Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Saving Money and Energy The Old Fashion Way

3020 The SolarAir 2008Image by bsabarnowl via FlickrEverybody is looking for ways to save money and energy. There are energy saving appliances, bulbs, and automobiles all ready to help in our goal. We are told to lower our carbon footprint and use less energy. Today we want to use less and waste less. We look to the future to find gadgets and machines that can do this for us. I say don't look forward to find solutions, look back!

Depending how old you are, if you want to be money and energy savers, go talk to your parents or grandparents. These people grew up in a day when they used less water, less fuel, created less waste and imported fewer goods than we do today. They took these actions out of necessity as opposed to our modern-day desire to help the planet, but the ecological impact is just as powerful. Here are seven lessons we can borrow from our elders that are easy on the wallet, and have significant environmental impact. Perhaps more importantly, they are easy to implement and relevant to our modern lifestyles.

Bottled water.
Believe it or not I grew up in a day when you didn't buy bottled water. Not because there wasn't any but because you would be thought of as foolish to buy something you basically could get for free from your faucet.

I remember keeping a pitcher of cold water in the refrigerator whenever we wanted a cold drink.

Clothes dryer.
Many homes never had a clothes dryer. Hanging your clothes outside in the fresh air was the only way to dry them. The clothes washer was a common device in a home as far back as the the early 1900's. The first electric one was invented in 1910.

Before the clothes dryer became a standard appliance in every American household, your grandmother simply took advantage of a sunny day, some rope or cord, clothespins. No cost, no maintenance, no carbon footprint. Clothes dryers have come a long way in energy efficiency over recent years, but the average home clothes dryer has a carbon footprint of about 4.4 lbs. of carbon dioxide per load of laundry. According to a recent Wall Street Journal article, “the biggest way to cut the environmental impact of cleaning clothes is to stop using a clothes dryer.”

Vegetable garden.
The home garden was common place many years ago. It was easy to do and a money saver even when fruits and vegetables were fairly inexpensive. When you bought a home, you would look for one that had a nice yard for growing vegtables and perferably many fruit trees. It was normal to go outside your home and be able to see an orange or apple tree in your back yard.

When the Obama Family decided to plant a garden it was seen as odd by the younger generation but made perfect sense to the over 50 crowd. My grandfather always grew vegetables out in the back yard, it would of been odd for him not to.

Saving rain water.
Rainwater is free, why not collect it? You can use it to water your garden or lawn. You can wash a car or the dog with it. You can pick up a few plastic drums free someplace and save money and water. Just channel your rain gutter system into it and have gallons of free water.

Pack your lunch for work.
Back when, most people brown bagged their lunch. Taking a box lunch when you would be out all day, for work, or the kids school lunch was normal. Eating out used to be an occasional event for older generations, often reserved for birthdays or anniversaries. Nowadays, the average American eats out about four times a week and spends nearly $3,000 yearly in take-out food.

The waste created by take-out packaging alone is enough to make you think twice. The money you can save by eating at home or by bringing your own lunch to work or school — in a reusable container, of course would make grandma very proud.

Home entertainment.
When our grandparents were younger, playing card games or board games was a popular form of entertainment. As a little boy, I remember spending hours playing gin rummy in my grandmother's kitchen, with my handful of cards.

Compared to today, we have electronic gaming systems like Wii, Nintendo or Xbox; cards and board games provided hours of entertainment with little impact on the environment or the wallet.

Spend less.
Anytime you buy something, you (and the environment) are paying way more for it than just the sticker price. There is the cost of resources used to make it, advertise it, transport it, maintain it, and inevitably, to dispose of it. The amount of stuff our grandparents bought on a regular basis pales in comparison to the overindulgent spending habits of our generation.

These ways to save money aren't just a common sense way to save money and energy, they demonstrate a mindset, a way of thinking that was ingrained in the over 50 crowd. Today we have a barrage of advertisers showing us ways to make life easier. All we have to do is hand our money over for so called better life. 

1 comment:

  1. Bottled water is one of the biggest rip-offs around. We also sun dry our clothes as much as possible and use programmable thermostats to use less electricity when we are sleeping or not at home. Saves us a bundle.


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