Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Ah, The Best Laid Plans.....

OK, a little more than a year ago I decided to change things up in life.  One of my goals was to lessen our expenditures of money and be a little more eco-friendly.  I started line drying clothes, I unplugged everything, I turned off lights -- my husband laughed at me.  I didn't care.  I also tried to develop a new outlook on life in general -- again, more green -- more natural -- more vegetarian.  I went about it as I usually do when I start something new -- I jump in with both feet.  As usual, some things don't stick, I can't keep up with it all or I lose interest.  Now is the time to take inventory of how I am doing.

I am still line drying clothes -- to a certain extent.  After Hubs complained about crunchy towels I started drying them again but I still line dry my personal things, most of my shirts and slacks and I absolutely refuse to spend energy drying kitchen towels!  I am still making my own laundry detergent -- I really do prefer it -- and I am still using vinegar for softener.  I have also fallen hopelessly in love with Bon Ami and buy it by the multiples.

I have reached a happy medium with the dishwasher.  I try to wash up whatever I have used immediately but use the dishwasher when I have a large load -- I have even managed to teach Hubs to not run the d/w with four cups, a couple of glasses and three cereal bowls.  He has learned -- I guess he got tired of hearing me yell.

I have managed to curb my magazine addiction.  I am gradually getting rid of subscriptions and the mags I really like, I am subscribing to on my Nook.  They are just as easy to read and look at but not so much clutter.  I have also quit buying books for the moment.  I have enough that I haven't read to last quite a while so I am making a point of avoiding the bookstores and, instead of buying everything that strikes my fancy, I make a wish list and then find a way to get them at a better price.  It has come to my attention, however, that my latest Nook purchase -- the 16 GB tablet, was probably not the best.  After doing a little research today, I think I should have taken a closer look at Kindle Fire.  I was very surprised to learn that the books for Kindle are quite a bit less expensive than for Nook.  However, when our neighborhood library's renovations are complete, I will probably be visiting there first before I acquire any books -- physical or virtual.  

I have gotten rid of most of the plastic in the house and what I have purchased is BPA free.  I have bought a number of the Ball freezer jars because I have trained myself to store leftovers for immediate use or freeze for later use.  Hubs won't eat leftovers, but, hey, I am not proud.  I love leftovers and will eat them, even prefer them, most any day.

We are never going to quit eating out.  It is just part of our routine now.  With just two of us, with completely different preference in food, it is just easier sometimes.  However, we are learning how to cut those bills as well and it is working well.  We have figured out that, if we are going to eat out, eat out at lunch.  The lunch menus are cheaper and have smaller portions which is great for us.  That way we don't over-indulge or end up carrying half our dinner home with us.  We have also found that many times, the food tastes better and fresher at lunch.  It is also a lot quieter.  I have become very sensitive to noisy restaurants -- can't stand them -- so lunch seems to work for us as well.  Also, when we agree on what to have, we share.

Now, my downfall -- the plant based diet.  I have completely abandoned it and I don't feel so good for it.  However, when we do eat at home, Hubs is doing a lot of the cooking since I am babysitting these days, and he is just not a vegetable person whereas I am.  So, I am going to have to figure out how to incorporate more veggies and not hurt his feelings.  I am not opposed to frozen vegetables and actually like to stock up on them so I am just going to have to make a point of steaming them for myself if he doesn't want them.  

I have a new mid-year resolution in regards to expenditure of money.  I would like to keep a record of what I spend and what I save and try to not buy anything without a coupon or a store reward card or something.  When my children were little I made a game of couponing -- I tried to have a coupon for everything on my list and I saved gobs of money.  Now, it isn't so easy because I don't shop the same way I used to.  We use a lot more natural products and fresh produce and there are never coupons for those things but I am still going to make an effort to do as much saving as possible on everything I buy and I would like to keep a record of it so I can see that I really am saving money.  

I still haven't bought a new toaster oven.  I know what I want but I am waiting for the old toaster to pass on.  It seems to be trucking right along, however, so who knows but I am not keen to replace it when I have one that is working.  I know that a toaster oven would be cheaper to run and will replace the pop-up but not until it need be.

So, I don't know, how am I doing?  I am trying to find a happy medium between being over indulgent and too frugal.  It requires analyzing every move I make and I am not used to that -- I, like most, am a creature of habit and sometimes I find myself doing things the old way and then realize I could have done something better.  Old dog/new tricks?  I don't think I am that old, just a bit set in my ways and I need to focus!!! Honestly, I don't think I am doing too bad -- just need to get the eating under control -- more plants, less sugar, NO soda (that is the hardest) and not be so hard on myself.

Last but not least -- time.  I need to make better use of my time.  Less television, definitely less facebook, more books, more music, more genealogy, more exercise, more creativity.  Again -- focus.  

So, that is my report card --- now to start keeping track of things.