I don’t think you could go anywhere this week without being confronted by information about Earth Week and doing something good for the environment. There were signs, commercials, stories, festivals, and more. I have to admit, I do wonder if the people who are so all about Mother Earth during this time of year feel the same way the rest of the year.
Sometimes, doing good for the Earth goes along with being frugal. Drinking filtered tap water rather than bottled water saves money and reduces waste, for example. But sometimes you do have to spend a bit more to do something good for the Earth. It might mean buying organically grown food or more efficient light bulbs (though those will ultimately save you money).
I admit, I also spend money where I don’t necessarily have to. One thing that I did to reduce my waste is buy a few reusable grocery bags. Some are the cheap bags purchased at the store for 99 cents, one is a very nice canvas bag from Trader Joe’s, and I also bought a big tote from L.L. Bean to make it easier to lug groceries back from the store. I still found myself coming home with plastic bags after making a quick stop at the store on my way home from work, so this week, I picked up a ChicoBag that I keep attached to my keys – this way I’m never without a reusable bag. Could I have saved money and bought cheaper bags? Sure. But these bags make me happy, and I like carrying them, so I’m more likely to use them.
Like a lot of people, I also had a pretty sizable collection of water bottles containing BPA – some Nalgene bottles, some bottles given out for free by various companies, etc. With all the news lately about a possible link between the use of this plastic and the possible leaching of endocrine disruptors into the liquids stored inside, I decided it was in my best interest to get a few new bottles. I picked up a BPA-free bottle by Nalgene, as well as a really pretty Sigg bottle. The Nalgene bottle was relatively inexpensive – under $10, so did I really need to spend almost twice that on a second bottle? No. But I like the bottle, and it makes me happy to see it sitting on my desk.
(For those of you looking to get rid of your polycarbonate bottles, don’t forget about all the non-food uses for these types of bottles. You could use it to store your change. Or pencils. Or art supplies. Or you could use it to make a travel first aid kit – yes, one of the benefits of using a bottle to make this kit is that it can be used for water if necessary, but in my opinion, if you’re in a situation where you need to empty your first aid kit to have something to drink water out of, potential chemical leaching is probably the least of your worries, and besides, it’s still crush proof.)
Have any of you picked up any new, earth-friendly habits that you’re hoping to keep up with, even after Earth Week is over?
Megan is a 30-something government employee in the Washington, DC area. She got interested in Personal Finance when she got out of college and realized that her paycheck wasn’t going to go as far as she had hoped. Since starting this blog, she has managed to buy a house and make a solid start on her retirement goals, and hopes to help others do the same. Here is her story:
In 2007, I was a gainfully employed 20-something with no debt but not a lot of knowledge about personal finance. It was a co-worker’s comment about Roth IRAs that sent me to the internet, searching for information. It was then that I realized that I really didn’t know a whole lot about personal finance and that my current financial situation was due a lot to inherent frugal tendencies, generous family members, a fear of debt, and good luck. While that was working for me, clearly I needed a better plan.
While I had no debt, I was also pretty much living paycheck to paycheck and not worrying about going over budget (I say this as if I had a real budget) because I had an emergency fund set aside to cover any overages.
Except that’s not what an emergency fund is for.
So I did a lot of research, read a lot of blogs, and decided that I needed a plan. I needed to budget. I needed to know what I was spending my money on. I needed to prepare for the future.
I decided to create a blog not only to make myself accountable to others but also to share the knowledge that I gained along the way. I’ve learned so much from my fellow bloggers, and I hope that my readers can find something useful in what I have to share as well.