Sometimes I write a post where there’s overlap and I am not entirely sure which blog it belongs in. So I wrote about the great deal gardeners and composters can get at Starbucks on my local town blog Camp Verde Life.
This is a real win-win for those who are green and frugal - Used Coffee Grounds Free at Starbucks. You can pretty much just keep going back and getting as much grounds for your soil amendment purposes as you need. And this keeps potentially thousands of pounds of grounds daily out of the landfills. They go through a lot of coffee.
And if that wasn’t enough caffeinated good news - all Starbucks now offer free WIFI.Filed under Frugal Living, Self-Reliance, green living | Comments (3)
When you buy a home all by your lonesome, there are many papers to sign. And you have to run all over town to do everything - the realtor needs another signature. The title company needs you. The insurance company. The water company wants to see you in person, for some reason, unlike the electric company or my cable internet provider. My phone is ringing and ringing with different things I need to do RIGHT AWAY, every day, before escrow is fulfilled and I hand over a large check to get house keys in return.
Now it’s the last weekend before the close of escrow on Thursday. I hope that by Monday I will know exactly how large a cashier’s check will be needed.
Since I have my water and electric already on, it feels real. I spent a few hours watering the trees, bushes, yuccas and bamboo in the yard. I can’t have my plants dying before I even more in.
One dead pine will have to come down - but a small one. And it’s removal will improve my already wonderful view. The dead pine will give me firewood. It’s all good.
I am already looking into chickens. I can get three laying hens at any time. All I will need is some kind of dog house for a roost and some chicken wire fencing.
I’ve been looking into organic heirloom seeds for my garden. I know it’s starting late, but I can still get some tomatoes and radishes going.
Too many dreams going already for my eco-home, but I can’t officially get started until enough papers change hands.Filed under All About Me, Self-Reliance, green living | Comment (0)
Okay, here is my breakdown of selling recyclables in the Prescott area of Arizona, trip number two:
- 100 lbs steel - Called Tin and White Goods - $7.70 (all kinds of neat stuff - horseshoes, a vintage metal tennis racket, old garden implements, random steel bricks, rebar, wire hangers, nails/screws/washers, steel cans, car parts, pulleys)
- 16 lbs Aluminum Cans - $8.80
- 2 lbs Painted Aluminum - .95 (this was a washing machine door i found on the side of the highway)
- 4 lbs Aluminum Breakage - .75 (aluminum window screen panes)
- 1 lbs Insulated Copper - $1.02 (this was old cords/wiring found on the side of the road)
- 5 lbs Yellow Brass - $7.98 (fittings found in an old lot, under the duff under some bushes)
- 4 lbs Tin and White Goods - .31 (small random steel objects i didn’t unload from the first weighing - this was mainly bottle caps I’ve been picking up along the roads)
So my total was $27.51 in cash that I received from Yavapai Metal Recycling in Dewey, AZ. I had another coupon for an additional 10%, so the total would have been less without that coupon (which came in the mail).
I have a birthday coming soon and I asked DH for a metal detector. Let’s see if I get one! I would love that. Not only could it help me collect small metals (and hopefully more brass and copper), I might find gold and silver jewelry, or old coins.
Along these lines - when you constantly scan the ground for metal, you also find a lot of coins. Not just pennies! Yesterday I found a quarter and a penny, and another day I found several dollars worth of nickels, dimes and pennies. In this dirt/gravel driveway alone I usually find a penny or dime around every other day (the rains keep stirring things up).
I have a jar I keep just for found money. When it gets full, I roll the coins up and bring them to my bank. Finding even a penny makes me feel happy!Filed under All About Me, Frugal Living, Self-Reliance, green living | Comments (4)
I felt both hopeful and appalled by a visit yesterday to my local Refuse Transit Station, the place where trash waits to be brought to its final resting place in an Arizona landfill.
Basically, I wanted to see what people throw away.
