Featured Blog: Hate Budgeting? Reduce, Re-use & Recycle to Save the Planet & Save Money

The following blog is by Amy Jo Lauber originally published on her blog page.

Both meetings in November of the “I HATE Budgeting (But I Like Having Money)” support group were dedicated to learning how the three Rs can not only enhance and extend life on planet earth (important, since it’s the only planet known to have chocolate) but to save money, too!

We had two meetings and two wonderful speakers:

  1. Adrienne Punturiero, one of my many sisters and chair of the Village of Hamburg Environmental Conservation Commission and a member of the Erie County Environmental Management Commission, spoke at the first meeting and
  2. Cecily Rodriguez, HR specialist, founder and principal at Shift Happens, LLC and adjunct professor at University at Buffalo and Canisius College spoke at the second meeting.

There are many honorable reasons for recycling including:

  • To reduce the garbage in the landfill (it’s a beautiful world, let’s keep it that way)
  • To promote a healthy environment (when you’re at the top of the food chain, you may not be aware of how each of the precious links rely on one another)
  • To show our children how to care for the earth
  • To reduce toxins in the atmosphere so our children (and grandchildren) may enjoy better health
  • To extend the usage of an item so fewer purchases were required thereby improving the family’s finances

By way of background, my sisters and I were raised to be resourceful; in fact, our Mom was putting out newspapers “for the scavenger,” reusing the (washed) StyrofoamTM from ground beef for painting palettes, and composting kitchen scraps in the 70s. She was also a Republican, so don’t think she was some liberal hippie type. But, she grew up in the Great Depression, when you had to “Use it up, wear it out, make it do, or do without.”And, being the mother of six girls, she and our Dad had to finance family life (and six weddings).

Some ideas to apply the three Rs and save money:

  • Reuse paper:
    • Cut it into smaller pieces and use them as memo pads/scratch paper
    • Use the other side
    • Newspaper provides excellent bedding for small pets like hamsters. It also can be laid in the yard to attract worms for fishing or composting or placed at the bottom of raised garden beds.
    • Turn greeting cards into post cards (using the front part) or gift tags (by cutting out beautiful, cute or funny aspects).
    • Use envelopes bills came in to write out your shopping list and enclose any coupons.
    • You can use old calendar pages to wrap gifts, make greeting cards or cover small books.
  • Recycling provides an income to your municipality whereas garbage disposal represents an expense. Recycling reduces property taxes.
  • If you have to run water (for it to be colder or hotter), run it into a bucket or pitcher and use it to water your plants or boil for cooking pasta, rice or vegetables.
  • Home remedies such as honey & lemon for sore throats, ice packs for headaches, and salt water sinus rinses for head colds are non-toxic, don’t expire, have little packaging, no side effects and – most of all – are effective. You can enhance these remedies using natural essential oils such as tea tree, lavender, eucalyptus etc.
  • Instead of purchasing paper plates, go to your local thrift store and buy a collection of plates that can be washed and reused.
    • Similarly, wash and reuse plastic forks, knives and spoons. (I find it’s easier to indicate where these things should be placed – perhaps fill a large bowl or tub with a little water and place a few items in there so people know what to do).
    • I’ve purchased tablecloths (and even curtains that can be used as table cloths) at thrift stores for parties that can be laundered and reused instead of plastic or paper table cloths (that are an expense for only a one-time use and go into the earth as landfill).
    • If you have a compost bin (most communities offer rodent-safe ones for purchase), you can even buy plates, cups, bowls and straws that are compostable.Let’s Go GreenEcoproducts.com. and Verterra.com all offer these types of options.
  • Natural cleaning products like vinegar and baking soda are non-toxic and can also be purchased using food stamps. Here are some recipes for cleaning products.
  • I heard in a podcast from either NPR’s Planet Money or The Motley Fool that you can use a “disposable” razor for up to a year simply by drying it after each use. I tried it; it works!

Many folks think they aren’t good at earning money, when what they don’t know is how to use it.
~ Frank Clark

About the author: My mission: I help people make good financial decisions with confidence. My purpose: I help people find peace with money. As President of Lauber Financial Planning, I provide financial advice, guidance and coaching on a fee only basis (no products, no commissions). I run a monthly support group called “I HATE Budgeting (But I Like Having Money)”, offer classes and seminars, speak around the world on the psychological, sociological, spiritual and emotional aspects of personal finance, and am the author of the ground-breaking book, “Living Inspired and Financially Empowered: Aligning Our Spiritual and Material Lives.”


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