I’ve said that we want to be more frugal. What I should have said is that we want to radically change our lives. LOL That’s what is happening anyway. I should share with y’all what’s really in our hearts. Yes we do want to be more frugal, but there’s much more to it than that. We feel very strongly that we need to reduce our dependance on everyone else for what we CAN do ourselves. I don’t know if this is a basic human desire or if this is something that God has placed in the hearts of just our family. However, Rodney and I both feel it, so we decided to act on it.
I’m going to list a few of the things we’re doing. Some will seem like no-brainers to many, but some might be a bit shocking. Brace yourselves.
1. GARDENING We wanted to grow our own food, but we wanted to spend as little cash as possible on it. So we bought some seeds and a bit of miracle grow. Rodney turned the ground over with a shovel and a hoe. We watered, we fertilized with the Miracle Grow and we prayed. That’s it. Yesterday we harvested the first of our green beans. Yummy goodness given directly from God into our home! Yay! Because of our first little experiment with gardening, we can see that if we want to really produce a grand harvest, we will have to invest a bit more cash. So we’re learning all we can now in preparation for our next planting.
2. RETAINED HEAT COOKING This might be a forgeign concept to most. It certainly was to me! Basically, it’s just letting the laws of science cook your food for you. Here’s how it works: Tonight we wanted sausage and potatoes for supper. So I sliced them up and put in a tiny bit of water then brought them to a boil on the stove. I let them boil for 15 minutes and then shut the stove off. I then brought the covered pot to my living room where I had my laundry basket ready. Yep, you read that right…my laundry basket. In my laundry basket, I placed a super large, heavy blanket with a towel over it. Then I put in a trivet (hot plate). I set my pot on that. Then I covered that with the sides of the towel and placed another blanket over the top, tucking the sides in. Finally, I tucked in the sides of the big blanket all around it. I left it this way, covered, for about three hours. When we pulled it out and lifted the lid, we had perfectly cooked food that used only about 20 minutes total of energy! Scientifically speaking, if food is kept at least at 180 degrees, it is cooking. So insulating the pot kept it at a very hot temp and nature did the rest. Essentially, this is the same thing as crock pot cooking without the energy usage (and it didn’t heat up my house! Yay!)
3. BAKING I’m not a very good cook. In fact, I once gave all my co-workers food poisoning at a company picnic. But as it turns out, I can bake with the best of them! I started baking my own bread, breakfasts and sweets. It’s incredible the amount of money we have saved! I’ve already written about this recently, so I won’t go into great detail about it here. Just know that this saves lots of cash and is incredibly rewarding on a personal level.
4. HAND-WASHING/LINE DRYING Okay this is where most of y’all will decide that I’ve gone completely insane. We are now hand-washing and line-drying our clothes. Rodney hung a wonderful clothesline for us (total cost $38). We’re using plastic buckets we already had for rinsing and a large rubbermaid container for the main washing. Basically, we add a tiny little amount of soap to the water and plunge away. Then we rinse twice, wring out and hang to dry. I can wash three loads of clothes in the time it takes my washing machine to do one load. The coolest part is that the clothes are soooo much cleaner! I’ll post more about why they’re cleaner in a nother post.
5. UNPLUGGING IT We have been unplugging appliances when not in use for a while now. That alone made an impact on our electric bill. But now we’ve just outright decided to not use some appliances. The microwave hasn’t been used in weeks now. It’s serving as a shelf on my counter. LOL There are lights in some rooms we haven’t turned on in weeks (well lit rooms with lots of windows). Essentially, the idea is that before we turn anything on, we have begun to question whether there is another way to accomplish the same goal the machine would have done. If there is and if it’s feasable, we do that instead. Now, I admit, I’m still using my handmixer (I love that thing!) but still, there are lots of things we’re just not using anymore. For instance, hand washing the dishes. Stuff like that.
Okay now the result of all this….we’re happier. I know, I know. That’s nuts right? But I swear it’s true. It is DEFINITELY more work. I won’t lie to you about that. I am finding myself working more. But it’s a happy, satisfying work. I can’t explain it well, but when the job is done (regardless of what the job is), I feel like I’ve done what I was SUPPOSED to have been doing all along. Great satisfaction is coming from the job done. When I get the bills in, I’ll tell you how much they’ve decreased, but I don’t have that answer just yet.
Rodney and I were marveling over all of this last night and we came to a grand discovery. While modern conveniences free us up to do other things, they definitely have their deficiencies. It seems they do a substandard job (compared to a job done by hand) and take longer to do it! The clothes don’t get as clean, and only one load is done to my three. The crock pot/oven/stove heat up the house causing the air conditioner to work harder, costing more money, etc. The list goes on and on.
Okay so here’s the final analysis……I’m working a bit harder but am so much more satisfied! Everyone in the house seems more peaceful. I can hardly wait to see the reduction in our bills!