In addition to being frugal, my husband and I try very hard to be as ecologically responsible as possible. Often, the two go hand in hand. Buying used stuff is a great way to help the earth, as it means that new stuff is not being manufactured for us. It’s the ultimate form of recycling, and easy on the budget as well.
We recycle everything that we can – paper, cardboard, plastic, metal, and glass. We try to buy things without a lot of packaging, and buy in bulk as much as we can. We refill water bottles instead of buying water. When we’re the only ones here, we follow the “if it’s yellow let it mellow” rule, and since we drink so much water, it takes a while to get yellow. We’ve xeriscaped most of our yard. I ride my bike to my library job, the bank, the thrift store, the post office, and the grocery store if I can fit everything into my bike basket. My husband works from home, so he doesn’t have to commute to work at all. We have a garden that we fertilize with compost. We use garlic and vinegar to keep bugs off our plants. I use vinegar to clean just about everything in our house. Being careful with natural resources has become second nature to us, and I rarely think about any of it anymore.
But we had been talking for quite a while about switching to wind power for our electricity. Most of the things that we do to help the planet also help us save money, or at least don’t cost money. But our energy company offers an option to pay extra on our electricity bill and have our power purchased from wind energy farms. We never knew exactly how much extra, and we had talked about it several times, but felt that we couldn’t afford to pay extra on our energy bill. Now that we’re feeling better about our finances, we’ve decided to make the switch to wind energy. We had no idea how much this would cost, so we went to the power company’s website and figured it out. It looks like it’s going to increase our monthly bill by a whopping $5. Can that be right? We’re signing up with our next bill, so we’ll see. But if that’s really the case, we’re kicking ourselves for not doing it earlier. We had assumed that it would be quite a bit more expensive than what we pay now. Once we get signed up and see our first bill, I’ll let you know if it’s really only $5. If it is, wouldn’t everyone be doing it? We shall see.