October 5 2009, 11:13 AM
Last week, local blogger Susanna Donato nearly convinced me to stop killing spiders. I decided anyone with that kind of power needed to teach a session of Recession School. The first thing we discussed was how she chose her blog name, Cheap Like Me. "I'm cheap, but I want people to be cheap like me," she says. "It means you live by your values, but while you try to find good deals you can also get good stuff." Here, Donato offers three recommendations for how Cheap Thrills readers can live more affordable, sustainable lives. 1. Make Your Own Bread Donato has merged two recipes to create an easy, no-knead bread that costs around $0.41 a loaf---a pretty big difference from the three or four dollars spent per loaf at the grocery store. "Making your own bread is a reminder that you can live well if you don't have a lot. You don't have to be a great chef to make it," she says. Bonus: Make this recipe as a sandwich loaf, use it for pizza dough, or as dinner rolls. 2. Hang Your Clothes Here's where us Coloradans are in luck. With a climate as arid as ours, drying clothes is easy. Donato even notices that line-drying is cheaper and more eco-friendly than using her dryer. She saves $70 to $80 a year hanging her clothes outside. When I tried it, I saw a $40 difference per month in my energy bill. (I also did not have an energy-efficient dryer.) Donato concedes it's not worth hanging laundry outside when the temperature dips below 55 degrees; that's when she uses hangers, a clothes rack, and some "clothespins-on-a-round-rack gadgets" that she bought at a dollar store. 3. Switch to the Diva Cup Gentlemen: This one's just for the ladies. While it may be an uncomfortable subject to discuss in polite company, the fact of the matter is women are still paying a lot for feminine products---and throwing a lot of them away. Donato tried the DivaCup, a reusable silicone cup that serves as a replacement for more traditional feminine products, in response to a challenge from another green-conscious blog. She notes that a woman can use around 16,800 pads or tampons during her lifetime, and the FDA suggests that the DivaCup be replaced just once a year. In a post (and follow-up), Donato tracks her experience with the DivaCup.