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I already make a lot of ‘earth-conscious’ decisions naturally since I am such a cheapskate.  It’s pretty awesome that I am reducing my carbon footprint by doing things that save me money too!  Some of these things are pretty easy to do, while some require more time, but in the long run it’s worth it to my family and to me.  Everyone always wants to know your plans for Earth Day.  Well, I want to know your plans for the rest of your life?  You shouldn’t aim to be earth-conscious for one day.  You need to plan to change your habits and your lifestyle!  An added bonus is that you will lengthen your own life but doing a lot of these things too.  But where to start?  Here are some ideas that we already do in my family:

  1. We make our own laundry soap and other cleaning products.
  2. We rent books and DVDS from the library.
  3. We use a GPS instead of writing or printing directions to a new place.
  4. We reuse printed paper for scrap paper, then recycle it.
  5. We switched our trash plan to a bi-weekly plan & got an extra recycling can.
  6. We are planting a vegetable garden.
  7. We make a meal plan every two weeks. (a LOT less waste)
  8. We cook dinner at home 6 days a week.
  9. We eat leftovers. (I add one day in the meal plan for a leftover ‘buffet”)
  10. We carpool as much as possible.
  11. We make a lot of our food from scratch.
  12. We buy a lot of food in bulk and use or share it.
  13. We open our windows and use fans instead of AC as often as we can.
  14. We wear warm clothes when it’s cold and keep our heat very low.
  15. We use reusable gift bags or we reuse wrapping paper for gifts.
  16. We use my parents’ water filter instead of buying bottled water.
  17. We buy reduced produce at the store or produce stand, then incorporate it into that day’s meals.
  18. We buy local goods.
  19. We use reusable bags at the supermarket and other stores (some even give you a discount!)
  20. We have a box of reusable items for crafts.
  21. We donate or sell items that we can no longer use.
  22. We use and/or wear items from yard sales and thrift shops.
  23. Our ripped, old clothes become rags for odd jobs around the house.
  24. We put a brick in our toilet tanks in order to use less water.
  25. We like to park the car and walk to various places.
  26. We take snacks and drinks with us when we go on trips.
  27. We plan our trips for certain days & group them together to save gas.
  28. We use one particular car for work since it gets better gas mileage.
  29. We keep the trunk as empty as possible to help with gas mileage.
  30. We do routine maintenance on our cars to keep them running as long as possible.

See?  Easy peasy, lemon squeezy.  I love finding new ways to save money.  The weirder, the better too!  My husband laughs at me because I am usually up for anything if it saves a buck. I am currently planning on using family cloth soon.  Look it up.  So, Happy Earth Lifetime, instead of Earth Day.

What are you doing that saves money and reduces the strain on our resources?

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I love making lists. I think, at times, it drives my poor husband crazy.  I have a list for everything.  Grocery lists.  Things to Do lists.  Vacation Planning Lists.  You name it and I make a list for it. In fact, my last few posts were about lists.  Please keep reading.  I promise that there’s a point to my rambling.  I feel like lists help keep me organized and on track.  When I was around fifteen years old, I decided to hand write a list of Things To Do Before I Die.  That was the exact title and everything.  I had about one page, front and back.  It included things that I could do quickly and in my younger years, but also things that would take awhile, like study abroad and get married.  Then I got to work.  I promised myself that I would always be working towards some type of goal on the list.  This really makes me feel determined and purposeful.  It’s sounds weird to say, but this list has really helped me keep going at times.

Then, that movie, Bucket List, came out and stole my thunder.  But it’s cool.  I think everyone should make a list and work towards completing things on it.  You can always change things, update them or delete them.  That’s the beauty of the list.  You don’t answer to anyone but yourself.

Since you can pretty much find anything online now, I stumbled upon the site, 43 Things, a few years ago.  43 Things is a goal setting website.  You make a list (with up to 43 things, of course) and then you work towards achieving your goals.  The fun part is that you receive ‘cheers’ from other people and you can ‘cheer’ them on too.  It’s so much fun having complete strangers root for you!  I have also met some great people and friends on this site.  I love it because you can put as much or as little effort as you want into it.  Then when you achieve a goal, you can check it off, write a review and then help other people achieve the same goal.   There is even a book about it:  Find it here!    One of my friends is quoted in it!

I love getting ideas from other people’s lists and helping them with their goals.  I love getting help from others and all the interaction too.  When I first made my list as a teenager, a lot of people thought it was ‘morbid’ and that I was ‘jinxing myself.’  I think it’s the complete opposite.  I think that this list actually makes me want to live my life and enjoy it!  Here is my list on 43 Things:

http://www.43things.com/person/ducktapegurl

These are the things that I am currently working on. There are some long term goals and some short term ones too.  I saved my big list on a word document.  I still have my old list too.  Yes, the one I made when I was fifteen.  I still look at it from time to time to see where I’ve been and what I’ve learned.  Won’t that be cool to show my kids when they grow up?  I can only imagine what life has in store for my family and I can’t wait to cross it off my list.  😉

Disclaimer:  This is not a sponsored post.  I just love this website and wanted to share it with you.  Thoughts, comments and opinions are my own.

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This week, I got a few magazines from various sites.  I got a tube of Korean Spice from Marlboro.  I won a prize pack from @SnowshoeMag on Twitter and a sample of face wash from Walmart.com!  What was in your mailbox last week?

Disclaimer: On Mailbox Monday, I only post things that I’ve received 100% free in the mail.  They come from samples, giveaways, contests, etc.  I haven’t put any money out to receive anything pictured.

