Unconsumerism

I seem to get into a habit of posting in spurts and then not posting for a while- such is life, any time I try to stick to a schedule with anything “fun” for me, it always winds up cast aside… as a family, we seem to do pretty well at keeping schedules for things that are important, like eating on a regular basis, having clean laundry (or no dirty laundry like right now), getting our schoolwork accomplished, and sleeping at regular intervals.

Blogging sometimes falls by the wayside.

Trust me, this all fits in with “unconsumerism” eventually.. I promise 🙂

Let me start with a weekly “time saving tip” that I promised… it ties together, bear with me.

Washing Produce. There are many MANY websites showing you how to wash fruits and veggies, which ones to store together, what to wash immediately, what to wash later, what to store in the fridge, what to store on the counter etc…

Here’s my time-saver. Wash EVERYTHING upon bringing it home.

I find myself less motivated to eat a fresh piece of produce if it requires extra effort beyond actually chewing it. I don’t know why, since it takes about the same amount of time to grab an apple and wash it as it does to wash your hands, but that is beside the point.

My reasons are two-fold: 1) The produce is READY to consume, chop and cook, grab and eat fresh, chop into a salad (and who really wants to rinse and then pat dry and have wet stuff in a salad), etc… its ready! (side benefit is your storage containers (fridge, baskets, bowls etc) stay cleaner longer and leaves you with less work. 2) It takes less resources to wash everything at once. Water, vinegar, towels, time, and ultimately dish detergent and frustration cleaning out nasty baskets on your counter 😉

So I start by filling up my largest pot with cold water and add ice to it to keep it REALLY cold, then fill up my kitchen sink (since it’s one bowl, if you had a two bowl sink, you could simply fill the other side with icy cold water) with cold water and a cup of white vinegar. I put everything that is “alike” in the water at the same time, things that came in clamshell packs (usually blueberries, strawberries, grapes, and grape tomatoes) stay in them and I weight the whole lot down with a cooling rack set gently on top. I swish everything around a bit and let sit for 20 minutes. I wash lettuce upside down by the head, and then loose leaves just in the water. While they are soaking, I spot clean the counters and lay out dish towels to dry the produce on after they are washed.

Everything is dipped into the ice bath and laid to dry while I put away the rest of the groceries.

This brings me back to uncomsumerism… If I have fresh, ready to go produce to grab, it gets eaten instead of something less healthy – which means that I don’t need to buy other “ready to go” snacks.. which I am against.

Unconsumerism- basically I feel that advertising is an affront to humanity. Word of mouth is free, and only the products that are truly amazing are worth their price. I have a few rules I like to follow when making any food purchase:
1) If it has a commercial, it is not for you.
2) If you can buy it with a coupon, it is not for you (yes, this even means organic.. half of the “organic” companies are owned by other parent companies that I do not want to support, and the inflated organic prices are going into advertising for the company’s other products)
3) If you cannot pronounce all of the ingredients and know where they came from, it is not for you
4) *closely related to 3* If it has more than 10 ingredients, you guessed it.. it is not for you.
5) If you cannot determine it’s origin, it is not for you

I buy “off brand” or store brand for things I continue to purchase, and there are still a few of them. I currently spend less than $200/month on my things I continue to purchase at a store, Toilet Paper, Oils, Lye, Cereal, Bulk Herbs, Spices, Teas, Flours, Sugar, Butter, alternative milks (coconut/almond), some produce I don’t have stored up, and currently dog food- I have made my own dog food when I can get good quality food inexpensively, so right now, it’s Costco brand grain free dog food for them.

I am making a pact with myself to not shop in any “big box” store any more- first, I’m setting a goal for a month, then hopefully a quarter, and then year… and then it will just be habit. I don’t want to support any business that does not support our local, hardworking citizens.

Right now, for me, that means major restaurant chains (McDonalds, Taco Bell, Burger King, Wendy’s, Starbucks, etc), Big Box Stores (Walmart and Target), and all clothing retailers (Old Navy, JC Penny, Gap, Gymboree, Childrens Place, etc)

Making a conscious choice about where we purchase our necessities is tough. It requires thought.

We are also cutting back in other areas. We currently have Amazon Prime, Hulu Plus, Netflix, and Aereo subscriptions. My prime membership is up in October for Prime, and we are quitting Hulu Plus at the end of this billing cycle… It is a start, we got rid of DirecTV after 10 years just last October, so we really are doing well considering the consumerism mindset we came from.

I am trying to only spend money on things that will make our life better, while also making sure that we aren’t supporting any causes with our income. I am not interested in some big shot sitting in a corporate office pocketing money from me purchasing somethin my family needs, at the cost of their employees being able to make an honest wage… this means that I will be doing my best to no longer purchase any items that are not Made In the US, as well as any “name brand” items.

I’m hoping that between consignment sales and GoodWill, I can stick to my goals.

In order to be accountable, I am going to publicly post my “goals”. I put goals in quotes because they are very loose, and if I have good reason, I will certainly allow some wiggle room

For the remainder of 2014, I would like to spend the following:
~$100 per person on clothing (or less)
~$75 per person on shoes (the only thing I will continue to purchase new)
~$1000 on all 4 children for School Needs
~$750 on Groceries (including dogs and household items) monthly
~$300 per person for their birthday and Christmas.

I have current debt I ill put anything extra per month I manage to save into, that hopefully will be paid off by the end of the year.

Our family is taking two little mini-vacations this year, in May and June, and going camping for multiple family reunions, still trying to maintain our food budget. We also are going to go to the renaissance festival again this year, which we typically budget for and do well sticking to our little budget.

I do not want raise children that succumb to advertising pressure, and gimmicks, setting aside hard work and reward for cheap crap that they are willing to pay hundreds of times what it costs to make, feeding the top 1% of the US, and supporting child and slave labor in other countries…

Updates as I succeed or fail… we shall see.

As Always ~ Keep Smiling

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