Thursday, October 16, 2008

Frugality vs. Green Living

I've taken to reading a lot of "green" blogs to fill time freed up by permanently unsubbing from Loopers and also to get away from all the political "the sky is falling" kinda posts on the other blogs I frequent.

I see being frugal and being green as two things that don't always go together. Turning off lights and buying less stuff certainly fall into both categories but that seems to be where the similarities end. So I was really excited by the title of the book Go Green, Live Rich. I wasn't looking for a book to tell me how to become rich but I was looking for some advice on how to be both green and frugal. I saw the book mentioned on a few of those new blogs I've been reading. It was a complete waste of a library request, although I did get a few chuckles out of it.

The book mentions things like CFLs, buying a hybrid vehicle, getting rid of a second vehicle, walking/biking to more places, etc. Like buying a hybrid vehicle is going to do us any good when Paul's commuter mobile gets 35-40 mpg. Not to mention the fact that buying a brand new vehicle when you really don't need one isn't green because of the resources used while building it and it certainly isn't frugal. The other ideas like taking a vacation and volunteering at the same time were interesting but hardly useful for our family. Maybe we aren't average but we don't take yearly vacations, in fact we've taken 1 family vacation together in the last 13 years we've had kids. All total that vacation didn't cost even 1/4 the amount this book was advocating for a less expensive vacation while volunteering. Maybe we aren't an average family but still the ideas were next to useless.

This brings me to the blog that I've been following that said it was going to prove that going green could be frugal. The very first post in the series talks about how this family purchased a dining room set used from someone in their area. They figure they saved around $6000 because they only paid $2300. Wow, I don't think we've paid that much for all our furniture combined but I do have to commend them for buying used since that is a frugal and green thing to do. But the rest of the post talked about how using dishes to eat off of is green and frugal. Ummm, isn't this how most of America lives though? Does the average family really eat off of paper plates and use plastic cups everyday? How can you prove to doubters that going green can be frugal when you use examples that just don't apply to the average person? I'm still waiting to be convinced that being more green can be frugal.

If you have any great ideas how we can be more green and still be frugal I'd love to hear them. But please don't include buying less stuff and turning off the lights because I think I've got that down.:)


Lisa Sharp said...

Even a lot of environmentalist (even me) forget the best way to be green and cut your footprint is to not buy anything. That of course won't happen but the less you buy the less you impact the world.

Also buying used cuts your footprint.

Glenda said...

This is interesting to me as well Kim. I agree with you that most of the ideas to do better, are completely out of line with the way I'm living. The one that always makes me laugh is "start taking your lunch and bringing your own coffee." HaHaHaHaHa!

We don't use paper napkins or plates anymore; not because I wanted to be green; but because I wanted to have things nicer. It is so much nicer to eat off real plates and use real napkins.

The one thing I'm not sure how to replace are paper towels. I use those for making the cleaning wipes the kids use daily to clean bathrooms, etc; or to soak up grease from sausage or bacon, etc. I can use rags to clean up spills, but I'm not sure I'm ready to part with them otherwise.

I don't think I have any other suggestions for you. You are the one I come to for more ideas!

Morgan the (Almost) Muse said...

Seriously, I come to your blog and I feel bad. You guys make us look bad, and we consider ourselves more green than usual. (You make me green with envy,haha. That was bad, I know.) But what we do, I think you already know or has already been said. Although, I did read somewhere that running your dishwasher was more green than washing all the dishes by hand...I do not know how to test that one myself, though. But seriously, you guys are doing great, better than most.