By Larraine Roulston:
The evening my fiancé and I announced our engagement, my dad took my future partner aside and said, “She’ll save you a lot of money.” A rather good endorsement, I thought. Hearing stories of my grandparents and parents living through the Depression and learning of their thrifty habits, I was guided towards a life of conservation. My mom was, and still is, an excellent seamstress, so wearing remodeled clothes to school suited me just fine. Being able to repair or repurpose something, rather than seeing it trashed, as well as not living in a materialistic environment, is a joy in itself. When looking through the lens of saving money, you appreciate the savings that frugality brings to your lifestyle. It also will help you become more environmentally aware.
Repair — Many jobs can be created in the service of repairing and revamping which, when done locally, keeps money in the community.
Reused Items — Habitat for Humanity ReStores offer a large selection of small miscellaneous items and also handle an assortment of furnishings, doors/windows, sinks and building supplies. Post or buy articles with sites such as Kijiji. Often one can find great gifts as well.
Wrapping and Cards — I cannot recall purchasing gift wrap. Instead, we open gifts carefully to reuse the paper. Also, I rely on fabric, which never gets torn in the process of continual use. My family exchanges the same birthday cards each year, as it’s fun to see a forgotten card being returned. Making your own greeting cards, too, is an option.
Gifts — When my daughter’s friend was expecting her first child, she knew about a pending baby shower. As most of her friends already had toddlers, she instructed that all gifts must be something that they were ready to pass on. She also accepted anything being re-gifted. Guests welcomed this request. The concept could work also for a bridal shower. On my friend’s birthday, I knitted her a pair of slippers from reclaimed wool. For mine, she wrapped up a book she had just read. Those who happily boast that they accept used gifts are helping their friends and relatives enjoy both the experience and savings of being frugal.
Energy Efficiency — Be mindful of your energy and water usage. Turn off lights and other devices when not in use. Pull plugs on those appliances that have continuous glowing lights that still drain energy and add to the cost of your utility bill. Do laundry in cold water. Your dryer is one of the biggest energy hogs: use the sunny, breezy outdoors or an indoor clothes rack during poor weather. Besides, hanging damp laundry adds moisture to your rooms. Use your dishwasher when full, and run your laundry machine during your area’s low-rate hours. Insulate your home well.
Transportation — Being frugal will steer you away from the gas guzzling automobile. Instead, relax on public transportation, or exercise by cycling or walking.
Meals — Use up perishable foods and become creative with leftovers.
Grassroots groups always have been at the forefront, leading environmental action. Since the leaders of a few countries have denied the effects of climate change, there comes great joy in trumping them with frugality, thus making our planet great again.
Larraine writes children’s adventure stories on composting and pollination. Fun and factual for all ages. Visit www.castlecompost.com