Monday, August 31, 2009

#101 Plan Ahead

Often we need to plan ahead to be frugal and be green, either at the same time or separately. Actually, the post I had planned for today had to be postponed because I did not plan ahead. I had this craft planned for my daughter & I to complete and show you another way to reuse packaging materials, but as it turns out I did not have those food items in my pantry that I was going to use the packaging from (so, both dinner plans & crafting plans -- well, and blogging plans too) had to be changed.

As I went through my morning I started thinking about how planning ahead can save you money and also save you from comsuming additional resources. I started out by filling up my stainless steel water bottle with water from my tap and then adding some ice cubes and realized that if I didn't fill my ice cube tray frequently I might not have the ice I enjoy. And with a little bit of planning you can make sure you have a whole bunch of ice made up before a party or ona day you plan to make some frozen cocktails at home, otherwise you may feel compelled to run out & buy a bag of ice which causes you to spend money, use your car & gas, and create another plastic bag to be created & transported.

Then I spied the individual reuseable containers I had in the fridge with snacks & leftovers for my daughter. And it made me think about how much money & resources I save by using reusable containers and making snack size containers for her from larger containers of items rather than buying individually packaged snack items. And by having a few items ready to go, I can grab in a hurry and take along and be prepared for the call from the backseat saying "I'm hungry. Got anything to eat?" And then I don't feel compelled to buy anything from our destination or run through a drive-thru.

By planning ahead, you can try to incorporate several stops into one trip, thereby reducing how many individual car trips you need to make. If I am going to the gym in the nearby town, I try to make sure I plan playdates with friends there for right after the gym or we go to the library or run any errands while I am there so that I am not wasting my time, money for gas, or increasing my carbon footprint by taking multiple trips to the same town in one day. I know that is sometimes easier said than done and it is much easier to do with a preschooler than with a toddler or infant, or (probably) with more than one kid (I am soon to find this out). And if something comes up that I need to go to that town, I try to think about if it can wait a day or two until I am going there for something else.

I also need to do a little planning ahead when it comes to laundry if I want to hang clothes outside. When you consider I save about 50 cents per hour/load by line drying as opposed using dryer, those savings can really add up if if you are washing 7-10 loads a week. But I need to pay attention to the weather forecast and wash clothes on a day that it is not raining (or rain isn't in the forecast) and one where I will have the time to hang the clothes & take them off the line. I know sometimes you need to have something washed and it doesn't matter if you can hang it outside or not and you will have to dry.

Think about what conveniences you utlilize because you negelected to plan ahead. You might find out that with a little organization you can help save yourself some money and save the environment.

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