Tag Archives: Money and Budget

05 Apr

The REDUCE “of reduce, reuse, recycle”

One often overlooked way to live in a more eco friendly fashion is to reduce the amount of goods that you use. This isn’t always as simple as it seems, and consumerism can be a hard habit to break. We are constantly bombarded with messages telling us to ‘buy this new product’ or ‘pay more for this eco friendly thing’ Etc. but I wanted to remind you that one of the most efficient ways to be ‘green’ is not to exclusively focus on ‘recycle’ but to not buy it or use it in the first place.

“Reduce” has the largest impact of the three R’s (reduce, reuse, recycle). In my life this means that I have tried to limit our consumer spending.

At the time of year when I work on our personal accounting, I enter several months of credit card statements into the computer at once, and categorize every purchase. Now I don’t have every single item categorized, but I categorize the stores…Whole Foods = groceries, Walgreens = sundries and small household items, Mobil = gas, Etc.

A few years ago I noticed there were some stores coming up more often than I would have guessed…mostly home stores and craft stores. These are places I primarily buy things for decorating, or for fun. I decided that I could save money, and help reduce the unnecessary things that I buy by just not going to those stores any more, at all. Why do I need to go to “insert home store here”? What do they have there that I just can’t live without? (OK, so I needed, yes actually needed and not just wanted, a new knife and new frying pan, and I did go to that store to get it, but I didn’t buy any other things.)

Another trick I started using when I was at a store like Target where I buy a combination of things I want (impulse purchases, pretty things, things that just satisfy some consumer emotion) and things I need is to walk away from my cart (actually I always walk away from my cart and tend to lose it, it is a bad habit of mine, I don’t like pushing carts around…but I digress). So when I find myself away from my cart, I’ll ask myself…what is in my cart right now? I figure, if I can’t remember what I put in my cart only a few minutes after I put it in there, than I probably don’t need it.

Oh, and I always shop from a list now….this saves money, it saves time, and it keeps the landfill clear of the eventual consumer trash I would have bought. Win win.

22 May

Value of Homegrown Fruits and Vegetables

Serviceberry - a native edible fruit tree


These are the amounts I am using to calculate how much the food we grew would have cost if we would have bought it at the store.  I got the majority of these numbers by pricing organic produce during May and June 2010 at the Whole Foods Market in Town and Country, Missouri.  It would probably be more accurate if I got the numbers based on when these vegetables and fruits were at peak season, but it should be a pretty fair estimate of the actual cost.  Some of the items are still blank because Whole Foods was not stocking them at the time I checked prices…so I am hoping by the end of June I should have everything filled in.  There are a few items like currants, gooseberry, Jostaberry and serviceberry that I have never seen at the store…so I think I’ll just guess those to be similar to the blackberries and raspberries.  Click here if you would like to see the food growing totals for 2010 to see how much we have grown and the value of that food.  I am surprised at how fast the savings adds up and I expect that by the end of the year we will have saved quite a lot of money by growing our own food, although my numbers don’t reflect the amount I invested in the garden, but as I said before, I am a gardener, so if I wasn’t planting food, I would have been planting flowers.  Read More

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