Cutting back

These last couple weeks have taught me a lot about how much money people spend on a regular basis. I have cut my budget down as far as it can go, and I am realizing the amount of things, mostly unnecessary, that I used to pay for.

The town I live in is largely based on the oil field and the oil prices since that is where the majority of the work here comes from. Since the price of oil has been down for a while now, and constantly lowering still, the town is slowly dying off it seems. Thousands of people are being laid off, big companies are being shutdown/bought out, and the everyday jobs like retail and restaurant workers are being taken up when normally they couldn’t find enough employees. Now with Alex being laid off, and both of our roommates looking for work, things are starting to get stressful now that we have a mortgage to pay for.

Desperate times call for desperate measures. reducing the budget as far as I can. I have cut every corner I can for the time being. there are a few things still we can reduce on, like our jeep. we have the payments, gas and insurance to think about.

Next we have little things like my phone, I don’t think Alex would go for it, but I have been thinking about getting rid of my phone plan, I just reduced it so it will be $40/m, but I can just use it for internet at home. Most of my friends can get me on Facebook, or call Alex.

Next up is the gym membership, I could be paying up to $90 bucks a month unless I sign up for the year membership, which brings it down to $60. My year expires in march, So I think I will try committing to running outside, and doing body weight exercises and yoga at home whenever I can. I have always had trouble with this since I get lazy and decide to lay on the couch and watch TV instead. I always find a way to talk my self out of it.

Next is paying off my debt to reduce fees. I pay probably 100 bucks in interest and bank fees every month. once I pay my credit card off that will help, then once my line of credit gets paid off I can shut it down and it will go away forever (keeping the credit card, for a couple things that need it, and travel).

I also plan to cut down my grocery bill wherever I can. It is already cheaper, being vegan we don’t have the high costs of meat. I just have to try and plan meals that I already have ingredients for at home, or can buy for really cheap. I hate when recipes call for some specific item that is expensive or you have to by a large amount, and then never use again.

Going through all my bills really makes me think about the crazy amounts of things people pay for, and the actual amount they pay towards them, things like entertainment, eating out, shopping, products, gadgets, more than 1 vehicle, children! the list is endless, and yet it is still difficult to make ends meet. to think I used to be one of those people, I would never have gotten anywhere if I didn’t switch my ways.

The last way I am going to be saving money is, energy saving Appliances. We need a new washer and are going to by an energy star one. I am going to make the effort to hang dry everything, we have low flowing shower heads and taps, soon we will be installing a programmable thermostat so we can time it while we are not there, I am going to try and make more recipes that don’t involve the stove/oven, and lastly we would love to install solar panels on our roof!

Being Zero waste, or striving towards it, I now no longer pay for many specifically single uses items and things that others spend too much on:

Toiletries like toothpaste, shampoo and conditioner. (except TP)

Beauty products

Paper towels, saran wrap, tinfoil etc

Clothes and jewelry (I plan on making everything I need, when I need it.)

Within the year I hopefully wont have debt to pay off either!

Gadgets (I can’t speak for Alex, but i no longer feel the need to purchase specialty items and random objects, with a few exceptions of course)

Although these all seem like little things, they add up over time, and it’s a couple things less I have to worry about.

 

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Waste Free Homemade Vegetable Broth

For about 2 weeks, we have been keeping our veggie scraps so we could try making our own vegetable broth. Yesterday we finally had enough to make a big batch.

We had carrot greens and the ends of carrots. onion peels and ends, I think a couple tomato ends as well, and maybe a few other things, but that’s mostly it!

Using the instructions from Thug Kitchen cookbook, it turned out quite successfully! We made about 1 L of broth.

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New Year, New House…New ME?

Today is the first day of getting back into the routine of life. Its about 2 weeks late from when most people do because of the new year, but there is a reason for that! I was waiting until we got moved into the new house! no use starting something when your whole life gets crazy and put on hold for a week!

Over the weekend we finally moved in! Me and Alex spent the whole weekend unpackaging and getting things organized.

