We got back from Italy late on Saturday evening (unfourtunately our skis did not… still waiting for them to be found). We had an amazing trip with unbelievably good weather! It snowed loads on our first day and our fifth day and then in between it was super sunny. So me and Mr LIL who have skiis that do well off pist got to ski in amazing powder snow which was so much fun!
Is has almost been 6 months since I started my year of buy nothing new in September so I thought that I’d give you an update on my progress so far.
I have to start by saying that things have been going great! I wrote in my one month update that I was experiencing some knee jerk reactions when it came to wanting to buy things as soon as I thought about a need/want. This has as I hoped stopped (YAY!). Instead my first reaction is to think do I really need it? And then if the answer is yes I start looking on Blocket (a second hand website in Sweden). Since the exact thing that you are looking for isn’t usually on there immediately I get some more time to think over if I do really need it.
Me and Mr LIL have a new interest in growing our own food so we have bought some things connected to that: a shelf, greenhouses, lights, pots and a bokashi (indoor compost). Since it’s the middle of winter we knew it would be hard to get gardening related stuff second hand so we ended up buying most of the things new but with the intention that we will be able to use them for a long time.
The only other thing that I have bought new is a pair of ski gloves. When skiing in Norway I noticed that mine were really bad and didn’t keep the warmth in at all. They are 10 years old so I feel like they have lived a long life. I tried getting gloves on Blocket but people tend to only sell children’s gloves unfortunately. But I found a good quality pair that will hopefully last me many more seasons that were on 50% sale so that feels good.
It is so freeing to disconnect the thought of wanting something and the action of buying it. I feel as though I am not as caught up in our consumer society as I was before starting my challenge. I enjoy having to really engage my brain in analyzing and problem solving instead of taking the short term easy way out and just buying it. I.e. I have to think about do I really need it? Is it worth postponing my savings goal for it? Do I already have something that can work? Can I borrow it from someone? Can I find it second hand?
I am amazed by the mental peace that going trough life with less and learning not to put so much energy, time and money into our things gives. It is way more fulfilling than the quick pleasure spike that a new purchase gives. I have quite a way to go yet but just from these 6 months I feel that I have made huge progress that also alines with my values of living a Low Impact Life.
Now I am back to focusing on my free time for a month. I started it off with going to dinner and a dance show with my mum yesterday that I got as a Christmas present. I also have a week long ski trip to the Alps in Italy coming up where I will spend time doing what I love with Mr LIL and two other couples which is going to be great!
Other than that this month I will focus on:
- working on the blog
- starting to grow seedlings for our garden
- meeting friends
- figuring out a new skill to learn
- Mr LIL and the LIL wolf are always a central part of my free time
This month hasn’t really gone as planned. After I was sick I ended up getting a really bad cold so I haven’t been well enough to go to the gym at all.
I have also cheated some when it comes to my diet. I’ve been quite good at not eating gluten and lactose except for eating some semlor (a Swedish pastry thing with cream and marzipan in a bun that we eat on “fat Tuesday” which are amazing). Instead the issue is that I have eaten quite a lot of gluten free carbs. I have also slipped when it comes to sugar and I’ve even eaten some candy!
To bring myself back from this I decided to go two weeks (until we go skiing) with strictly following a LCHF/ketogenic (high fat and low carbs diet and of course no gluten, dairy or sugar ). I have also been rereading and reading some books about why high fat diets are so good for you (and why gluten/dairy/sugar is bad) to get my mind back into optimizing my health.
I am currently reading a book by Martina Johansson, a Swedish keto diet blogger, about sugar and food addiction. What is the hardest is that 85% of all sugar is hidden in food. So even if you try to avoid food like candy, cakes and soda you might still be eating a huge amount sugar without knowing it. And it isn’t just sugar that is the problem. High fructose corn syrup, 8 times sweeter than normal sugar and highly processed is beeing added to more and more food because it is cheaper to produce. More on the addictive and dangerous effects of sugar can be seen in the documentary That Sugar Film (can be seen on SVT Play in Sweden here).
So Februarys vitality resolutions will stretch into March so I can get a handle on my diet and exercise.
