Last week, I asked for suggestions for what to do. Michelle suggested looking at my recycling habits. Initially I shrugged that off since our town has single sort recycling that is picked up weekly. Then I started looking closer. While there are drop points for glass recycling, it isn't part of the single sort pick up. We have to make a trip to drop the glass off, so we don't do it regularly. We don't have a good reason for not doing it at least weekly since one of the drop sites is in the parking lot next to where the kids go to school-it's not like we aren't there 6 days a week (also our church).
I went through the cabinets and collected these, plus a few others that I found in the dish drainer.
So, at this point I think I'm all good... then I went to grab a Wal-Mart bag (general name for plastic shopping bags) and a sense of realization smacked me in the head and called me a hypocrit. One of the most simple things to do to "be green" and I don't do it often enough. I don't bring my own bags when I do my shopping (hanging head and waiting for 50 lashes). I have several cloth bags and I take them to Aldi with me, but not to other stores. I can even get $.05 off for each bag I use at a couple of our stores. Yet, I can't seem to remember to do it.
Consequently, I have probably close to a hundred Wal-Mart bags hanging in my stairwell in one of those hideous bag sleeves that my Grandma made (sorry Grandma, they aren't very attractive). I made it a point all of last week to collect any plastic bag that I used and put it in one big bag to collect. I was astounded and embarrassed. It is jam packed full (bursting at the seams).
I have felt like I do a pretty good job of recycling, but this past week showed me how wrong I was. I will take my giant bag of bags to be recycled at Wal-Mart or maybe Target, and I WILL remember to bring my own bags with me from here on out.
Well, since I already hanging my head in shame, I might as well tack on week 43. My grocery budget has become a nightmare. Prices are increasing, summer produce is dwindling or already gone, and we have been eating out too much (like once every other week, but at $30 a pop, it will take a hit to the budget). Our budget, in general-not just food, is so out of control that this month we have to make double payments on 3 bills because we spent the money needed to pay them. Granted, not everything we bought was dumb, but it certainly wasn't planned for and if we are to continue to work on whittling down our debt and trying to eat better, we need to get our act in gear.
For the first time in a long time, I went to cash only for all extra expenses (monthly bills not included). My Azure Standard order was $200 this month, so that leaves $300 for the rest of the month-theoretically. However, since we are making double payments on some of our bills, that amount was cut. I got $125 on November 1st and will get $150 on November 15th.
Immediately the amount from the first was cut by $25 because there was a doctor copay that wasn't budgeted. So with $100 for two weeks, it has been pretty tight. With the Azure Standard order and the other items I buy in bulk, we certainly aren't in danger of starving, but I'm having to get creative in coming up with ideas that use either ground beef or chicken, as those are the only cuts of meat we have on hand. We are having a lot of bean based soups and vegetarian meals like breakfast for dinner or tortellini alfredo (not uber cheap, but it was tasty).
Tomorrow I will try to get my meal plan posted (did I mention I didn't do those for a month or so and that started the disintegration of my food budget-some people never learn!). I think I will go $5 over budget to pick up some ham. It won't be nitrate free, but this week I can't afford the super expensive stuff. And, if this is the first lunch meat we've eaten that has sodium nitrate in several months, surely we're better off than the fellow that eats it every day. At least that's what I'm telling myself.