So I am about to wear my inner greeness for all to see on my sleeve...
I have been working hard lately to find ways to cut costs and save the C household money. One big thing I am trying to do regularly now is meal plan before I go grocery shopping. So saturday morning I pulled out several cookbooks (I try to mix it up and not use the same cookbooks each time, but to rotate). I plan 10 to 12 dinners and of course lunch possibilities and breakfast for Little Man and Me (David is not a big breakfast eater). Then I write out my shopping list and stick with it. The cost is always significantly less, I know what to make instead of having a refridgerator full of food with no idea what to cook. It works. Tonight I already know what is for dinner - yummy baked pork chops, baked potatos, and steamed lemon broccoli... green in honor of St. Patrick's day of course. Plus, the cost of two weeks worth of groceries is always around the same amount within $10 or so even when I am using all sorts of different recipes and ingrediants. I try to buy seasonal fruits and vegetables to keep from over paying and to try to reduce my carbon foot print a little bit too. Why pay for strawberries shipped from Chile in December? The one fruit I can't seem to let go of even though I know they are shipped from far and wide are bananas. We all three love them and they are such a good snack to have on hand. If I could find a way to have a banana grove in my back yard here in the snowy mid-west I would. I guess a lack of bananas is a sacrifice I am not yet willing to make. I am looking forward to the summer and growing some of our vegetables and suplimenting with farmer's markets. I really want to buy local when I can.
For the last four years I have been making and using my own household cleaners. I really like them and I feel that they do the job just fine. They are made from baking soda, vinegar, Dr. Bronner's castille soap, distilled water, and essential oils (which work as anticeptic and antibacterial agents). They smell nice and I know that they are not toxic for little hands and feet walking and crawling on floors, nor the water streams that they will eventually flow into.
There are lots of other things that I am hoping to do in the coming year to reduce what I and my family consume that is unneccesary. I would like to get a rain barrel for each down spout to use for watering vegetables and flowers outside, it's free water that otherwise just runs down to the sewer. And here in the mid-west we get some awesome deluges of water in the spring and summer to go with those tornados and super-cell storms. Changing over light-bulbs to compact flouresants, taking much shorter showers, David and I carpooling to work, paying attention to amounts of packaging on products I buy and continuing to recycle. I hope to also someday get an electricity producing windmill (I know, WOW!), they have started making home sized ones that are easy matinence...but, still very pricey. It might be 5 or 10 years down the road.
These are all things that are important to me and taking care of this beautiful amazing earth that God gave us is very important. We were called to be good stewards over creation and I don't think that we have been doing a good job of that in the last 100 years or so. Plus, I want to use resources that are available that are normally forgotten or discounted. David calls me his Little Hippy...well, maybe...bring on the tofu!
So in honor of St. Patty's Day I decided to talk green. I would love to hear any tips and tricks that you may have to stretch your dollars and to go green as well.