Thursday, January 29, 2015

The Year of Green Frugality


Summer's over, school is back, and it's time to get back to work. And, in my case, to put my new year's resolutions up on the blog!

This year is all about saving. Saving money, and knocking that mortgage down, down, down, and saving the earth by being as environmentally friendly as we possibly can.

We've always been a pretty green-minded family, but the last couple of years have almost had me in a panic regarding the state of our earth. It is so disappointing to see our elected leaders sit on their hands whilst Rome, and everywhere else, burns.

However, there is plenty that I can do as an individual to reduce my impact. Not coincidentally, a lot of green ways are also very frugal ways, so I'm going to bring the two together and make this our Year of Green Frugality!

The rules are as follows:

 - Abide by the 3 R's (reduce, reuse, recycle) as much as humanly possible.

 - Think very long and hard before making a purchase. Nothing is to be bought unless it is truly needed. Ask the following questions: Do I really need this? Will it serve more than one purpose? Can it be passed on to others in good condition when we no longer require it?

 - If the answer to any of those is yes, then the purchase can be made. It should be, however, at least one of the following: ethically made, second-hand and/or from an indie producer.

- Make as much as possible in the home. This will range from jam to clothes to laundry liquids. Not only will I be saving money, but I will value the things I have produced from high quality materials and will also be able to avoid environmentally destructive ingredients such as palm oil. This means that you'll probably be getting a hand-made or edible gift for your birthday. Hope you like it!

It all sounds a bit full-on, doesn't it? But truly, a lot of this is just about being more organised with my time. Mondays are going to be devoted to cleaning and cooking, so when I come home tired and stressed later in the week I can grab that pre-cooked meal from the freezer, rather than resorting to take-away and squillions of plastic containers. Which I will eat whilst admiring my mostly clean apartment. Win win!

Speaking of plastic, we are trying to avoid it as much as possible as well (like that time we went plastic-free). I'll be hitting up our local health food store and buying lots of our food from their bulk bins. It's going to be great - cooking as much as possible with fresh, non-packaged produce is going to be good for landfill AND good for my tummy!

I'm also on a mission to use up the craft supplies that I have here before even thinking about getting more. I have enough fabric for my wardrobe needs to last me a while, so I really want to work through that before I even think about justifying any new purchases. I had a major clean out last year of my fabrics and yarn, so the only things I have left have already been allocated to particular projects. Tyger will need some new things, though, so I'll have to just get my fabric kicks making things for her! I am banned from buying any new patterns, though - I have enough to sink a ship, and should really what I have. It's going to be tough, but I am determined not to crack!

We have also decided as a family to continue with some big hitting carbon reductions, such as remaining car free (using bikes, feet or public transport to get where we need to go) and to restrict meat to two meals a week, max, being veggie or vegan the rest of the time. The Galumph and I have also decided that rather than buying things for each other (things! things! the last thing we need is more things!) we will give experiences instead. Rather than a gift which we will have to find a home for and never end up using, we're going to go to concerts or exhibitions instead. My house will remain uncluttered, and I'll get a romantic night out with my husband. Ahhh, I'm liking the sound of this already!

So watch this space and see how we fare with our Year of Green Frugality. It's officially starting today - I'll keep you up to date here and on Instagram with our progress. If you have any tips or advice for me, please share - I'd love to hear your thoughts on ways we can reduce our impact!


  1. This is wonderful. We are on a similar path 😀 have you read Rhonda Hetzels down to earth book? it has great recipes for laundry liquid and other cleaners.

  2. YES YES YES! I'm trying to do that over here too. I was disgusted to see our recycle bin overflowing with packaging last night when I put it out for collection. I even had to sneak down the street in my pj's under the cover of darkness to put some in the neighbours bin! I had cleaned out the kitchen pantry the other day and discovered way too much food that was either out of date or hadn't been wrapped up properly. This made me realise that we MUST plan our menu's and grocery shop better than we have been. We've fallen back into the trap of convenience and my goal is to get out again quick smart!
    I'm growing and making more at home, swapping with people in my local community who grow and make too, will be buying more of our foods in bulk and planning meals so that ingredients don't go to waste.
    I've been clearing out stuff (much to the horror of my family) and encouraging more experiences.

    2015 is going to be a great year!

  3. Not sure I could go as hard core -grocery-wise as you, but I'm definitely making changes in the right direction ... hopefully if I break my bad habits then my girls will never pick them up ... look out plastic, you're going down!

  4. YAY to your Year of Green Frugality! Keep up the good work, you are inspirational! We have changed a lot of things around here over the years - you mentioning bringing the mortgage down gave me an AHA moment though. I´ll be posting about ways to continue on this path more in the future too.

  5. Nice work... always trying to do more of that here, too, and it's great to hear of others doing so and get that fresh boost of enthusiasm / kick up the backside to do more!

  6. Anonymous8:48 pm

    Yes! Well done you. Thanks for being so inspiring.

  7. Good on you. You might be interested in by a local guy Brett. He is putting up a weekly challenge (which is purely voluntary) for 52 weeks. By taking up the challenges participants will have made major changes towards being green and frugal and these behaviours are likely to be ongoing.

  8. That's an inspiring resolution! Good luck with it, and I look forward to reading about your progress :)

  9. When you run out of rubber on your bikes tyres you know where to come! good luck

  10. Great goals you have there! I'm in the same boat with you. You mentioned you have yarn - it can be used for dryer ball. Check out

  11. Your solution to buying un-needed things as presents is fantastic! I like that idea a lot and may very well steal it. After all, things don't enrich your life but experiences and fun times do, so it just makes more sense.

    Katie Writes Stuff

  12. It sounds absolutely wonderful to me, I used to love going to the health food shop with mum as a kid with all our containers, loading up with cereals, dried fruit, honey and all sorts of fabulous things. Seeing as we're about to move away from all the places I know that do this kind of thing... I'd love it if you could let us know where you tend to go!

  13. Bravo! Nothing like writing your goals down to encourage you to stick to them. I have been having a quiet revolution in our house for a couple of years now with recycle and reuse. If it is still OK but has done its time with us, into the op-shop it goes. If we need something, op-shop is the first stop to see if we can get it there before buying new. Then really thinking about the purchasing decision, i.e. where was it made, cost-per-use, are we supporting local businesses. The consequences? We have less stuff (although there are always trinkets in the op-shops I find hard to resist!), we have generated less rubbish, we rarely purchase online and ever so slowly the house is de-cluttering.

    I already cook from scratch and purchase all the fresh ingredients at markets/local providores. This year I want to expand my repertoire and use some of the dozens of cookbooks I have. Still working on that!

  14. What a wonderful resolution! I am trying my best to respect the 3 Rs as much as possible. My lifestyle changes slowly, not as fast as I'd love to, but nothing feels so fulfilling as seeing these little changes happen.


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