Me and Mr LIL have dove into a new area of interest: growing our own food! Growing your own food is appealing to us for several reasons:
- no pesticides
- no ecosystem destruction
- no transportation
- no packaging
- increasing our self-sufficiency
- and fun!
We are starting small with growing our own lettuce and herbs indoors during winter and then when spring comes around we’ll start growing vegetables on the balcony and at my dads or brothers house. The set up that we have started with indoors is some grow lights and mini box greenhouses, two glass greenhouses (I don’t think you need them but it is easier to retain moisture) and some pots. This is what we did:
- we put a layer of soil in each little compartment
- put some seeds in each
- covered with a thin layer of soil
- used a spray bottle to water the seeds properly
- covered it with plastic and put it under the lamps (although the seeds don’t need light to germinate just warmth)
- water a lot since the soil isn’t supposed to get dry because the salad will taste bitter and place under light (30 cm from the leaves) when the seedlings have started to emerge
- we have the lights on for about 12-14 hours a day (we have energy efficient LED lights)
- when the plants had grown real leaves (not the two first heart leaves) I removed the smaller ones and put in separate pots
- I mixed some organic fertiziler and sprayed some on after a couple of weeks (or if the leaves start turning yellow)
What’s great is that if you just take some leaves the salad and herbs will continue growing new leaves so you can get a couple of harvests from each plant. We are really happy with how it has turned out. We lost some plants along the way that dried up but most of them survived and have given us plenty of salad and herbs. The feeling that we actually managed to grow the plants ourselves, having to wait for the results and then be able to eat them gives us imense satisfaction. I also love knowing that no pesticides were used, that I don’t even have to rinse the salad before eating. This is the first step towards being more self sustaining when it comes to food.
Reading a post on the Frugalwoods blog about being a frugal weirdo and loving it made me reflect on my own path and how I ended up where I am today: a frugal weirdo and proud! (spoiler: it’s very linked with being an environmentalist)
Let’s start off with the statement I’ve never been one of the “cool” girls in school. As a child I spent most my weekends on a boat in the archipelago exploring islands, playing games with my family, reading books and writing my own stories (still a dream of mine to actually finish one). I am pretty nerdy when it comes to books (don’t get me started on Harry Potter!) and have always had a strong passion for nature and animals. Being outside wether it was sailing, hiking, swimming, canoeing, skiing, skating or just playing outdoors was a natural part of my childhood. When I was little I first wanted to be a wildlife photographer and then a vet (until I realized that I have a problem dealing with blood and injured animals…). When the vet dream died I got into environmental science and the huge challenges that we as humans face today (read more here). I wrote my 9th grade project about the problem with too much nitrogen in the Baltic sea that is disturbing the ecological balance.
From there on my passion for the environment grew although I made few changes to my life at this stage (I was 16 and trying to fit in and going shopping after school was a common activity with friends). After high school I worked at a kindergarten for 6 months to save money to study one semester abroad in California. This period was marked by me being extremely frugal and having the mindset that “either I buy this now or I do something cool in California” which made me put down whatever I was going to buy. Worth mentioning is that although I have been quite a shopaholic I have always had the frugal bug. I think it has to do with me not having an extra job when studying until I was 22 which lead to me having to save and make my monthly allowance stretch very far (I must add that I had the privilege of help from my parents although I never took it for granted that I would get money from them).
When I was living in California I studied environmental science among other courses, all natural science focused, so my interest continued and I spent a lot of time hiking, skiing and being outdoors (the California climate makes that a bit easier than in Sweden). I watched the documentary Food, Inc and after that I became a vegetarian mostly beacuse of the horrendous situation of the industrialized production of meat.
Having to explain again and again why you don’t eat meat and bring your own food to dinners with people having to deal with depressing discussions with me about the future of the earth was definately the start to me inhabiting the weirdo box. Before this stage I had kept a lot to myself but getting more and more worried about the state of the earth I couldn’t just keep going on like it wasn’t happening.
I studied environmental science at Lund University and though my class all understood the no eating meat (I think half the class were vegetarians) and the environmental problems were old news to them everyone else I hung out with definately though that me and my friends from my class were slightly weird. I kept being frugal during my university years (most people are!) and worked with babysitting children and walking dogs for some extra money. I didn’t take out the full loan that is offered to Swedish students through the government but I have some debt to pay back. I am glad that I did take my loan so I didn’t have to work like crazy while studying (studying in Sweden is quite different compared to other countries – tuition is free, we get money every month from the government, the student loans have really low interest rates).
