My parents are both very frugal. My mom grew up on a small farm in New England, a direct descendent of austere puritan stock. My dad grew up during the Depression in Germany. Though his family was well-off, it must have left an impression, because he's always been fiscally conservative. Putting four kids through good private college and grad school on an engineer's salary must have been tight, but we had a solidly upper-middle-class upbringing due to my parents' careful spending.
Regrettably, I can't say I inherited the trait. I think my family considers me fairly extravagant. However, I did pick up some cost-saving habits along the way. My friends used to laugh at me for them, but now they're kinda green and eco-hip.
So whether you want to save money or the planet, here are ten 3R*s I learned at home:
- Rinsing and reusing ziplock baggies, bread wrappers, foil and paper plates - always some drying on a rack by the sink
- Saving butter wrappers to grease cookie sheets
- Using dishcloths instead of paper towels (sorry, KathiD: warshrags)
- Picking all the meat off the turkey carcass for soup and stock
- Carefully saving wrapping, bows and ribbon to reuse, sometimes for years (the common refrain at Christmas: "don't rip the paper!")
- Putting cheese ends and bread crusts in the freezer for fondue and breadcrumbs
- Pouring off bacon grease for cooking (I don't cook bacon, but I do render chicken fat)
- Composting and growing our own vegetables (we composted back in the 50's - it was considered a bit weird in our suburb)
- Adding water to dishwashing liquid to stretch it
- All four of us taking a bath together to save water (OK, that was when I was 4)
Okay, I know a lot of you had a similar upbringing. Share your passed-down cheap green habits here.
*reduce/reuse/recycle, but you knew that