Light, Air, Times and Seasons
As some know, my husband is on long-term disability, so we are doing a lot of things to live frugally. Of course, this is a good thing anytime in my opinion, as now I wish I hadn't been so wasteful in bountiful times past.
I like to focus on the fact that the Lord already supplies us with many things that we don't have buy. Naturally, everything we call good in life is from His hand, but sometimes we can learn to use them more wisely.
For instance, we live in a warm climate (southern Virginia), but as soon as I can, I turn the air conditioning off and let the breeze blow through the house. Amazingly, lots of people down here never open their windows, as they feel that the house stays cleaner that way; so they go from heat to air conditioning to heat, etc. I do not ascribe to that way of thinking. To me, if you can't air your house out with God's free air, you aren't living!!
Also, I hang out my laundry as much as I can, and let the sun and air freshen, dry and disinfect my clothing. When I have brightly colored things to hang out, I turn them inside out to lessen the bleaching effect of the sun. Today, which is a wonderfully breezy, cool, dry day, I am hanging out a bunch of bed pillows along with my laundry. This really does them good to air out like this, and it is heavenly to drop down into a bed with air dried sheets and sun-freshened pillows! It doesn't take much to thrill me I guess! Plus I am using up some energy of my own to do these things and getting the air and sunshine into my own being. Wonderful!
Another thing that is free to most people is a patch of dirt somewhere. You don't have to have much and you can even get some old buckets or cut off the tops of plastic milk cartons and get some dirt and plant something. I go to the stores like K-Mart and such at this time of year and buy the packets of seeds marked for this summer's season. They sell them at a discount and they have always sprouted for me the following year. I think my bumper crop of pickling cucumbers this summer were from a pack that was at least a couple of years old. I like to stay Organic, so for fertilizer I compost the kitchen scraps and yard trimmings. Free!!
My volunteer pumpkin plant, which grew from an old pumpkin I threw out back last Fall, provided me with five pumpkins. Did you know that you can eat pumpkin as a squash and not just use it for pie? I take the whole pumpkin (I am talking about the small ones now, not the huge jack 0' lantern ones), scrub the skin with a brush and cold water and then plunk it down into the crockpot and bake it like that. Then, after its cooked, I just cut the top off, scrape out the seeds and stringy stuff and put some butter, brown sugar, a dash of salt and a bit of cinnamon inside and to the table it goes. You can do this with any type of squash as well. And of course, you can bake it in the oven instead of the crock pot.
Here is another blessed and awesome gift that our Creator gives us: Times and seasons. Think about it. The variation does our soul good, gives us something to look forward to, and relieves what can sometimes feel like monotony in our lives. If we learn to go with them instead of fighting them, we can save our "outlook" as well as our health and wealth.
For example; if we work, eat and go about our business in the day and wind down soon after dark we have several advantages. Even if you are not a morning person, but you try to get going early, you will soon find you feel better and are getting more done. If you are blessed enough to have time during the weekdays, you can do your errands and shopping with hardly any hassle from crowds and traffic. You have time to compare prices and shop for bargains, without being in the way of others who are there because they work or are in school and they "have" to be there at the busy times. My mother always used to urge me to get to the store early and to try to be off the roads and home by 3 p.m. She observed that once 3 o'clock hit, so did everybody's stress. School is out, people are starting to leave work and everyone on the road and in the store is in a hurry.
I just happened to read that a good way to avoid flu and other illnesses is to stay out of stores and the mall on Sundays because that is when the most people are there and therefore the most germs get spread. Ironically, the Lord appointed a Sabbath rest for us, when in order to honor Him and for our own physical well-being, we were directed to rest and not do business on His day. For Christians, guess when that is?
Another way to properly observe "times" is to go to bed early. This is healthier for us because there are certain hormones and metabolic functions that help to maintain our health which can only be released in darkness and work better if we go to bed early. Studies have shown that people who work the night shift are more susceptible to cancer because of this. It also just makes sense that when the family goes to bed on time, we are not wasting electricity, we can turn the heat down or the air conditioning up, and we aren't up snacking on unnecessary food half the night! We save money and our health, and its safer and more wholesome to be tucked up in your bed than running the roads till all hours.
Lastly, I like to eat what is in season where I live. If its September I'm going to be eating grapes, late summer plums and early apples; if its December I'll be celebrating citrus and in May I'm out in the fields picking strawberries. It is cheaper and I will argue healthier to buy and eat what is currently in abundance. A February nectarine from Chile is not on my shopping list.
In the summer, the sensible thing to do is give your oven a break. Eat cold salad type meals, use the top of your stove or your crockpot. I cannot stand the thought of using my air conditioning to take the oven's heat out of the house. On a Fall or Spring day, when the house is cold in the morning, it is a good time to bake or roast something in the oven to take the chilly edge off the air in the kitchen. That kind of day makes a great time to warm up the kitchen by using the oven's self-cleaning option, too. Of course, all winter long I try to give my family extra hearty food, using the oven's warmth to supplement the heat, as well as serving a lot of soups and stews. Cheaper cuts of beef, whole chickens, even ground meat all make the best stews, soups and casseroles. The less money I have, it seems the "better" I eat. Snack food is expensive, and more expensive cuts of meat are fatty. Pea soup with a ham bone in it and cornbread are considered "peasant" food, but they are really good.
Light, air, times and seasons. All there for me to use. I don't want to brag, but it feels really good to be rich!