- Shop at home first! There are many times I am faced with a need ~ A birthday gift, an item of clothing for a child or myself, something to make our home look better, Something for a craft or science project, craft materials for classes at church, the list could go on and on! I have really been working on looking around to see if I already have something that would work, if there is something I can make from items I have on hand (like for a birthday present) , if I can use recycled items instead of buying something (for crafts for instance) and if I can remake something to make it work better.
- Do I really need it? Do I really need 10 pairs of shoes? Do I really need a new winter coat? Do we really need a different vehicle? Do the kids really need any new toys (even for birthdays!)? Always be asking yourself "Is this something we really need or is it just going to cost us money and clutter up our house which will then add stress to my life?" The clutter part is really what has gotten to me lately and I am striving hard to avoid it. By the way this doesn't just apply to buying new at the store but also to garage sales and thrift shops.
- Can I make it myself? (Especially from Recycled items and stuff you already have in your home!) This is something I have always enjoyed doing but this year we have stepped it up a notch. I apply this to food as much as possible as well. Homemade tortillas work fine and they don't have packaging to throw away and are better for you, the same is true of pretty much any food from scratch. My attitude on homemade stuff has given Ken and I some laughs however as it has majorly rubbed off on the kids. Almost always now if they see something somebody has and they would like one too they ask: Can we make it mom? Or they just start in on figuring out how to make it themselves. They played Monopoly elsewhere and they came home and made one of their own without ever thinking of asking us to buy them one. Sometimes making it yourself doesn't work (for instance my idea of making plastic diaper covers for Megan out or plastic bags that had been ironed together which was not successful) but more often it does work out. It takes some time but often it can be fun time spent with your family!
Sometimes lately Ken (who is not so much into the "make it yourself" or "don't buy" mode) has teased me about being ascetic, but I'm not really. I like the idea of buying less now on little things I don't need so that I can splurge in the way I want to. For instance Giving to those who really need it, traveling to far off (and not so far) places, going on a mission trip, adding on to my kitchen (with greenhouse and root cellar!) or getting a beautiful new piano. I also like the fact that I can make it so living on one income is comfortable and not a trial for us, that I am slowly cutting down on the clutter in our house and we are living a greener lifestyle! Also living that way brings out creativity in everybody and that can be very fun!
For more Thrifty and green tips visit Green Baby Guide.