Sunday, March 11, 2012

More Grocery Budget Reduction

root crops from my garden
Just a small review of the marvelous shrinking grocery budget. You can read more about the beginning of this Here and Here. So what happened in February? I only spent $144.17 for the month. And I still have half the giant package of pork chops I bought on sale along with a bag of chicken breasts ;-). Most of what's been happening is that the weather has been warmer than usual and the garden is really beginning to take off. While the harvest is nothing like what it will be during the warmest months, it's been enough to keep me in two large salads a day, along with greens for cooking, a bit of broccoli and some root crops like turnips and carrots. You can see lots more about my garden at the Edible Garden Blog.

And we're almost two weeks into March and I've only spent $47.92 so far. What did I buy? Two pounds of sharp Tillamook cheese (on sale for the same price as the cheap store brand), some marinated olives, (which I put on my salads instead of dressing), coffee, tea, (both on sale), a couple of onions, a bag of organic corn chips, a couple of sweet potatoes, and a few grapefruit. If I'm careful the cheese and olives will last for two weeks of salads, the tea and coffee a month or more. The other things, who knows, just depends on when I have a whim to eat them.

I've still got some chicken and rabbit in the freezer and most of my five pound bag of pinto beans. Which reminds me, I should cook some up this week on my days off. I also have a few more apples left from the huge boxful I bought last month from Bountiful Baskets. Of course February only had 29 days in it and March has 31, and I've eaten up some more of my stored food. So wondering how low will March's total be? Probably depends on the weather and the garden.

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

What Do You Really Need?

Homegrown Salad
What do we really need? Sometimes we do things or buy things just because that's the way we've always done it. I challenge you to look at all aspects of your life to find ways to do things better; better for your family, your pocketbook, your quality of life, better for the planet and the environment.

Recently I took out a bag of trash and when I came back in discovered there were no more trash bags. At first I thought I needed to add trash bags to my shopping list. Then I thought "WHY?" Why do I need to spend money on plastic garbage bags? Plastic is not a renewable resource. It is made of petroleum and while there are some things that  are nice to have made of plastic I could not think of one good reason why I should buy something to throw it away on purpose.

My grand parents didn't use plastic trash bags. They reused their paper grocery sacks. Cans and bottles were rinsed and saved if they could be reused around the house. Food scrapings were fed to the birds and the alley cats.

Personally I put out very little garbage in the first place. All food scraps are composted by my earthworms. All yard waste goes into my compost pile to enrich my soil for the next crop. I buy very few consumer goods so have little packaging to throw away. Paper and cardboard are recycled either as fire starters or as compost material. I wear my clothes until they are worn out when they are either used for scrap crafts or rags. I'm growing an ever increasing amount of food that I eat so there is very little food packaging waste in my trash can.

I decided that there was no really good reason that I needed to buy plastic trash bags. Since no food waste goes into my trash can there is little that is smelly or messy. It is just as easy to take the whole can and dump it as to carry a plastic bag. I do end up with a few plastic shopping bags which I recycle in various ways. I decided that if something was really messy I could use one of them to contain it.

I think we all need to take a look at even the small things in our lives and see what we can do better. Unconsciously going with the status quo is not going to improve things at all. In fact, I can see a day when I will not need to have weekly garbage service at all.  When all the waste from my property is either recycled onsite or taken to the recycling center; my goal is to produce zero waste going to the land fill. Good for the earth, good for my pocketbook; I currently pay $240 a year for garbage service, not matter how much or how little I put out. I'll be very happy to spend that money on something else.