It's time for a reminder for myself as I see the water bill is going back up and I watch the Discovery channels series "Life". I realize I have already written about the 5 R's of basic frugality but I don't want to forget it all started with the 3 R's first.

The documentary “An Inconvenient Truth” helped me understand my impact on the world around me, and the documentary “Affluenza” helped me understand the amount of waste I have in my life, and the many documentaries I have seen about the poor conditions people live through in other countries helped me understand how incredibly rich I am in comparison.

Over the last few years I have tried to make it a purposeful attitude to want less and use less and find contentment in that. What a better way to prepare for any trouble times ahead.


  • Using Central Air minimally and making good use of fans that use less electricity.
  • Using cloth bags for grocery shopping and minimizing plastic bags.
  • Wearing clothes longer, airing them out, to reduce wear and tear and washing time.
  • Reducing waste by making more food from scratch and fewer prepackaged meals.
  • Buying fewer ‘new’ items and picking up 2nd hand items at goodwill and yard sales.
  • Emptying containers and finding ways to use them for storing left-over food or for organizing household items.
  • Getting the items I can’t re-use together and offering to someone who can through Craigslist for free or through freecycle or a Reuseit network.
  • Attempting to fix items before considering them a ‘loss’.
  • Understanding my rich life in relation to others.
  • Helping others out in anyway possible through giving food, clothes, or money.
  • Getting an attitude that commercials do not have the answers to life and know what makes me happy or content.
  • Taking responsibility for my financial mistakes and WORKING to correct them, so I don’t make them again.

I hope this has rattled your brain’s cage to realize that we are taking things one small step at a time and yet over time, those small steps are moving us across life with a better end result.

How are you reducing, reusing and reclaiming your life?


  1. Karen McLaughlin // Friday, March 26, 2010 8:27:00 AM  

    After getting an unexpectedly high electric bill, I realized I'd gotten a bit lax about turning off lights, etc and recommitted to being vigilant about it (and enlisting the help of the rest of the family!)

    Even though our family produces very little garbage, I'm always on the lookout for ways to reduce our waste further. Lately I have found new uses for apple cores (save in the freezer until you have a big container full, then make apple jelly) and lemon peels (found enough ideas that it's going to be a whole blog post!) I am also going to give homemade yogurt another shot - I tried it years ago and wasn't happy with the results; I'm prepared to be a bit more patient in my learning process this time - any "reject" batches can be used for cooking and smoothies :)Making my own yogurt will save both money and a lot of plastic containers!

  2. Dawn // Saturday, March 27, 2010 10:39:00 AM  

    Lax is a good word for it - I see the savings and I start to relax because I'm doing so well. Always good to do a self-check every now and then

  3. Hollis // Monday, March 29, 2010 7:53:00 AM  

    Good article. Years ago my family and I were big consumers; it was a supposedly a reflection of our success. Now my motto is "Simplify, spend less, waste not, think more, live well and give a lot."

  4. The Biz of Life // Monday, March 29, 2010 9:31:00 AM  

    I judge my success by how little recycling and garbage I produce. Buying right at the grocery store should produce less waste.

  5. Dawn // Monday, March 29, 2010 6:46:00 PM  

    Great motto! I hope you have that mounted on some wood somewhere :)