Blog Update!
For those of you not following me on Facebook, as of the Summer of 2019 I've moved to Central WA, to a tiny mountain town of less than 1,000 people.

I will be covering my exploits here in the Cascades, as I try to further reduce my impact on the environment. With the same attitude, just at a higher altitude!

Sunday, March 16, 2008

Tightening the belt

With the cost of a barrel of oil rising at a substantial pace, the price of milk, meat and grain is also up as is, not surprisingly, gasoline.

Clearly, the costs used for this graphic on the left must be for conventional products. I don't know when was the last time I paid so little for organic, pasture-raised chicken eggs.

Anyway, which of the following changes would you be most willing to make in order to help make ends meet?

Photo courtesy of


Anonymous said...

I feel like "become a vegan" is a somewhat awkward way of putting it, if we're just talking about cutting costs. If I need to cut the grocery bill, the eggs and fish and butter will be some of the first things to go, but this doesn't mean that I'll suddenly decide that I can't eat the cookies at staff meetings anymore. If anything, if things got *really* tight, I'd probably become much less picky about free food.

Jeana said...

What I have been doing is cutting back a little in most of those categories, rather than cutting one thing out entirely. It's easier to adjust to it gradually, and I think we're more likely to stick with it in the long run.

Anonymous said...

Crunch, I don't keep my house at 50 degrees, but it was 60 when I woke up this morning! And I am lucky that I have a house with many windows so in the summer I get a delightful cross breeze. However, I am afraid to sleep with the windows open because of safety. So I try to cool the house off as much as I can before I close the windows at night.

I am also going to get my garden in gear this year. It's time. I personally believe that gas will go to $6 a gallon. There is alreayd $5 gas in CA right now. Time to brush off the bike!

Anonymous said...

I agree with Jeana, which is why I voted for two. I feel like we are trying to do all those things on a small scale. I could give you a laundry list of what we are/aren't doing, but most people probably don't care! At any rate, just to let you, Crunchy, and your readers know that you are inspiring and encouraging us. Reading this blog has given us lots of new ideas! Thanks!

Chile said...

Um, there's no choice for all of the above!

Tina Cardone said...

In reference to increasing gas prices:

Google recently released (in limited locations) a "take public transportation there" option on google maps. There is also a petition out to get them to offer a "bike there" option:

Crunchy Chicken said...

Chile - if you want to choose all of the above, the choose all of the above. It's a multi-choice question :)

camp mom said...

We started buying what we could in bulk a few months ago to stock pile a little and slowly cut back some on everything else on the poll. Definately am gonna think about expanding the garden a little-okay maybe alot!

Anonymous said...

I know I could be doing more, but I was aggrieved I couldn't check anything off. I would have loved to see options for the steps that I am taking, such as starting a modest veggie garden, keeping my house in the low 60s in winter and low 80s in summer, and using fabric towels in place of paper towels (and resisting peer pressure to use paper plates for dinner parties!). All the choices you listed were so all-or-nothing I just didn't fit in.

Anonymous said...

I think for most of us the choices were too restrictive. I can see us increasing our efforts in many of the areas but not to the extremes listed. We are headed there bit by bit...

1) Make or grow most of your own food... We are increasing our efforts in this area, dh is talking about growing wheat in a fallow field. (We borrow land from a friend who has too much to keep up with.) We have always canned a lot, and our in-town home garden is doubling in size this year. My dh's market garden is a great source for my canning!

2)Keep the house cold in winter, no AC in summer... We've never had AC and with a boiler for heat we are unable to flutuate our heating between day and night. We do turn off the boiler from late spring to late fall and keep the heat set at about 62-65 in the winter.

3)Stop using the car and lawn equipment... Living in a small town means we can walk most everywhere BUT when distance is a factor we do need to drive as there is no public transport! We did trade our vehicle for something lighter on gas when it died. Some more of the lawn is turning into garden, but what is left is still getting mowed every 10 days or so. The push reel-mower was too hard! We don't have all that much grass on our .48 acre lot though!

4)Become vegan... We eat vegan about 1/2 the year, we started with one day a week and increased bit by bit. Meat and cheese is horribly expensive! I still make the little one's drink milk at meals though.

5)Get rid of all my appliances... REALLY??? I do not use small appliances but I need my fridge stove and freezer not to mention my clothes washer. We hang all our laundry all summer, and we have a family of 8. Our clothes are washed in cold in a front loading washer we bought when the old one died. The freezer is important for food preserving though I am canning more than freezing lately. I could toss all my appliances if we ate out and used the laundry mat :o)

6)Limit water usage... We live in an area with plentiful water and no usage charge. I do try to restrict the usage of HOT water as it is expensive to heat. We have always washed dishes by hand. I think I need to change my attitude on this one to build better habits for my children!

7)Limit paper products.... We use recycled TP and never use paper towels, I'm interested in cloth pads, I guess it's time to switch! I can't imagine cloth TP and 6 kids.

I really liked what "Limesarah" said about free food, great point!

I have to say I LOVE doing dishes with my kids, I wash and they take turns drying, I like how we visit and chat while the chore is done with no distractions. If I don't call them to help then I can have a lovely quite time just me and the bubbles.

Anonymous said...

I don't think I would ever go full tilt on any of those options but I am trying to do all of them to a certain degree. We have had our heat off for over a month now and it hasn't been to bad. We just planted seeds for peppers, tomatos, strawberries, and carrots. We also ordered some other seeds (we picked all organic heirloom varieties. We would want to have chickens and maybe goats when we have a house with a yard. We take short showers and use random surfaces in our apartment to dry all our laundry. We started making our own cleaning products, we eat less meat (although we still eat some or a lot I guess depending on your perspective). We drive a lot less and I now have a bike to get to and from work.


Erika said...

