Fruitful Living and Saving

The key to affording life’s necessities, such as food and shelter, while having enough money left over to do all the items on your bucket list, such as backpack across Europe, is smart spending. Spend less on what you must have in order to enjoy the things that you want.

Is It Truly a Necessity?

Sometimes people grow to believe that certain items are necessities when they really are not. Write down all your purchases for a week. At the end of the week, study your list, and determine if you could have done without something on it. If you can cut down on the items you believe you must have, you’ll have more money to spend on the things you want.

Which Would You Rather Have?

Before making a purchase, ask yourself if you would rather have the item you’re about to buy or the money it costs. This will force you to think consciously about what you’re spending and help you to spend less.

Find Ways to Cut Costs

Figure out ways to use less, doing several small things can add up to surprisingly big savings. For example, don’t leave chargers plugged into walls when they’re not actively in use. This will save on electricity. If you get your hair cut every six weeks, switch to every eight. There are many little changes you can make that will save you big money.

Target Your Saving

When you’ve cut your spending enough to start saving for some of the items on your bucket list, open a savings account and start saving specifically for your goal. If you want to spend a month in Hawaii, name your account accordingly, and put money into that account as often as you can. When you’ve reached your target amount, go to Hawaii and enjoy using international money transfers for any last minutes vacation necessities.

With a seemingly infinite amount of items to buy, both online and in stores, it’s harder than ever to save money. However, if you can figure out ways to spend less on your day-to-day living, you’ll have more money to spend on your dreams, such as a great trip or a luxury car.

 

 

Green Back to School Tips

Summer is almost over! It’s time to reclaim your sanity and send the kids back to school. But before you head to the store for your back to school shopping, take a few minutes to consider how you can make this time of year a little more eco-friendly. Here are a few tips that can help you get back to school the green way:

School Supplies

First of all, find out what school supplies you are responsible for, and which the school will provide. There is no point in doubling consumption by buying what the school is already providing. Get a list from the school, and avoid over-buying.

Next, before you buy items that are on your list, check to see if you have some of them already. You might have some leftover supplies from years past. There’s no reason to purchase those items you already have.

For items that you do end up needing to buy, see if you can get post-consumer products that are made — at least partially — from recycled materials. Binders made of cardboard or canvas can be purchased; you don’t have to get plastic. You should try to avoid plastic, especially those containing BPAs, whenever possible with your school supplies.

Lunch Time

You can make your child’s lunch time greener, and healthier, by following a few tips:

  • Use a reusable bag or box. There are plenty of bags and boxes that come BPA-free.
  • This applies to drink containers as well. Send a thermos, instead of sending something in packaging that has to be thrown out.
  • Food can be kept in reusable containers as well. Just wash each day.
  • Send reusable utensils, rather than disposable forks and spoons.
  • Consider buying a few high-quality cloth napkins. These can be washed with the laundry, and reused.

You can make lunches healthier by using locally-sourced food when possible. Additionally, if you plan lunches ahead of time, and pack them the night before, you won’t be so rushed and tempted to use pre-packaged foods.

Clothing

As with school supplies, the first thing you should do is see if there are clothes from last year that can be worn this year. Try not to buy a lot of new clothes if you can help it.

When you do go shopping, consider checking out a thrift shop or consignment shop. Find out what day these shops normally put out “new” items. If you know when the most recent stuff is going out, you can get best pick from the best items. The clothes look new, and it can freshen your child’s wardrobe without increased consumption.

Don’t forget to donate your clothes to a thrift shop, or to hand them down to someone who could use them, instead of just throwing them out.

Transportation

Finally, consider ways to reduce your environmental impact in getting to and from school. If it’s a possibility, the best option is to walk or bike to school. However, if that isn’t feasible, take the bus, or carpool to reduce emissions.

With a little thought and planning, it should be possible for you to have a back to school season that is a little more eco-friendly.