Friday, June 3, 2011

Food Waste Friday and Consumer Debt Free Today!

Every/Sometimes on Friday we are going to join the “Food Waste Friday” Blogger’s and post what food is inedible.  I feel frustrated when food goes bad.  We work really hard to pay for food; we have a combustion engine transportation system that gets it to our stores, and wonderful grocers who work hard on supplying the food.  It takes a lot of energy to get food from the ground to our plates, and it bothers me that at the last link on the chain of command that I have failed to get it to our family.  

The Frugal Girl invites us to share our food waste, so we will be motivated not to waste it.  Please share your gripes, so that you will be motivated to eat those leftovers, cook appropriate sized meals, and not let those veggies get ignored in the bottom drawer.

This past week our compost bin has only had 2 tomatoes and a pumpkin from last Halloween piled in it other than the standard peelings and dinner plate left overs.  We have been really careful not to let anything go to to waste and I have been really choosy about the vegetables and fruit we do bring into the house.  I wish I could say that I am always challenging my family to try new menu items and food, but I find that more goes to waste if I do.  
We were able to finally use the juicer we received off Freecycle this past week to make apple juice and a fruit punch using all the frozen fruit in the freezer and Jillian's half eaten apples that I have been piling up in the fridge.  It tasted so good, but it did require a lot of fruit to make a small batch.  

Second part of this post is not regarding garbage, waste or tangible consumption; rather I am excited to point out for the first time in a long time we are consumer debt free today!  It is such a liberating feeling to know that on our next payday no money will be heading to a credit card or line of credit.  
I read an article last week that demonstrated that the average Canadian has $26,000 of debt.  That would mean that our family unit would have $52,000 apart from our mortgage.  I have to admit that at one time we were close to $35,000 including a car loan, and 2 consolidation loans (that I had consolidated credit cards and a small bit of student debt on).  It was a scary time in my life, and we have worked very hard to diligently pay it off and purchase our items either with cash or the ability to pay off (such as our minivan) in 4 months or less.  It has taken over 4 years to really get the hang out of living within our means, saving for the future, having an emergency fund and learning to save for the planned purchases/bills that come at specific times of the month or year.  Learning to budget and being content with what we can afford is still sometimes a struggle.  
This project has really given us the opportunity to take a hard look on what is our wants vs our needs.  Paying more for a quality meat, beverage, dairy product, grain product to reduce packaging or purchase local is a choice we are making but we still need to stay within a budget to keep us from going in the red again.  Becoming conscience of my plastic wrapping waste that is not recyclable is going to stay with me past this year long experiment.  
I have also realized that a need of mine is to have my husband encourage me to get out of the house and confront my anxieties head on.  I never used to have social anxieties until I fell into a severe depression and am still battling this issue on a day to day basis.  So we have made room in our budget for a sitter to come bi-weekly for the evening.  Whether we go for a walk, swim, downtown, visit friends, or head out for a sit down dinner...I need to get out more and get back to "being the old Erin".  For those that have read Gretchen Rubin's book The Happiness Project, life is about figuring out what makes you happy and following your passions within your regular life is key. I have also read Eat Pray Love hoping that it would help me get on the right track, but it made me feel worse in the area of contentment.  So I am going to follow Gretchen's mantra of "Being Gretchen", but I need to work hard at getting back to being the old me, minus the plastic packaging!