I started a new job with an office, coworkers, and a commute. Previously, I worked from home in my pajamas, blissfully ignorant of the many shopping temptations that accompany an office job.
Working outside the home I found…
- Lots of opportunities to buy food and drinks.
- More consumer products, fashion, and gadgets. Hmm, that Kindle is smaller than mine and looks cooler. Should I buy new work clothes like those?
- More opportunities to shop. I can easily shop on my way home or walk to a store during lunch.
- Thoughts of grabbing dinner on my way home.
And finally, I felt compelled to buy something on my way home Friday. You know, as a reward for a job well done at the office.
In the end, I didn’t change my spending habits this week. But I can see that it’s easy to spend when you’re exposed to so many products and stores.
What do you think? Do you feel more compelled to buy things when you work outside the home?
In an effort to simplify my life and create space, I’ve been systematically removing things from my house. Today I focused on a couple drawers in my kitchen. What did I find?
One peeler that I never use,
another peeler that I use if I can’t find the one I really like,
and then there’s the peeler that I use and like (the one with the blade that swivels).
Three! So today, two peelers went to goodwill along with a box of other miscellaneous things that I don’t use or don’t need. I was keeping two peelers just in case they were needed (large peeling party?), when in truth I only need one peeler.
Having more than I need clutters up my kitchen, my house, and my mind.
Are there things that you’re holding onto just in case they’re needed?
If you’re interested in a minimalist kitchen, check out these excellent posts by Jules Clancy of Stone Soup:
A grateful heart is a happy heart. I’m counting my blessings today…
- Clean drinking water
- Warm and dry home
- Amply stocked kitchen
- Cup of coffee in hand
- Plenty of books to read
- 4 days off from work
- Hot breakfast prepared by my daughter
There’s so much to be thankful for!
I need nothing.
Black Friday deals have no luster, when you take into account what you already have.
Happy Thanksgiving everyone!
Quatchi likes pancakes
It’s July in Seattle and we’re experiencing the occasional summer-like day, which means it’s time to switch to iced coffee beverages!
A couple years ago I discovered the joy of cold brewed coffee. This super smooth coffee magically brews overnight, allowing you to wake up to tasty coffee goodness. I got this recipe from Rachel Meeks at Small Notebook. (Thanks Rachel!)
- Add 1/4 cup coarse ground coffee and 1 cup cold water to a container (I use a French press, but you could use a glass jar).
- Sleep 7 hours (ideally).
- The next morning, add 1 cup of water to the container.
- Strain and pour the coffee over ice.
- Add milk and sugar as desired.
With a little night-before planning, you could be drinking smooth iced coffee in seconds (without a trip to a coffee shop).
Here’s to fabulous summertime coffee. Cheers!
My 365 photo blog post for today:
In the back of my mind, I’ve always known that gum wasn’t healthy. Not healthy for me or our environment. I noticed that gum wasn’t sold at ’natural’ grocery stores and the ingredients, well ah… they are suspect (i.e. polyvinyl acetate anyone?). All that said, I still chewed gum.
That is, until I read ’Chewing on Plastic? Yum!‘ back in January, and my gum buying days stopped. Wow!
The past few months I’ve been in many checkout lines, surrounded by gum, AND I’ve resisted the temptation. Yay! Once I bought some Peppermint lifesavers, but no gum.
Thanks to Beth Terry at My Plastic-free Life for inspiring me to kick my gum habit! I aspire to live a plastic-free life, and while I have a ways to go, reading blogs by plastic-free bloggers are great motivation for me.
Have you kicked the gum habit? Which alternatives do you like?
More about gum: Behind the label: Chewing gum
My 365 photo blog post for today:
I was thinking about Neil Pasricha’s blog called 1000 Awesome Things and started thinking about awesome frugal things. Here’s my Top Ten List of frugal things that I find particularly awesome:
- Using all of a food item without wasting a drop (especially if I’ve wasted the same food item in the past).
- Making a ‘brown bag lunch’ without using plastic or disposable products.
- Putting together a dinner with on-hand ingredients after considering going to a restaurant or buying new food (these dinners are famous at my house – known as ‘throw together dinners’).
