Monday, April 25, 2005

Try This- downsizing

In 'Merica there seems to be a biggerer and biggerer attitude towards food and consumption in general. The more the merrier it seems.

But I was recently thinking about how some of my habits have changed since I now live overseas.

Just a few examples:

1) I now drive a scooter which uses 1 gallon of fuel every week instead of my Bronco which used to use between 20-30 gallones every 4-5 days!

2) Our refigerator is about 2/3 the size of the ones I had back home. As a result I no longer buy or NEED a gallon of milk or juice! My wife and I somehow manage to get by on 1 liter per week, can you believe that you actually don't NEED a whole gallon?

On that note also.. the loaves of bread here are somehow about 1/2 the size of the ones back home and we both manage to get by on 1 loaf per week.

3) Since we live in the tropics artificial heating and cooling are not longer necessary.

4) Instead of a HUGE 50 gallon hot water heater... our water passes through a heater as it runs through the pipes and is instantly heated! Saves energy since those old gigantic water heaters lose heat and are caught in an endless cycle of heat, heat loss and re-heat which burns a lot of energy! (This is one of my favorite things here.. ingenious!)

5) And the most recent one... now instead of going shopping on a weekly basis we are making a trial run of the daily market visit. We have several markets nearby. They are a bit more expensive than buying in bulk but we don't really have the storage space anyway. So in the long run we should save money and more importantly waste less food! We've discovered that we often stock up on veggies with the intent of cooking them at some point and then they go bad before we get to it. Often it's because we get invited out to dinner or are in the mood for something specific.

With this new approach of stopping by the market on the way home we have the advantage of deciding what we want to cook for dinner just before we go home. We can also pick up what is seasonal and fresh.

For example, I stopped by last night and got enough stuff for a big stir-fry for about US$4.. we had enough left over for lunch today. So at about US$1 a meal.. I'm pretty happy. And no waste!

We have a bakery nearby and can get fresh bread with no preservatives easily. (not cheaply)

I know these aren't original ideas... but it has taken me a little work to overcome my 'Merica induced.. BUY A LOT and BUY IN BULK mentality.

There really is no need for it.

-Matt

1 comment:

AJ said...

Matt,

Ive naturally downsized in a similar way. At the moment, living in Hiroshima, I have no car. I bicycle or use the train for all my transportation needs.

As for a fridge, I dont even own one. So I buy my food each day as I need it. I sometimes store stuff in Kristin's fridge, but in general dont worry about stocking up on a ton of stuff.

My (old and decrepit) water heater is of the same style as yours... the water is heated as its used. Why dont they use these in America? They are so much smaller, cheaper, and energy efficient. What is the point of keeping 50 gallons of water perpetually heated when you can just heat the stuff as you need it? Truly baffling.