Wednesday, April 01, 2009

April Fools and More...

My partner and myself we did it. Yes, that Earth hour last weekend (3.28.09) mash up last weekend that had us running around the house trying to make sure we were complying with turning off electrical stuff and things. I was moving by the plan, including making the exception to viewing CNN while we were plunged in to darkness. I kept thinking as we both moved to candle light, we're glad that we are making a statement with the rest of the world, but is this really working? Well, the reports announced that many across this planet participated and I'm sure glad that we made the effort to be apart of helping making a statement about conserving energy own this spinning top called Earth. In the meantime, I thought it would be good for another round of interesting writing from my online connection, Queercents. How about me saving some brain cells? Anyway, here's a great article from writer, Amy entitled, The 5 R's of Basic Frugality. Read it and think about it. If you've got words, then share them with us via our comment section. I'd love to hear from you!

Everyone’s heard of the three R’s in relation to the environment - reduce, reuse, and recycle. I actually think they are missing two other R’s that are very important to not only the environment by also your pocketbook.
It should be Reduce, Reuse, Recycle, Repair, and Restore. Have you heard someone say, or said to yourself, ”They don’t make them like they used to.” Well, here is your answer to holding on to those well-made items and saving some money in the process.
Reduce – First start out by going through your stuff getting rid of the clutter that you don’t or won’t use. However, don’t throw it out, give it away to friends or family, take to a church yard sale, post it for free online or a few dollars on Craigslist. Then, make sure you make a conscious effort to limit what you bring new into the house.
In our home, my partner loves to collect hats, but we have agreed on a rule that when one is brought into the house, one must go. This allows us to keep the ones we truly like and use, we have quality over quantity.
Recycle – This picks up where reducing leaves off, trying to get more stuff to other people who need it than to the landfill. This would include finding places to give away or sell your items.
I think the hardest items to recycle are electronics. At Earth911 I am able to recycle those digital cameras and cell phones to possible further their life. Then for the oddball item like prescription glasses, packing peanuts or shoes - The goodhuman has a list.
Reuse – It all comes down to extending the life of an item, whether it is used longer for the same thing or used longer in different ways. One way is wearing clothes a little longer to cut down on the number of loads of laundry. Washing out a bread sack and using it to put a lunch in for work. May be even washing out that same sandwich bag, letting it dry and using that again for the next weeks worth of lunches so you don’t have to buy a lunch bag.
Reusing an item can be creative as well- coffee grounds could be used to clean pots and pans, use as mulch in your garden and a way to repel ants, or dye fabric with them.
Repair – Instead of going out to look for a coffee table brand new at the store, try some creative ways of repairing a broken one or personalizing an older, stained coffee table. Who cares what friends say, you have just saved yourself money and added more character to your home.
Restore – When you are saving money, you want the best for as little as possible. Since you shop at yard sales and flea markets to find those antique gems that are made well, you are going to bring home some stuff that doesn’t look as good as it should.
We saved a much-needed dresser from the garbage truck; even though it had seen better days it was well crafted and a solid investment. We brought it home, sanded it down, painted it and put on some simple drawer knobs. Viola! Like new again and people who see it would never know where we got it unless we told them. Plus I have the added pride of knowing that I saved money and that the project was done with my own two hands.
The 5 R’s of basic frugality, once mastered put you on a solid foundation for frugal living. Saving money doesn’t mean you have to be chintzy, but with patient, creative and holding onto something with quality, you keep your money.
If you would like further information about other frugal living ideas, Green Panda Treehouse hosts a catalog of ideas from other frugal thinkers over at the 167th Festival of Frugality.

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