I work with families that aren’t usually very fortunate to have lavish budgets and because they’re forced to be frugal they are eco-friendly and implement many strategies to help stretch their budget. From line drying their clothing, using vinegar and baking soda for cleaning, yard sale and resale shopping and gardening, it is what they do not because they want to be cool or “green” but because this way of living saves them money. This completely makes sense and when I think about my own childhood we had some very firm rules and they had nothing to do with saving the environment!

1.  Short Showers. Yes, no long hot showers were allowed at my house! Dad used to make us turn on the water and then turn it off to lather and turn it on to rinse! He was clear we were not a spa!

2.  Lights off, doors closed! No standing around with the refrigerator open wasting energy and who left that bathroom light on? Nope, that was wasting energy and meant dad was spending money on nothing important!

3.  Pick and Pull! We had to pull weeds, pick beans and eat pea soup many, many nights! If we didn’t want to eat the pea soup, we went hungry. Needless to say, I did not eat but I survived!

As I loaded gifts into my cart for my kids this holiday season I was reminded how simple things used to be and yet how happy I was. How a gift did not need to be complicated, elaborate or expensive. We would make coupon books, gifts that required a lot of thought and were homemade and used recycled items from around the house. I even remember my sister giving me one of her favorite shirts that I borrowed all of the time!

Do me a favor this holiday season and think back to when your life was simple or when you had no money. Think about frugal, simple ways you can give that have meaning. One Million Acts of Green has the Give the Gift of Green program that is free and simple to use and for me it reminds me of how simple it used to be to do something for someone that was meaningful, thrifty and yes, green!

Disclosure:  I am a One Million Acts of Green ambassador sponsored by Ciscoand the project is organized by Rockfish Interactive. I am compensated for my time. My ideas, thoughts, words and opinions are my own and are not influenced by compensation. See what the other ambassadors have to say about One Million Acts of Green: Crunchy Domestic Goddess, Green Your Décor and Condo Blues.

Image: Pixomar / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

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