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Yes!  Spring is here and you know what that means: the start of yard sale season!  I have been looking forward to this since yard sale season was over last year.  Today started a beautiful weekend and I was actually feeling better (I am getting over a REALLY bad cold.  yuck!)  so I decided to make it a ‘Girls Morning’ and take my daughter out to a few yard sales.  I buy and have bought a ton of stuff from flea markets and the like.  It’s a great way to get some great stuff at a fraction of the cost or sometimes even free.  Plus, the clothes don’t shrink when you wash them!  The only downside is that it’s luck of the draw.

Here’s a list of things I look for at yard sales flea markets:

  • Kids clothes
  • Books
  • Adult clothes
  • Shoes (This really depends.  They have to be in good condition)
  • Craft supplies
  • Flags
  • Stuffed animals (ALWAYS wash these first!)
  • Board games (make sure no pieces are missing)
  • Electronics (inexpensive ones)
  • Furniture
  • Home goods
  • Dishes and kitchen stuff
  • Tablecloths
  • Holiday decor
  • Cookie tins
  • Toys
  • and lots more!

Of course, I always wash clothes, sterilize toys and clean things as best I can before I use them.  I love a good bargain and I will always try to negotiate prices too!  Now, while I look for certain things, I also stay away from certain things too.

Here’s a list of things you might want to skip at yard sales and flea markets:

  • Bathing suits
  • Lingerie
  • Baby bedding (like crib liners and soft bedding.  They are known to cause SIDS)
  • Carseats (these get recalled all the time and they expire too. Plus, they are only made for ONE accident.  You never know. Just be careful or stay away altogether)
  • Old cribs (see above)
  • Cosmetics (they could be old and you might be asking for an infection if you buy them)
  • Baked goods and/or food (a lot of this stuff has been baking in the sun for hours.  No thanks!)
  • Water bottles and baby bottles (BPA is the culprit here)
  • Always check battery compartments before buying.  They could have battery corrosion in them.

These are just suggestions. You should always use your best judgement before making any purchase.  I always check stuff out very thoroughly just for my own benefit, but also because the seller might give you a better deal too!  I can still recall some of my best deals:

  • A dual tuner Tivo for $10 (pricing varies since the Tivo Roamio came out)
  • Two Winnie The Pooh walkers for $3 (originally $70 for one!)
  • A ThirtyOne insulated lunchbox with my initial monogrammed on it for $8 (originally $18 w/o monogramming)
  • A Little People A to Z Learning Zoo for $5 (originally $70)
  • A vintage baby boy snowsuit for $2.50
  • Set of Retro cafeteria style plates for FREE!
  • Vintage black heels for $3

So get out there and enjoy yourself.  I start out with a predetermined amount of cash.  Then once it’s gone, it’s gone.  That way, I can control my spending and it really makes me think before I buy.  I also keep a running list of items that I am always hunting for.  It makes it more fun!  Timing matters too.  Early gets you the best selections, whereas late gets you the best deals.  Happy hunting!

Do you go to yard sales and flea markets?  What are some good deals that you’ve gotten before?

 

 

My family will be the first to admit it: We’re dorks. We like doing things that some people might deem ‘weird’ or ‘unorthodox.’  But we’re fun.  At least, that’s what we tell ourselves.  So every season, we all make a list of things we want to go before that season is over.  I used to do this with my mom and sister when we were kids and now I do it with my own family.  I actually look forward to doing this because it’s fun to work towards goals and try to get the list completed.  It can be as long or as short as you want.  It can also be as detailed or as vague as it takes.  It’s all up to you!  That’s the beauty of it!

Spring is finally in full force so it’s time to make the Lane Family’s Spring 2014 List.  I usually type it up and then save it so I can look back on it and get ideas or remember the fun stuff we did!  I try to make the list as free or low cost as possible too.  That adds to the fun.  Plus, if something turns out to be horrible, it will make a great story.  Here is the beginning of our list.  Remember, you have three months and then you make a summer list!  Get moving!

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Life In The Fast Lane Spring 2014

  • Go to a baseball game
  • Plant a vegetable garden
  • Donate Blood
  • Participate in a 5k
  • Make pine cone birdfeeders
  • Dye Easter eggs
  • Make deviled eggs
  • Make egg salad
  • Bake cookies for the firefighters/emts
  • Try a new recipe
  • Go to a party
  • Try something new
  • Pick flowers
  • Buy a bouquet of flowers
  • Get new books from the library
  • Make a spring-related craft
  • Watch how something is made
  • Call an old friend
  • Coupon & get my order completely free
  • Visit the State parks
  • Hike a trail
  • Watch the sunrise (or set) on the beach
  • Take the dog on the boardwalk
  • Try a new exercise
  • Ride on a motorcycle
  • Visit a new state
  • Clean out the clutter
  • Spring clean our house

I hope this gets you motivated to make your own list.  It’s so much fun when you get to check something off of it too.  It’s about taking the time to enjoy the simple things in life, while still having a plan or goal in mind.  We’ll be busy this spring but it will be a good busy. It will be the kind of busy that’s fun and worthwhile.  If you think about it, isn’t EVERYTHING in life worth celebrating?  It is to me!  I want to enjoy it!  How about you?  What are some things on your spring list?

We were extremely busy at the beginning of the week and I missed the Mailbox Monday post!  Never fear. I am updating now so you can rest easy tonight 😉

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This was a slow week but I still enjoyed the stuff I got.  It included a free magazine, free Snickers that I won in a facebook contest, Finish dishwasher tabs from Free Stuff Finder, a birthday coupon from Chicken of the Sea and a Jergens BB Body Cream from Target.  Enjoy your week and I hope you get a mailbox full of surprises!

Disclaimer: On Mailbox Monday, I only post things that I’ve received 100% free in the mail.  They come from samples, giveaways, contests, etc.  I haven’t put any money out to receive anything pictured.