$50 towards a smaller footprint?
Help me spend my Christmas money! I budget it into different categories, to keep me from spending it all on books. Right now, I've got $50 left in the "green" category and I'm out of ideas. Ideally, I'd like to get something that helps me reduce consumption of electricity, water, or 'stuff' in the future.
Possibly helpful demographics: Twenty-something female apartment-dweller. One cat, one car, no kids. No room on the balcony for more plants (alas).
Hi. Why not save it till something you really need and want -and green- comes along?
Hi Mer05 -
It's my first post also
Challenge yourself to use the $50 taking mass transit this month. According to AAA it costs an annual average of $9641 to own/maintain/fuel/pay ins., etc on a medium sized sedan. YMMV of course: http://www.aaapublicaffairs.com/main...9&ContentID=23
What about a Smart Strip for your TV/DVD/Modem/computer set up?
Let us know what you eventually decide,
Well, there is a quote: "becoming sustainable is not only a matter of consuming differently, it's a matter of consuming less." That's no one's favorite idea though, I totally understand the allure of buying green-ness!
Some of the low hanging fruit you probably already have, but in case not: CF or LED bulbs, solar panel charger for small appliances like cell phone or even some laptops, reusable shopping bags, draft stoppers, low flow showerhead, warm sweater for home use, reusable mug and water bottle for when out-of-the-house, online subscriptions if possible to things you currently get by mail.
One other thought: buying "pre-used" things, whether clothing or other goods, is usually more enviro-friendly than not, and will make your $50 go a lot further!
Are you buying "green power" from your local electrical provider already?
These folks will plant 50 trees for you for your $50. Might be a better long-term payoff than simply buying something:
Community garden plot and some seed packets.
I like kib's suggestions, but I would also like Gina's idea of saving it for something else. But really, do you need more "stuff"? The frugal, simple living, AND green way to go would be to put the money into savings and use it when there is the necessity to buy what you need. Waiting is always a good way to go. Learn a habit first - turning down the thermostat and putting on a sweater that you own, turning off lights, walking, using mass transit, eating organic and local grown foods. Reuse, Recycle, Reduce.
If you aren't already using them, how about cloth shopping bags & the materials to make (or buy) reusable produce bags?
Last year I bought a kill-a-watt meter and did my own home electical usage audit. I think some libraries loan these for free, but if you buy one, they are maybe $30. I made a few small changes in my home based on the results, plus it was sort of a learning experience. When I was done I passed the meter on to several others, who also seemed to learn from it.
It's not exactly green, but if you would be interested in making micro loans to small businesses in underdeveloped countries, you might check out Kiva.org. They do loans in $25 increments and you can choose the entreprenuer to whom you loan money. I've made several loans and it's a fun thing, plus maybe makes the world a little better place. Plus, you eventually have the loan repaid.
If it is cold where you are, how about an electric heating mattress pad. We got one and we don't turn the heat on in the basement. Or something warm to wear, or gumboots or something.