Monthly Archives: January 2011

1st Blogoversary

Wow, I can hardly believe that it’s been a year since my first post to Sustainable Family Finances! Kind of surreal, like a kids’ birthday…it feels like yesterday and years ago at the same time 😉

Maybe you’ve been keeping tabs since day one or you likely just happened upon my blog…either way I’m glad you’re here! 

I started off as “ Green Mama ,” not quite sure that I really wanted go on record about my own finances. But through the year my voice grew stronger and writing came with ease, and I shared Darcy’s Utopia

Along the way I’ve learned a lot, mostly I feel like I’ve just got better at taking small steps and reflecting on our progress. I still have to pinch myself at the thought of being in Denmark next summer, and in general I just feel less angst around dealing with our finances. It’s still work, but at least it feels like more fun now.

My 12 Favorite Posts:

Clean Energy Works Evaluation
Eco-Healthy Child Care
Family Footprint
Global Gratitude
Frugal Family Camping
Get Growing
Homemade Kids Kitchen
Living Your Dreams
My Sustainable Community
Ode to Green Mamas
Valuing Progress
Zero Dollars Per Gallon

Let me know if you have any topics you’d like me to explore in the new “blog” year.
Thanks again for reading!

Plus….Go Ducks!

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

Go Paperless

Lately I’ve been taking a moment here and there to save some trees and reduce my finance clutter. I’ve wanted to “go paperless” for years, and until recently it felt like wishful thinking. But suddenly everyone seems to be pitching paperlessCostco AmericanExpress, One PacificCoast Bank, Regence BlueCross, our family doctor and my City of Portland water/sewer bill.

The New Ecologist shares more about how the new economy has given companies the extra push to go paperless. Companies like PayItGreen are leading the way to a paperless future, and in my mind none too soon.

Paperless billing and workflow all hit a top ten technology trend list for 2010 Here are some great tips for making sure that paperless billing goes smoothly: like keeping all your passwords!  Good thing I try to stay organized with GoogleDocs 😉

How many paperless bills do you have ?

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

One PacificCoast Bank

This week I learned that our “eco-bank” is now One PacificCoast Bank. The acquisition and merger of  ShoreBank Pacific with a community bank OneCalifornia Bank  wasn’t altogether surprising, since the original Chicago-based ShoreBank closed last summer. But it stills makes me feel a lack of control over our own money, and I certainly hope that the sum will be greater than the parts. I also hope they’ll be able to dominate community lending and invest more people’s money in solving community and environmental issues. 

From the media release: “Together we can bring the value of sustainability to a broader audience and  provide greater opportunities for employees, as well as the communities that  OneCalifornia Bank and ShoreBank Pacific serve,” said David Williams, CEO of  ShoreBank Pacific.

Last spring we made what for us was a pretty big decision to merge our funds  to ShoreBank Pacific. We’ve been very happy with our choice, and banking solely online has been really convenient…though it’s kind of funny that their branch doesn’t even have an ATM!  

At a recent new year’s party (celebrated like true families at E.S.T.), I got into a conversation about the benefits or reasons for switching from a corporate bank to a community bank or credit union. One couple was considering switching banks, but wondered what was in it for them. I told them a bit about our story, and another friend chimed in about why they choose credit unions. I was honest in saying that switching banks is a total pain the neck, but that I feel better know that our money is being invested in projects I would support, sectors like alternative energy, specialty agriculture, specialty fish, and green building . It’s really a feel good choice, but there’s no real financial benefit of sticking with a corporate bank. Now I can see the fruits of my labor in local projects, and remember that we are all connected.

Are you a customer of a community bank or credit union?

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

MetroParent Family Finances

I was already geared up for a great new year, but I was so thrilled to see my first blog-related article in Metro Parent January 2011 –  Money Matters – A Primer on Family Finances by Julia Silverman.

A big kudos to my friend Courtney for suggesting that Julia interview me (and for being a loyal blog reader!) Even though blogging has some instant gratification, it’s different to see your words in print.

I also enjoyed reading about the personal finance perspective of other moms, since talking about our finances is often taboo in mom circles. The financial advisor had some great advice too. While I’ve heard about breaking your budget into fixed and unfixed expenses, I like how she suggests analyzing and separating your  nondiscretionary fixed,  nondiscretionary unfixed, discretionary fixed and discretionary unfixed expenses. I think this little exercise would help me gain some more perspective, and perhaps some insights…I’ll let you know.

I naturally suggest that you pick up your own copy or read it online, but here’s a sneak peak of my favorite quote:

    “Just start where you are and don’t waste time feeling guilty or wishing you were further down the path to sustainable abundance,” Cronin says. “Begin by making goals that motivate you, then take small actions each week.”

The article is indeed a   great primer on family finances , and the magazine includes a few other great articles that I’ll write more about later this month…

Thanks again to Metro Parent, Julia and Courtney!

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