Friday, October 29, 2010

My ticker

So in my effort to find more ways in which I can be ridiculously cheap studiously thrifty, I've started trying to pay attention to any areas where I may be thoughtlessly spending - that is to say, areas where I'm spending without really thinking about it. And it wasn't until recently that I had (what my dear husband would call) an "apostrophe!" (also known in the english speaking world as a epiphany! Ready? Here it comes.

Wait for it...

I spend a TON of money on things we turn right around and Throw.a.way.

Like what? Well, I'll give you some examples:
  • trash bags
  • paper towels
  • sandwich baggies
  • freezer ziplocks
  • baby wipes
  • dishwasher detergent
  • laundry detergent
  • hand soap
  • dish soap
Now, of course, each of these items has a use prior to it's disposal. Let's not forget for a moment that paper towels have HUGE value in my home. I GREATLY appreciate my ability to grab
one and wipe off my jelly covered child. Likewize, hand soap is very useful...

But the point I'm getting at is that these are things which we use - and then they are gone. These things are - da da da DA - Consumables.

And so I should be carefully watching my "spending" not only ON these items, but OF these items. (yes, this is self talk. I know you aren't stupid, you probably already had this figured out. I just need to get it out of my brain by way of my fingertips so it will STICK in my head)

So in order to get my consumables-spending (the amount of consumables I use in a day, not the number of dollars I spend on them - that's a closely related topic for another day) under control, I've come up with a concept - a word picture - That gets me thinking. I picture a digital ticker above my head. Every time I use something (something that will be DONE once I use it) That digital display ads to it the cost of that item.

Think about it - each paper towel, each baby wipe, each ziplock, dryer sheet, ounce of detergent, drop of dish soap - they all have a price.

By the end of an entire year I'm willing to bet I've "consumed" hundreds of dollars in consumables, most of which benefit me only in the sense that they save me time. And I'm not discounting that. Time is valuable. MY TIME is valuable. There are SOME things that are totally worth the money for saving my time. Disposable baby wipes would most certainly fall into this category. (This is where I could explain why, but you don't want the dirty details, believe you me. Suffice it to say I MADE MY OWN cloth wipes, and now they function as rags because I AM DONE using cloth wipes. Ahem.) Trash bags are another of these things, because there's no way I have either the time, energy, or desire to compost and recycle EVERY piece of trash we produce.

Maybe, like me, you're pinching your pennies. If that's the case, I encourage you to take a hard look at the things you consume on a daily basis (no, not food, silly. Yet another related topic for another day). Small changes add up to BIG change - our small change for the week is placing a stack of those under-utilized cloth baby wipes next to our paper towel dispenser. I'm going to do my best to grab one of those when I need to wipe up a quick mess, instead of grabbing something I'm just going to throw away.

What are you going to do?


Hilary said...

That's very interesting...and true. Something I do is line my garbage cans (I have small-ish garbage cans) with plastic grocery-store bags. You have to take out the garbage more often (but I have to do that anyway to avoid the stench, especially down here in Florida), but you also don't have to use expensive garbage bags up. Thanks for posting your thoughts...

Honest to Christina said...

This is the hardest thing for me - using less consumables.

One thing I did was switch from ziplock baggies in my lunches/storage to these:

they are awesome, washable, last forever and support a mom with her own business. They are the best reusable bags I have found so far for a reasonable price.

It's one of those things that you have to justify spending the money upfront inorder to save in the long run, which is hard.

Anyway, you inspired me and this week I am going to try and start to steer clear of paper towels!