Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Another good reason to buy less

Less consumption - less waste. Better for my wallet BUT ALSO better for our planet. For yet another reason to buy less, read "Spending More, Enjoying Less" by George Loewenstein:

My plan for spending less today is to go home and "reinvent" some of the leftovers in the fridge. Leftover turkey will become mock chicken salad for dinner. Chop cooked turkey, add one part Marzetti's Coleslaw Dressing to one part mayo or salad dressing; stir in toasted pecans. yum!

Monday, November 26, 2007

Every little thing counts

The less we can spend on the things that are of no lasting value, the more money we have to spend on things that are important to us. What would you rather spend your money on: bottled water, toilet paper and toothpaste, or your home, travel or even clothes? Squeezing the last bit of paste out of the tube has become a challenge for me. Others may find that ridiculous, but I am not out to subsidize a fine lifestyle for the makers of Colgate, I'm trying to fund a rich life for me. A few extra squeezes of toothpaste do matter in the long run, when those savings are added to all the other little savings. When I was a teenager, I just filled the soap scoop to the top when it came to laundry soap; now I realize it takes much less to get my clothes clean. And it's not even good for the clothes to use more soap than is needed! Then there's the environment to consider...if I squeeze the most out of every packaged product, less empty packages will go to the landfill, right?

Friday, November 2, 2007

Make do; Make over; Do without

In the book Microtrends, author Mark Penn contends that it would take only 1 percent of people committed to a single idea to change the world. Here's hoping there are at least 1 percent of the people out there with a growing awareness of the need for ecological stewardship. Unnecessary, rampant consumerism leads to bigger bills, bigger debt, more marital dissatisfaction, more anxiety and deep-seated insecurities. Small steps lead us back to a healthier financial outlook. Think SMALL; think LESS. For instance, for my daughter's 1st Christmas, she got a wooden puzzle and a little wooden rocking chair. Two gifts but she was so excited! The bounty of her 2nd Christmas consisted of a small child's table and two chairs (scavenged from the trash pile in front of a neighbor's yard, then cleaned and new contact paper applied to the surface) and a little tea set. Again, two gifts but she was thrilled! As a stay-at-home mom, it worked for my budget too, but the point is that SHE did not need more to have a happy Christmas. Parents are usually buying for themselves somehow, don't you think?

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Share the surplus

The last green peppers and tomatoes from the garden filled two large grocery sacks. After keeping a few for our use, I took the lot to my folks, who took what they wanted. What was left I took to the local Centro Latino (outreach center for immigrants/migrants), along with the last of the jalapeños picked before the frost. This was such a little thing too do, very little effort on my part (especially because my husband culled the garden), but I feel really good about having helped someone else. Christianity would grow faster if people shared their surplus as willingly as they share their beliefs.

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Salad days

I can still picture Elaine on Seinfield going on and on about BIG SALAD. Folks seem willing to pay big bucks for those big salads, because they have the appearance of being healthy, I suppose. Had a big salad myself last night, but in not out. Didn't go out to eat, that is. Picture this: a healthy portion of baby spinach (@ $2.88 for a bag), broccoli ($1.67 a bag), red pepper ($.78 for one whole pepper), shredded cheddar ($2.51), hot & spicy pre-cooked chicken tenders from the deli ($3.98/lb.--cut up only one on top of my salad), and carrots ($2.99 for 2 lbs.), all tossed with Newman's Own Light Honey Mustard Dressing (forget the cost, proceeds go to charity). Not only did I have a very satisfying, quick meal at a fraction of what a big salad costs in a restaurant, but I have ingredients for future meals. Think steamed broccoli with cheddar sprinkled on top, steamed carrots tossed with a little brown sugar for glazed carrots, spinach and red pepper quickly stir fried in oil & garlic and seasoned with cumin. To paraphrase Shakespeare, my salad days don't make me green in judgment but save me cold hard cash. “My salad days, When I was green in judgment: cold in blood” (Antony and Cleopatra, I.v.73). 

Monday, October 29, 2007

No Impact Man

I have decided to dedicate this site to the frugality aspect of good ole Ben Franklin's virtues, so here goes: The No Impact Man website has sure made an impact on me. I realize there are so many ways that I waste electricity, hence my money. His conclusion after nearly a year of doing without the glo-juice that most of us couldn't live without: "So concrete result number one: Moving forward, I'm willing to live without A/C, the TV, a freezer, incandescent lights, probably the clothes dryer, and hot water in the laundry machine. I'm not willing to live without CFL lights in winter, the laundry machine using cold water, the fridge set at 45 degrees or so, once a week use of a vacuum cleaner." In my efforts to be a more conscious consumer of electricity, I have recently unplugged unused appliances, to avoid the dreaded "phantom load." I'm also in the market for a wind-up clock, so no more batteries wasted either. How many things that now rely on electricity used to rely on just a little effort by the user? Hmmnnn...

