the ‘Tomato Lady,’ and discover the delicious heirloom tomato plant varieties she sells in her unique bootstrap business.

Bootstrap Business: Earn Cash With your own Garden-grown Nursery Our 3,000-square-foot garden produces about three-quarters of the vegetables we eat in a year — and a bumper crop of nursery stock that brings us up to $1,000 of extra cash annually.

Profit with Portable Sawmills Dreaming of a new home or barn you can’t quite afford? If you cut your own lumber using a portable sawmill, you could save enough to bring the project within reach.

DIY, Low-cost Home-building

A Handmade, Debt-free Home Blend vision, patience and perseverance and you can build your dream home.

Home Petite Home The best way to slash your energy bills is to choose a compact, well-built home such as this sweet, neat and petite home in Franklin, Maine.

How to Make Your Home Energy Efficient Here’s expert advice to help you slash your utility bills.

Our Handmade Home We cut our own lumber and built our off-the-grid home for only $5,000.

Debt-Free Home Building For the ultimate in financial security and personal freedom, this is the way to go, to build a house, debt-free.

Tipis and Yurts Nomadic people have used portable tipis and yurts for thousands of years. These simple, circular structures provide snug, low-cost shelter.

Photo by Pixabay/RitaE,