Changing Our Approach
With a new month, comes a new home budget. Last month, we managed to keep the spending right where I wanted it mostly due to the fact that I monitored our spending like a hawk. What is it about a new place that makes you want to throw all your old spending habits right out the window? Budgets be damned.
Sometimes I think, I should chill out. It’s not like we’re living paycheck to paycheck. What I’ve found out, however, is when I let loose and expand the budgets to allow for more consumption I ultimately regret it because a lot of it is wasted or not maximized. When we moved, I bought stuff to complete a multitude of projects that were “urgent”. We’re only now getting around to those projects, months later.
I believe the best way to execute large bouts of spending is over a longer period of time so you can make the necessary adjustments, do the research and then the work. This is one of those things that I mostly practice, but occasionally forget.
I have to remind myself that going zero waste is a process. I can’t just stop making trash, no matter how guilty I feel about it. I also can’t accelerate this process by throwing more money at the problem because the habits behind the problem won’t change. So I’m going to slow down our transition to zero waste and only replace things as we need them so it will fit within our existing budget, giving us more time to research, adapt and ultimately change, so the swaps will be sustainable in the long term.
Toothbrushes I bought a small batch from Brush with Bamboo, after reading that is was recommended by some of my favorite zero wasters. I was glad to see that the packaging, including the packaging that looks like plastic is compostable. Although the bristles are not recyclable, I’m planning on sticking them in the garden (bristles and all) to identify what I’ve planted. I actually really like this toothbrush, better than my plastic one because the head is much larger so the toothpaste foams up more. Luis also commented that he liked how it was neither too soft nor too hard.
Straws I’ve started packing a zero waste to go bag and leaving it in the car. In it I have reusable napkins, utensils, a mason jar, cloth bags and baggies for produce and bulk bins and a large container for restaurant leftovers. I got some straws from Life Without Plastic to complete my kit.
Water filter Ever since I got Luis to switch to a low carb diet, we hardly drink anything besides water in the house. We’ve needed a new Brita filter for a while now so instead of replacing it, I got a Binchotan Charcoal Water Filter from Life Without Plastic instead. They didn’t have a smaller size available so I had to go with an extra large which I figured would be enough for our Brita filter. Nope. It’s enough to filter 3-5 gallons. Sweet. We have a huge mason jar water dispenser that I love using but hate filling with the Brita because it takes for-ev-er. Now that we can filter it as a batch I won’t get in trouble for not refilling the pitcher 🙂 We’re going to try drinking our first batch later.
Laundry Soap As I’m looking for replacements, I want to avoid making complex recipes or any recipes at all really. I want to make things as easy as possible so the change will take as much time as what we’re doing now. Rather than make a laundry soap, I opted for soap nuts. Luis has psoriasis so I can’t just use anything and the soap nuts appear to be fairly mild and may even help with the psoriasis. Wouldn’t that be something.
Air Freshener Personally, I think air freshener is unnecessary but Luis keeps buying it so I had to come up with a suitable replacement to convince him to stop. Three weeks ago, I filled a Parmesan shaker with about half an inch of baking soda and put 5 drops of clove (his favorite) essential oil and 5 drops of citronella. It smells amazing and it’s been going strong for 3 weeks. Every time the scent starts to dissipate, you shake it up and it releases more scent into the air. The baking soda also absorbs odors, although I’m not sure if that is really making a difference because all I care about it the sweet deliciousness. It’s like zero waste crack. I found some small mason jars at Assistance League thrift store with gorgeous lids so I made some zero waste air fresheners for the cars. I may have a problem.