Never Under-Estimate the Power of Mother Nature

Several weeks ago I was out on our front porch with lil’ SPF enjoying the late day summer breeze when I spotted an odd looking plant sprouting from the garden. Well the plant itself was not odd but it was very odd to find it there among the flowers and bushes. You see I had spotted a tomato plant!

tomato plant spread out

Later that day SPF and I took a close look and found a massive tomato plant growing in our front garden. There were at least five shoots off the main plant and at least a dozen young, green fruit already growing. We were amazed and puzzled. Puzzled because we had not planted a tomato plant and amazed that it had survived yet alone thrived given that we had been rather lax in our garden maintenance this year.  And the fact we had little rain made the existence of this healthy tomato plant even more puzzling.

tomato plant up close

We left the plant there to grow unattended for quite a while. Two nights ago SPF picked all the fruit as we were worried about frost damaging this wonderful fruit. I figured SPF’s pickings would yield a dozen or so fruit. Much to my surprise SPF harvested at least three times as much and this did not include the fruit he put in the compost because they were rotten or had been nibbled by a small furry friend. Continue reading Never Under-Estimate the Power of Mother Nature

Thrift Stores as Part of Your Sustainable and Frugal Lifestyle

One of the best ways to live sustainably and frugally is to do your shopping at thrift stores. You can save money, and at the same time reduce the number of resources being used up.

 Sustainable Living with Thrift Stores

Many consumers make a big deal of using products made from recycled materials. This is a good thing, of course. Often, these products have less of an impact on the environment. However, it still requires resources and energy to turn old items into new.

Thrift stores get rid of that requirement. Instead, you have access to used items that don’t have to go through much of a process, other than being cleaned up. Instead of using up resources, you are using something that is already there. It’s more sustainable to buy used items, including clothing, tools, appliances, and household items. Look for items that are still in good condition, and determine whether they will work for you. In many cases, it’s possible to find items in good condition at thrift stores, especially if you strike out with freecycling.

 Frugal Living with Thrift Stores

On top of being more sustainable than other sources of consumer goods, thrift stores also add an element of frugality. They are called thrift stores for a reason. You get access to good items and products for a lower price. You can get what you need most of the time, in fairly good condition, without having to pay for brand new. This saves you money, especially in the long run, so that you can spend your resources on things that really matter to you.

There’s no reason to buy new when you can do just as well with used — and save money as well.

 Using Thrift Stores in Your Low Impact, Low Cost Lifestyle

Thrift stores are ideal for the sustainable and frugal lifestyle. However, making the switch to a lifestyle that incorporates thrift stores can be a little challenging. You have to change your mindset from heading to the department store first thing when you need something. And you need to have a strategy for making sure that you get access to the best items available.

One of the best things you can do is talk to someone at the thrift store to find out when the new arrivals are put out. Many thrift stores put out new items on the same day or two each week. If you know when the new items are put out, you have a better chance of finding what you want, and finding items that are of higher quality. If you have an especially good relationship with someone who works at the thrift store, you can get him or her to set items aside on your behalf, if you know what you are looking for.

However, if you are trying to save money, you do need to make sure that you aren’t buying just to buy. Even though something is a good deal at the thrift store, it doesn’t mean that you should automatically buy. Just as you would evaluate any other purchase, think through your thrift store purchase, and make sure that it fits with your needs and your goals.

How do you use thrift stores?