Monday, December 12, 2016

Frugal Meets Environmental

Save more next year and stop waste. This is my mantra going into 2017. This will be good for my budget. The mantra should apply to my approach to the environment as well, decreasing my families foot prints in the earth. I can also throw in social good as part of environmental impact. There's many opportunity for natural alignments. Food waste of course jumps to mind. Less food in garbage, less resources to grow, less garbage bags to buy, etc. Cleaning with vinegar is another win win. My bathroom soap film is cut through with spritzing from a refillable spray bottle. No chemicals going down my bathroom drain and a gallon bottle is $2.69 compared to even cheapo cleaning stuff at $1.00 for 8 ounces. I need to source a bulk vinegar supplier where my gallon jugs can be refilled. Does that exist?

My weight loss is nonexistent. I've toyed with Weight Watchers. The monthly and start up fees have me second guessing as I've used before and not stuck to the plan. How about I save the fees, eat less, and walk to store more often instead of using my car? There would be triple result; money, carbon emission, and weight loss savings. Add ditching the plastic bags by bringing my own and another win. Sometimes though what's good for the environment is expensive, and what is frugal isn't a good choice for environment. I don't do the "right" thing every time, whatever that is, but strive for a frugal, social, environmental balance. Below are a few examples of where I choose the less financially frugal option.
Soaking beans for soup-frugal and earth friendly.
  • Tipping the server on the bill before discounts applied. Why should a good server be penalized because the owner/corporation decided to run a two for one special or half price appetizers?I've had disagreements with others on my interpretation.
  • While I prefer real plates, I buy non plastic coated paper ware for cabin (won't emit caustic fumes when burned in fire pit)
  • Local lawn weed service that uses environmental friendly products (plus an old high school friend's business)
And, areas where I know I too often have gone for frugal.
  • Eggs, dairy, and meat products. I want the luxury of cage free and free range, but admit, frugal wins out often with trying to stretch the budget. I hope I make up for that in part with eating more vegetarian options
  • Buying inexpensive clothing. I admit I don't know where my packs of seven pairs underwear is made, but I do buy that new, and cheap. I try and make my clothes last, and am not opposed to second hand, so I am not frivolously spending at the expense of poverty wage laborers, but know I should do better.  
  • I've bought cheap plastic milk bottles soda, juice, etc., instead of the costlier co-op options. I keep looking for ways to reduce my plastic because even if recycled, that's still waste.
Of all the things I lie awake thinking about at night, this balance is not one. I just try and make the best choice at the time when options present, and learn more options as they are brought to my attention. It strikes me that doing the frugal thing, if not being miserly towards others, is 90% or more of the time also socially and environmentally friendly. Buying second hand, bulk cooking from scratch, eating whole and less processed food is economical and not wasteful. Who else looks for the trifecta of frugal-social-environmental wins?  Please add  your thoughts and ideas. 

Refillable Keurig pod with free trade coffee.Trifecta.


  1. Positive changes, Sam.
    I'd rather pay more for fair trade goods than go for the cheaper option. My conscience is more important than a few quid. Being kinder to the planet doesn't have to cost the earth. I use soda crystals instead of washing powder, wash the floors with hot water, olive oil and lemon juice and glass and the bathroom get cleaned with white vinegar. Other than washing up liquid (cruelty free) we don't buy any conventional cleaning products.
    I buy the best quality cotton knickers I can afford (never made in Third World sweatshops) which will last years and year. I don't bother with bras and I can often find great socks and brightly coloured opaque tights in charity shops.
    I don't drive so walking combined with a daily Wii Fit work out is my exercise.
    In the UK free range eggs are often the same price than the caged alternative. xxx

    1. Cars are a necessary where I live, but I can be much more discriminatory. Ok-so thought I was wearing American, union made undies, but learned they moved plant to Honduras. I'm vowing to step up the underwear purchases in the coming year.

  2. Your approach is similar to mine. Here are a few others. I use a cloth drawstring bag for vegetable storage in our fridge. I learned the tip from my mother-in-law when she was visiting. And, she made the bags for me. It helps keep the vegetables significantly fresher for longer, reducing waste.

    We use cloth napkins with all of our meals. I do occasionally use a paper towel, when needed.

    I need to give up our keurig. We use it only if the kids are sleeping, as our other "coffee" machine is an espresso machine, and it's loud enough to wake the kids up. But, I'm super aware of the environmental tradeoffs, and we could instead make a small pot of regular coffee.

    I also want to do a better job of minimizing plastic bags from the produce shop. I'm reusing them right now (I keep them to store wet cleats, etc after soccer), but can probably find other sustainable solutions. Since I transfer the produce to cloth bags when I get home, it seems wasteful.

    Oh, and can I just say that I hear you on the weight loss. ;-)

    1. I love my Keurig but hate the waste of the pods. The refillable one works great. I'd like a couple so I can have coffee ready on the mornings my eyes are barely open-some messy filling has occurred. Love the idea on the bags, and need to figure out where to source them.

  3. Speaking as a former waitress you ALWAYS tip on the full amount of your food/drink bill(not on the tax), even if for some reason the house comps your bill(or you have a discount coupon). Period.

    To do otherwise is being a skin flint(unless your server was a DISASTER!)and if you aren't going to tip adequately then you should stay home and shouldn't go out to eat.
    We are not Europe(where this is not the custom)and to not tip adequately is stealing wages.

    1. Thank you! I too put myself through college that way, and the nickel and diming of tips drove me crazy, but more so now when I have been out with larger groups for happy hour and they want to be cheap on the tip. I'm throwing extra bucks to cover theirs.


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