Everyday Frugal

Blogging about one's everyday activities does some interesting things. For one, it causes you to really think about what you are doing and have done. We've always felt that we were frugal people. Recently I thought, "What's so frugal about me?". After doing this stuff for so long, it becomes second nature and you start to forget about the other way you used to live (the way most people live). This post is a testament to all those little things we do daily that make us the frugal people that we are.

  • Cloth napkins - about 8 months ago, we realized just how wasteful paper napkins were. We estimated that we were going through 8-10 per day. Not economically or ecologically sound for a family of our size. With some scrap fabric, my wife very quickly turned out a few dozen cloth napkins. Nothing fancy, but they get the job done. They wash easily and cost us next to nothing.

  • Cloth diapering - Now there is a bigger, more detailed article coming here, but there are big economic and ecologic savings to be had here. Especially if you start with your first child and continue with others.

  • Consolidating errands - Do I even need to talk about how high gas prices are? It was not that many years ago that we would head out to the store for one or two items a few times a week. With a bit of planning, we are able to make one (maybe two)major shopping trip(s) per week. Other errands are run while we are already out - to and from work, to and from school. Rarely do we get in the car with a singular task in mind.

  • Reducing unneeded stuff - Out-grown toys? Sell, freecycle. Outdated clothes? Sell, donate. Household goods that have sat for a whole year unused or unloved? Out-the-door. Garage sales, ebay, bartering online, donating, freecycling.... if its not being used then what good is it? Why keep things around that just take up space?

  • Reusing creatively - Before tossing something in the trash, or even in the recycling bin, take a good look at it and think, "Could I use that elsewhere? Is there something else I could do with that?" Recently, while cleaning out a communal storage room at work, I was able to rescue several perfectly good items from the trash bin for use in another life. Once again, there's a whole other article on that one alone. Paper packaging from our cross-county move becomes weed-block in the garden and landscaping. Lawn clippings, instead of setting them out with the trash, are used as mulch. A large shipping box, instead of recycling, was turned into a 'ginger bread' house for a preschool Christmas party. Wood shipping palates were used to make a series of large compost bins. Speaking of which....

  • Composting - Rather than buying chemical fertilizer, why not use what you are already producing. Leaves, lawn clippings, fruit and veggie scraps, egg shells, presents from the dog, even some disposable plates and bowls can easily be composted. That compost, in turn, can then be used in the garden, on the lawn, in the landscaping. The affect that good compost will have on your plants is astounding. And what does it cost you? A bin to store it in?

  • Recycling everything - Our area not only has a great curb-side recycling program that will take nearly anything, but our state is one of the few with a rebate program for aluminum cans. Tossing them in the recycling bin is actually throwing money away. Very few cans escape our grasp.

  • Using less - Less prepackaged food. Less products with unrecyclable, or too much packaging. Less products. Less McDonald's toys. Less. Less. Less.

  • Doing without - Do I really need another Coke, or will ice water suffice? No, I don't really want ice water, but I don't really need a Coke. I don't really need a drink while waiting in line at the grocery store. I don't really need a bag of Sour Patch Kids. I don't really need a new bike. I don't really need a haircut. Ok, that I do need. We do treat ourselves from time to time, but time to time is not every single day.

  • Buying used - Hardly a new topic around the PF bloggosphere, but still relevant. Maybe there is something I actually need. Are there any used ones on craigslist? ebay? Even for a want, the why can't the primary path be the secondary market? This has become a standard for us.

Frugal? Undeniably. Ecologically sound? Definitely. Economically beneficial? Easily. But there is something else here for us Christians. It's stewardship. If that word brings church fund raisers to mind, then you need to take another look. A "steward" is defined as a manager. Not an owner. Psalm 24:1 says, "The earth is the LORD's, and the fullness thereof; the world, and they that dwell therein." It's His. It's all His. We are simply called to be managers of what He has entrusted to us. We need to be good stewards of the earth. We need to be good stewards of our time, talents, and treasure. This list is just some of the things we do to be a good steward.

How are you frugal on a daily basis?

***Update: Welcome FoF readers! Take some time and check out the rest of Not the Jet Set. Thanks for reading!


Mom2fur said...

I love finding new uses for old things. I had one of those 3-drawer plastic storage units in my daughter's room for years. It was sparkly pink. I got some Krylon spray, redid it in red, and now it is in my kitchen holding some of my utensils. Of course, I used a 40% off coupon at Michael's for the Krylon, LOL!

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