Which almost makes me want to stop doing them. My husband and I discussed this phenomenon a long time ago: that his cheapness (which comes from his mother) and my desire to be eco-conscious basically amount to the same thing. For example: I wanted to do cloth diapers because the sight of the paper waste is terrifying to me, and he liked that they were cheaper (sort of, anyways, I changed brands so many times it may have been more expensive in the long run, but don’t tell him that). Like this woman could ALMOST be on an episode of Extreme Cheapskates. Mark loves that show, and I always worry he’s going to pick up some new trick that he hasn’t thought of before while he’s watching it!
But I had a biiig departure from my hippie-dippie saving ways ( I USED to shop at Value Village all the time, I swear, and then somehow, somewhen, stopped) and then realized what was happening and now, here we are.
So things that I’ve started thinking about that are saving us money while saving the environment a bit, and not buying “new” that my mother in law would approve of:
- Counting my toilet paper squares. Mark complained one night that we go through SOOOO MUCH TOILET PAPER, and knowing that it wasn’t our 4 year old, as she is pretty good, and knowing that the 2 year old can’t wipe her own bum yet…it was likely myself who was the culprit! So I started looking at how much toilet paper I was using, and how much I really needed. I was using almost double what I needed. I counted. I was using 5-6 squares each (pee) time and I really only needed 3. Yikes. Hopefully that helps our toilet paper budget and the poor water system.
- Saying no to going out. We ate out quite a few times while we were on holiday last week, and holy moses it adds up! For the four of us it was averaging around $50 for lunches! That’s like half a weeks’ worth of groceries! UGH! But I loooove eating out, it’s one of my totally favourite things, because I am not a great cook and I love good food. But the numbers don’t lie. When Mark and I went out for dinner as a date night about two weeks ago, it was $100 for two dinners, one drink for me and two for him. Wow. Even Subway for all four of us is getting upwards of $30. But again, it’s a joy that I really don’t want to deny myself and them altogether, as you just can’t give up ALL fun, ALL the time!
- Using up food. We end up throwing out a lot of food just because we have so much of it and don’t remember to use it or use the leftovers. Even things like bread crusts I was throwing out just because. I’m not even sure why, I really like toasted crusts with peanut butter and honey on them. (And I’ve even been saving the bread bags for things like wrapping poopy diapers in, before Lilia was potty trained, and all kinds of other useful things). My MIL HATES leftovers, and will pawn them off onto everyone and anyone with joyful abandon, and insists that we finish up any and all bits on the kids plates so that there isn’t any waste. I don’t want to gain ten pounds because I started eating the kids leftovers when I am not hungry. SO, proceed with caution….
- Washing ziplock bags. I did this religiously for a long time, but since kids came along it seemed like more work than use. But I’ll give it another go, we just seem to buy and buy and buy them. I was reading a period novel yesterday and she has a pie wrapped in muslin for a long journey in a coach, now THAT is reusable! I’ve started to read about how to survive without plastic wrap and tin foil, so I’ll update you when I have more info. I refuse to reuse food containers from restaurants like my MIL, but I have to admit, I’m starting to look at yoghurt containers as more than just recycling fodder these days!
- Reusing tea bags. Ok, so the second pot around wasn’t very strong, am I doing something wrong?
- Letting my hair grow out. Hair trims/cuts are wayyyy more expensive here than they were back in our smaller city (like $100 rather than $60) and since I’m torn on whether I like my super short pixie cut anyways, might as well let it grow out for a while and see what it looks like longer again. This one scares me the most, as my MIL hasn’t cut her hair in probably 25 years ish, and wears the exact same hairstyle every day. I don’t want to get to that extreme of cutting back. So if I show up with a topknot for even three days in a row, someone remind me to go get my hair trimmed!
So there you have it. Buy nothing new has opened my eyes to a whole bunch of things I’m doing that cost money where I don’t really want to be spending/wasting it. I want money for things like trips, fun activities with the kids, allll those house renovations we still have to do (my bathtub is pink and has lost it’s seal, and is impossible to keep clean), and like ten million more tattoos (which aforementioned MIL hasn’t commented on yet…and I haven’t tried to cover up my wrist with bracelets….weird) . I guess I’ve learned more from her over the last 9 years than I thought I would!
What crazy things do you do to save money around the home? Would love to hear some more tips, or MIL stories;)