06 April 2008

Time to update on March and set my April challenge

March was a pretty good month. I achieved my March challenge which was to sort out cupboards and assess what was in my gift stash etc

I also had a general clean up/out and freecycled alot of stuff. Spending was lower than the previous month but not enough. Now when I say spending I actually mean bills, rent, petrol and food. I generally don't spend on anything else. I have discovered that not going into opshops for a browse is a good idea because I come out with stuff whether I needed it or not. Thus, spending when I don't really need to.

I have also discovered that grocery shopping is dangerous and have changed the way I do it. I always tried to keep the first shop of the fortnight down to a minimum (ideally under $100), however I realised this meant frequent trips back to the shops over the fortnight for forgotten items etc and it also meant IMPULSE BUYS more often! Soooooooo, for March I tried something different. I made sure I bought EVERYTHING and only made one trip back to greengrocers in the fortnight to replenish fruit/veg and I spent far less on food. This worked a treat and I will now do it this way always. Before I was probably spending around $200 on food and a large portion was impulse, now I spend around $160 and very few impulse buys. I am pretty happy with that. Although, has anyone else noticed a recent hike in prices of things on the grocery shelves?

Petrol was down, amazing what a difference school holidays made, and being aware car usage and actually planning where I go when so as to be more economical. I actually used less than a full tank of juice last fortnight!!! amazing! Unfortunately with school and daycare runs being further than walking distance I can't do to much to minimise there.

I have now completely elliminated gladwrap (plastic wrap) from our house. I am really proud of myself on this front as I was a dedicated user. It has been a month and I am free.
Instead of plastic I use containers more, if it is a bowl of leftovers I will pop a plate on top, sandwiches for school go in brown paper bags that are leftover from a market stall I did. When these run out I do have some plastic sandwich bags taht I will use up that are also from the market stall. Some foods can also stay in the pot/dish they were cooked in as well.

I have reduced my recycling too. I am taking more notice of packaging and such. I have also arranged to give alot of recycling (yogurt containers etc) to the school art room. Mind you, this reduces my amount of blue bin waste but then I worry that whoever takes home craft made by my donations won't recycle when it is finished with. Bit of a dilemma there. Would love to hear your comments on this.

With winter on the way I have moved furniture around and made a few changes to rooms so as to utilise the heating etc better. As it is a rental and I am pretty sure uninsulated there are limitations. I have ducted heating that isn't overly great. It really needs more vents for this size house but I can't do much about that. I have moved the furniture around in the lounge and family room areas, closed off a door in the lounge as well and the few times we have had the heater on recently there has been a marked difference which is great. I am still a great one for putting on extra layers or using a blanket to keep warm rather than put heating on. My kids are great for it too and love to sit snuggled in doonas.

I have been steadily making gifts. I made a gorgeous kimono cardigan for my friends daughter (see earlier post) and also a hat and socks for my dad. This month my nephew turns 1 so I am currently making a hat and little boots for him. Nienna will be 3 in a couple of weeks. I have knitted slippers for her but I am planning on felting them. I might do some leg warmers and socks too for her. Beren has requested some mittens so I will have to get on to those too before the cold weather passes us by.

So, with March being reasonably successful I have to organise my challenge for April. For this I have decided to reduce our outgoing waste. My bin is sinfully full every week and I hate it. A lot of it is food scraps and I am unsure how to deal with this. We have a successful worm farm set up but there is only so much they can eat and because I cook from raw products there is usually too many scraps for them to eat in a month. Again, due to renting and no where to put a compost I can't utilise this option. At least I don't think so, I may have to look into this. I thought of asking my neighbours if they have a compost and using theirs. Might do this! Anyway, I will be paying careful attention to the rubbish and what goes in it and will document weekly as to how full the bin is.
Today is putting out the garbage day and the amounts are:
Yellow bin small(general rubbish) - 1/2 full
Red bin large (green/garden waste) - full (lawn clippings etc)
Blue bin large(recycling) - not put out this week.

So, that is all for me folks. Would love to hear your tips or comments so don't be afraid! Back to the grind of school etc this week. My eldest little munchkin is champing at the bit to go back and doesn't think it is fair that he has to have holidays when he loves school so much! He also starts going 5days a week this term. Bless his cotton school sox.


Kez said...

You've done well in March! That's the way I do my shopping as well - a big fortnightly shop and then top up with f&v if needed. I did try monthly but I prefer fortnightly.

Theresa said...

You know I had a thought this week about reducing rubbish as a challenge so I think you read my mind!
What prompted me was taking the kitchen bin downstairs and washing it out, so not having a bin inside for the day - I actually had to really think about what to do with my waste.

We have a little basket for recycling, and my scrap bucket for worms & compost, but there were a few other things that I really couldn't do anything with and they were stacked on top of my deep freezer for the day - it was right in my face and really quite disgusting...

Good Luck with this challenge - can't wait to hear how it goes.

Me said...

Would a Bokashi system help with the kitchen scraps problem. I have a worm farm and a compost system, but sometimes over winter (worms slow down, but the kids seem to eat more food)I use a Bokashi bucket (I didn't buy a fancy one, just bought the fermenting stuff and a got a bucket with a tight fitting lid).

Kelli said...

I didn't think of a bokashi, thanks for that. I will have to look into it. All the ones I have seen have been very expensive and as I am on a buy nothing new challenge all year I will have to look into making my own or sourcing 2nd hand.

thanks again.

Me said...

You really don't need to buy an expensive bucket. Just get hold of a container with a tight fitting lid. I used a 10L white baker's type. Once it got full I left it out on the verandah to ferment some more, before using the concotion in the garden.

You may have to buy the fermenting stuff though, unless you make it up yourself. In which case you would have to buy the ingredients anyway.... Anyhow, good luck!

Bel said...

I love your challenges, they're really inspiring. I'm thinking I'll have to join you on some of them in the future.