- Eliminating an errand or doing an errand without a car.
- Talking myself out of buying something.
- Saving money on something that I’d normally buy anyway.
- Hearing the trash truck and not sprinting to the curb, because our trash can isn’t full.
- Getting rid of things from my house.
- Enjoying a day or a weekend without spending money.
- Reusing something that was headed for a trash can.
These are just a few things that I think are awesome. How about you?
Inspiration is everywhere. I watched My Neighbor Totoro, by Hayao Miyazaki last weekend and remembered why I love this movie so much.
In the movie two girls and their father move to a house in the country, in order to be closer to their mother who’s in a rural hospital.
The pace of the movie is delightfully slow. Nothing is blown up and the dialog is super sparse. The pace is so slow, that you’ll find yourself noticing the beautiful animation and every nuance of life in rural Japan. Here are some tidbits that I especially liked:
- All of the family’s possessions fit in a tiny moving truck.
- The family doesn’t rush to after-school appointments or errands.
- The kids have no toys, but have plenty of fun outside.
- The family relies on neighbors for help (close knit community).
- Nature and weather are central to the family’s day to day life.
- They don’t own a car (they use a bike and the bus).
- The family prepares and eats simple meals together (rice, veggies, and fish or seafood).
- The family lives a slow-paced, non-consumer life.
Can these things be part of my life? How can I slow down and enjoy each day?
“Beware the barrenness of a busy life.” – Socrates
Halloween is here again and I must admit that I’m not much of a Halloweener. The recent commercialization of Halloween makes me a little crazy. There are tons of Halloween products and most of them are landfill bound. Maybe Halloween products should be renamed “Landfill?” Yes, I’m a Halloween Grinch (and my daughter agrees).
That said, my resourceful story for today is about my daughter’s costume. Yesterday my daughter (the Queen of last-minute efforts) decided to put together her costume. To do this, she retreated to her bedroom and emerged as a hippie.
Her costume was nearly complete. She had plenty of tye die and beads, but nothing with a peace sign. She asked if we could go to the party store, but I wasn’t really hip to this idea. So the wheels in her head started turning and she decided to make a peace necklace out of clay.
Perfect! Just what a true hippie would do. I applauded my daughter for being resourceful (and saving me a trip to the store).
The non-consumer Halloween
Last Friday, after the usual responsibilities of school and work, my family decided to unplug. We turned off the lights, shut down our computers, and lit some candles.
Without power, distractions were gone. Without power, I felt grounded, present, and mindful.
I carefully positioned candles near the stovetop for cooking and then repositioned the candles for dining. After dinner I wandered over to the fireplace and my girls joined me. My oldest daughter brought her guitar and began playing a family favorite – Beatles songs.
“Love, love me do
You know I love you”
We sang Yesterday, Yellow Submarine, You’ve Got to Hide Your Love Away….
It was a unique and beautiful experience. All the time and energy that I’ve invested in my daughter’s music lessons came back to me in a priceless experience.
Now my youngest wants to unplug every weekend. My teenager enjoyed sharing her music with us. And me? I loved it all – the singing, the Beatles, candlelight, sharing time with my girls…. Everything.
It was simply great (and coincidently frugal).
Do you take time to unplug?
I remember starting my blog last year on March 3 – my daughter’s birthday. At the time, I was six weeks into a surprise layoff and super stressed about being a single unemployed mom.
Not spending money became a game. How many days could I go without spending a thin dime?
Sometime in April I landed a writing gig (whew!) and money began to trickle into my accounts only again. However after months of not spending, I kept my belt tight so that my money muffin top (aka my emergency fund) could spill over my belt quite nicely.
One year later I still…
- Avoid shopping
- Take my lunch to work
- Repair things
- Make do with what I have
- Don’t hire things out
- Cook meals from scratch
- Eat mostly vegetarian
- Buy used clothes
- Eat whole foods
- Use the library
- Rarely eat out
- Don’t have cable or broadcast TV
- Buy nothing on credit
- Air dry my clothes
- Avoid disposable products
Some of these things I do to save money and some I do to save resources. None of these things feel like a sacrafice to me. Instead, they just feel like my life.
How about you?
What do you do to save money or resources?