Thursday, January 21, 2010


So, after all that meal planning this weekend my 7 year old has decided to become a vegan. She has been a "kind of vegetarian" for quite some time. Our whole family is actually. It's hard to say we are vegetarians, because we do eat meat. However, we only eat meat that is raised on a family farm, or is certified humanely raised and organic. My daughter however, upon meeting Brendan Brazier a famous vegan triathlete this week has decided it is time she takes it all the way. For anyone that may not be up on the lingo here's a basic scoop. Someone that calls themselves vegetarian will often eat eggs, dairy, and possibly even fish. However a vegan does none of these. A vegan by the Webster' dictionary is: a strict vegetarian who consumes no animal food or dairy products. Therefore most vegans do not even eat honey.
 Simply not eating meat saves the planet an incredible amount of energy, farm land, waist and reduces the amount of animal mistreatment by an amazing amount. (This is assuming you are still buying standard eggs and dairy products.) Anyways I love to give you'll the details and low down dirty facts. But I will save that unless you really want it.

So anyways now that she is a vegan it changes some of our meal plans. It is amazing how much food has some form of dairy or eggs. We had pizza planned on our menu tonight. I love pizza, it's so easy and fun. Pizza crust is vegan by nature. However, the cheese on top is a whole other story. So, I had to go get some vegan cheese. This is basically a non dairy product that is processed in a way to create a product that for the most part taste and acts like cheese. Unless you are a true cheese ball of course. On top of that I got her some children's calcium tablets, lentils, and quinoa. All of which are extremely healthy and should be a part of everyone diet. The lentils and quinoa are easy and quick to cook, and will be a great fill in when the rest of us are not participating in a truly vegan meal. Most likely because I refuse to cook everyone a different meal, we will all have to become vegans.

For the most part being a vegan is an utterly healthy way of life. When you are limited to fruits and veggies it is amazing how nutrient dense your plate becomes. Believe it or not many vegitables have enough calcium to keep a young girls bones strong all her life. However, I am rather picky and paranoid, so I'm adding a little extra. The other concern and far more viable is the vitamin B intake. This is near impossible for vegetarians and vegan alike. So, she will also be taking a children's multi. Other than that, I have no doubts she will be eating better than the rest of us. :)

So, why did I start blabbing about all this? Oh yes, another receipt to admit to:
Traditional grocery store: $59.19

Of course this may mean I am going to the grocery store a little more often. One down side to being a vegan, fruits and veggies don't come with preservatives. LOL.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010


One thing that makes Etsy so daunting and overwhelming are the unbelievable, creative, well priced items that can be found. This is making my next Etsy purchase extremely difficult.

If any of you did not know, I dye all my own clothes for my etsy store Enuwbe. Therefore I keep salt in my house by the 25 pound bags. When I cook, I take a pinch from one of my open bags. I have decided to take the plunge and get a real salt an pepper shaker.

The choices were all top notch. Some were hand thrown like these from PatsPottery

Or hand painted with many fun colors and happy feelings such as, ARToutOFherMIND

And mimiware

However, I ended up going for a more simple set that made a HUGE statement. Our family loves the outdoors. We love to bike, hike, mountaineer and everything else. So the salt and pepper shaker that seemed to fit our family best was made by AceroStudios from New Bedford, MA.

It is rather interesting how personal this became. If I had gone to a traditional store, I may have had a couple of choices. Most would probably be neutral and all purpose. Something that thousands of people would not mind spending a few bucks on. These will be more than just salt and pepper shakers I bring out to spruce up a dish. Or put on the table for some salt loving company. These will be a conversation starter. They will also outlast some cheap shakers I could buy else where, because I will love them and take care of them.

As you see with my few examples there is a special salt and pepper shaker out there for everyone. One that fits you perfect and makes you want to be at home in the kitchen using them.

WOW, harder than I thought

Allowing the world to view my daily purchases is a lot harder than I thought. And quite embaressing. I know I am a spender, and not that ashamed of it. However, when it is open to the public, each purchase seems that much more important. I never realized what a private matter shopping and spending can be. Of course the cashier can see what you buy, and anyone that is with you at the time. But, to take the world on every shopping trip seems to make a big difference.

Would we all shop different if we had to advertise it each time. Would you change your shopping habits if you had to email everyone you know, every time you spent a penny?

To see my public list of everything I buy away from Etsy  Off Etsy spending
To see my public list of everything I buy on Etsy On Etsy Spending

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Shopping ECO friendly and saving money!

