Saturday, March 07, 2009

Home Economics

We've been looking for ways to save money and cut our expenses! Our core group of volunteers (including those who live here) are some of the more frugal and home economically-minded people you will meet. Still, there is plenty to learn, as this is an area that needs contact attention to stay on top of things.


Friends of mine will tell you that I have a passion for eating as cheaply as possible, while also staying healthy and organic. Living at the Catholic Worker gives me the chance to take advantage of bulk prices, and I am excited. I made an appearance at GFS for the first time today. There is one right up the road on Cleveland Avenue. Check out some of these deals:
  • 8 lbs of apples for $5.49
  • 25 lbs of whole grain, brown rice for just under $17

Can we really eat this much rice? With the number of vegetarians and veggie-friendly eaters around, I’ve been pleasantly surprised by how much beans & rice we can go through. Guess what's for dinner?

10 lbs of potatoes are just over $3 at GFS. As you may know, you can get this price on sale at Kroger’s right now, but it is good to know there is a place to get this price on a regular basis. I also got a number of brown napkins--cheap and more environmentally responsible than bleached, white ones. Last week, Cheryl got the fixin’s for a number of large pasta dinners for around $25 at GFS.

Beans are a different story. Bulk organic beans at the Clintonville Community Market are just 20 cents per pound more than the best price I found elsewhere. Considering the benefits of organics as well as the savings in plastic packaging waste, this is well worth it. We’d rather support the co-op, anyway.

Light Bulbs

It occurred to me the other day that 14 individual bulbs turn on every time we flip the switch in the main dining room! The size and scope of this building is definitely something new to get used to. As a result, we rarely spend time there by ourselves.

I’ve become aware of this because we are in the midst of a light bulb-counting project at the house. One generous donor has offered to drop off some fluorescent bulbs. These will keep our electric bill down and help us be as green as we can be.

Gas Bills

We keep lowering the heat in the house, but we can probably stand to crank it down even more. Put a couple of warm bodies in this building and it can get downright stuffy real quick!

Our gas bills are extraordinarily high. A typical monthly winter bill is around $1800! However, we’ve calculated that it is best not to go onto the yearly budget plan until late summer. If we can muscle our way through a couple of high bills this winter, we’ll have very small payments throughout the spring and summer. When next winter starts knocking at the door, we can avoid the huge bills by starting the yearly plan which will give us the same amount to pay each month of the year.

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