Friday, May 30, 2008

Frugal and Good for the Earth

Visit Biblical Womanhood for lots of Frugal Friday tips.

Over the last 6 months or so, we've slowly started doing things in our home that are both frugal and not wasteful. Here is a list of some of those things.

1. Reusable shopping bags - We've slowly been acquiring these from our local stores that offer them. We currently have 6 and I think that will be enough. These bags hold a lot and as of yet, we've never had need to use all 6 in a single shopping trip. I love that we are not bringing tons of plastic bags into our home each week. Even when we were finding other uses for them or bringing them back to the store for recycling, it still felt very wasteful. In addition to cutting out our need for these plastic bags, our reusable shopping bags also save us 5 cents each at on of our stores. I know that 5 cents isn't much, but over time, this discount means that the bags (which we paid up to $1 each to acquire) will pay for themselves. Nice :o)

2. Driving less - I think gas prices have finally reached the point that it is a factor in the amount of driving we do. Actually, I'm glad to have finally felt the need to consider the amount of driving we do. Just a few months ago, we would have thought nothing of hopping in the car and driving an hour for a joy ride or to run a single errand or even just to relieve boredom. We are much more careful now, making sure we combine errands and we stay home most days now. We're trying to be home most days and have only one day that we are out of the house. We combine our errands, classes and even a visit to the park all on one day. It makes for a long day, but it feels good to exercise control over that part of our budget. And even though gas prices are going up, the last few months have seen our fuel bill go down.

3. Eating out less - As a natural consequence of driving less, we find that we are eating out less. This benefits our budget (its about $35 for our family of 4 to eat at a moderately priced restaurant and $25 for fast food). , our health and I think its also ecologically smart. When we do eat out, we try to choose a locally owned restaurant that employs cooks to prepare the food, instead of just opening packages and nuking the contents or dumping it into a fryer. We feel good about this choice. We're eating real food and helping to support a family business.

4. Learning to garden - This is the second year we plant a square foot garden. Its been a great learning experience for dh & I as well as the children. Plus, we know how our food was grown. Its very comforting to know what water was used to water our spinach plants (something you can't know when you depend upon the agricultural supply chain for your food). And there is something very soul satisfying to walk out to the garden at 4:00 pm to harvest supper.

5. Hang the laundry to dry - Dh has asthma that is particularly affected by pollen (especially grass pollens), so an out door clothes line is not practical for most of our laundry drying needs. Instead, we have an indoor clothes line (shower curtain rod) where we hang our clothes (on hangers, that way they are ready for the closet as soon as they are dry). Our dryer is only used for towels and bedding.

6. Raise the thermostat - It was easier than I thought to get used to keeping the thermostat raised a few degrees (we live in the deep, deep south - its been over 90 deg during the day for several weeks here). As the summer progresses, we're going to keep experimenting and raising the thermostat until it becomes too uncomfortable for us, then we'll lower it back down to the last comfortable setting. I'm hoping this will help keep our electric bill from going up too much this year.

I'm interested in knowing what you are doing. Please share in the comments.

Also, please be sure to check out my bloggy giveaway. The drawing will be held Monday morning, June 2, 2008.


BarbaraLee said...

We do pretty much the same here too. We live in MN so we are still trying to keep warm. A bit of a chill. Took a tole on me garden.
I was able to talk dh into butchering chickens this yr. He is always worried about wild animals getting at them. But so far it has been going well.
Be careful about the curtain rod. It could break.

Sharmista said...

Wonderful tips! Thank you!