Tuesday, 15 October 2013

Reducing my carbon footprint and increasing my savings!

I really truly believe sometimes that the world has gone mad. Myself included. I can see it is madness and yet I am still sucked into it. We work long hours and put our children in childcare all day to buy things we don't need. We then work even harder to buy a bigger house to house the things we don't want or need. It is now clutter. We complain that our houses are too small when really we have too much 'stuff'. We complain that we don't have enough money for essentials, yet our idea of essential has MASSIVELY changed from that of our Grandmothers. There are millions of exceptions to this rule but generally we have lost the ability to fend for ourselves and have become reliant on the supermarket giants to feed us, sometimes clothe us and to provide the things we need for every occasion (Christmas decorations, school costumes for book day and plays and all the other things we could do alone). Things that before they started producing them we were happy making ourselves.

I often think it might be easier, mentally and financially to learn a few lessons from our Grandparents. I think if my Nan was giving me advice it would be along these lines:

  1. Eat less and don't treat every meal like a 'banquet'
  2. Eat locally produced, in season food- it's cheaper and tastes better
  3. Don't do a massive shop every week- buy only what you need
  4. Make more food from scratch- learn to cook
  5. Mend rather than throw broken items away
  6. If you cannot pay cash, do not have it- with the exception of a mortgage
  7. Have occasional treats and bring children up to understand treats are occasional
  8. Make the most of free resources, from foraging fruit and veg to using the library
  9. Save.
The older generation didn't seem to be on a never ending crusade for bigger houses, better cars, more disposable income and constant material trappings. Perhaps they were, perhaps we are just better at it? I don't know. I think the tide is beginning to turn, people are less able and less willing to play the spending game. 

I am fed up of spending more time away from my family to strive towards the things I do not need, which will fill my life with junk and give me more to stress me out. I refuse to keep feeding my money into the big giants. And so we as a family have made a pledge *drum roll please*
  • We are going to shop local. Not the local Supermarket (with the exception of the co-operative supermarket in our small town) but the local fruit shop, delicatessen, butchers and farm shop.
  • I am going to keep a chart on my kitchen wall of what fruits and vegetables are in season and plan meals around these ingredients. This chart is not conclusive but it is a good enough start for me: http://eatseasonably.co.uk/what-to-eat-now/calendar/
  • I am not going to over buy. When I do a 'big shop' I tend to buy everything  I need for every occasion sometimes. I am going to make a conscious effort to only buy what we need to buy, when we need to buy it.
  • I am going to take advantage of reduced foods, using them to freeze or batch cook and freeze etc depending what it is.
  • I will be taking advantage of offers in my local shops to stock up on goods we use regularly for example when they are on offer. 
There are a few reasons for this, supporting my local economy and buying local are important to me. I am conscious of the air miles food travel to reach our plates and I would like to minimize my part in that. This is the one change I am making for 10:10 (you can read all about this wonderful initiative here: http://www.1010global.org/uk) Also, although some produce is more expensive, for the most part I think the local fruit and veg shop and butchers are cheaper and better quality than my local supermarket. The biggest issue for me is my overspending in supermarkets as they tend to have everything under one roof I find my shopping bill often creeps up.

This is a fairly easy challenge for me as I live in a small Country Town that has all of these amenities within walking distance. We moved here about eight months ago from the South Wales Valleys that did not have the amenities I would have required to do this. In which case my challenge would have altered to only buying locally produced, seasonal fruit and veg.

I have enjoyed reading so many inspiring blogs filled with peoples personal challenges and missions. I am naturally very nosy and love to see how other people live! One of my very favourite the blog Make Do and Mend Year. Jen and her family have pledged to buy nothing new (except some strict exceptions) for a year. It was in fact this post: http://mymakedoandmendyear.wordpress.com/2013/10/11/1010/ that inspired me to put my vague idea of only shopping locally into practice. 

So, I am going to raise a glass (of locally produced Apple Juice at this time of year!) to shopping locally, reducing air miles and reducing the opportunity the big supermarket giants have to brain wash me.

I will let you know how I get on...

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