Cutting Costs in 2009: Part 2

For us, the craziness of life with a toddler takes over any moments we could use to reflect on our spending habits, but this is the perfect time to evaluate our family budget and make some positive changes.   We aren’t always thinking of our long-term goals or values when we run out to a big box store and come back with far more than we intended.  But we’ll start by acknowledging our progress this year.

1. What are our favorite thrifty green victories of 2008? 

  • Haircuts.  I now cut Roscoe and Jett’s hair every month in the comfort of our living room or our backyard.  Since each of those cuts would cost around $15 a month, we’re saving about $330 per year!   In this photo, Roscoe’s Aunt Pauli is giving me a few haircutting tips. 
  • A pantry.  I can now stock up on sale items and canned goods so that we always have alternatives to eating out. 
  • Frozen berries.  My family picked several huge batches of organic blueberries this year and we’re still enjoying the fruits of our labors.  Next year I’d love to do even more.
  • Thrift store clothes.  I’ve loaded up on cute, cheap maternity clothes and outfitted my son in adorable garments all for a fraction of retail prices.

2. How can we go greener and cut costs in 2009?  

  • Read Thrifty Green Thursday contributions.  I always learn something each week from our wise bloggers.  
  • Sew up some savings.  So many Thrifty Green Thursday tips involved sewing—something I haven’t done in years.  This Christmas I got a sewing machine so now I’m ready for action!
  • Garden more.  It’s my dream to have a lovely vegetable garden that far exceeds the tiny raised bed in my backyard.  Since I’m delivering this baby in June, it may be hopeless but I truly want to raise some edible delights this summer.
  • Track our spending. This year, we’re using Quicken to document our monthly costs so that we don’t loose track of our budget in the midst of our busy lives.


How do you manage spending and assure that it aligns with your eco-friendly values?  Do you go through your budget each January and set goals for the coming year?  We’d love to hear how you are planning on saving money and energy in 2009!

Please add a link below if you have a way to jumpstart a money-saving, energy saving lifestyle.  If you’re not sure how to start, check here for directions.  We’d love to have you share your comments and input with the other bloggers who are joining us this Thrifty Green Thursday!


  1. i need to freeze more berries this summer, too. i love having smoothies in the winter with summer’s best fruit–especially when there’s nothing in season.

    i’d love to learn to sew, too!

    i count phasing out chemical cleaners in favor of homemade ones a big victory–even if its a slow transition.

  2. we’re using quicken, too, although I’m not always good about entering the receipts. i’m trying to use my sewing machine, too!

  3. We are phasing out chemical cleaners also. Once they are gone, I just use homemade stuff. That said, I still do have some chemicals because they are so dang expensive, I can’t toss something I have spent money on.
    We are, unfortunately, finally starting to feel the pinch of my becoming a stay at home mom. It is actually kind of liberating because there is absolutely no money for anything extra. While it seems strange to call it liberating, I no longer buy a little something here and a little something there, which always add up. So just don’t spend any extra money. That said, once there are a couple extra bucks, I am going to invest in Quicken.
    And I made my own baby wipes and nursing pads. Not terribly hard things to make, but it made me feel productive. Also, I haven’t had to buy wipes or nursing pads in a long time. Better for my wallet and the environment. I am now in possession of my mom’s really old sewing machine. If she needs it, I will give it back, but it didn’t make sense for me to buy one when neither my mom or I sew that often.

  4. We do set up annual financial goals each year. This year they focus mainly on saving for retirement, college and a new car.

    We have never really set any “green” goals, but I’ve actually never thought about it. We just make every decision, weighing the environmental impact.

  5. My goals this year are similar to some of yours, like expanding the vegetable garden. I envy your blueberry stash! What a great idea that I’ll have to do this year. I froze some peppers and made organic applesauce, but I’d still love to have some berries in the freezer for smoothies and baking.

  6. My cost cutting goals for 2009 mainly involve food. Growing my own, making more from scratch, canning, and cutting out the crap. In 2008 I ditched all disposables; other than toilet paper, made all my own cleaning products, started shaving with a safety razor, turned my heat down to 55, began making our own bread and butter, and made 85% of our food from scratch. If I could figure out how to make pasta that number would jump to 95%.

  7. I know this sounds really dumb, but I’ve discovered the library! I ended up buying a bunch of new pregnancy and baby books, only to discover that

    1. I ended up hating most of them (books on sleep training, etc.) and gave them all away or returned them to the store

    2. I’d read what I needed and then they sat around until I gave them all away

    I started by vowing to stop reading all these books that tell me how I’m doing everything wrong, and when I do need some reference, they’re so easy to find used, or I get them from the library and just read the chapter I need. I know, I know…the library is not a new invention.

  8. 55 degrees! Yikes! That is commitment! I haven’t gone there yet.

    I’ve expanded my garden to grow my own food. I’m loving the chard that I planted last summer and is still producing for us! So fresh and convenient. Our oranges are feeding us well now. The peach tree is blooming. Last year we were swimming in peaches, so we’ll see.

    I’m pleased to have found this site because I want to learn more about green house products, etc.

    I’m trying cloth diapering my second child. Leaked constantly with 1st. Same system leaked with 2nd, so trying friend’s diapers.

    Almost all of our kids clothes come from the thrift shop,hand-me-downs, loans or garage sales.

    We try to be really conscientious with our water use, since we live in S. Ca. and there’s a drought. Drip irrigation, timers, checking the watering index and adjusting the timers accordingly. Saving cold water run out of the hot tap for the garden in… milk gallon jugs with the tops cut off (reusing!).

    I’d love to go solar, but can’t afford it.

    I’d love to have a more energy efficient car, but instead we drive older models (12 and 13 years old) or station wagon. I’m saving up – someday I want to buy a plug-in minivan. Of course, they’d have to make those first.

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