A couple years ago while visiting friends in Melbourne, Australia, I had some downtime so I decided to do some laundry. After the washing was done, I noticed there was no dryer. Oh, looks like I’m using a clothesline for the first time since childhood. I still get grief from my Aussie friends regarding North Americans’ use of dryers. In Canada, we don’t have the luxury of drying clothes outside all year round, but you can hang them inside during the winter as your house will be very dry (for those of us in Southeastern Ontario, anyways).
There are a huge number of benefits for such a simple task:
- Less damaging to your clothing [Lint is your clothing degrading]
- Wash Less! [Okay, so it’s labour intensive to dry everything. Only wash when dirty!]
- Better for the environment! [No electricity required!]
- No electricity required so it’s free! [No electricity or coin dryer cost]
- Humidify your house! [In the winter the added moisture will keep you healthier]
- Get outside! [Enjoy a few minutes outside; we all can use it]
Try it! More money in your pocket and better for the environment; it’s a double win!
Up until recently, I was trying to reduce my grocery bill as much as possible. Tweaking what I was buying, when I was buying it, and how much I was buying to tweak every cent. I realized that I was missing the mark a little bit and here’s why.
I was dedicating a fair amount of money to eating out. Eating out with friends is a social thing that I really enjoy, but I was definitely due for a restructuring of how I eat out with friends. Previously I’d spend a certain amount a month, eating at wherever I felt like. When this money ran out, I’d randomly crave sushi, Korean BBQ, and Japanese Ramen. Darn, I’m out of funds..I guess I’ll wait until next month.
The way I approach this now, is I make my social meals target things that I can’t make at home. I’ve reduced my eating out budget, and increased the enjoyment I get from it. The money I saved has been put into my food budget for greater flexibility. This flexibility has increased my recipe repertoire, allowed me to purchase bulk items on sale, and nickel and dime myself less when shopping.
Having more monthly spending for groceries also means I can have friends over for dinner more often, and share a homemade meal that always leaves other full and impressed. I’ve fulfilled my social needs, my love for cooking, my thirst for a better budget, and I’ve paid away less of my money in tips. Servers play an important role, but tipping has changed a lot in the last 30 years to make up for stagnating wages. Don’t get me wrong, I always leave a good tip and so should you. Now I just do it less often.
Think about the way your life works and align your budget to it; it will make you happier!
There is a huge push globally to be more environmentally friendly. Huge gains are being made, and it’s amazing to watch. However, as western consumers I think we’re missing the mark. We’re buying things with more and more packaging everyday. Buying more throw away items. Cheap junk from the dollar store. This isn’t sustainable, and worse, we’re paying for it! You pay for the packaging and the junk inside it.
The best ways to save the environment are to reduce, reuse, recycle. Let’s break it down.
- Reduce: Stop buying junk. You don’t need a cardboard scarecrow for your front window during the fall season. Make a real scarecrow from materials you have. You can get free hay to stuff it from your local grocery store. It will last you longer than the piece of cardboard, that will probably get bent and creased after one season.
- Reuse: Jars, bottles, takeout trays. All of this stuff is looked at as a single use item that a product comes in. These are all good vessels for holding food (they were made to hold food), holding odds and ends, small items. Reuse these items once, and you’ll have been 100% more environmentally friendly than usual. Use it even more, and you’ll be part of the change the world needs.
- Recycle: Okay, you can’t use everything over again. You had to get something from amazon urgently, it comes with air bags inside to protect your purchase. Pop them, and recycle it as instructed. Save the box though, you never know when you’ll need one.
The less you buy, the better you are for the environment. Raw products use less energy to create than refined products. Buy more raw materials. Energy costs money.
Also, if some of the energy has been paid for already, you’ll pay less of the cost. I’m talking about buying used. Getting a used end table, toolbox, or whatever. Someone has paid for the initial cost of the energy. You pay again, but less thanks to the person who bought something they didn’t need.
Think about how much energy something has needed. How much work has gone into making that product versus the cost you paid for it? Lower energy cost items are cheaper. Put in the energy yourself, and you’ll save money.