The poorer I’ve gotten, the more radical I’ve become. After leaving an abusive relationship, I moved in with an ex who is an ex for good reason but not nearly as bad as the bastard I escaped from. Because of PTSD, I stopped working and in the meantime, my car broke down and most of the people I had come to rely on turned out to be not-so-reliable.
Anyway, I’m on the mend and looking for a job in advocacy but in the meantime, I’ve had to learn to live off of my savings and really stretch my resources. This has been a blessing in disguise. Since I’m anti-capitalism, patriarchy, all that hierarchical, dominance/submission bullshit, I’ve welcomed the opportunity to stick it to the man by getting my needs met for free or little-to-no money.
So here are some cost-saving tips so help you become more self-sufficient, more subversive and less likely to feed the capitalist machine.
Besides being a good way to save water and money during the drought, here are some ways to recycle water and make the most of what you already use.
I hate shortening my showers. It’s the one thing I do for myself that feels luxurious, relaxing and rejuvenating. So, if you like taking long showers, make the most of your time by filling a bucket with the cold water (while your shower heats up) to use to wash your delicates like socks and underwear. In addition to cutting down on your laundry loads, this will help these clothing items last longer.
When you wash your face and brush your teeth, soap up without water. The saliva in your mouth is enough to start a nice foam and as much as I thought it might not work, the skin on my face is actually a lot better since I stopped using water to lather up. I leave it on while I brush my teeth and rinse my mouth and face with cool water at the end. With no water on your face, you don’t have to worry about the face wash getting in your eyes.
Don’t pre-soak your dishes but whenever you need to wash your hands in the kitchen, do it over your dirty dishes and allow the soapy water to flow onto them. You can also pour the water that’s collected in thoroughly soaked dishes and pour it into newly dirtied dishes.
Whenever you’re waiting for water from your faucet to heat up, grab a sponge and use the cool water to clean–this, in turn, cuts down on your overall cleaning and use of harmful chemical cleaners.
Eating what you want to, when you want to or sticking to a diet can be rough when you’re trying to save money or just stop buying so much stuff. I use the Safeway app for money-saving offers and I’ve become quite the chef! Cooking doesn’t have to be a pain. It can actually be a really fun, creative outlet and if you don’t have certain ingredients, start looking for recipes that do without (like eggs and dairy–I’ve made some AMAZING eggless desserts). Also, look for ways to use the million-year old canned food and pasta in the pantry to combine into something delicious. We had tons of unused pasta and I turned it into MANY delicious meals.
FREEZE YOUR FOOD. Meat, bread, rice and sauce freeze really well so if you’re not sure you’re going to eat your leftovers the next night, pop them in the freezer.
SAVE THE REMNANTS! When Christmas rolled around last year, I was fearful it would be miserable because I didn’t have any money. Instead, I got creative. I bought the cheapest ingredients I could find–candy canes, chocolate, sugar and cinnamon–and made peppermint bark and cinnamon sugar almonds. I used the remnants of each of these dishes as toppings for snicker-doodles and brownies.
This was actually the most fun thing to lack and need. I already had a sewing machine I’d been dying to learn how to use so I did. I’m still not a pro but instead of buying new pants, I learned to make the old ones fit better. Anything that didn’t fit, I styled into something new and different that did and the only money I spent was on thread and buttons. Also, I did plenty of hand-sewing which can be really relaxing.
You can learn how to make the things you need and make use of the things you have. Also, you don’t have to go dumpster diving if it isn’t your thing. You can still find low-cost or no-cost stuff that’s really useful. Instead of looking for the EXACT things you want, look for the key ingredients, the essential qualities that you want and need.
Hopefully this stuff helps you to save money, be more creative and maybe reduce your reliance on consuming mass amounts of unnecessary crap that ultimately feeds the capitalist machine!
P.S. Learn to laugh at yourself when you make mistakes, there’s a HUGE learning curve when trying new things but the mistakes you make while learning can be HILARIOUS.