Episode 35: Reducing Waste and Debt with Roe of Brown Kids

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With Earth Day coming up, we’re prepared for the kids to come running home with a whole bunch of new things for us to do to make our homes more eco-friendly. Great things. Important things! And things that will inevitably feel like more work for us. Ooof.

We want to be good citizens, but reducing waste in the kitchen can feel like an overwhelming task — unless you take the balanced and mindful approach shared with us by Roe of Brown Kids. Roe talks to us about the connection between reducing our footprint, minimalism, and financial freedom — completely without dogma. From how to shop to the Jar Method of storing produce to last longer, we dig deep into a mindset and practical tips that are good for the Earth and even better for you, your wallet, and your sense of freedom and joy.


Want to Reduce Waste in the Kitchen?

Give yourself permission to stop cooking for your aspirational self

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As parents, we already have a to-do list a mile long. Being eco-friendly not only feels like yet another thing to add to our list (oof), but also puts pressure on us to do the things already on our list in a more work-intensive way:

  • Cook it from scratch!

  • Compost!

  • Skip the individually wrapped, store-bought snacks!

  • Clean it up with a rag that can be laundered and reused!

While we strive to model Earth-friendly choices and to reduce waste, it’s easy to find the whole endeavor overwhelming. And that’s not even getting into the whole minimalist/maximalist thing: As we discussed in our episode Should You Kondo Your Kitchen, we think that the idea of a minimalist kitchen is fraught, to say the least.

Our minimalism is about financial freedom. It’s about something that doesn’t put you in a place where you’re inflicting emotional or financial violence on yourself.
— Roe of Brown Kids

With Earth Day coming up, we decided to chat with Roshanda Cummings, better known as Roe, one half of the couple behind Brown Kids (more on them below!).

We were drawn to Roe not just because of her and E’s infectious energy and genuine grace — which comes through the screen and is very real when you speak to her — but also because their brand of minimalism is less about defining how much stuff any single person or family should have and more about empowering financial freedom. That, of course, will look different for everyone, depending on their finances, and Roe is cool with that.

So basically, Roe does away with minimalism dogma and, instead, empowers us with smart, money-saving, footprint-reducing tools that help us all do a little better for ourselves and the environment.

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In particular, Roe is obsessive about food storage, food preservation, and pretty much everything in the kitchen, because, well, just like the Budget Mom pointed out, groceries are an immutable line item in everyone’s budget.

In fact, when Roe and E first realized this, they focused their energy on grocery savings and reducing food waste. That’s when they developed The Jar Method and, in the first year of implementing it, saved $6,000.

$6000, people!

From thinking about how to shop more effectively to giving life-changing tips on storing produce, Roe went deep with us about minimalism, maximalism, and making your kitchen a place where you can cook and eat honestly and joyfully without creating waste.

Listen to hear more about Roe (and E’s) inspiring mindset and to get all of their tips. In the meantime, here are other links mentioned in this week’s episode.


I looked at my kitchen and was like, ‘No one taught me how to use this thing.’ No one taught me how to stock a pantry. They just had a pantry or I saw pantries around, but there was no framework that you’re actually supposed to pack it with the building blocks of a meal.
— Roe of Brown Kids

More About: Brown Kids

Genius tips from genuine living

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Roe and E are the couple behind the inspiring Instagram account Brown Kids. Together they share their life unfolding as they strive to live a liberated life free of debt and full of joy. They have grown a tremendous following by sharing their experiences with minimalism and mindful eating, and are the creators of the money and time-saving Jar Method. Roe has been featured in Black Girl in OmVegNews, Goop, Black MinimalistsPopSugar, and more.

And seriously: If you’re tired of throwing away produce that’s gone bad (and who isn’t?!), Roe and E’s course, The Brown Kids Living Jar Method, is a must. Check it out to learn how to make your produce last and to stop wasting money now!


 

Spend If It Makes You Happy

And it doesn’t inflict financial pain

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We’ve had some time since recording with Roe to reflect on our conversation with her and also put some changes into action.

Meghan’s using fewer single-use plastic products and Stacie’s working hard on reducing her paper towel usage.

We’re also both working on accepting the things that make us happy. While we’re making sure to save money where it matters, we’re also spending a little extra on the things that really make a positive difference in our daily lives

What about you? WE WANT TO KNOW:

Where can you make a money-saving, waste-reducing change, and also what do you plan on continuing to spend extra money on or indulging in even if it’s not the most eco-friendly decision.

Let us know on Facebook, where you can find us as @didntijustfeedyou. If you’re a listener and know the answer to the secret question, you can also join our Listeners’ Group to get exclusive tips, recipes, giveaways, and more!


Follow us on Instagram

Shenanigans and Earth-friendly tips too!

Follow Meghan at @meghan_splawn and Stacie at @staciebillis . And of course, together, we are @didntijustfeedyou. Can’t wait to see you on IG!


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Take any kind of berry, or even grapes, and put them in a large bowl that’s been filled with cold water. Mix in 2 tablespoons of vinegar. Let the berries soak for about 15 minutes, then drain. Dry completely and store. Instead of your berries lasting two to three days, they should last you a week and a half!
— TIP OF THE WEEK from Roe of Brown Kids