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Archive for September, 2010

Is "going green" really the best way to go?

September 23rd, 2010 at 09:26 pm

Now I love the idea of going green when it saves you money. Less trash, better for the environment and less money spent on trash removal. Less water usage, better for the environment, and less cost. And on and on... you get the idea.

But lots of people promote green industries, which I agree is the best way to go long term, but too often I think people look at it as a "pain free" way to soothe their conscience, instead of doing what is really best (i.e. finding ways to use less, and *then* using renewable sources).

This thought came up with the arrival today of the latest electric bill. (btw, this month's bill was $36, not bad for 1/2 of August, 1/2 of September) In with the bill were as usual a number of inserts, including one where you can commit to purchase renewable electricity certificates. I looked into these in the past, and basically you just pay extra which subsidizes purchases from renewable sources so that the providers' costs are more in line with other power sources. This just never struck me as a good way to promote this. If renewable is good, and I agree it is, then the company should commit to purchasing some percentage of this power and spread the cost across all consumers, while trying to increase this percentage over time. Then people could concentrate on cutting down on their own usage, which would help the environment more than just buying these credits. And for those that don't conserve, well at least they are buying some renewable power as part of their overall utility cost.

Sorry, just a rant here, as I figure if I can cut down on usage, I'm helping myself *and* the environment, which is really the better way to "go green" all around. I'm not up for subsidizing green power for other users, which is what buying these certificates look like to me.

Fun with numbers

September 18th, 2010 at 09:12 pm

Some interesting items from the week/weekend.

The numbers 1 & 8: Latest natural gas bill came in this week. My experiment for minimizing my usage seems to have been a success. This past month my usage was 1 therm (therm being the unit of usage used for billing). Normally my summer usage is 7 per month. With no effort, other than lighting the gas pilots when I needed hot water or the stove to cook, I saved about $8 for the month. One thing I really liked on the bill is the line item for "consumption tax: $0.02" I love it when I can pay as little tax as possible. Big Grin

The numbers 3.5 & 8: This was my favorite laugh from Saturday's yard sales. I got to one where they had DVDs and were marked at $3.50 each (they normally sell for around $2 each in the local market), but wait... the sign says you can buy two for $8. (What a deal!). LOL. Serious math fail there.

The number 3: The cost for a brand new car cover I picked up today. (I was thinking "Only $3? Really?) Unfortunately it is too large for my car, but my mother wanted one, so she gets it instead.

The number 1 (again): Another great buy this weekend was an unopened canister of protein mix you can get from GNC. Sticker was still on it ($30), and I got it for $1. I already have some bags of this I got at BJ's club, but this will be added to my stockpile, saving money long term.

Lots of other good yard sale buys today, including plumbing supplies I needed to get to redo the drains on my tubs. This should save me some good money over buying these at the hardware store, and lots more than bringing in a plumber. This is the type of yard sale finds that make going to the yard sales oh so worth it.

Yard Sale finds and interesting economic articles

September 13th, 2010 at 06:39 pm

Yard sales this year have been either a feast or famine situation (usually famine). Not sure if thats due to me needing so little any more, or the economy, but it is something I have seen this year. Last weekend I spent 35 cents total on a workout Tee-shirt, replacement vacuum belts, and a mid 30's lithographed American Flag shield that clamps to a car's radiator and can hold 5 flags (mucho cool - looks like you would use it at parades). I'll call that famine. Now the prior weekend I got only 2 things - a workout inflatable ball for $1, and a still new, still in the shrink wrap, slot car race set for $4. The set is one of these large scale sets made in Europe that sells for $200. That was my feast week. Smile

And for those of you that like financial articles, this I think is a great series where they try to come up with just what has happened in the past 40-so years in America for the middle class. I don't agree with all of it, but it is thought provoking: The U.S. of Inequality