While I was preparing to set up the coffee maker last evening, so that when we wake up in the morning, we just have to hit the button, I realized I had undertaken a new habit. I had the coffee-to-water measurements down pat. It’s 4 tablespoons to 8 cups coffee. Only to get 8 cups of coffee out of our coffee maker I have to put in 9 cups of water. The four tablespoon scoops of ground coffee has to be level. I use the side of my pointer finger and scrape it across the top of the measuring tablespoon marker to make sure it’s level. Not one extra grain of coffee bean nor drop of water gets added into anything. Coffee-wise.

Why am I doing this? I asked myself. I never was quite so specific before. Did I become a cheapskate suddenly? No, was my answer. I just became aware that I might not always be able to get my specific brand of ground coffee, so I better not waste one spec. I also want my product to last and last for as long as possible.

I took a step back and started to think about how I have been handling most of my supplies. I’ve been extra judicious with toilet paper, napkins and paper towels. My faves aren’t always on store shelves and stocking up has been quantity limited. When I went to pour my vanilla creamer into my coffee, I hadn’t realized that I now take one full creamer and split it into two. Then I top off each creamer with skim milk, thus doubling my vanilla creamer capacity. I started measuring out my morning oatmeal, my grits, no more than 1 or 2 eggs per breakfast and no more than 2 strips of nitrate-free bacon, if and when I prepare it. The store doesn’t always have nitrate-free bacon, so when I finally get my hands on it, I eat less of it hoping that will extend it’s refrigerator shelf life.

I’ve also started adding water to practically every liquid product I use. I’ve diluted shampoo, conditioner, juices (especially apple cider and orange juice. amazingly they actually taste better watered down……go figure.) I started adding a tiny bit of water to 2% or whole milk. I started adding fake maple syrup to the real maple syrup because it has taken weeks and weeks for our store to stock up on 100% real maple syrup. Hubby asked if I was doing something to the maple syrup and I lied. I told him everything was fine.

I’ve been using margarine when I should be using butter. I’ve been making more daily soups and larger pots of the stuff so we can eat it for several days in a row. Hubby’s not to fond of that. I told him it’s his imagination. I’ve been cutting blocks of soap in half, so they last longer. I’m also no longer buying my favorite Dove soap nor its generic counterpart. I found good quality in Irish Spring with Aloe at $3.97 for 8 bars = .49 cents a bar vs $1.00 for the generic Dove. My skin looks fine.

From top left to right: tomato/carrot soup with dill and a dollop of plain Greek yogurt, split pea soup with leftover bits of ham, butternut squash soup with sour creme, lentil soup over rice. Every time I buy a cut-up chicken, the butcher includes the cut-out backbone. I use that backbone to make chicken broth and use that chicken broth to make these and other soups or rice dishes.

I’m making big pots of tea vs individual cups. I’ve been watering down dishwashing liquid, laundry liquid detergent, home-made salad dressings, gravies, sauces…..I’m doing all of this without even thinking. It’s become so natural now for me to look at something, anything and figure out a way to extend it’s life.

I’m calling this newfound habit of mine “Unconscious Non-Consumerism”. If I buy anything and if it’s not perfect or meets my expected need, I send it back for a full refund. There is no waste in my home anymore. Everything has a purpose and everything has its place. I’ve recently sent back expensive toothpaste whiteners because really? Baking soda for only .53 cents seems to work better than the $11 a tube kind. I’ve stopped buying a plethora of cleaners because a dash of Dawn (must be the real thing!) mixed with water cleans most anything perfectly!

If I’m baking a cake and the recipe calls for 3 eggs, I only use 2. I see no difference in the quality of the cake or cookie whatsoever. If a recipe calls for 4 carrots, I use 3, etc. etc. I keep cutting back unconsciously because subconsciously I’m calculating that should the grocery stores run out of anything, I’ll have a back up. I’m also saving quite a bit of money playing it this way. The money, however, is secondary. I’m really concerned about running out of product.

Lastly, remember a few weeks back my daughter bought her daughter (my granddaughter) a puppy but later found out after a week or so that her husband was allergic so I got to keep the puppy so that my granddaughter wouldn’t have to give up her puppy and would eventually stop crying? (click here for that post) Well, turns out, they liked NOT having the puppy around as it was too much trouble. Guess who now officially owns the puppy because they decided it would make a great birthday present to me? Yup. ME!!! That’s NOT what I had in mind.

My daughter paid for the first vet visit and will pay half the spay fee BUT the little maltipoo puppy (that she paid $1,000 for!!!) is now officially my dog. And all the costs and expenses that go alone with it. Thankfully she’s a tiny dog, will never weigh more than 8 pounds so the bills will be low BUT nonetheless, I just got rooked into owning another dog.

Hubby and I are exhausted. At almost 70 years of age, I don’t have the needed energy to take care of the puppy full time. Thankfully hubby fell in love with the puppy and has been helping me out. Potty training has been strained as its been too cold and wet to take the puppy out. So we trained her to pee and poop in a cage in another room (my office) and to spend the rest of her time in a child’s play pen, in our bedroom.

It certainly has been fun. No scrimping or savings here. Just lots and lots of puppy kisses.

Realistically, how can anyone say ‘no’ to this puppy face???