My grocery shopping day is finally over. My first stop was Costco. All I could think was, I would rather be on Etsy. It was crazy busy. They keep talking about a recession in our country, well I do not want to go to Costco when we are not in one. With it being SO busy, and trying to shop with 3 kids at my side, I really paid attention to prices. I even wrote some of them down. After which I went to the traditional grocery store. My savings...just not worth it. I also used to go to Costco as an eco friendly option. With the idea if I buy bulk, there would be less packaging. Over the years though, I have seen these major warehouse store cator more and more to the resident rather than the business. Therefore, creating even more packaging than if you buy it at a regular grocery store. For example, bread. I can go to a traditional grocery store and buy 2 loaves of bread individually. However at the warehouse store I am buying the same 2 loaves of bread and being forced to put both loaves together in a larger bag. Frozen pizzas are another example. I can go to a traditional grocery store and buy 3 frozen pizzas individually. However at the warehouse, you buy 3 of the same pizzas, and they have an extra box around them. I am sure this extra packaging is costing the producer a lot, and therefor the consumer is paying for it.

On the other had if you want to save a TON, go to the bulk section at a traditional grocery store. (This would be the serve yourself bins) Most commonly filled with beans, rice, snack foods, and granola. The size and selection will depend on the grocery store. It can be quite surprising if you have never compared the prices. This also goes to prove how much, we as humans pay for our pretty packaging. The fun part of this section is finding your own containers to put the stuff in when you get home. Of course you can always use the plastic bags you bought it in. For any of you that would love to go the extra mile and not even use those plastic bags, you can check out these from Ficklefaerie

These bags are on my shopping list because I take advantage of the bulk section quite often.

Another bulk option that more grocery stores are offering is bulk peanut butter and bulk honey. Whole Foods have offered this for a long time. I refill my plastic container when ever I need more honey. At home I put it into a old katsup container. You know, the ones that are stored upside down, and have the little no spill hole. It's the EXACT same thing as many of the off the counter honey jars have. Therefore I can buy an ENDLESS amount of honey/agave and never have to buy more plastic than my first bottle. This also allows the farmers to have a much lower overhead! As for peanut butter, you can reuse the plastic containers as well. Even if you don't want to do that, I promise you fresh ground peanut butter is better than any other peanut butter. No added oils, no added sweeteners and taste better.

An extra purchase that was made at Costco was Snap containers that are made out of glass.

I love these things because you can put soup or anything in them and they do not leak. However, when I bought them a few years ago, they only came in plastic. When I saw them at Costco, I debated whether or not I could get something equivalent on Etsy, and I decided I could not. There are plenty of handmade and vintage bowls. However the snapping feature of the lid was essential. So, I went ahead and bought them. They are also not local in anyway (made in Korea). However, there are no USA made companies that sell something with the features I am looking for. The money saving they will accomplish for to-go lunches/left overs/ect. will be well worth it. Also, if I use them as storage units for bulk purchased foods, the packaging I will save will far out way the carbon foot print of the overseas travels.

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Grocery Shopping Budget! On the Etsy List: Taco Seasoning

While my husband is studiously studying, I will go grocery shopping. I am rather picky so this usually includes 3 stores to get what I want. Cosco, because we are a large family that includes 3 kids on a budget. Whole Foods, because I believe we vote with our money. Also the traditional grocery store, because it's cheaper and I can get organic foods there as well.   Now adding this project, it will at times include a fourth store, Etsy.

Our family has a goal this year of erasing about $20,000 dollars worth of credit card debt. This requires a very tight budget. Therefore we very rarely eat out. I also meticulously plan my meals out a week in advance. I then list the things I need to buy according to the store I should get them. This may sound crazy, but it is a must because of my hectic lifestyle. I homeschool my kids, act like little miss suzy homemaker while the hubby is in school, own my own business (, and am learning Spanish. If I do not keep the grocery shopping organized to a T, I end up going out to eat quite often, and I LOVE to go out to eat. I have a few other tricks up my sleeve in order to keep this eating-in goal achieved, but keeping things organized and always having food in the house would be the main one.

So, now that my shopping list is done, I had to do a little research. What can I buy off Etsy from my grocery list? After a long search, I found I can order my Taco seasoning from Etsy! There was not a huge selection in my search. Most of the sellers were also selling very small quantities. As I mentioned before, I like to shop at Costco due to having a large family. We also like to make Taco soup about 2 or 4 times a month. Therefore, I tend to go through quite a bit of taco seasoning. I chose to buy my seasoning from  LipSmackinCreations which included free shipping, and what she described as 5 servings. Most stores sell a single serving for a little over a buck. So, the price appears to be VERY similar. I feel so good about my purchase. I can't wait to taste this seasoning in my soup and tell you'll how it is!

