Living Frugally: Doing More with Less

Day 2 of the Frugal Living Challenge is about challenging yourself to live minimally. For me this is about doing more with less. I know that letting go of what we don't need will give us more time and freedom and doing so will reduce our stress and improve our well being.

My husband and I have been seeking the minimum level for a long time but we lost track of what the minimum was when we moved from a sailboat back into a house. Suddenly because we had more space, we "needed" more stuff. I feel a bit overwhelmed by it at times while simultaneously feeling grateful for all we have. I'm terrified of seeming ungrateful but we definitely has stuff we don't need.

Anyhow, despite the fact that we are now in a house and have a whole lot more stuff than we used to, in a lot of ways we've still tried to keep things simple. Our goal is to do more with less, or at the very least, cut out the duplicates.

For example, we don't have a land line telephone, just cell phones. We only have one car and use the bus when we can. We eat at home as much as possible. J. takes homemade lunches to work. I've been making things myself as much as possible (for example, yogurt and laundry detergent). We don't have credit cards and live within our monthly budget. We have a little vegetable garden. We don't have cable TV (that sound a bit misleading...we do have a TV we use for videos and DVDs that we own or borrow from the library and we stream Netflix on our computer). I think not having TV channels saves us time. I know I would get sucked in and flip channels endlessly whereas, with our current arrangement, I have to be more thoughtful about what I watch.  

You get the picture. We try pretty hard.  But we can do better by continuing to seek the minimum level. By doing so I hope we are less weighed down by the clutter and excess, that we use what we have more effectively, and that we waste less time, energy, and resources.

And there are definitely things we can do better. We can get rid of all the extra pans in our kitchen and the extra clothes in our closets. We can organize our belongings so we know what we have and use what we have instead of feeling like we need something new.  Even if we don't go out and buy something new, I hate that I waste time wishing we had something else instead of appreciating what we have.

We can waste less food. This has been a big one for me. We try really hard to plan our meals and make our grocery list accordingly so we don't buy extra...but then we end up not making what we intended to make and food goes bad. Sometimes J. works late or we're invited elsewhere for dinner or we're too tired to make a complicated meal and we make something simpler. We've started only planning four or five meals for a week and that has helped a bit but there is still waste.

Sometimes we waste leftovers too. I need to be better about freezing leftover food. If we're not going to eat our leftovers from dinner (or lunch or whatever) I need to freeze them so they can be eaten for lunches or snacks later. If we buy cilantro for tacos and salsa and there is still a bunch left over I can make cilantro pesto and freeze it instead of throwing it away.

I also need to start composting again. We were really good about it for a while and then we weren't. I want to make sure that our food scraps (and any food that does go bad...I know it will still happen sometimes) are composted and not thrown away.

And I want to have a more productive garden this year. I want to plan better so that all our space is used and we fit in as many veggies as possible!

Today was the first step. Instead of making something new for lunch, L. and I ate leftovers that would have had to be thrown out tomorrow. It wasn't exactly what I was in the mood for but it felt good to know I wasn't wasting food.

Did you do anything differently today in an attempt to be frugal?

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