I try to recycle, compost and donate everything possible. My personal goal is No Net Trash. An unrealistic standard to be true: even native cultures had midden heaps. I figure with a high standard for myself, the end results should be pretty good. I felt inspired to see what ends up going to the landfill in my community.
First I spoke to the employee taking in the trash. I asked him where this stuff goes (to the landfill). I asked if anything gets recycled (some things yes, some no). I asked if people could come to the transit station and buy/bring useful salvage home (the answer is a firm no).
Okay. I looked around the various heaps. A hill of tires gets recycled into components of asphalt. Car batteries and motor oil are recycled. Scrap metal is sold to junk recyclers. All good so far.
Sad limp mattresses piled high to the sky: landfill-bound. Pallets and carpets and construction debris - landfill. Household castoffs - landfill. And a HUGE mountain range of landscape waste - sadly, all to be buried in a landfill.
When I asked why the county doesn’t mulch the green waste, the employee told me that was a really good question and to ask the county supervisor. When I asked about salvage of usable items he repeated his request. I thought that was a pretty good answer, actually. He gave me a list of prices, of what the costs are for bringing our trash to the transit station, so I could be armed with the facts if I ever followed through to speak with the county.
Then I wandered over to the metal heap to actually eyeball what gets tossed. It was interesting and enlightening. This small mountain contained many useful items that could have been brought to a thrift store. While a large bulk of items were large appliances like fridges, stoves, dishwashers and laundry machines, I also saw nice bicycles, a ton of outdoor lounge chairs in great shape, perfectly fine upscale baby strollers, outdoor BBQs, folding camping chairs, metal shelving and wheel barrows.
Some of these things needed a small amount of fixing to be usable, like the bicycles. And some were in great shape and ready for another lifetime of use.
Since this pile was the metal heap, slated for recycling, I couldn’t feel too sad about all these useful items: at least they were not destined for the landfill. Their metal parts would be stripped and recycled.
And I was pleased the tires were to be chipped and reused by the county in our roads. A local resident told me this was a new thing - that only in the last year were tires diverted from the landfill. So a very positive step.
Yet the green wastes really bothered me. I’ve lived in cities that mulch up their yard waste and let people take the nutritious bits for their gardens and landscaping needs. In the high desert, tossing such a source of ground nutrients into aerobically dead landfills is more than a waste. It’s almost a sin.
The useable, salvageable goods are another missed opportunity. Why not let people buy some of these things? We live in a horribly depressed area of the West. There are some very nice items that don’t belong in a landfill. Why not set usables aside for possible purchase? Or arrange for a tax break by letting charitable thrift stores pick them up each week?
It’s probably a matter of looking into the system. Of talking to the county and seeing if there are plans for these kinds of enlightened changes. Maybe such changes are already coming down the pike? Or maybe I can influence my local government into creating a committee, a long term plan, for diverting non-waste from landfills?Filed under Frugal Living, Self-Reliance, green living | Comments (7)
I just read a wonderful book on essays from people who do extreme recycling and dumpster diving.
So here is my question: have you ever taken anything out of a dumpster? How would you feel if you got ‘caught’?
I will start: sometimes I grab recyclables from dumpsters and recycle them. Like if a ton of cardboard boxes are in there, or a bag of cans. Usually there is a recycling bin right there and all I have to do is take a second to move things a bit.
Sometimes I see actual goodies in there, which makes me feel confused. Like once I saw FOUR whole unopened bags of Wee Wee pads. Those things, for dogs, are not cheap. I looked around to see if anyone saw me and reached in and grabbed two of them. I figured I would grab the other two as I walked by next time, since i needed a stick to grab those.
Unfortunately, when I came back the other two bags were totally buried by a whole dump load of landscape waste. I still feel badly about this. If I had not let me pride get ahead of me I would have had two more bags of expensive wee wee pads, and also kept something useful out of the waste stream.
