Saturday, 29 July 2017

Party time

Week 4 has not been difficult. There was a party (more about that below)
and thankfully, no dilemmas in sight! I made the decision not to order the name badge for work because why would I miss something I never had? Thank you to the readers who gave such sound advice.

I visited my two favourite haunts this week to purchase food staples and groceries. The Source, Rhodes store is always fun with its wide aisles and great products. Thanks to the lovely young lady who happily weighed my containers, searched for black tea and recommended which protein balls were the best! She also handled with aplomb the customer who wanted a plastic bag for his one purchase (already in a paper bag). Some people don't quite get the idea behind the store...
Here are some of the goodies I purchased on this visit:

I am enjoying my black tea leaves from the store. An avid tea drinker, I vacillate between loose leaf and teabags, but after seeing / reading about the plastic used in making teabags I have relinquished by tea bags for good!

Orange Grove Organic markets are held every Saturday morning with wonderful produce to be found. The wonderful thing about the markets is that if you go prepared with your bags and containers you don't need to buy anything with plastic. I was tempted by the fresh cut flowers because they smelt so beautiful but I didn't need them and they didn't fit into my ethos of only buying food or medical/health products.

So with all my beautiful produce I ready for my first ever 'clothes swap' party!

The lovely ladies from work (Giti, Giselle, Romayne and Sonya) all arrived with bags of fantastic clothes to swap. We had fun trying on clothes, drinking champagne and having a laugh. So keen to do it all again soon and to show off our 'new' looks at work! This is a great way to gain yourself a new outfit without spending any money and contributing to the consumerist fast fashion environment we live in.

Try it - I guarantee you'll have a great time and add at least one new fashion item to your wardrobe!

Saturday, 22 July 2017

A dilemma and a lesson learned

Week three of my six months’ challenge and I’m having lots of fun watching my seedlings grow (hope that it's veggies coming up not weeds!) and making paper waste bin liners. It’s easier than it looks if anyone wants to try it – you can find out how here.

This week I faced a dilemma and I would love readers’ feedback.  TAFE NSW is going through a major restructuring and due to the changes, we have new business cards and name badges. We have been instructed to go online and order ourselves the new-style name badge – they come in lots of pretty colours. But I can’t make myself do it. Most other staffers in my section have their new name badge and I’m must admit I’m a bit jealous.

So what to do?  Let’s break it down:

·        The badges appear to be made of plastic and magnets

·        They look great

·        Work is paying for them so technically I won’t be purchasing it

·        But do I really need it? I’ve lived without a name badge for ten years at TAFE – do I really need one now?

I would love some input on this dilemma please :)

The important lesson I learned this week involved a very cute pair of shoes I bought the week before I started my challenge. I was shopping with the gorgeous Lily (my Melbourne-resident daughter) and we ventured in to DFO for a bit of retail therapy. I have always had a weakness for shoes, especially when shopping with Lil. She has great fashion sense and we have fun when perusing the shoe stores.

The first shop we entered was having a 70% sale and we were both drawn to a pair of mustard coloured leather loafers. They didn’t have any in Lil’s size but they did in mine – or so I thought. The first pair was slightly too big and the second slightly too small. ‘They will stretch,’ said the shop assistant. ‘And they’re only twenty dollars.’

Twenty bucks! What a bargain. I put the smaller size on and walked around. They were sort of comfortable (they weren’t). Only twenty dollars! I’d better get them.

I pulled them out to wear this week. They are too small and too uncomfortable. What a waste! They may have been cheap but I shouldn’t have bought them. I was sucked in by the sale.

And this is what consumerism does to us. If it’s a bargain, we’d better buy it as we are saving money - no we’re not if we don’t wear it! And we are definitely not doing the planet any favours.

Thankfully I think I’ve found a home for them. But I’m mad at myself for wasting my money and the resource. Lesson learned.

Saturday, 15 July 2017

It all adds up

 Week 2

My second week of 'buy nothing new for 6 months' has presented me with some interesting challenges. I thought it would be an worthwhile exercise to keep total of what I would've spent and what alternatives I've come up with. Let's start with the garden.

