Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Another Budget Post

A long while ago, I wrote about some comments I've gotten. People have told me they'd love to be greener and healthier, but they don't have the time or money.

Yes, making these changes does take a bit more time. Our society has become one of convenience. It takes about 4 seconds longer to measure a scoop of oatmeal than to open a packet. It takes 15 minutes longer to make your own pasta sauce (coming soon!), It takes 10 minutes longer to hang clothes on the clothesline, and 3 minutes longer to start a load of cloth kitchen towels. All of those little increments add up, and when a mom feels she's already in the red for time, it can be a bit discouraging. Instead of looking at these accruing minutes as time lost, just look at it as an overall lifestyle change. There are plenty of days when I wish for just 20 more minutes, but I've never once considered sacrificing the things I mentioned for those minutes. The extra time it takes to do these things is time spent outside or cooking with my daughter...things many moms are in too much of a hurry to do.

As far as the money goes, I'll reiterate: Going green will SAVE you money. One of the major pieces of the puzzle is consuming less. The consumables I've given up (paper towels, disposable diapers, etc) are things I no longer have to buy. Cleaning supplies? Not on my grocery list.

I've saved so much money by buying second hand. A fun little anecdote for you: I recently had to take inventory of the items in our house for insurance purposes. When calculating for insurance coverage, you use replacement value--that is, what it would cost today to buy a similar item--not what you paid. The inventory was a fun little revelation of my thriftiness. Nearly all the big items in my home are second hand, antique store or garage sale finds, or scratch and dent. I simply don't pay full price for things. So for each item, the replacement cost was far and above what I actually spent. I hope I never have to replace these things though; their charm and character cannot be duplicated.

I do spend more money on buying organic. What goes into my family's bodies is just not something I'm willing to compromise. BUT, I think the grocery budget balances itself when I also refrain from buying expensive packaged and prepared items.

Although I've always felt my green ways save us money, I've had to kick the savings up a notch. My husband recently started a new job after being laid off. The new job is wonderful, but comes with a substantial pay cut, forcing me to evaluate every dollar I spend. So I'm meeting a new challenge head-on: Be Green, Be Healthy, Be Thrifty. I know I can do it. I hope you'll read along with me as I try!