Friday, March 16, 2012

Greening Up

As the end of my employment draws ever closer I am constantly looking for ways to cut our spending. The plan is to try to refinance the car with a chunk of my 401(k) and use the rest to work on settlement deals with our credit card companies to pay off those. I will also apply for and use unemployment for as long as possible and apply for WIC and food stamps if we quality. We are hoping to tread water until after Little-Smug is born and I have my recovery period. Once the summer is over, my hope is to watch a few children after school to bring in the money we need to cover our monthly expenses.

With this possible plan in place (yes, I know there are a lot of "ifs" to fall into place, but I believe that my plans are doable), my attention is turning to other ways to cut the amount of funds we spend each month. If the car payment were lower and the credit card payments gone, that will be wonderful, but why spend money on something that we don't need to?

My mom is going to be giving us a portion of her CSA order each week throughout the summer, so we will have lots of fresh fruit and veggies without having to purchase them at the regular grocery store. However, I have a lot of concerns about not being able to consume everything before it goes bad, so I have been thinking about ways to preserve food items for use later. I think that I need to get some books on canning and preserving from the library and learn about the best way to can and freeze items so we don't waste anything!!

I am also increasingly interested in making my own household cleaners and laundry detergent. I have read that it is pretty simple and can save tons of money! I have ordered some books from the library and printed some "recipes" online and I would like to give some of these homemade items a try. I have reservations on this because I am not interested in adding a whole lot of work to my life and if making these cleaning products takes a lot of energy and/or don't clean as well as a conventional cleaner, I may be tempted to switch back, however there is another side to this make your own thing.

The environment! All these cleaners currently residing in my home are toxic to my family if ingested and toxic to the earth just by being manufactured not to even mention as I rinse them down our drain!! I have wanted to be more "green" but not to the extent that it makes my life so hard that it isn't worth it. That is the biggest reason that I haven't given much thought to some of this stuff in the past. I am busy and stressed and I don't want to spend 30 minutes scrubbing the tub when the scrubbing bubbles will do most of the work for me. Again, though I am no longer going to be getting up at 4am to go to work and then rushing around all day trying to get everything else done. My life will be simpler even with the addition of a second baby.

Now, don't get me wrong! I know that adjusting to having two children to care for is going to take some time and I don't have any illusions that just because I am home full time that it will be easy, but adjust I will and find a new normal I will and that new normal needs to include all of those things that I dreamed I would do if I were a stay-at-home mom!!

I want to clean with natural cleaning products, I want to compost, I want to have a small garden and I really like Smug-Hub's idea of having our own chickens as a lot of people are doing more and more. I want to bake bread and make my own granola. I want to spend my days teaching my children by example how to live with this earth, sharing its resources rather than taking and taking and taking.

I think that my pre-conceived notions about living more green were perhaps off a bit. I had this idea that to live green, one had to be free of all chemical products, go without deodorant, pee outside and so on. As I have become more educated in my "old" age, I find that nothing in life has to be all or nothing and I can be more green and reduce my family's impact on the environment without going whole hog and living a life that I am not comfortable with.

I started with recycling a number of years ago and now it is second nature to me. I am going to start making and using my own natural cleaning products and soon that will become second nature too. Then I will add something else to help green up our lives and I have a feeling that with every step my family takes in this greener direction, the better we will feel about taking the next step!!

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