Managing Mint

I’ve read lots of online stories about Mamas who turned an eco-leaf with the new role of motherhood. It’s really a no brainer that you want your kids to have a healthy environment. While it should be just as intuitive to manage your finances as protect the environment, for whatever reasons, I first started caring about our finances once we became a family.


Initially, I didn’t have the capacity think beyond budgeting basics, and I still consider myself a financial novice. The point is that I’m trying. With patience, my best effort is getting better. Some day my investment of time and energy will pay off, hopefully before the kids hit college.










I was first turned on to Mint, the online money manager a few years back when it finally dawned on me that ought to take this finance thing a bit more seriously if I want to achieve our family goals. I’ve had a bit of a love/hate relationship. Initially I fell madly in love, then fell out of love when I had worked to set up all of my bills to view in the online budget only to find out that my bank was not compatible. I kept checking it just to get updates regarding Hubby’s separate bank account, but now that we have merged banks I don’t have to juggle multiple accounts.


Now I am falling for lots of new goal setting features that make online budgeting simpler than ever, plus it’s works with ShoreBank Pacific.



Do you use Mint to keep an online eye on your budget?


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Sustainable Family Finances
The story of a family creating an abundant and sustainable life.

Melting Down

Soon after I wrote about our friendly debate about home improvement priorities, a higher priority need caught our attention. Our refrigerator is experiencing glacial meltdown at a faster rate than the planet! It no longer keeps homemade Popsicles totally frozen, and I hope we’ll manage to replace it before it becomes an emergency. 


When we moved into our home almost exactly two years ago, we instantly wanted to upgrade the fridge. It’s a Kenmore from the 80s and is on the smaller side. It’s had issues with general uneven cooling, and we’ve wondered from time to time why the sour cream was half frozen. Yet, replacing the vintage stove with manual pilot was a higher priority. Then insulating our home trumped splurging on a big ticket appliance. Tack on having another baby and keeping our little family boat afloat, and you can see why we have procrastinated for so long.


With a little research it’s easy to see why purchasing an Energy Star refrigerator will actually save us in energy bills. We’re likely to save $100 per year. The Energy Trust of Oregon offers $50 cash incentives, and the state offers up to $90 tax credit. Plus, you can get $50 for recycling your old fridge, talk about a bonus! All told, we stand to save $190 on our new fridge, and that’s not counting the energy saving.


We are still researching models, so if you have any tips, I would love them!


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Sustainable Family Finances
The story of a family creating an abundant and sustainable life.

Seven Generations

While I know my every decision does not in fact achieve sustainability, I am inspired by the principle of sustaining the Earth for seven generations. One of my most cherished experiences at the Oregon Country Fair was to hear the wise voice of Grandma Agnes Baker Pilgrim. I first met Grandma nine years ago in my early non-profit career, and I was eager to reconnect with the most inspiring people I’ve ever known. As always, she was down-the-earth, joyful and wise. I was excited to learn that she has connected with a dozen other wise indigenous Grandmothers who are on a journey to help us heal the Earth. They have a soon-to-be-released documentary “For the Next Seven Generations“, and I’ll share the trailer: 


For The Next 7 Generations Trailer from Laughing Willow on Vimeo.

Most us are more familiar with the brand Seventh Generation, and I think that’s progress too. I find 7Gen has a wholistic approach to sustainability while providing high quality products that I truly need. When I became a Costco member I requested their products, and still hold out hope that some day conscious consumers will be able to buy a year’s supply of TP. So, I didn’t cry “greenwashing!” when I saw they will soon be supplying Walmart shoppers. I personally don’t shop at Walmart, but the fact is that many families on a budget rely on Walmart. If we are truly making decisions for the seventh generation, every family needs affordable access to products that don’t deplete the Earth.


How deeply do you consider the seventh generation?


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Sustainable Family Finances
The story of a family creating an abundant and sustainable life.

Story of Cosmetics

If you haven’t seen it yet, here is another mind-opening video from the Story of Stuff which focuses on cosmetics. I have to admit that I’ve had the best of intentions to rummage through my bathroom cabinet to clear out any potentially toxic ingredients. 


This video makes me feel like I’ve got quite the task ahead. I’m glad that I don’t actually wear make-up on a daily basis, with the exception of my favorite lipstick from Aveda. There are obviously plenty of other culprits, and I’m going to start with our kiddos’ shampoo and lotions. More on that later…





What is the cost of your cosmetics?



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Sustainable Family Finances
The story of a family creating an abundant and sustainable life.