So this gloriously cold Monday morning, I am(finally) starting on my new years resolutions, getting back into my routines or improving them in general. I have always heard the best way to wake up is to have a kick-ass morning routine. Part of my resolution was to fix mine. (the old one consisted of hitting the snooze button 4 times, crawling out of bed after looking at my phone for 15 min, the hastily eating breakfast and getting ready for work.)

No more I tell you!

Today I woke up at 5 am (ugh, I know!) I strategically placed my phone across the room so I had to get up. I then made my smoothie for pre workout fuel while the car warmed up. Went to the gym for a 30 min cardio session. I came home and got breakfast started (hash browns with onion and tofu!) and jumped in the shower while it cooked. I was then able to relax for another hour or so with breakfast and a cup of tea. Lastly I got ready for work and left!

That was my main resolution this year. I don’t usually make any, but this year I had so many new aspects in my life that were in need of improvement that I figured the new year would be a great time.

Some of the other things I will work on are:

Cleaning as I go (I hate taking so much time out of my weekend to clean the whole house)

Cutting down on packaging (we will inevitably produce more because we will have 2 renters living with us and sharing the kitchen)

Start composting.

Work on hobby’s instead of, or while I watch TV. (Sewing, Fencing, Other crafts)

I also would like to try more (vegan) baking. Now that I actually have a functional kitchen!

Cheers!

Planning for the house warming party

When buying a house, having a house warming party is a must! at least in my world it is! So how can I make it less/zero waste?

Drinks:

Although it isn’t an ideal solution I can buy plastic cups and wash them after every party, because I won’t have enough glasses to go around, and with a bunch of drunk people they will end up getting smashed I’m sure, and you can’t really use them for beer pong or flip cup (staple games at almost every party).

I will look into getting heavier duty ones that will last a long time and can be reused.

Recycle all bottles and cans (as if I don’t already).

Food:

Next we have the food! I got a bunch of baking from the mother in law over Christmas, so what we have left I will use. We have 2 chocolate zucchini loafs and some other sort of loaf that would be perfect.

Next I will try making this! its both vegan and healthier.

For something salty I am going to make a batch of the black bean torta filling from thug kitchen, it makes and excellent bean dip. I will add guacamole and vegan sour cream to the top with some green onions and serve it with chips.

Lastly another salty snack. homemade hummus and crackers! This is my favorite cracker recipe so far.

Decorations:

None! who needs them? besides, how do you decorate for a house warming?

Other:

Napkins and straws are also a no, If anyone asks for them I will lend them one of my bamboo reusable paper towels, or metal straws.

Does anyone else have any suggestions or tips?

Back in buisness

2 weeks have gone by since I sat at this computer. Where do I even begin? so much has happened in that short time both good and bad for zero waste/vegan.

First off the road trip down to see the family. I was sufficiently unprepared to do this in a zero waste fashion. although I didn’t create as much waste as I thought I would have. Maybe it’s because we drove overnight so didn’t feel the need to stop for food. a few chocolate bar wrappers and drink cans and that’s all.

Second. Opening presents with my side of the family was amazing!! My parents (even though we said no gifts, had already bought some things) sewed a whole bunch of reusable fabric gift bags! my brother tried his best as well and wrapped our gifts in newspaper, although he used a but load of tape haha! (small victories).

Third. Now this one is not so good. Opening gifts with the in laws, again I said no gifts except for the food processor I had asked for. Yet there we are on Christmas morning with a “Santa Sack” basically a pillowcase sized stocking, each gift individually wrapped with wrapping paper and tape, and worst of all it was all plastic bottles of toiletries which I don’t use, pajamas, which I don’t wear or already have a pair, or perfume, which again, I don’t use or like. But never the less I kept my mouth shut, thanked her for the gifts, and decided to donate most if not all of it to the woman’s shelter once I got home. Next year thankfully I will be having Christmas at my home.

Fourth. I basically had to be vegetarian instead of vegan, unless I wanted to starve (only slightly exaggerated). The families did their best which I greatly appreciate, And it wasn’t all bad, but I am glad to be back in the new year and back on track with the diet and excersize.