I did mention a few things that, as listed, are what my husband would consider "drastic," such as 'stop using...' I definitely would significantly reduce my use of... but stop would irritate my hubby!

Anonymous said...

Like the other readers, I am doing a bit of each option. I worked today on expanding my raised-bed garden. I've already been cutting back on the car trips- limits on distance or getting a lot done on one trip.

Husband is taking the bus to work. I will use the bike to get to the store once I get it tuned up.

I've been doing disaster preparedness things as well-- so focusing on eating from the panty, making my own bread and such, and making the meat last longer.

I switched to cloth pads years ago, but I cannot eliminate the rest of my paper usage without seriously increasing my laundry usage. I'm trying to cut THAT down!

Thanks Crunchy for helping us think ahead of the curve! I'm doing my part to pass the ideas on to other moms in the area.

Anonymous said...

I almost checked grow most of my own food, but reality is MORE, not most.

I did check the one about heat, because that's easy for me. I am always reducing that bill. (We can become used to colder temps.) No AC. It's in a box in the attic.

Anonymous said...

Once when I used a cloth pad, the sides kept rubbing against the sides of my legs, for a seriously painful chaffing. I haven't used them again since. But now I found a pattern to make my own (yay!) on a website ( (hope that's ok to post) and I'm looking forward to making a whole slew of non-chaffing types!!

Sweetpeas said...

I don't like the "absolute-ness" of the choices in the poll, we're currently on a very tight budget (dh out of work, I'm a SAHM), and I am doing many of these things to an extent. I was all geared up to grow more of our own food (most isn't really feasible on a small lot in a neighborhood controlled by HOA)this year but now we'll be moving (to save money) so no point in putting in a garden I won't be around to harvest, I'll be relying as much as I can get by with on my grandfather's garden though LOL. We've kept the house around 60 this winter, and even at that, our older, small dog watches mournfully for someone to sit down so she can cuddle in beside or on top of us, I think 60's as cold as SHE can handle LOL. If we move to a place w/o a/c we'll probably only do a window unit in one room, but, call me a wimp I canNOT sleep when it's too humid (heat I can handle, but not humidity)AND I make a little money on the side making & selling soy candles & natural body products and if it gets too hot everything melts which doesn't work so well LOL. I've cut way back on where we go to save gas, but I'm not willing to not go to church, or never let my children see their grandparents. HOA here requires lawn mowing. We're already vegetarian, as money gets tighter we cut back on more expensive, less healthy foods, which I assume is what you're going for with the "become a vegan" option, I don't think we'll ever become 100% vegan however (fwiw, I pay $2/dozen for free range local eggs (which I feel is a better option than organic that's been shipped across the country). Getting rid of all appliances, since we don't have a wood stove or fireplace (or inexpensive source of wood for it if we did) doesn't seem like a viable option. Again, reduced use of appliances, yes . . . although cooking more from scratch tends to equate to MORE use of appliances, which is a trade-off I'm willing to make for healthier, lower cost food. Limiting water use overall yes, but if I'm growing more of my own food there will be water needed for irrigation (we have a RO system for the kitchen & routed the "waste" water from it into a trash can in the basement that I use for watering plants, including the flowerbeds (which have quite a few herbs in them & have had a few vegetables the last couple years), and one way or another I'm going to still wash clothes & use water for drinking/cooking, so JUST showers & dishwashing isn't an option. We already use cloth for all but some TP (dh hasn't (won't) switch, and one of my dd's uses TP for poop (the other uses cloth), I kind of go back and forth)and I have to use paper towels for some clean-up for my candles (excessive wax, even a natural wax, isn't good for the pipes), but that's it.

So, I think I can say we're already doing all of those things "to some extent" but aren't likely to ever take any of them to an "absolute".

Leila Abu-Saba said...

We live in an older neighborhood near public transit; I am a cancer patient (metastatic - no end to treatment in sight) so I ain't growing all our food by any means. But we keep the house at 60 in the winter (nights) anyway and have no a/c. I am using less paper and could certainly go for 100% reusables (chemo kicked me into menopause so tampons no longer an issue). we could most certainly give up driving at least one car; although to get to chemo I need a private car ride home from SF.

We all do what we can. Our list may have to include, unfortunately, cutting back on all the childcare we pay for while I'm in treatment...and how much longer can I justify seeing the alternative medical guy who is helping me so much?

OTOH, with a metastatic diagnosis, you pretty much live for today. Hell, I'm cashing in my IRA and hang the stock market. At 45.5 I have 21 years until retirement and although I expect to be alive then, the statistics say the odds are good that I should spend my IRA now rather than leave it to my heirs. Carpe diem!

But I am indeed willing to make lots of changes to go with the new flow of economy. I am betting that this big crisis/correction is a nice trick by Gaia to help us all power down.

Leila Abu-Saba said...

re: vegan - I am certainly eating lower on the food chain but I don't see the point of eating vegan. Half the stuff vegans tell you to eat is over processed - soy milk? Have you read about what they do to soy milk? Anyway I need the protein while I'm in chemo and was not able to pack in enough of it on a vegetarian diet. I'm adding fish and organic chicken and beef several times a week now and feel much stronger.

Oldnovice said...

I didn't see how the poll addressed the post. The price of eggs and wheat has gone up. "Should you keep your home cooler?" Huh?

I wouldn't mind keeping chickens, but I'm not yet willing to keep them clandestinely (and it's illegal to keep them where I live). I have ordered a grain mill, though, which might pay for itself by 2020 (if I live that long) if the cost of the bread that I really like suffers from the 500% increase that some imagine will happen. [I really just wanted to mill my own flour, but don't tell my husband.]

Akkire said...

i am considering changing to reusable cloth pads, but for some reason...the idea is just not appealing to me! help! all the other things I'd be willing to do.