Posts Tagged ‘frugal’

What Frugality means to me

August 1, 2009

Frugality is much more to me than saving money or reducing debt.  It’s my quality of life.  It means spending a little extra time getting things done and just stepping back and enjoying life in simpler terms.

Yes, I do love to save money but saving is really relative person to person.  We all know the person that “saved $40” while buying that $100 purse.  My version is can I pick up a purse from the local thrift store, Craigslist, Freecycle, WalMart, etc under $10.  There really are nice ones to be had from these avenues and who cares what brand name it is.  When people use brand names, it always bothers me.  It really does.  Who cares!   

Frugality to me means taking the time to do very simple things like line drying my clothes.  It only takes a few minutes but I find it relaxing and I just love to do this.  It is my time.

Frugality to me means accepting other people’s versions of what is frugal and deciding if that would be acceptable to me.  Some things are and some are not.  I don’t have to tell anyone that I won’t be following their example.   It is only about what would work for me  and my family.

My husband and I make a very good living but I know we could weather any storm if our circumstances changed.  We are pretty quiet about our finances but when we pay bills, we keep track of the amounts going to different utilities.  Just because we can afford to pay our electric and water bills doesn’t mean we want to spend a ridiculous amount of money on them every month.  Why work so hard to pay the utility companies?  

Forget peer pressure.  It doesn’t make you happier.  Usually miserable.  I like what I like and you can like what you like. 

Sometimes I think people’s version of the “good life” is money, fame, material items, drinking, traveling, cars, boats … you get the idea.  Is that really the good life?  I would beg to differ (for us).  The good life to me is spending time with my family, making homemade items that are good for us and more nutritious, not impairing my senses by overdrinking, enjoying local events, enjoying good reading material (romance novels just don’t cut it), waking up early every morning and enjoying birds singing and the day beginning.  I could go on and  on. 

Many moons ago, I was the type of person, rushing to work, always working late, spending money always eating out, never seeming to get ahead, never able to put money away or have time for myself.  All I can say, I will NEVER let myself become that person again.

I do my work and leave.  My personal/family time is more  important that my job.  I cook at home, bring my lunch, have no debt because I refuse to get burdened by that beast again, have a savings, live simply and really don’t care what other people think.  

It took awhile for me to get it but I am much happier and at peace with my life.  If I died today, I could honestly say … I don’t know what I would say.  I love life!  So let’s not even go there.  🙂

Yes, it is important to me to remember those in need, locally and worldwide.  We volunteer our time every month and it just helps us to keep things in perspective and keep things real.

This truly is our frugal way of life and it is the real “good life.”

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Rain Barrels

July 19, 2009

Rain Barrels help us to save money throughout the spring and summer seasons by not having to use any city water on our garden. 

We have set up a barrel on each gutter around our home.  There are six total.  Each morning we spend about an hour watering our garden.  An hour, did I say? Yes!  We do this by using buckets and watering pitchers.

Of course, there are much easier and less time consuming ways to water your garden with rain barrels such as using drip hoses, however we enjoy the time out in the fresh air and just taking our time in our yard.  It is a great start to the morning.  Plus we get to talk to our plants.

During the winter , we just leave the barrel spigots open all the time and attach tubing to the ends of the spigots and just let the water go into the yard.  No problems at all.

We aren’t big fans of our grass so we don’t water it at all.  Never.  🙂  The benefit of not watering our grass is that it grows very slowly and we don’t have to mow as often.  We are slowly converting the grass area to either parts of our garden, greenhouse or native plants.  Just taking our time.  No rush.  We are planning to be in this home for a very long time.

Other uses for the rain water that we collect is to clean our cars, wash our hands while we are outside, and add water to the compost piles.  All while trying to keep in step with our frugal, sustainable ways.

Compost

July 15, 2009

A great frugal, sustainable, earth-friendly, activity!  Compost!

You have to believe me when I say, there is something natural and fulfilling about rotting, decaying matter.  Compost is a way of giving back to the earth in a healthy way. 

We have three compost piles in our backyard.  Two strictly for kitchen scraps and yard debris and the third one for the same items plus humanure (that will be discussed in a later post).

There are alot of reasonably priced and high priced bins out there for people to use.  We chose to use pallets because they are free and my handy husband is… well “handy.”  He used four pallets to make each compost bin.

What do we compost?  Just about everything.  Everything includes normal kitchen scraps such as fruit peels, bread scraps, vegetable peelings, leftover foods, coffee grounds, etc.  We go a step further and include all our meat scraps, oily items like butter, cheese, and all types of paper.  The only thing that is not included is plastic. 

We know alot of people suggest not putting meat items or oily items in your compost.  However, it all breaks down nicely and since we keep everything we add to the piles well covered, we have had no problems at all.  There are no smells at all.   No animal pest problems either.  We are very particular about keeping everything buried and covered with grass, hay or leaves. 

I like to go in the backyard after work every day (regardless of the weather) and just look at the piles.  Not that you can see much when it comes to decaying matter.  All I can really see is the level of the compost that shrinks each week.  It just makes me happy to go out there and look. 

During the summer, I love to put my hands on the pile of compost leaves and grass and feel the warmth of the pile.  It is truly amazing.

We have great compost!  We put thermometers in them recently to see about how hot the piles got.  You can read more about our thermometers later.

If you can find the space and time to compost, you should try it.  We went from a weekly garbage pickup to a  monthly pickup about ten months ago and haven’t looked back.  I think we could even get by with a bi-monthly pickup.  I will have to check and see if that is even an option.