Monday, June 4, 2012

Little Things to Be Frugal and Green

There are so many little things we can change in our lives to save money and be good stewards of the world God gave us. The little things we do may not make a big difference, but added up over time can make a difference. And just when I think I've got saving all figured out, others in my life come up with new ideas.

Yesterday we went to Green Mama's, my oldest son's, and my Grandson's house for dinner. We had veggie burgers and roasted cauliflower with rosemary and garlic. Yum! Green Mama is always learning how to be even greener! She's been eating healthier, cutting out the meat, and making more things from scratch. It has been easier on their pocketbook, better for the environment, and it's good for their health too!

I just have to include a picture of my grandson! Here he is showing us his neighborhood park and being silly with Grandpa! He loves green smoothies and wears cloth diapers. Green Mama is starting him off right. I wish I could have done that with Ms. D and Mr. I!

Today, Blackbelt Daughter had a great idea for saving water. We are having a rare June rain and her car was dirty. So she had the idea to wash her car and use the rain to rinse the car off. Since saving water is a priority in California, I thought it was a pretty cool idea! Our tap water is so hard, it usually leaves white spots all over the cars if we don't wipe it off right away. Rainwater doesn't do that. When the sun comes out, we'll be able to see the difference!

What are some other ways we can save money and be good stewards of the earth?

Some of the ways we save are:

1. Hang our clothes on the line instead of using a dryer. The kids don't like the stiff towels and jeans, but they soften up pretty quickly when they are used, or we can just fluff them in the dryer. I love the smell of clean sheets that are air dried! When we lived in Oregon I figured out we saved about $80 a month by air drying and using cooler water for washing.

2. Walk instead of drive, and if you must drive, combine trips. This one is fresh in my mind because Mr. I is obsessing on getting a shelf for his flag football trophy. I'm trying to get him to wait until we need to make another trip. Every time we go out in the car, we use up gas and spend money on stuff we don't need, but want. Which leads to...

3. Shop with a list, limit the trips to the stores, and beware of online buying. Planning. This can be a real saver. I sometimes forget that I already bought something like a one pound package of yeast, and end up with two large packages that take forever to use and take up room in the cabinet. A list helps me from over buying. I don't spend money if I don't go to a store, and am more likely to use what I already have. Online buying can save and it's a good way to get hard to find items, but sometimes it's too easy to click, especially when you are just a few dollars short of free shipping!

4. Go for what is reusable, rather than disposable. Diapers, napkins, washcloths, cleaning rags, jars, grocery bags...

5. Go for what is recyclable or what you can compost rather than throwing it in the trash. We once lived in the country where there wasn't garbage pickup.  I became very aware of what I was buying and how I would eventually dispose of the trash. We would go to the dump once a year. Now that I live in the city and have mandatory garbage pickup, we use the smallest garbage can available for our fairly large family. Even though we are probably doing better than the average, I find that I sometimes get lazy and throw out what I could put in our compost bin.

6. Grow it yourself, make it yourself, fix it yourself...or have someone in your family learn to do it. It's fun to make food from scratch, to sew, or to paint your own walls. Yes, it's a lot of work, but think of the money you're saving! Every time I cut someone's hair in my family, I think of the $20 I've saved. I've learned how to do a knockdown texture on my walls watching Youtube videos. And if I don't have the time or inclination to do something, maybe one of the kids can learn. My kids know how to change the oil in the cars better than I do!

7. Trade and share with family, friends, and neighbors. Everyone has their strengths and weaknesses. Some love to cook and wouldn't mind trading a home cooked meal with someone who would mow their lawn. Babysitting is easy to trade, as long as you take into account ages, difficulties, and numbers of kids. Does everyone in the neighborhood really need a twenty foot extension ladder? We've freely shared some of our tools with neighbors, and have borrowed something from them at other times. My grandma and grandpa once lived in a community near a lake. Grandpa loved to fish and so he traded some fish he caught for a neighbor's fresh tomatoes. Each thought they had the best of the bargain. Both were blessed.

8. Don't go into debt, and if you are in debt, get out as fast as you can. We just paid off our Prius and the title came in the mail today!!! That will be $350 more a month that we can roll into paying off some credit card debt we accumulated from when Hubby was unemployed. The snowball method of paying off debt works really well as long as you stay away from any more borrowing. I should build up more in savings too, so that when we have car trouble, taxes, or dental bills, which were our biggest "surprises", we'll have a way to pay for it instead of reaching for the plastic.

Well, those are some of the ways we try to save. There are more, but this is a start. I don't do well in trying to change things all at once, and so I add a new way to save from time to time to make it a habit. I'm obviously not perfect in doing these things, but I'm working at it. I also have to take into account time and energy I have to live greener and cheaper. If I'm tired or stressed I tend to do what is easiest at the moment. But each of these little choices I have each day make a little bit of difference, which put together can make a big difference in our lives.

1 comment:

  1. I hear that is illegal to hang laundry in your back yard in some California towns like Palo Alto and Mt. View. Wierd, because solar panels are just fine! Good idea about using the rain to rinse - I got our cars done too!