Sunday, March 22, 2009

We thought we were frugal - turns out we're green

Many of the things we do to save pennies have shown up on lists of ways to live a greener lifestyle. Some of the things were do are:

  • use cloth napkins in stead of store bought paper ones - when we use paper napkins they seem flimsy
  • use rags instead of paper towels - mostly we use old socks, t-shirts and receiving blankets
  • in the winter we keep the heat set at 64 degrees - we heat with fuel oil and wearing slippers, sweaters and snuggling under an afghan is much cheaper than extra gallons of oil
  • shut the outside doors as quickly as possible - I can still hear my dad yelling "I'm not heating the outside"
  • in the summer we do have central air, which we set at 80 degrees, and in the bedrooms we have little window air conditioners so we are only cooling the bedrooms at night
  • if it is hot in the house in the summer but cool outside in the shade, we eat and relax outside and turn the air off
  • grow most of our vegetables and freeze and can
  • recycle - the more we put in the recycle bin, which is free from our garbage provider, means we get by with the smallest garbage can they offer
  • buy in bulk and products with the least amount of packaging - this cuts down on garbage which cuts down on the size can we need
  • cook from scratch, not only is this much cheaper but there isn't as much packaging
  • use bar soap - this one surprised me because I never thought of all the packaging with liquid soap, only how expensive it is
  • don't let the water run, the pump has to run to get the water out of the ground and if it goes into the septic tank we have to pump it back out - the less we put down there the longer we can go between pumpings
  • hang out our clothes on the clothes line - we have a propane tank for the dryer and water heater - we can make the tank last almost a year
  • wash laundry in cold water - again, saves on the propane tank usage
  • catch rain water for watering lawn and filling the duck pool - again that running pump, I can just hear the money fly out of that thing
  • reuse plastic bags, aluminum foil, gift bags and other packaging that is still good/clean
  • combine errands in town - this is big for us because to the nearest big town is at least a 30 mile round trip and to the closest little town, which has a few stores, is 10 miles round trip. When gas was at it's highest the cost was about $12 to go to town, what do we really need that warrants a trip more than once a week? Not much
  • compost - well not compost exactly, we feed most of our veggie peels etc. to the animals which in turn cuts down on our feed bill a little bit
  • turn off the lights when not using them, again I hear my dad "who do you think we are the Rockefellers? TURN OFF THOSE LIGHTS! I practically grew up in the dark lol
  • buy used or swap with friends - we buy almost no clothes because we swap with friends (I have a friend my size who buys new clothes because she is tired of her old ones - how lucky is that!) - most of our furniture is also either used or from others who were getting rid of it - our only new furniture is a coffee table, kitchen chairs, one living room chair, a couch, a computer table, one bed frame (the mattress we buy new) and a couple cupboards

People use to laugh at our frugal way of life and now we are politically correct green! Who knew!


Larry Clemons said...

Love the ideas and ways you are practicing stewardship and discipline. I have to tell you a story about leaving the door open.

My Dad's comment was always "Shut the door, were you born in a barn?" My father is a very loving and incredible man. I have nothing but fond memories of growing up with him but understand that he also managed the home with very strong authority so I never dared repeat that comment to him when I was young. As I grew older and a bit rebellious I decided that the time had come for me to toss it back to him at the appropriate time. I waited patiently for my opportunity and then one day ... my patience was rewarded. He came into the house in a bit of a hurry and left the back door open. I seized the opportunity and hollered from the front of the house, "Dad, shut the door. Were you born in a barn?" Without the slightest hesitation he replied, "Yes! And every time I hear an ass bray I get home sick." The look on his face when he walked into living room told me that he had worked for 10 long years to set my up for the single moment. I learned more about my Dad in that instant than at any other time in my life! I love you Dad!


April said...

We do the same!
We also now have a front loading washer machine which only takes 8 gallons for a full load. It cut our water use down by half.

I have been known to sometimes wash dishes by hand during dry spells in the weather and dump the wash and rinse water in the garden.

Manure finds its way from the pasture to our compost pile.

I reuse feed bags and dog food bags for trash bags--esp. in the barn where I don't have to worry about them drawing bugs.

I have also saved 2 nonworking deep freezers from the dump by repurposing them in the barn to hold feed. It keeps the mice and birds out.

I also make my own dish and laundry soap, and store it in milk cartons.

RecycleCindy said...

Great list of very frugal and as you say "green" things to do. I'm into upcycling, reusing, repurposing, and recycling. It's amazing how every day I can find new things to try in what I call the green crafting world.