When I moved back to Stockholm at 24 I lived with my mum for a year first to write my thesis and then because I didn’t have a permanent contract at my job I couldn’t rent an apartment. This was also a frugal period since I didn’t know if I would have a job the month after and I lived at home. Although I didn’t actively track my money so a fair amount was still went to different purchases like food out, things, travel and so on.
When I started the blog about 1,5 years ago I started properly owning and loving being a weirdo. Before that I had kind of been trying to hide my weirdness (and failing) and trying to fit in somewhat. I wasn’t being true to myself and the knowledge that I was carrying about how we are treating the planet that we live on and especially how I was contributing to it. Because of that I was feeling quite a bit of despair, guilt and sorrow. Now that I am alined with my values of a Low Impact Life and a frugal lifestyle which have lead to a lot of changes in my life I feel lighter and more at peace with myself. What is even more awesome is that Mr LIL and I share the same values. He is also a frugal person that is worried about the planet. With the support of each other we are taking frugality/LIL to the next step in 2018.
Our trip to Norway was great! Skiing is really one of my and Mr LILs great passions. It is a special feeling of freedom to fly down the slopes and it is so wonderful to be outside all day.
Yesterday I went to an event that a company called Systrar i Bergen “sisters in the mountains” arranged in the ski slope in Stockholm. The company arranges ski trips and other outdoor activities for girls/women. I signed up in December as a part of my free time resolution of finding new people/connections. It was really fun and a really nice atmosphere. They had ski instructors that gave me some tips and things to think about for our upcoming ski trip in the Alps in March.
First day of skiing done!! So much snow! We had amazing runs this morning in the black slopes! We brought packed lunch that we ate in a cabin for breaks and getting warm. A very frugal option since the cost of food in a ski resort in expensive Norway is very high! The afternoon was quite cold, windy and white out so at three we felt done for the day.
Since I have been sick quite a lot lately, most of December and again now in January I am quite tired of feeling unwell! I haven’t been able to exercise or have the energy to do much for a long time. Now I am hoping that it will be better from here. One thing being sick does is create appreciation for being healthy. So I am going to harness this the coming month and really appreciate my body and health.
My focus for February is getting back on track with my vitality resolutions. Especially exercise, being outdoors and also sticking to my diet. My nightly routine is pretty much set, it just needs small adjustments.
I want to start exercising slowly with the exception of skiing (I’m going skiing in Norway Thursday-Sunday this week). I want to start taking 15 min walks at lunch time and will start doing my weight lifting routine with easy weights and slowly working myself up to my old weights. I think the mental challenge of not going to quickly will be the hardest (I like seeing progress quickly).
As for diet I will stick strictly to my eating for a healthy life plan and reduce the amount of gluten free carbs slightly because I am eating a bit too high percentage at the moment which makes me really hungry in the afternoon.
So those points are my aim for February!
January was fairly frugal. I did have two larger expenses that I knew were coming: a spa day with my mum that we gave each other for Christmas/birthday present and paying for our skitrip that’s coming up in March. These I have taken from my fluid savings account that I use for trips, activities and also as a buffer for expenses like dentist and so on. I also invited my girlfriends to a brunch to celebrate my birthday which was a out of the ordinary but other than that spending was low this month. I haven’t done anything special on the frugality front but been focusing on my new job which in turn has lead to not spending much money.
On the front of public transport and lunch connected to my new job I bought a public transport card but have been able to eat lunchboxes every day which I will continue to do! The lunches are the important one since a lunch in town costs a lot of money. The calcualtions: lunch costs around 100kr times 20 which is 2000kr a month. Minus of course around 30kr per homemade lunch box which is 600kr so that equals 1400kr a month saved!
Buying a public transport card cost me 860kr for a month and if I don’t have one I buy tickets that usually land on about 400kr a month so the card cost me an extra 460kr. I still have to fix my bike and it has been really cold and a lot of snow so it has been worth taking the underground so far. I’ll probably buy a card for next month too and then I’ll start biking in March.