Household

5 Frugal Things This Week

We didn’t start this week off frugally.  Saturday night we went out for dinner, a rare occurrence for us.  When we go out, we tend to not keep it cheap and instead enjoy the time out.  But, we did do other things to save pennies.

  1.  My husband and I both took our lunches to work.  This is such a huge money saver.  My husband makes himself a batch of chili every week for lunches at home and the office.
  2. It’s tax time.  My husband prepared our taxes at home.  Using the site is not free, but so much cheaper than using an accountant.
  3. I stocked up on naturally made soaps at a local farm.  Four times per year the owner has an open house and sells the soap for CHEAP!  She sends out a coupon to those who have signed up on her website, I also received an additional percentage off because I am a frequent buyer.  Her soaps are wrapped in paper and twine.  No plastic, no chemicals, no waste.  I bought enough to get us through to her summer open house.
  4. I made homemade sour cream.  Suprisingly simple to make and frugal.
  5. Meal planned for the week.  Used a list at the grocery store and stuck to it.

 

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Household

Five Frugal Things

I love to turn frugality into a game.  We have to, our 2 oldest are in college and we committed to paying for their state tuition so that they don’t have to start their lives in debt.  We are proud of this gift we can give them, it does come with sacrifices on our part.  I look for ways to be frugal every day.  Here is a list of 5 things I did this week to save a few pennies here and there.

  1. We have 2 cars.  One car has a 10 gallon tank and gets amazing mileage.  That is the car we use for errands, travel and my husband’s commute downtown.  The other car gets adequate mileage, I use that for my commute 2.5 miles away from home.  We have timed gas fill ups for my car to once a month on the last day.  I use points from our grocery store to lower the cost of gas to 40 cents less per gallon.  This week was fill up day for the month of April.  Total saved $6.40
  2. As I do every week, I used the library.  It helps that I work there, but even if I didn’t I would be using it.  I checked out 4 recent movies, for free.  According to my daughter, the free viewing of Aquaman was worth $0.  She said it was terrible.  Total saved $30. This is a guesstimate of how much it would have cost had we gone to the movie theatre instead.
  3. Last summer my husband had an accident and had to have some dental work done.  What insurance did not cover (which in the United States isn’t much) I put on a Care Credit account.  We got 6 months to pay without interest.  The due date was April 5.  I paid that off on April 1.  Total saved $150.00.
  4. I have been shopping the pantry and freezer this week.  Our freezer is in desperate need of defrosting, but first it needs to be emptied, so I am getting creative.  Not sure how much I saved on groceries this week.
  5. My husband brewed a batch of beer last weekend.  He recycled the grains that he used in the beer for homemade bread.  Delicious bread.  Again, not sure on the savings.

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Household

Earth Day, Every Day

Last night I challenged by friends on Facebook to choose one thing that they can do every day in the month of April to reduce their consumption of plastic.  Then this morning, while scrolling through my news feed I came across a story of a pregnant whale that died with 44 pounds of plastic in her stomach.  I truly wish that story was a rarity and that it  was not a follow-up to the story I read last week about the whale that died of starvation and dehydration, a result of ingesting 88 pounds of plastic.  These stories are becoming a part of our daily lives and to say they are heartbreaking would actually minimize the true consequences of our addiction to plastic.  Specifically, single use plastic.

To say that this has become my cause would be an understatement.  I have always been aware of the problems with single use plastic.  But, I believed that since I put mine in the recycling bin after use, I was doing my part.  Then 2 years ago, my husband and I watched the movie Plastic Paradise.  This movie reformed me and my views on plastic.  I am not going to give a synopsis of the movie, but I highly suggest watching it.  It should be part of the curriculum in our public schools.  If we start young, maybe future generations will care more than we do. Since seeing the movie,  I have spent the last 2 years talking to anyone who will listen to me, trying to get them to reduce, reduce, reduce.  I believe I have changed more than a few minds.  But, it is truly not enough.

Yesterday my mom and I were driving through Milwaukee and the streets were covered with plastic bags, plastic bottles and balloons.  Those are all products that do not decompose.  In 1000 years, if not picked up and thrown into a landfill, they will still be there, probably looking the same way they do today.  It’s a crime.  As the only species on this planet with the ability to create such mess, it is our responsibility to all the other creatures to clean it up.  I think we have all seen the pictures of turtles with a six-pack ring around their shell.

All this being said, I truly believe that plastic serves an important purpose.  Hospitals could not run efficiently without it.  Those without clean water after natural disasters could not survive without bottled water.  It also nearly impossible to eliminate is completely, it is part of our lives now.  But like so many things in life, less is more.

Think about some of the things you can do to reduce.  Do you get coffee at your local coffee shop everyday?  If so, can you bring your own takeaway mug and eliminate 30 plastic covers from our landfills?  Do you use the plastic grocery bags at the store?  If so, can you bring your own?  Do you need a new toothbrush?  Can you replace it with a bamboo toothbrush?  My parents have swapped their daily vegetable juice from the plastic containers to the metal containers.  One couple will be responsible for 52 fewer bottles in the landfill each year.   The possibilities are endless and it can be fun if you make a game out of it.  I work on it every single day, often times fall short.  But, it’s worth the effort.

So, what are you going to do in April to reduce your plastic consumption?  Everyone together can make a difference.

gem-lauris-rk-409606-unsplash (1)Photo courtesy of gemmalouisek.com/unsplash

Household

Glass Cleaner

cleaning supplies

I make a lot of my own cleaning supplies.  Saving money is a big reason why I choose to make my own.  But, an even bigger reason is our health.  So many store-bought cleaning supplies are filled with toxic chemicals that I personally don’t believe are good for the health of my family.  For this reason, we go the homemade route as much as possible.  It also means we put less plastic into our ecosystem, which is obviously better for all of us.

This recipe is for the window cleaner we use.  It costs pennies to make and smells great.  Quick side note, that bottle of Dr. Bronner’s is 18 years old.  We have been recycling it since the year 2001.  We buy it by the gallon and continue to refill that bottle.  In 18 years, we have only purchased 3 gallons.

Glass Cleaner

1/4 cup white vinegar

1/2 teaspoon castile soap (we use Dr. Bronner’s)

2 cups water

4 drops lavender essential oil

4 drops lemon essential oil

The directions are pretty straightforward.  Add all ingredients to a bottle and mix.

You can use any essential oil of your choice.  I just prefer the lemon lavender mix.

Happy Cleaning!