1) Organise a book swap with friends, rather than buying new. Start small and pass on used magazines to friends – great for scrapbooking and image collecting!
2) Go for a walk and get invoigorated by the fresh air in the local countryside. the best things in life are free!
3) Clear out your wardrobe and take unwanted stuff to the local charity shop.
4) Sometimes, we use shopping as a way to relax. Try something different like a hot bath, some stretching or meditation.
5) Find a new use for something in your home. Turn an old bath into a unique garden pond or CDs into sun catchers – get inventive and see where it takes you!
6) Go to the local library. You can borrow books, CDs, DVDs and use the internnet for free at most libraries.
7) Discover free places to visit in your local area – make a tourist trail for your family including parks, museums, galleries etc.
8) Start a list of all the things you really need and take it with you when you shop to cut down on impulse purchases. The Law of Attraction will also start to manifest these items in your life – be prepared for them to turn up in odd places!
9) Organise a swishing party with friends. Get together to swap clothes and accessories that you no longer want.
10) Plan family meals around what you have in the cupboards to avoid last minute dashes to the supermarket. Enjoy a day of storecupboard meals. Get everyone involved in thinking up uses for the pack of lentils and can of beans lurking at the back of the kitchen cupboard.
11) Join a LETS scheme, which will allow you to swap skills in exchange for goods or services.
12) Rather than buying new, share equipment like lawnmowers and wallpaper strippers with neighbours. Put together a tools list for your street and circulate it amongst your neighbours.
13) Try to get things repaired when they break, rather than buying new ones. It might lead to you taking up a new skill such as upholstery classes or car maintenance!
14) Plant some herbs on the kitchen windowsill.
15) Start thinking about how you can enjoy a greener Christmas, with less consumption.
16) Help your children to understand that having ‘things’ doesn’t necessarily make you happy. Lead by example and encourage them to seek happiness elsewhere in exploring nature, reading books, playing football etc.
17) Teach your children about advertising so that they are aware that marketing products, especially on TV, is based on lies.
18) Try to avoid marketing traps such as the BOGOF promotion before evaluating whether you really need it.
19) Check out your shopping habits; do you shop because you’re bored or because it makes you feel good? Find another activity such as walking or reading a good book to indulge in instead. If shopping is a social activity, have friends to dinner instead – you’ll have more time to talk and it’ll be more relaxing too.
20) Make packed lunches the night before for school, work and outings. Saves on money and means that you get to eat what you want to.
21) Work out how much money you’ve saved in implementing some of these ideas and put it into a pot for a holiday or other luxury.
22) Start a regular family activity like swimming, walking, watching a movie or playing games. Set aside a certain night and make it a regular family date.
23) On 27th November, get everyone together for a messy craft day and start making Christmas presents, cards and decorations.
24) Create a new look by customising and altering some old clothes. take inspiration from TRAID ReMade and Junky Styling.
25) If you have to shop tomorrow, try and shop ethically. Vote with your purse and only buy from places that support fairtrade and are environmentally conscious.
… Yes, Jez has stepped up to wow us with amazing creations – meals that he has conjured up from the depths of the storecupboards. Maybe the morning after enjoying a superb potato and chickpea curry with mustard seeds and lemon juice, I will realise that we are out of potatoes that I was going to bake for tea, or chickpeas to make humous with, but, it’s a small price to pay. I think my favourite this week was a cashew and almond roast with red onion gravy – bye bye stash of cashew nuts! Oh, it was seriously good though. I have been trying to portion off leftovers and freeze them but our freezer is the size of a cereal box and it’s difficult to fit anything else in alongside the banana for making ice-cream and a small packet of peas.
This week I took a few days off work and had a very satisfactory time clearing out cupboards and sorting through my clothes, the girl’s clothes, books, you name it – we sorted it. It felt great to do that and give the kitchen cupboards a deep clean. I’m fully into the idea of an autumn cleanse as well as a spring one. So, we now have piles of stuff for a bring and buy sale that we are organising on Wednesday. Obviously we will be pretty poor participants, only able to fulfill 50% of our role but I’m sure the girls will find a way round – a method of bartering unwanted goods or similar so that we can bring someone else’s unwanted goods home with us. The sale is run by a group of home educated children who want to raise money for WWF – should be fun.
I’m quite confident on the food front that we’ll be fine for the whole month – we will be getting a mystery seasonal veg box each week from our usual supplier and that should contain enough goodies to make some hearty autumnal bakes, stews, soups and casseroles. Whether anyone will want to eat them or not is another matter. I’ve just discovered the wonder Barbara Cousin’s books Cooking Without and Veggie Cooking Without so my family get to be guinea pigs while I trial curries and bakes that are free from gluten, sugar and other allergens but that taste pretty fantastic. My favourite is a really simple, long cooking dahl, the recipe for which is in both books. I could eat this for breakfast, lunch and dinner, which is a good thing really as it’s cheap and a pot lasts a few days. Shame that the kids will only eat it under duress!
Some of the potential challenges are some friends and family birthdays coming up – handmade cards and pressies all around, and also a big celebration in our village every year for Bonfire Night. I’ve invited lots of families over to our house first for something to eat. Wondering whether they’d like some dahl?
I’m doing a course at the moment and have pre-ordered a stash of bus tickets to get me there each week, which I do anyway, as it’s much cheaper. Some of the other classes and events we are going to this month are easily bikeable. For essential journeys outside the village we have just as much petrol that is in the car – after that we’re housebound! Should be interesting – watch this space.
Welcome to the new blog from the Green Parent office. Here we'll talk about what's going on in the small and quite leafy headquarters of the UK's leading green lifestyle magazine. We'll share news that interests us and talk about green issues and natural parenting. We'll share advice and information from our own experiences of living a green lifestyle. And we'll even tell you what we are reading, eating, drinking and thinking. Hope you get plenty of food for thought here.