Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Simple Living

With all of the talk of frugality in this house, I thought I'd create a list of FUN stuff that doesn't cost money - things that bring me joy. Here's a beginning of a list:

Family days on Alki, building a sand castle
Hiking in one of the many parks in West Seattle Attending public library lectures
Attending art night downtown ("First Thursday")
Taking advantage of our memberships to the aquarium, Science Center, and zoo
Exploring different parks and events in the city: What's fun in Magnolia? The arboretum? Kirkland? What's going on in Wallingford these days?Author talks at local bookstores
Take the ferry to Bainbridge and walk around Eagle Harbor
Music at C&P
Snowshoeing in the winter
Hiking in spring, summer, and fall
Camping, camping and more camping: North Cascades, Desolation Pass, Kayak Point, etc are all right in our backyard and fabulous
Family game night with board games
Unwinding at the end of the day with a glass of wine and a square of really good chocolate
Watching movies from the library or Hisatomi-flix
Gardening and anticipating those vine ripe delights: tomatoes, strawberries, blueberries, and more
Watching Shep run on the beach at Lincoln Park
Yoga on the beach, early in the morning, by myself
Family days at the YMCA: swimming together, or doing their family program
Long walks
Sitting on our front porch, the lights out, admiring the stars and drinking hot tea
Having friends around for simple dinners
Visiting family in Portland, Spokane, and Vancouver
Family bike ride to Alki Café and back
Lying in our hammock under the flowering dogwood
Making jam with Tessa and seeing her delight
Visiting community farms to learn about food production
Reading about different people, places, times, and ideas
Browsing all I like at Leisure Books and even buying things sometimes from my account of trades
Candles all over the house lit; sitting quietly and enjoying them
Mornings drinking coffee in bed
Watching birds in our backyard as the flutter around the birdfeeder
The water taxi
Picnics galore
Orcas Island trips to the cabin
Meditating in our living room
Visiting with my parents, seeing their love for Tessa and Shep's love for Foster
Feeling proud of our accomplishments toward simple living and saving the environment
Tea parties
Running into friends at the farmer's market and listening to music together

And here are some of my ideas for being frugal and protecting the environment/lowering my carbon footprint:
Find creative ways to use the food in our refrigerator, not allowing it to go to waste.
Shop according to the seasons and the sales for food: more leeks in winter, more tomatoes in summer, and if we need to eat pork for one week or chicken for a whole week that's okay.
Buy less expensive cuts of meat: whole chicken instead of boneless/skinless breasts, Costco frozen Alaskan wild salmon instead of whatever's at Thriftway, pork tenderloin instead of beef tenderloin, ground beef instead of steak, etc. Save "special" cuts of meat for "special" occassions.
Cook one vegetarian meal per week, and one egg-based meal per week.
Make organic, whole grain bread instead of buying it.
Avoid situations which prompt impulse shopping: trips to Target, Costco, shopping trips with friends, Carmelia's, Marshall's etc. When necessary to go to these places, go in with a list and stick to it.
Lower the thermostat to 66 (it has been at 67 for the past few months, down from 68) and keep it there. Put on a sweater!
Avoid coffee shops except as social destinations. Make coffee at home.
Pack a lunch for Ryan daily.
Use vinegar and baking soda as primary household cleaners.
Switch from disposable Swiffer products to old cut-up t-shirts for rags.
Take Tessa swimming at the Y once a week instead of taking her to swimming lessons.
Use the library and Hisatomi-flix for DVDs, including exercise DVDs.
Sell clothing that is still fashionable but doesn't fit well to consignment shops.
Trade books at Leisure Books, and refrain from buying books.
Refrain from buying magazines (save cost of magazine plus the desire to spend that magazines focus on!).
Never shop as a leisure activity.
Walk instead of driving whenever possible, including Tues/Thurs to and from preschool and Fri home from preschool. Take Shep for these walks.
Burn music CDs from friends (and share mine) instead of buying them.
For gifts, give home-made bread, etc. Keep gift costs low, and announce to friends/family the intent to stop the gift exchanges.
Plan ahead for the holidays - how to cut expenses/gift giving, and how to lower costs by being more organized (e.g. make jam in June).
Resume hiking as a leisure activity; encourage family to join (pack a picnic, spend the day).
Reduce entertaining expenses by having only one family over at a time, or by having potlucks.
Reduce wine intake.
If necessary to buy, buy used: Goodwill, Funky Jane's, Small Clothes, ACS Thrift, Senior Thrift, Leisure Books, etc.
Participate in Michele's "Ecomoms" group, learning how to lower carbon footprint and be economical.
Go on a crusade to turn off lights in the house.
Research how to use gray-water to water the garden.
Take the bus to doc appts or find free parking areas. Research canning, dehydrating, freezing, storing fruits and vegetables. Make jam.


*susan* said...

This is clearly a new step in your life, but this:

Burn music CDs from friends (and share mine) instead of buying them

is a little upsetting. Please remember that musicians need an income too!

Kristina said...

*Susan* you're absolutely right. Thanks for the reminder, dear girl! :-)

*susan* said...

love ya'... and you know that.