Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Does being eco friendly mean spending more money?

05/29/2013

I have always heard people tell me that they can't afford to be eco friendly. When I lived in apartments with my husband we still attempted to recycle but with limited space and no nearby recycling bin we didn't do super well. When we moved to the town that most of my family lives in I immediately starting researching recycling options. I know many towns have FREE curbside pickup of recyclables and what do you know, so does the one I moved to that all of my family lives in. I had previously discussed recycling with them and they all made it seem like they couldn't get curbside pickup, it was to much of a hassle to save up their recyclables and take it in. I paid $8 for my recycle bin which is REFUNDABLE if I choose to return the bin when I move to another city. Recycling is just one way to be an eco friendly family!

I think the simplest thing to remember when trying to be eco friendly is the three R's: Reuse, Reduce, Recycle. Of course I have already went over recycling, not all cities do have curbside recycling but for those of you whose cities offer curbside recycling then there is also a great program called recyclebank that allows you to earn rewards for recycle! Now lets discuss reducing and reusing.

I have actually saved a lot of money on the reusing step! Reusing doesn't have to be reusing your own stuff, it can be simply buying used or giving your items a second life by selling them in a yard sale or donating them so someone else can use them! Growing up I was a little snobby in that I HATED getting used clothes. I wanted everything new, and now that I'm paying all the bills and saving up a down payment for a house... well I'm not as snobby. My friend who I never would have thought would own anything that had been pre used actually told me about this great store: The Goodwill Outlet. I have found SEVERAL things there that are actually brand new with tags! The best part? Other than helping to save the environment of course, is the price $1.39 per pound! That means you can get several light weight items for $1.39. I have gotten clothes here with tags on them that are for $40 and more!

Another thing to reuse of course is bags! I recycle my plastic store bags and paper store bags when I forget to bring my reusable ones, however one of the best things to reuse is bags because it will reduce the need for plastic bags that are ruining our ecosystem and killing wildlife, especially in the ocean! I also like reusing the glass jars that you get from pasta sauce and jelly or from the green olives!

Now for the last of the R's reducing! I focus on this step as a way of saving money naturally even if I weren't looking at it as a way of being eco friendly! I'm an economics major now but my goal is to be a personal financial adviser. One of my favorite quotes about finances is "It doesn't matter how much money you make, its all about how much you keep". Think about it, its a very true statement. Many lottery winners wind up broke after winning the lottery because they aren't responsible with their money!

One of the best ways to reduce your impact on the environment and save money is to consolidate vehicles or even just trips! With the price of gas and insurance I imagine that the average person could save over $100 a month by loosing a vehicle, not to mention they would get money for selling it! If it was a vehicle that wasn't paid off and they were paying on they would get even more money in savings! We all know that our cars aren't great for the eco system even as much as they have been improved in the last decade. Most cars also use gas to run which as we all know is a non renewable resource. We also have had gas spills somewhat recently that have harmed the environment and killed wildlife!

Well me and my husband still each have our own vehicle and I don't know that that will change anytime soon he is wanting a motorcycle when he gets home from basic and tech school which is much better for the environment than his truck. My next vehicle will also be much more fuel efficient is not a hybrid! We all need to take the steps that improve the environment but still allow us to live happily and don't cause to many strains. For some families having only one car is unreasonable, for my husband its not an option, for some of you it may be!

Of course I will get into more detail on how to be eco friendly on a budget I thought the simplest steps should be your first on your journey. We can all recycle, we can all start buying somethings used either from a thrift store, yard sale, or goodwill, and most of us take extra trips in our vehicles that we could consolidate or drive further than we really need to. Money should not mean that you can't take steps to do things that are beneficial for our environment!