Friday, October 16, 2009

Back to Frugality For a Moment

As much fun as the discussion of "straight no frills" was, I'm feeling thrifty. And not just because of rumors about no raises for a while and cuts and whatnot. Also, because I always get in this mood in the fall. Time to hunker down for winter and try to cut costs to pay for heat (and cut heat to limit costs).

SO: In honor of that I checked "Tightwad Gazette Volume III" (I own V. I and V. II after finding them a thrift store out of the library...again and am going back through the thrifty/frugal things I'm doing and not doing and where I can improve.

A short list of some of what I'm doing that saves money or I get a kick out of for simplicity's sake or something:

--Washing hair with baking soda and vinegar
--Brushing teeth with baking soda or salt
--Carrying water in metal containers rather than buying bottled
--Buying clothes second hand
--Canning feral plums
--Keeping a pantry stocked
--Making sourdough bread
--Renting an old trailer
--Keeping the heat down
--Opening curtains during the day to maximize passive solar
--Closing curtains at dark to minimize heat loss
--Cooking with what's on hand
--Making coffee rather than getting coffee hut coffee
--Waiting 6 months before making major purchases
--Waiting even a little bit before making small purchases
--Going to the store with a list and watching sales
--Washing clothes in cold water
--Hang drying all clothes
--Using the crockpot when possible rather than the stove
--Looking for food in the house before going to the store
--Driving only when the trip is outside Plummer
--Combining trips (e.g. getting groceries when I'm in Moscow for other things)
--Thinking before doing
--Using the library rather than buying books
--Netflix and tracking the per movie costs to be sure it's a good value
--Using Netzero and Juno for free internet, if it runs out I use public wifi at other locations
--and much much more

And then there are all the things I don't do....not going to fast food joints, not running to the store when I'm bored, not driving just because it's raining, not solving emotional problems with money.

SO, what about the "needs improvement" (god I hated that rating on a report card...just give me a D and move on):
--Sometimes I DO stop at a coffee hut. While Pam was visiting it was more frequent. Since I drink americanos there is no great benefit to the coffee hut coffee. I DO drink home brewed most of the time. I'm about due to start lowering my intake for the winter anyway so I think I'll start buying it by the half pound again rather than the full pound and extending it with left over teecino and then switching entirely to tea. This helps one ease off the caffeine. I have TONS of tea due to Christmas gifts and whatnot so can probably go most of a year buying only a few herbs for my cold-cure-blend.

--Too many stops at fast food. I know above I said I don't do that and yet in the last month I've done it like 2 times! Really. Zero is better. It's expensive, unhealthy and frankly, not that delicious. I'm thinking if I do a better job having some things that are easy to grab-n-go like a few nuts and dehydrated fruit and even crackers and peanut butter, it will be easy to stop that.

--I've messed up 3 or 4 times in the past months and drank something out of a plastic bottle because it was what was available at a gathering. I hate that. It takes more water to make the bottle than it contains and it contributes to that giant plastic dump in the ocean which is killing so many things. I've kept these bottles to reuse as cooler freezy packs and whatnot, but I always feel better when I don't use plastic bottles.

--I need to put the low flow head on the shower I actually USE. Right now it's in the front bathroom shower. This has been repurposed as a worm farm so doesn't need the fancy showerhead. I had kept the lovely old high flow head in the other bath so I could get the shampoo out of my hair, but since I don't have that issue any more, hardly worth it. Now it's just because I like a nice forceful shower.

--Speaking of water. It's probably time to implement more advanced water saving. I've briefly toyed with "if it's yellow, let it mellow" and using buckets of left over shower water to flush. Perhaps in a month or two I'll pick one and stick with it. Once you get in the habit, it's not a problem, it's just starting that is an issue. Even easier would be putting something in the tank to take up a bit of space...perhaps one of those pesky water bottles. That would be even easier. Must do that.

--Breakfast...this has been a weak point of late. I was buying expensive but delicious oatmeal packets at the local grocery store...but they quit carrying all of their organic options and this left me with the usual mushy sugary crap that passes for oatmeal. I don't even like oatmeal! But these packets were yummy if you used 1/4 the water they said to use. The other option which is cheaper, creates less waste, and is healthier is to make my own instant oatmeal and take it to work to eat. It's easy, I've just been lazy. So once I do that, I'll be back on breakfast track. When I don't have that option or another easy one at work, I eat the donuts that the IT guys bring in and then I have to bring in a dozen now and then so I'm not just a donut mooch. So really, best to get out of the donut sharing circle.

--Lunch. Time to start coming home or having supplies at work. I initiated the solution to this yesterday. Went to the store and got some soups and a giant bag of salad and some salsa. Salad with salsa and a handful of nuts makes quite a decent lunch. As does a can of soup. Canned soup isn't the cheapest, but much better than a store deli sandwich or tacos from the taco truck (not more delicious...just less expensive and healthier).

--Reassessing car insurance, phone costs, and other expenses. These are less interesting to write about but if I make changes, I'll post (as if you care).

That should do it for now!

1 comment:

Jeanne said...

Hey Jill, I have had good luck with cooking up a week's worth of old fashioned oatmeal and dividing it into daily portions. Then each morning I just grab one, add what ever of my wild/ferral frozen or fresh fruits that I feel like that day, nuking it, and voila! Ready to go. Have also cooked, bagged, and frozen in individual servings black beans, brown rice, whole wheat pasta, and veggies. Then I can mix and match and grab on my way out the door for work. It works very well when I get in gear and do it.