Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Reduce, Reuse, and Recycle - Part 1


Saving Money Tip #117 - Reduce, Reuse, and Recycle – Part 1. I am a big fan of the environment. Anything that has to do with keeping the Earth clean is important to me. And fortunately, keeping the Earth clean often works very well with saving money. We all know the saying, “Reduce, Reuse, Recycle.” Well, let’s focus on the first part of that saying today. Reduce means to cut down - as in cut down on our consumption of materials, cut down on our driving, cut down on our eating, and cut down on the size of our homes, among other things. The more we reduce, the better it is for the environment and the better it is for our pocketbook. Of course, all of this is within reason.

First and most important in my mind is cutting down on our consumption of materials – buying things with less packaging, buying fewer convenience items, buying fewer toys, buying less clothing, and buying fewer gadgets. Buying things without bulky packaging costs less. Buying items that are not pre-packaged conveniently cost less. And of course buying fewer toys, less clothing and fewer gadgets cost less. If all of us cut down on these types of items, we would not only save money, we would help our planet.

Secondly, reducing our driving. How many times do we just get in the car because we feel like it? We just want to take a ride somewhere. How about all of the extra driving we do because we fail to pre-plan? We drive to the bank and pass the grocery store we need to shop at but don’t stop in, instead taking a second trip to the grocery store later that day? Or the times where we drive our daughter to camp and our neighbor down the road does the same thing instead of sharing a drive? I know it’s impossible for our society to live without cars. But we are often wasteful in our use of them. By reducing the amount of driving we do, we will save money in gas and car upkeep.

Third, cutting down on our eating. Now I know not everyone has this problem, but a large segment of society overeats. Our waistlines have gone up dramatically over the years, and not for the better. Our portion size has gone up, our amount of snacking has gone up, and the overall amount we eat has gone up. If each of us cut out one snack per day or reduced the amount of food on our dinner plate we would not only save a lot of money on our food bill, but on health costs down the road as well as effects of the environment. More food equals more raw materials used, more packaging used, and more energy to purchase and consume them.

Fourth, reducing our home size. The average home size in the US has more than doubled since the 1950’s and our family size has gotten smaller. Larger homes mean more furniture, more items to fill it up, and more resources such as oil or gas to heat and cool it. Why do people need to live in such large homes? To impress the Jones family? Well the Jones family got smart years ago, and are living in a small home they can afford, while others of us are working two jobs to make the payment for the home we have less time to spend in. And when we are there, half of the rooms sit unused. When buying a home, buy one that is appropriate in size for your family. Every person does not need his own bathroom. Rooms can serve multi-functions. You will enjoy the lower house payments and the lower energy costs as well the less money it takes to furnish it, clean it, and decorate it. And the environment will be grateful, too.

There are lots of other things we can reduce in our daily lives to keep costs down and help the environment, but those are the big ones. Think about what you can reduce in your life to save some money and help out the Earth as well.

In Real Life (IRL) – I was always that annoying co-worker who went around the cubicles to make sure everyone put their paper was in the recycling bin, and then I pulled paper out of the recycling bin to write on the other side. I collected paper clips scattered about the copy machine to make up a box in the supply closet to reduce the use of new ones. I’ve been bringing my own bags to grocery stores for well over 15 years to reduce my use of disposable bags. My husband and I bought a 1750 square-foot house for a family of two to grow into. And we turned it into a 1900 square foot house by adding a wall and enclosing a porch when we became a family of five. By buying a relatively small house we have been able to reduce the use of energy to run it and reduce the amount of things we need to decorate it.

I try hard not to buy new toys and things – especially those with unnecessary packaging. I try to carpool when I can and combine trips when I can. I even walk or ride my bike to reduce my car use whenever I can. I do not buy many convenience items, and have been cooking from scratch more lately, which reduces food packaging tremendously. I am working on eating less. Ahem. Moving on.

I mostly do all of these things because I care about the size of our landfills and the air that my children and future grandchildren will breathe. I get the added benefit of saving money when I do these things. In what ways can you reduce your consumption of materials to help save you money and help keep our planet clean?

3 comments:

Herbalife Las Vegas said...

Great information.

Managing Life said...

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Valonia said...

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Ann

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