No spend challenge Feed

I went dumpster diving (sort of) ~ No spend update – Day 5

Regular readers will recall me being intrigued by dumpster diving. I still hadn’t found the courage to give it a go, when an opportunity arose this week. I walked past the bin in the tearoom at work and saw two bananas and two apples! I initially thought ‘what a waste - they should be composted’ – but then I realised they looked almost edible…I checked…no one was looking…so I grabbed them. They were perfectly edible! So I snuck them into my lunch box. The bananas were just a little brown and the apples had only slightly wrinkled skin. The bananas were peeled and used in a batch of biscuits and the apples were washed, peeled, chopped and made into stewed apples.

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This little teaser gave me the courage to try some serious dumpster diving. So on the way home from a girls night last night (i'll reveal more about our no-spend girls night out another day).....Heather, one of my Playdates for the Planet partners in crime) agreed to join me in some dumpster diving. We excitedly jumped out at a nearby fruit shop. The first dumpster had nothing but cardboard, so we squeezed through the fence while reassuring ourselves that if the cops caught us they surely wouldn't arrest us for trespassing cause it was all in the name of research. I opened their main dumpster - again nothing but cardboard boxes! (can't cardboard boxes be recycled?). We then headed over to a nearby supermarket. We found more than cardboard....but it was all bagged and it was impossible to tell what was in each without breaking the bag a little.

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I peeked into a few and most contained empty milk bottles (I know they can be recycled! So what are they doing bagged and in the bin?!). They must tip the milk down the drain before dumping the bottles. It's a shame they order more milk than they can sell. Supermarkets apparently deliberately overstock because they believe we like to see full shelves. Full shelves give the impression of infinite abundance.

I'll save the last word for Heather (taken from an email she sent me today).

p.s dumpster diving was fun, despite coming away empty handed..... When I got home I crawled into bed, snuggled up to dave and said 'I've been dumpster diving' to which he mumbles 'get your dirty hands off me', hehe.


It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas ~ No spend update Day 3

It's all about food round here at the moment. My mind wanders throughout the day thinking about how we can eat a balanced healthy diet without spending any money. So far, dairy and fruit have been my main challenges. But then today all my Christmas's came at once.

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Little Eco loves her yoghurt and we were about to run out. I prefer not to make yoghurt with powdered milk, so I contacted the lovely Kate at Purple Pear Organics to see if she was happy to trade me some of the delicious yoghurt she makes using milk from their own cows. One LETS transaction later and I have six bottles of delicious freshly made yoghurt. The three of us gobbled up an entire jar straight away. Thanks Kate :-)

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If you want to try making your own yoghurt you can find helpful instructions here, here, here, and here. I love that they're all a little different but all achieve the same thing.

I was contemplating breaking the challenge by buying some fruit. I like Little Eco to eat at least two different types of fruit each day and we were down to bananas and lemons. I stupidly didn’t have any dried fruit in the pantry. I don’t think she would appreciate a lemon in her lunch box. Thankfully, a dry goods order I had paid for a few weeks ago finally turned up last night.

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I never imagined I could be so excited about sultanas. The popping corn is also going to come in handy as a quick snack.

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Tonight’s meal was Eggplant and Pumpkin Lasagna served with Spinach Rice. This delicious vegetarian lasagna is one of my favourites at this time of year as it uses up eggplants and pumpkin which are both in season. I simply bake some thickly sliced eggplant and pumpkin, and then layer them in a dish with a homemade tomato pasta sauce, top with LSA and cheese and bake in a moderate oven for at least 30 minutes. I made the lasagna up last night and all I had to do tonight was throw it in the oven for 30 minutes.  Easy peasy :-)

If you want to join in Eileen's no spend challenge (it starts on friday) just head on over to Consumption Rebellion.


Powdered milk already! ~ No spend update Day 2

We started on the powdered milk this morning…It wasn’t the disaster I suspected. My coffee wasn’t quiet as nice as usual – but it did the job.

I also hadn’t given much thought to the fact that public transport costs money. We’re a one-car-family for the next week or so after an ‘incident’ on the weekend……

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Daddy Eco has no option but to drive to work…so I’m the one left without a car. With public transport off-bounds, I begrudgingly got onto my bike this morning. I actually needed this. I hadn’t ridden to work since Christmas. No excuse – just lazy. I really enjoyed my ride this morning so I love that this challenge has forced me back in the saddle.

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Tonight's dinner was a quick and super easy meal - steamed potato topped with zucchini, baked beans, a big handful of parsley and a teeny bit of cheese (we're about to run out of cheese so each teeny bit is now considered precious), and served with a slice of toast.

A quick reminder for Novocastrians: The Transition Newcastle Earth Hour celebration at Braye Park this Saturday should be fun. Not only do we get to spy on Newcastle to see how many people turn off their lights, there will also be loads of activities. I'm particularly looking forward to helping Little Eco make her own wind puppet from recycled materials and am also looking forward to listening to the impressive line-up of inspirational speakers. More details here.


No spend week with no warning

I was inspired last night when reading about Eileen’s no-spend week. She’s starting this Friday and I was considering joining in. I decided to sleep on it. I woke and thought – why wait! Lets start now.

We’ve had a busy few days and only four days into our fortnightly budget cycle we had spent ALL our grocery budget and all our ‘miscellaneous’ money. We’re trying hard to stick to a budget so starting today made sense. Daddy Eco agreed - so we’ve started…with no last minute spending or pantry stocking. We're going to aim for just over a week, not spending a cent until Thursday 1st April.

The only exceptions are for things we're already committed to (e.g  bills, our weekly vege boxes, and a gold coin for a talk tomorrow night). I also won’t sacrifice a balanced diet – but I think the only thing we may have to break the pledge for is fruit.

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So today I prepared. Little Eco and I raided our neglected vege garden and potted herbs. I also started a couple of batches of sprouts to supplement the salad greens we will get in our vege boxes. I prepared a meal plan for the week and I’m pretty certain we can last the ten days. It's actually a pretty yummy meal plan – but obviously totally devoid of any convenience food so I’m certain I’ll be spending a fair bit of time in the kitchen over the next 10 days.

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Tonight’s dinner was Eggplant Pizza with homemade pesto. Restricted to what was already in my pantry I had to make the pesto with almonds and macadamia nuts instead of pine nuts and I had to use cheddar cheese instead of parmesan – but it still tasted delicious.

Anyone else tried to go a week or more without spending? Any hints? I suspect one of the first things we are going to run out of is toilet paper…It shall be an interesting 10 days.

Want to join in? Head on over to Consumption Rebellion.