Sunday, December 21, 2008

Tightwads: Signs of the Times

You must be the change you wish to see in the world.
- Mohandas Gandhi -

When times are tough, it seems people are keen on living more simply. Everyone is eager to save money, resources and time. For us, living simply, going green and being as self-sufficient as we can has always been a goal. Admittedly, there are certain things we cannot scrimp on: such as our local and organic food, which not only supports our community but also supports our belief that food is our medicine. However, for the most part, we live our daily life as tightwads. And as tightwads, life is so much simpler, greener and liberating.

I recently finished reading the Complete Tightwad Gazette. I am even more inspired to be more of a tightwad. I also discovered that much of how people save is through food. Indeed, this is how we save:

Cuban Bread (above) from the Tightwad Gazette takes only 1 1/2 hours all together and only about 15 minutes of involved time:
Mix together 4 cups flour, 2 tbsp yeast, 2 tbsp sugar, 1 tbsp salt. Pour in 2 cups of hot water and beat for 3 minutes. Stir in enough flour to form a dough, around 1-2 cups more. Knead for 8 minutes. Allow to rise for 15 minutes. Punch and divide into 2 pieces. Shape into round loaves, brush with water and place in a cold oven. Place a pan with hot water on the lowest shelf and set the oven for 400F. Bake for 40 - 50 minutes.

- hardly eat out and make most of our foods from scratch
- use our bread machine
- use our slow cooker
- cook double batches so we can eat for lunch what we had for dinner the night before
- cook in bulk and freeze (although in Ayurveda, frozen foods is not the best for the body as it is not live food, freezing allows our family more free time together and at the very least it is homemade)
- plant vegetables in the garden
- freeze odds and ends for stock
- buy goods on sale at the local health food store
- stopped using ziplock bags for every storage use and packed lunches. Now use glass or ceramic or stainless steel containers. If we use ziplock bags, we definitely wash and reuse.

Other ways we save? Friends and family:

- you'd be surprised, yes, I am our in-house barber/stylist. I have cut my husband's hair since we married, my son's hair since he was born and just this year figured out how to cut my own.
- wash our own cars (it is fun when you have music on!)
- unplug appliances that we do not use
- have a programmable thermostat that we can set to desired temperatures
- chose credit cards wisely - one that gives us money back and another that discounts on gas
- write e-mails versus snail mails
- travel using mileage
- avoid consumerism and materialism
- borrow books, CDs and DVDs instead of buy
- use coupons, especially when purchasing on-line (you'd be surprised how much my husband saves!)
- buy from consignment shops, auction houses and e-bay
- clump errands according to location
- my husband is our DIY plumber, irrigation man, electrician, mechanic...
- I am a SAHM

Interesting websites:

Cheap Like Me
Get Rich Slowly
The Daily Green
No Impact Man
Urban Homemaker

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