How Badly Do You “Consume”?


One day this week Oprah featured families trying to live with less for one week.  It wasn’t anything too major – no more than 1 hour of TV per day, no computer except for homework, no eating out, eating all the food you cook (i.e. leftovers), no water bottles or juice boxes, no paper plates, paper napkins or paper towels and no shopping.  Some were real strict on what temperature they set the thermostat and how much gas and water they used as well.  Some of the people really struggled and one daughter just quit altogether.  The other family did really well.

As my Hubby and daughter and I were sitting there watching, I said I thought I could definitely do that challenge better than Hubby for a week.  My daughter spoke up very quick and said to leave her out of it – no way.  Hubby said he could do it way better than I but I disagree.

The timing is ironic, actually. We were saying two weeks ago how we needed to go to the grocery and I happened to look in the cabinets and fridge and we still had loads of food.  It’s just that we were out of the “go to” foods like chips, milk, snacks, etc.  We spend at least $200 every time we go to the grocery and the last several months we’ve been going every week.  I only have to shop for 2.5 people.  I say 2.5 because my daughter still lives with us but is rarely home and doesn’t really eat anything at home much anymore.  It’s CRAZY that I spend over $800 a month on groceries for 2 people and when we get home, we can barely fit everything we’ve purchase in the cupboards and refrigerator. 

So, two weeks ago I told Hubby we didn’t need to go to the grocery for anything other than milk, bread and eggs until we’ve eaten down a lot of the stuff we still have in the cupboards.  So that means Hubby eats that box of frozen spinach instead of another can of green beans like he usually eats.  Hubby whole-heartedly agreed. You wouldn’t BELIEVE what we’ve accomplished!!!  My cupboards are finally starting to clear out.  My freezer isn’t crammed full anymore and my fridge has been cleaned out of anything expired (which I throw out often but I HATE throwing out food that we bought and paid for and then never ate – so wasteful!!!)  I think at this time we have 3 boxes of Hamburger Helper (which I never make so I don’t know why I bought it) that we WILL eat before we go back to the grocery.  We only have 1 package of meat left (yet more chicken breasts – we eat A LOT of those) so we’ll have to get some fillers but my little experiment has been very good.

I don’t think we’ll ever be able to stop using paper towels altogether but that is definitely one thing we could use A LOT less of.  I also use a napkin at every meal (I guess I’m a messy eater).  I do want to buy some cloth napkins and start using those.  We also buy plastic cups to use because we go through A LOT of cups (I guess we’re heavy drinkers).  I want to go to the dollar store or Target or something and just buy more glasses than continuing to use disposable ones (although I do recycle them).  I keep a case of bottled water at my office as I drink it all day long but I’d like to train myself to just get water out of the water fountain. 

Hubby said my ultimate demise would be only one hour of TV per day.  That would be tough for me as I LOVE my “idiot box” but I could definitely do without it if I had to.  There was a time for about three months when I was newly divorced it was just my daughter and I in a little apartment and I didn’t even own a TV.  We played a lot together and I read a lot.  I have even more hobbies now (photography, scrapbooking, etc.) that I could definitely do without it.

So – do you think you consume too much?  How hard would it be for you to take Oprah’s challenge?  What would be the hardest part for you?  Are you willing to try to change something?



One response »

  1. We’ve been doing better at recycling our glass and plastic bottles. Also, I don’t flush every time I use the toilet, unless something more substantial was left there, if you catch my drift. We really could do a much better job, though.

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