It's a phrase I've been considering and trying to measure with my life for a few years now:
"Want Not, Waste Not."
"Wait!" you cry, "that's backwards! The phrase goes: Waste not, want not!".
Before you jump to that conclusion, consider that the phrase is not just backwards, but a different philosophy entirely.
When you argue for less waste, the idiom goes to the idea that you will have saved more, and not be hurting in the long run.
But what if you lived your life differently? We're in the 21st century, and most of media, advertising, and entertainment are filled with adds to increase things you want, to buy, to need- but in reality, to only fulfill that first one: To Want.
Quick notice here: I don't mean that you shouldn't enjoy yourself in life. We all need things, and food, friends, and things to make our lives better shouldn't be excluded by any means. Just hear me out.
To want is where we may be going overboard in life. Do we need the newest music, or TV show? Do we need to own that movie on Bluray, with a 50 inch HD TV, with our fully stocked liquor cabinet, and ford F150, and...and...and... Or do we only want it?
Measuring not what advertisers say we Need, and gauging what we actually want, may be what many of us aren't looking at right now. If we can measure what things and enjoyments we actually want, and bring that a little bit, even, to what we need, then perhaps we will realize too, that we're wasting a little less.
We may be wasting a little less of our "hard-earned income", or wasting a little less time browsing the internet and spending a little more time with what we actually care about.
Admittedly, this is a simple thing to say, but also not as simple in practice, especially considering the vast population and culture differences all over the world. But someone said another lifestyle quotation to me lately, which I feel fits in well here in order to balance things out.
"If you're not happy with where you live or the car you drive, you'll never be happy."
So this isn't to mean with "want not, waste not" that you shouldn't strive to be happy. But there are many things in life that we want, that we really don't need. And reducing that use can save us a little money and resources here and there, but also produce a bit less waste in the world.