Vintage Green: Live Simply and Save Money With Age-Old Wisdom

Grandma grew up green. Use the age-old wisdom passed down through cultures around the world to improve your quality of life.

| November/December 2009

  • Celebrate your family's heritage by creating an altar with simple photographs and other keepsakes.
    Photo By Povy Kendal Atchison
  • Sell your best homemade jams, dried fruits and pickled vegetables at the farmers' market. It's a great way to make money and meet your neighbors.
    Photo By Povy Kendal Atchison
  • Save money by building your meals around a whole grain or legume that you can buy in bulk.
    Photo By Povy Kendal Atchison

We can learn a lot from our wise old grandmothers. Practices common to them—such as growing vegetables, knitting clothes and bartering goods—are the tips and tricks we seek today: a return to the good old days. These rich but simple lifestyles strengthen families and communities while growing local economies around the world.

The most important aspect of simple living is identifying your strengths, talents and abilities—then putting them to work. By focusing on the most effective, enjoyable ways to employ your skills, you can discover interests, values and, most importantly, people you may never have connected with otherwise.

Get to know your community 

Japan’s Ainu people kept daily contact with their community. Frequent trips to the village market for fresh food, home necessities and social time kept the Ainu people connected.



Apply this now: Scope out local shops, family-owned restaurants and farmer’s markets to get in touch with the people who grow the local economy. Volunteer to wrap gifts at the holiday bazaar; ring up customers at a farmer’s market booth; participate in trash cleanups; organize storytelling times with community children or elders at the library or community center. Connecting with your neighborhood keeps your life fulfilling and keeps the temptations of boredom—mindless spending, wasting away in front of the TV or computer—at bay.

Cultivate hospitality 



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