Challenge 1

About this time every year we prepare our veggie patch for planting of the summer produce. We would spend upwards of $100 (at least!) buying plants and seedlings for the garden. Our favourite place to buy our plants is at the monthly Berry Country Fair. The produce is always fantastic and lovingly grown to sell to gardeners of all types. I could probably have justified buying the plants as they were for food but it would mean bringing more plastic containers into the house, and I already had seedling trays from previous years' purchases. Light bulb moment - I'll grow my own from seeds! We had stacks of seeds from Eliza's time working in the Auburn Friendship Garden  so I set up seedling trays and pots to grow (hopefully) our summer crop. This will certainly test my green thumb!

Challenge 2 

One of my favourite pastimes is to spend a few hours in a book store and choose a few titles to be going on with. Not now! It will be borrowing books and visiting the library or re-reading old favourites. This week I borrowed the classic Around the World in Eighty Day from my son Zac. Awesome read 😃 and a saving of about $30.

Challenge 3

Birthday presents...
This week I attended my godson's 10th birthday party and for this I required a present. I wanted to get Tom something cool that he would like but without purchasing an object. So I had to put my thinking cap on. An activity or experience would be good. Skateboarding lessons won out! Nil cost advantage as buying a tangible object vs. an experience cost about the same.

Challenge 4

We have recently moved in to an apartment. There was no microwave and I thought we could manage without one. However it soon became apparent that we missed this convenience. We had two old ones at our coast house so I brought the smaller one (about 7 years old) back to the apartment and dug the 30 year old monster out of the garage for the coast house (wedding present). Works perfectly!! Which goes to show you don't need to throw things out because they are unfashionable. If they still work - keep using it. Saving here anywhere between $50 - $300 depending on the type of microwave purchased.
Savings for the week - around $200. Good job JB! 😌


Thursday, 6 July 2017

Freedom from what?

Tyranny? The media? A bad hair day?
Possibly, but probably not.

I've been on a personal journey over the past few years to reduce my footprint on this planet. Inspired by by my greenways daughter Eliza, I've adopted the 'no plastic bag', installed an urban composter (check out your local Council to see if you can get a discounted Bokashi bin), started an organic veggie patch
and tried to convince everyone at work to use their own coffee mug at the Cafe O (shout out to Fred and Nashwa who were discounting coffee for the caffeine heads with their own mugs before it became cool). But I wanted to do more.

Our household tried to go plastic free and did well for a while, but we need to maintain the rage. My husband Mick refashions old household items into re-purposed objects but needs more room and time.

I've even considered Dumpster Diving with Eliza but fear of authority has put that on the back burner for now.

So what to to do... what to do...

After watching the excellent series War on Waste by Craig Ruecassel and being blown away by Ep 3. and the horror that is fast fashion, I have decided to relinquish my "consumer-driven life" (10 things I hate about you) and to BUY NOTHING NEW FOR 6 MONTHS.

Now I'm not a huge buyer anyway: economics, time and indecision see to that, but I thought this would be an excellent opportunity to see how often I do want to buy something and learn to live without these supposed 'must have' items. Do I really need a new garlic press, or those cute boots? Will my green lounge stay safely off the verge, not to be replaced by something more stylish? I'm hoping to feel less constrained by what the world tells me I should be wearing, using, driving and owning. And be more content with what I have and find inventive ways to repair, re-purpose and reuse items that are apparently past their used-by date.

Of course there will be some items that will be purchased new over the next six months. These are food, toiletries and medications. However food will be sourced as much as possible in plastic-free containers and from sustainable sources. All toiletries will be carefully considered as to whether they can be dismissed or are vital to maintaining health (and friends - not going soap-free for anything!). And hopefully medications won't be very necessary.

I want to record what I didn't buy, see if my life continued on ok without it and see how much money I saved. Perhaps by the end of the year I would have saved up enough money to buy something I really want/need (like that ZaZen water cooler I've bend eyeing off).

So one week in to this challenge I can see I'm going to be challenged! Just ducking into the local craft store to buy more wool won't do, so I've started digging out old balls of wool and will unpick an unworn vest to knit into something else. It's going to be an interesting 6 months and I'll hope you'll join me on my march to freedom 😬.

Two months in and going strong

It's been a busy couple of weeks and I'm pleased to say we got the dryer fixed. It wasn't the door mechanism as I thought - it w...