Fifth. More goods news. My boyfriend decided to try vegan for at least a month in the new year! so starting January first, we got a copy of thug kitchen and so far so good!! here’s hoping he will stay with it after the month!

Well that’s pretty much everything, our mortgage is all lined up and we move in on the 14th!!!

Oh! last thing, My resolution! once I move into the new house I want to start a better morning routine, these days I set my alarm, hit snooze once or twice, play on my phone for about 10-15 min, then slowly drag my body out of bed to get ready for the day, which takes all of about 10 min, then I crawl back in and watch supernatural until I have to leave.

No more!!! once i’m all moved in, I plan to get up, drink a small glass of warm water with honey lemon and cinnamon, do some yoga stretches, make breakfast and drink a large cold glass of mint/lemon/cucumber water, then get dressed/ready for the day. Possibly once it gets lighter outside (sunrise is 8:00 am right now) I will starting running/weight training in the AM as well.

Eco Friendly Moving

As some of you may know, the boyfriend and I have recently bought our first home!! yay!! so exciting! now comes the fun part…Moving!

I used to love packing because it gave me a chance to organize and go through all my old stuff. After the last 2 years of moving (we have moved 5 times! only once in the same town. the other 4 to different towns) I am excited to say this should be the last time for a long time!!

Well the challenge for this one it to limit the amount of waste and packaging I use to move things from A to B. To start since we moved so much lately we have an abundance of blue plastic totes. Which will also come in handy for storing winter items and such.

Like this.

Those help cut down on a ton of boxes, Although they seem to get filled up fairly quickly. Next I grabbed some boxes from work, since they were just sitting there waiting to be recycled anyways.

Packing materials. The dreaded static Styrofoam peanut. Not my idea of a good time, and as much fun as bubble wrap is, it get expensive to purchase enough for all your delicate items. Normally I don’t even bother with things like that or the extras like plate protectors and all that fancy stuff. This time I’m not even going to use tape! I plan to use All of my clothes and towels and what not for packing materials. Since we are only moving about 10 blocks away, Things wont need to be as secure. With the help of our awesome friends we might not even need a U haul! I’m not sure if it would be more Eco friendly for a couple smaller trucks or 1 bigger truck to run, but I know it will save us money in the end!

So far since packing started I have also gotten another blue bin overflowing with things for donations! It seems crazy that we still have so much stuff hanging around that I can give up (even though the boyfriend thinks we should keep things “just in case!”). One day I will be rid of junk I swear! Now how do I get the boyfriend to do the same? Unfortunately its mostly his stuff now, that I can’t get rid of. He has agreed to go through it all but I doubt he will throw out much of it. 1 things I do know that will be hard if not impossible to throw/donate. The pack and play crib for my step daughter, It is somehow broken and can’t fold down. It can barely fit through doorways. It’s going to be tricky for sure, I don’t know if anyone will want it since it cant be easily packed up. Any suggestions?

Change is in the Air!

Is it just me or have things been changing a lot lately? Like more than usual and faster? Especially after the Paris Climate Summit, I keep seeing more Articles about veganism and reducing waste/pollution and investing in cleaner, renewable energy. It’s hard to express how amazing it feels to see more and more people get excited and start to change their ways for the better. It really makes me think about how great the future of this planet can be!

Just imagine a world with no landfills, clean oceans, no oils spills, no global warming/pollution, no deforestation, no more extinction of animals, no melting ice caps, even world hunger can be greatly reduced!

All from what I feel are 2 of our main solutions in this world, maybe there are more that are just as easy, but for now these 2 are fantastic! Zero Waste and Vegan. Both are such simple, easy and manageable solutions for anyone, no matter where you live! Can you see the future like I can? It may not happen while I am still alive, but hopefully I can at least start a “pay it forward” kind of Idea. If I can inspire at least 1 person, that will be enough.

Together we can be the change this world needs!

Check out this Awesome Article 🙂

And this Video!