One thing I have learned from these recent purchases: When buying food, make sure that you click on the "plants and edibles" category. Otherwise all the listings that include that food name in its description will show up.This could take years to weed though.

Next purchase, Salt and Pepper shaker!

Friday, January 15, 2010

My First Purchase

Last night marked my first purchase of this project. It included edible items that I can not puchase on Etsy. Don't worry it is coming. My purchase last night was for my husband. He is in PA school right now and was required to join the students association. Cost $25. I got the money from the ATM and also got him some study junk food. He is particularly fond of Monster energy drinks. However due to there lack of good nutrition and the cost, he only gets them on Mondays. We call them Monster Mondays. They were on sale, so I bought 2. I also bought him some doughnuts to bring to class and share for the early morning test that was scheduled. Total cost including cash, $36.48.

This purchase included
  1. requirements that are not available on Etsy, association dues
  2. pre-budgeted monsters 
  3. doughnuts
   While evaluating my purchase, I feel like I could have gotten some kind of doughnut item on Etsy instead of the store. They were Krispey Kreme, and therefore made in the USA. That is kinda good, because they would not have been shipped more than about 3000 miles.

Upon further research, I found some vegan marshmallows from Greencraftersforest. Although not doughnuts, they would have sufficed for my purpose for product and comparable price.
  • Cost for 8 doughnuts: $5.50 
  • Cost for 15 vegan marshmallows including eco friendly shipping: $11.00

They also would have required me to plan ahead. In her description she kindly announces the processing time of her wonderful treats. Therefore if I planned ahead, I would have been fine. Of course my doughnut purchase was a spur of the moment spending. But isn't that the point? To buy on Etsy means to stop quick purchases, and think about what your doing. So shame on me! As a result of this stumble, I have discovered a wide range of awesome snack/student food on Etsy. I will try to budget these in and replace my store bought studying/snack foods with Etsy ones.

The price is $5.50 higher. However, here is how I justify it. I will be saving quite a bit, by not buying spur of the moment items. However, I will always have to look ahead on the calender.  I feel like instead of buying 2 pieces of junk, I am buying one nice item.

In order to justify make up for my rookie behavior, I will purchase these marshmallows for my husband to take to class for his next test.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Etsy For One Year, Day 1

January 14th marks a day I will begin to buy as many of my needs for one year from Etsy.

My goal for this experiment is to prove that handmade/eco friendly can be more than a unique nick-knack boutique full of art and strange gifts. In order to do this, I am embarking on a fun, yet arduous task of buying as much as I need from Etsy for one year. Do to the unique philosophy of Etsy, I will be able to buy handmade, vintage, and craft supply items.

Every penny I spend for the next year will be documented here. Etsy obviously can not supply me with all of my needs for a whole year. There are some items that will NEED to be outsourced. These items will include things such as gas and food. I will document every purchase I make including these items. When I outsource, every effort will be made to get it used, recycled, or in some form eco friendly in order to maintain the philosophy of this project.

This experiment will prove that American consumerism can be brought back from our current convenient wasteful way of life, and still be fun. Over the past 2 generations, Americans have become accustom to quickly replacing, old used and broken items. Even I have fallen trap to doing this many times. Often in order to hush my whining children over a lost or broken toy I quickly tell them, "we can just buy another one". However, each time I am teaching my kids to fall prey to the same convenient lifestyle that is slowly tearing our country, land, and economy apart. How are my children supposed to grow up and take finances seriously, when they are taught to just "buy another one."? How are they supposed to care for and tend to the things they already own? This has stemmed from an ever growing global market and the ability to purchase ever cheaper stuff. Although a global market has many great advantages, it has come with many dark often unseen pitfalls. The advantage of Etsy, is the fact that you are buying something that comes with sentimental value from the beginning. The buyer will be more opt to care and tend to the item. Everything is also made by the artist. Therefore there is no middle man. As a buyer you have more opportunity to know where your product is coming from and make a more educated purchase. This means that what you will not feel a need to replace it as often, and it will require less shipping, and packaging.

We are all young enough to be a part of this consumerism, and we have all been trained and actively take part in it our whole lives. I will also be doing this in a large metropolitan city that will bombard and encourage me to buy stuff everyday. Therefor, I am sure you can imagine how hard this will be.

I am hoping that a side effect of this adventure is, I will save money, cherish and care for the things I buy, help the planet, put money in the hands of the maker, and help fund the USPS.