• Bring bag lunches and drinks to work
I normally make a big spinach salad with black olives, croutons, almond slices, carrots, cheese, croutons, and crackers. On special occasions I'll mix in some salmon. Yum! Otherwise, I make a simple tuna fish or pb+j with club crackers. You'd be surprised at how these meals are envied over the microwaved lean cuisine. And even though I'm spending less, I don't feel deprived in the slightest!
• Window Gardening: Amazing Hydroponic Veggies
Whenever I buy leeks or chives, I put them in a little cup of water by a sunny window and extend their life by as much as 2 months. Frequently changing the water insures they will develop strong root systems and continue to produce. I have also purchased romaine lettuce with the root ball still attached, and in a cup of water it's still going strong after almost 3 weeks. Hard to believe but it's true! I'm looking into more sophisticated means of accomplishing this and possibly purchasing nutrients to enhance the water.
• Buy clothing from goodwill
I've never been one for brand names or clothing labels so this one's a piece of cake for me. I was also impressed by how open my guy was to the idea. We found a cool store here in Buffalo called Plato's Closet which sells gently used teen fashions and most everything there is brand name.
• Forgo TV and Cable
What is deemed impossible for most is easy for Rob and I. TV watching just doesn't fit in our lifestyle right now, and I don't plan on re-introducing it in the future. There is tremendous time and money to be saved in this area.
• Container re-use
By keeping and washing empty glass Snapple bottles, plastic food containers, and styrofoam take out boxes, I've been able to creatively re-assign them for future uses! My favorite container to save is the glass spaghetti sauce jar. After washing, I've been using these jars for dried goods, home-made salsa, home-made caramel, and as flower vases. After a little while, it's made buying containers seem pretty lame.
• DRINK MIX
Simply said, powdered lemonade has been one of the best investments in my young life. By refilling my clean, saved glass bottles with fresh water and lemonade mix and then refrigerating it, I rarely buy juice and never buy bottled water. Tip: to get the mix inside the small bottle opening without making a mess, try using a funnel or making a temporary one with a rectangular piece of parchment paper.
I Plan To:
• Write my favorite companies
to tell them what I think about their products and offer suggestions. I've heard many companies will send valuable coupons in gratitude. I'll let you know how this goes. I'm starting with the makers of my favorite beverage, Malta Goya! This way I'm getting some really great coupons on items I would be purchasing anyway... instead of spending hours coupon clipping only to buy things like 3 boxes of Uncle Ben's jambalaya that I will never eat.
• Buy only what I absolutely need
Since we're moving just 29 days from now and trying to squish all our stuff in one car, there is no use in buying stuff that I will just end up trashing or giving away. This means I can only buy food items, and even there I need to be careful not to over-buy.
• Give away my car
My parents have been especially gracious in letting me use my Dad's Chrysler for the past several years. Now that I'm moving, it's time to give it back, and I won't be purchasing a replacement. I intend on using only public transportation and if that's too much, investing in a motor scooter.
All these ideas actually enhance my quality of life, not take away from it. I'm looking forward to getting a new start and a fresh attempt at living a more minimalist lifestyle. I'll probably blog about it, too. ;)