Tuesday, June 26, 2007

living frugally, well & treading lightly

I’m a firm believer in recycling as much as possible. As such, I’ve actually become personally opposed to buying anything new unless necessity demands it of me. Ok, with the exception of food and other essential products (toilet paper for example, but even then I purchase recycled paper products) and underpants.

Each month if possible, Coop and I make a trip out to scour the shelves of our closest Big Lots and the nearby thrift store for deals. Our venture out yesterday netted a few great finds. For instance Muir Glen organic spaghetti sauce for $2 a jar and their tomato soup for $1 a can, (once I have ripe tomatoes these items will no longer be purchased) imported Queen olives and Alaskan salmon for just $2 each and Imagine brand crab bisque for $1.50.

At the thrift store I found a few items that seemed like they’d been waiting for me…6 yards of pink gingham for $6, perfect for my kitchen, a much longed for Italian pasta bowl for $2.50, a good bread pan for .50, a pair of curtains and a like new “hippie” skirt for my daughter for only $2 each.

For the most part we live and eat extremely well for folks on a limited income. We do not miss the days of running out to shop for the sake of shopping and to buy things we thought we needed but in reality didn’t. Our primary purchasing is for food. I have bought one new (and really unnecessary) piece of clothing for myself in the past year, (aside from underpants, lol). I have returned to mending clothes, saving and replacing buttons, and patching the worn places in blue jeans. I recycle old, worn out clothing as much as possible by turning it into useful items and gifts such as mug mats, comfort pads, eye pillows and (someday) quilts. Worn bath towels are cut and sewn into wash cloths and dish cloths or become work rags and dust cloths. Everything old is new again! I realize this lifestyle doesn’t seem attractive to everyone, but I enjoy living innovatively within my means and making the best of life and what I have. And I find peace in knowing that I am treading lightly on Mother Earth by not being a part of mass consumerism.

Yes, I am the person who saves the cottage cheese containers and bread bags to store leftovers in as opposed to purchasing disposable bags and containers. I am the person who refuses to buy a crap in the box cake mix because I can nearly as easily mix up a homemade cake with fresh wholesome ingredients. And yes, I am the person who recycles gift wrap and saves bits of leftover yarn to use as ribbon or work into granny afghans.

At heart I guess I am part economist and part survivalist, with the know how to make do the best I can with what I have. I guess you’d say I’m still an old hippie, too, trying my best to live close to the earth, being pretty much anti-establishment in my views and not caring much what anyone thinks. Life is too short to live any way but authentically.

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