It is much easier to take things when people kindly leave them outside the dumpster (like RV lawn chairs - I have gotten about six really nice ones that way and many other useful things). But I feel embarrassed to actually reach in and root around.
I don’t want to have to feel that way. I want to feel pleased to be helping the planet. Yet there is a stigma.
What do others do when you see nice things in and around dumpsters?Filed under Frugal Living, Self-Reliance, green living | Comments (15)
I love working out at home. It’s so much easier to keep up with fitness when it’s in the comfort of my own living room, in front of MY TV, with good sound, temperature control and all the comforts of home. I don’t have to worry about what I am wearing (I can work out in my pajamas if i want to), I am not bothered by other people and their sweat/germs, I don’t have to wait for equipment, I don’t have to drive anywhere, and it’s far cheaper to own something than rent something, which is in essence what you are doing at a gym.
My home gym set up: In the livingroom, we have a treadmill and skiing type machine, yoga/stetch mats (also yoga block and strap), two twist boards, pullup/crunches bar, a weighted medicine ball, hand weights, a fitness ball, ab roller, a jump rope, a stretch rope for resistance training, boxing gloves and various workout DVDs (yoga, trance dance, tai chi, chi gong, Tae bo). While we watch TV each night we climb on our machines and work out. I’d love to add a punching bag and a Wii Fit system.
These are all things we’ve added to the mix over time. We use them all. I love having these options at home, in front of my own TV/DVD player (if I am watching something, I can’t get bored). We hardly even just sit there on the couch like vegetables. Even just stretching is making good use of our TV time.
I also have my walking, running and hiking shoes by the door. I count that as home gym stuff too.
If someone was just starting out, and didn’t have much room, I’d suggest getting a twist board (under ten dollars at Amazon.com), a yoga mat, a weighted ball (4 or 6 pounds is plenty), very light hand weights (1 or 3 pounds), and some DVDs with movement training that interests you (martial arts? kickboxing? yoga? Jane Fonda doing aerobics?). I’d suggest getting a used treadmill from Craigslist for $100, or a cycle machine (used these can be like $20).
Or go the Wii route and not worry about getting anything else. Between all the fitness choices they’ve added, you get your whole virtual gym covered.
Do you have any home fitness equipment? Do you use it? what would you have in your perfect home gym?Filed under Family Life, Self-Reliance, fitness, yoga | Comments (4)
Are there things you pay for each month that are not actually necessary? Depending on how frugal you need to be, there are plenty of things that can be worked around.
For example, having a land lone phone isn’t as important as it was not long ago. DH and I get along pretty well with cell phones. And we are staring to think that even cell phones are not crucial, since Skype is so cheap.
We don’t have cable for TV since we can watch just about everything online. We download older series’ and we use hulu mostly for new programs.
We don’t pay for trash service; I take care of recycling on my own, compost what i can, reduce my waste as much as possible, and trash what is left in various dumpsters or in friend’s trash bins. This saves us $18 a month, which does add up. It makes me feel happy to be more self-reliant, and it’s a fun game to see how little waste my household can produce.
We’ve changed over all our regular, wasteful lightbulbs to compact florescent bulbs from the dollar store. This will save us hundreds of dollars each year on our electric bills! I’m not off the grid yet, but someday I dream we will power our home completely from solar sources.
We buy used for most of our clothes, shoes, outdoor gear, gardening tools, home decor and books. There are thrift stores, garage sales, craigslist, ebay, etc.
We work out at home and outside rather than having a gym membership, using home equipment, walking and hiking shoes, yoga mats, fitness DVS and a pullup bar. (no, i can’t do a pullup, but dan can. I just hang from it)
Since we work at home, we really only use the one car. We’ve lived in many places where we only have one vehicle, halving all kinds of associated fees.
What ways do others find to keep their budget items low and eliminate costs entirely?Filed under Family Life, Frugal Living, Organization, Self-Reliance | Comments (2)