6.11.2010

Miserly habits

I don't know if it's a sign of getting older or just a side-effect of my decluttering efforts, but part of my quest to live a simple life has involved becoming more and more frugal. Over the past year I've developed lots of little habits that seem really funny even to me, and when I look at myself I start to think of Ebenezer Scrooge yelling at Bob Cratchit about burning an extra piece of coal to stay warm! But in a weird way I'm kind of proud of living this way, since I know it somehow saves me a little money and maybe even reduces my environmental footprint!

To start with, I've become almost militant about using every last drop of products like toothpaste, shampoo, and face wash! I've found that I can squeeze a toothpaste tube so much that it lasts almost a month past the point where it looks like it should be thrown away, and if I store my shampoo bottle upside down it seems like I can get an almost never-ending supply out of it (of course, I have very little hair to wash!).

Since I eat simple meals, I can pretty much survive by using the same bowl over and over (yes, I rinse it out thoroughly), along with just a few other utensils, a glass, and a coffee mug. I'll use this minimal set of dishes all week long, then switch to a second set, and then use my dishwasher once every two weeks to start the cycle over again. Needless to say, it takes me forever to go through a box of detergent! Similarly, I only do one load of laundry each week (by reusing my towel and wearing my pants multiple times), which saves me so much time.

My weirdest miserly habit began when I started to get in shape and actually enjoy sweating a little bit. Since most of my trips in the car are pretty short (15-20 minutes), I almost never use the air conditioner anymore! Seriously, I don't think I've turned on my car A/C in over a year (unless I have a passenger)! Actually, everywhere I have to be (like my office, shopping malls, or movie theaters) seems extremely over air conditioned to me, so when I get into my warm car it feels absolutely great! I always roll down my window and my sunroof to get a good breeze going, and if I sweat a little bit, I just figure it keeps my body healthy! I've even kept up this habit through Austin's hot summers - it just doesn't bother me anymore. I think this habit has also contributed to the long running life of my 1998 car, too!