Each entry in this book explains a seemingly small change in behavior that, over time, will make a huge difference for your family and our planet. The hundreds of simple shifts contained in this book will streamline your life and leave you with up to $50,000 or more that you thought you'd never see again. Crazy, right? I'm not preaching that you should make every shift in this book. You can pick and choose only those that fit your lifestyle, and you'll still see a huge benefit.
Regardless of your income, you probably strive to be healthy and make the most of what little time you spend not working. The lifestyle modifications in this book are virtually painless— and they will help you live better, save money, and save time. In many cases, saving the planet is an ancillary benefit— the organic, sustainable cherry on top of some sound lessons in home economics.
As a single mother living on a budget, I spend a lot of time thinking about the meaning of value. Dollars, like fossil fuels, are not a renewable resource— so I'm always looking for ways to make them go further. I also care about sustainability. I want my nine- year- old son, Emmett, to understand that even in our disposable society everything has a life cycle and that his actions have consequences. I want Emmett to have a sense of his own power— to know that his actions can help heal the planet rather than harm it.
The hundreds of shifts I propose in this book are small, but they add up. Big- time. The key to sustaining any lifestyle change is to start simple. Begin with habits that are manageable, rather than comprehensive and overwhelming. Once you achieve a consistent stream of small victories, you'll know you're moving in the right direction, and you'll be motivated to continue your progress.
Take, for example, committing to cut back on water waste. Your family is probably letting thousands of gallons of water trickle unnecessarily down the drain, but there's no need to issue an ultimatum for two- minute showers. Instead, install low- flow showerheads for just a few dollars each. They're constructed to deliver equivalent water pressure using less water, so your family won't even notice the change. You'll be saving up to $380—and 36,000 gallons of hot water— per year. And that's nothing! Wait until you hear about the shifts that could cut your food bill in half.
You can read this book cover to cover, or just flip through to the sections that you are most interested in. If you're looking for an answer to a specific question, consult the index. If you're in search of inspiration and camaraderie, check out the Swift Shifts— real- life stories from people like you who committed to implementing the shifts you'll see throughout the book and reported back about the experience.
Even if you don't think of yourself as a "green" person, you can still use this guide to streamline your life, get healthier, and save real money in the process. Before you know it, you'll be biking to work, cleaning with natural solutions, and composting from your edible garden. Don't worry—none of your friends will be able to pinpoint what's different about your life. They'll simply want to be just like you. Moderation may not be rocket science, but it is revolutionary.