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Resolution: We ought to consider the future when building in the present

I offer the following website in keeping with Ben Franklin's "RESOLUTION.Resolve to perform what you ought; perform without fail what you resolve.": This site offers some features that homes OUGHT to include in order to be accessible to more people. Since we are ALL aging and/or dying with each breath, hadn't we better think and plan for the future & the future comfort of ourselves and our older loved ones in our homes? Gosh, what would be the loss if all builders started including door levers instead of door knobs & other easy to make changes. Even a young person can appreciate the ease of opening a door with a lever when one's arms are loaded down with groceries.
From easylivinghome: "What features does my EasyLiving Home offer? Easy Access with a step-free entrance of not more than 1/2" from a driveway, sidewalk or other firm route into the central living area. Easy Passage because the exterior door that provides the step-free entrance and every interior passage door on the main level (including bathrooms) provides ample clear passage space. Easy Use with no less than one bedroom, a kitchen, some entertainment area, and at least one full bathroom with sufficient maneuvering space . . . all on the main floor."

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Frugality: YES! Magazine -- cloth vs. disposable diapers

Fall 2002 Issue: Living Economies
YES! But How?

–Repost of article by Anna McClain:
Anna McClain -I am stymied by the new-age-old question: cloth or disposable diapers? Some say that the water required to wash cloth diapers is more damaging to our planet than the waste associated with disposables. What do you think?AlisonSan Francisco, California
Cloth. Washing cloth diapers at home uses 50 to 70 gallons of water every three days, according to Mothering Magazine, “about the same as a toilet-trained child or adult flushing the toilet five to six times a day.” “It takes 440 to 880 pounds of wood pulp and 286 pounds of plastic (including packaging) per year to supply one baby with disposable diapers,” according to Environment Canada. Dioxin, a chemical on the EPA’s list of most toxic cancer-linked chemicals, is a by-product of this manufacturing process. By contrast, less than 22 pounds of cotton is enough to supply one baby with reusable cotton diapers for two years. A study by the British Landbank Consultancy determined that, factoring in cotton growing, the manufacture and use of disposable diapers requires twice the water use and three times the energy of cloth diapers. (See
Disposables also pose risks during use. The wood pulp, plastic, sodium polyacrylate (which turns urine into gel), dyes, and fragrances in continual contact with a baby’s skin worry some of those who study infertility and hormone-mimicking chemicals. Several components of disposables (toluene, xylene, ethylbenzene, styrene, and isopropylbenzene), according to a report in the October 1999 issue of the Archives of Environmental Health, are bronchial irritants associated with asthma.
Each year, 18 billion disposable diapers burden US landfills, combining plastic, wood pulp, fecal matter and urine, and biohazards, including live vaccines from immunizations. The bundled fecal matter requires 200-500 years to decompose and can contaminate ground water. In contrast, waste water from washing diapers is treated, at least in most municipalities.
Finally, Jane McConnell in Mothering Magazinein June 1998 notes that babies in cloth diapers are changed more frequently, a factor that reduces diaper rash. As a bonus, she says that a child in cloth diapers actually knows when he or she is wet, and hence, is toilet trained earlier. Given all this, I’d choose cloth as the bottom line.–Anna McClain

Broadbased plans

Ben Franklin had a pretty good PLAN; I keep thinking I need to incorporate some of his, copied here without changes to original spellings:1. TEMPERANCE.Eat not to dullness; drink not to elevation.2. SILENCE.Speak not but what may benefit others or yourself; avoid trifling conversation.3. ORDER.Let all your things have their places; let each part of your business have its time.4. RESOLUTION.Resolve to perform what you ought; perform without fail what you resolve.5. FRUGALITY.Make no expense but to do good to others or yourself; i. e., waste nothing.6. INDUSTRY.Lose no time; be always employ’d in something useful; cut off all unnecessary actions.7. SINCERITY.Use no hurtful deceit; think innocently and justly, and, if you speak, speak accordingly.8. JUSTICE.Wrong none by doing injuries, or omitting the benefits that are your duty.9. MODERATION.Avoid extreams; forbear resenting injuries so much as you think they deserve.10. CLEANLINESS.Tolerate no uncleanliness in body, cloaths, or habitation.11. TRANQUILLITY.Be not disturbed at trifles, or at accidents common or unavoidable.12. CHASTITY.Rarely use venery but for health or offspring, never to dulness, weakness, or the injury of your own or another’s peace or reputation.13. HUMILITY. Imitate Jesus and Socrates.
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