Friday, September 5, 2008

Frugality and Thirty Days of Nothing

Edited to add one more "Nothing" to the list...

Frugality is something I think a lot about. I don't always get around to writing about it, but it is on my mind constantly.

Last year my sister went through a great personal challenge, to do without for thirty days. It was an economic challenge to be more frugal, to take a look at what she spent her money on and try to cut back considerably.

I decided to take this challenge I just discovered at I have read her blog before, but recently been redirected here again. She is a great writer and has much to say about being frugal, living cheap, making do or doing without. And her life is not easy, she is a Homeschooling Mom to 10 kids, 6 of them adopted from Korea and Ethiopia. She often compares her life to those of the families and countries from where she adopted her children. Things like the amount of clothes in her closet compared to the "outfits" an Ethiopian child has, the vehicle she drives, or kitchen equipment, etc. It is humbling to me to think that we in this country have so much, yet are often dissatisfied with what we have and want more.

So this brings me to my challenge, 30 days of nothing, and how I will incorporate this in my/our lives here. I already volunteer at the food bank and I get first pick from the food of the day. I work there each Thursday and often come home with enough food to feed my family and share with several neighbors too. Groceries, praise God, will not be a challenge at all. The challenge will be for me to stop running around wasting gas and coffee shop drive throughs. I do love me some coffee and if you make it a Grande-Sugar-free-vanilla-non-fat-latte, iced or hot, it is nearly impossible to resist. To top that all off, my little po-dunk town now has a drive through Starbucks. Sigh...

So, in list form...
1. No drive through coffee expenditures.
2. No drive through fast food.
3. No unnecessary trips in the Suburban.
4. Use the clothesline, not the dryer. I have two wonderful retractable clotheslines in my back yard, there when I need them, zipped out of sight when I don't!
5. No trips to the grocery store unless it is to pick up WIC items, (Women Infants and Children Federal food program. Boo Boo still qualifies, Robby just graduated he's now 5.) We get milk, eggs, cheese and beans.
6. Money spent will ONLY be for paying bills and catching up accounts.
7. Necessary car repairs will be made. Sorry, we can't be without our vehicles.
8. We purchased pre-paid oil change cards for each vehicle last fall, so those will remain on schedule.
9. NO turning on the furnace until October. Bear mentioned this the other day when he saw steam and smoke pouring out of a neighbor's furnace flue. He commented that he thought we could go until November without turning it on, I think October might be a more accurate estimate. It has gotten down to 45 degrees or so most mornings, but highs are in the 70's during the day. As long as the sun shines in during the day, we can cuddle up at night and be toasty.

I do need to pick up a box of diapers for Boo, but maybe I'm ready to try the yucky store brand instead of Huggies. But when I've gone that route before I tend to use more than I would have, because they don't seem to work as well. Any ideas? I've gone cloth route before and I have all the stuff, but without my dryer and the humidity around here this time of year, I don't think they'd get dry. Ahh, still torn on this one..

I guess that is about it. I'll add more if I think about it later, I'm starting this kind of late, she started on the first of September, so I think I may continue into October as well.

The tough thing will be, this is my birthday month, and Bear's is next month, so I'll have to think creatively about how to celebrate birthday's cheaply.

Here goes...


Reformed Grits said...

Very interesting! As far as drying things in the humidity, I feel your pain! My things that I dry normally out on my porch weren't drying so I brought them in to my laundry room and turned on a portable de-humidifier we got years ago due to some "moisture issues" in the basement. That way the "heat" of the thing was just in the laundry room. Could you use the dryer solely for the diapers? The costs surely wouldn't outweigh the benefits? I don't know! I'll be curious to see how you do!

fruitfulwords said...

Welcome aboard. There is a good group of us going through this 30 days of nothing experience.

I have a retractable clothesline - on my shelf - waiting to be installed. This would be a good month to get around to that. I had actually forgotten about it. Thanks for the reminder.

Good luck on pursuing your "nothing" goals.

Emily said...

Wow, I'm feeling total conviction on this. Maybe AFTER I move into my new house, because there will most likely be some pizza involved during those packing days.

I'm big on the heat thing too. I'm encouraged to try the same thing. Just have kids bundle up, right?

Cheri said...

I'm so excited that some of my regular blog reads are also participating in 30 Days of Nothing. I'm finding it a hard adjustment to make with some things... My son is finding the whole thing upsetting!

Good luck!

fawndear said...

So glad you are playing along.
I've still been using my dryer because I don't have a clothesline. But now I'm thinking about stringing up some rope in the backyard somewhere or using the deck's railings. It will be good as long as our liquid sunshine holds off.
The furnace idea is good too.
Thanks for sharing your ideas.

Joanne said...

We always try to see how long we can go before turning on the furnace (or the a/c). And when we do turn in on [furnace]... it's set at 60 during the day and 58 at night. We layer clothing and have lap blankets on the couches for family time. :) Nice and cozy.

As for diaper ideas ... sounds like it might be a good time for potty training?!! :) :)

I'll have to check out that site you posted; I think I might take the challenge too.

In Christ,

Brandy said...

Thanks so much for the bread tips! I use cloth on my baby (3 months) and am still using my dryer for this reason and because the hurricanes and tropical storms are bringing us soo much rain. It may be worth using the dryer just for the diapers, cheaper that buying disposable.

Totallyscrappy said...

What a challenge! I'll be interested to see what the really hard parts will be.
It is hard to believe that you are thinking about turning on the furnace when we are still roasting with 90's.

Totallyscrappy said...

I forgot to mention that we were Pampers fans and hardly ever bought the name brand. I was very happy with the Parents' choice brand from WalMart. If I remember correctly (and I don't always remember correctly from those years and I count that as GRACE) WalMart actually sold two different brands of their own diapers. I found that one brand was more like Huggies (longer with a smaller waist and better leg elastics) and the other brand was more like Pampers (shorter with more belly room).
I found the WalMart brand Pullups were not as good as the name brand, but do-able.

Owlhaven said...

So glad you're trying this experiment along with me!

Mary, mom to 10

suzannah said...

this challenge is a good disclipline!

i say give cloth a go, and dry 'em in the dryer. (we love cloth!) the walmart brand don't hold up overnight--we learned last week when the babysitter had our daughter in one.

good luck!


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