Monthly Archives: July 2010

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!

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?

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?

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

Online Finances

One of my goals when starting this blog venture was to simplify our finances. I feel like I’ve come a long way in the past six months, and have certain reached some important goals. I certainly have more work ahead, but “inch by inch, life is a cinch.”

So this past weekend when I was going through yet another stack of paperwork that I piled up, I was thrilled to see the my favorite eco-bank now offers e-Statements in lieu of traditional paper copies

These are the reasons ShoreBank Pacific gives to sign up for e-Statements:

  • They’re convenient & secure
  • Saves paper & trees
  • Delivered directly to your inbox
  • Reduces paper clutter
  • They free & enrolling is easy

When we first merged our accounts there Hubby commented “aren’t they an eco-bank?!”  I already check our balance online about once a week, so who really needs a paper copy to recycle?

My employer finally got with the new green century and recently started offering online bill stubs, so now I’ll have a few less paper to stack up!

While we don’t pay for the postage directly, the savings does add up. I know that for the last paper bill I needed to mail I used a stamp leftover from my holiday cards, and it’s July.

Does your bank offer e-Statements?

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