Author Archives: Darcy Cronin

About Darcy Cronin

I'm a Mother/Coach/Blogger/Business Adventurer from Portland OR. My family consists of my Hubby of 12 years, our 8yo Kieran, 5yo Makenna, and 1yo Teagan. I love dreaming about a better future, and making it happen.

Carbon Footprint Average

I feel like I’ve been slackly on our carbon footprint goal. I met my initial goal of using three calculators, but then I stalled out. Mainly because the results were so wildly divergent that it was hard to know what to make of them.  I was careful about the accuracy of my figures and wrote down all our utility bill info, etc., which also made it easier to fill them all out.

Result 1 – EPA carbon calculator – 1/2 ton
Result 2 – Oregon DEQ carbon calculator  – 35 metric tons
Result 3 – Carbon Footprint Calculator – 9.7 metric tons
Result 4 –  Climate Crisis Calculator  estimated that our household emits .3 tons per person (1.2 household) 
Result 5 – The Nature Conservancy – 46 tons (average U.S. household of four emits 110 tons)
Result 6 – Bonneville Environmental Foundation calculated our house, transportation and flights to be 39,571 lbs (19.78 tons) – I would also note that they had probably the nicest calculator (pretty graphics, plus they gave you options between giving details and using averages)

Not surprisingly, it turns out that other environmental bloggers have come across the same inconsistencies. The Global Footprint Network’s calculator was the most fun and had the best graphics, but the results showed up in planet and global acres instead of tons of carbon. So I couldn’t average the result of needing 4.5 planets to sustain our family! 

Interestingly, Brighter Planet sells the service of calculating your footprint to companies with all sorts of goods and services. But I couldn’t compare my results from their page directly. On a side note, I would add that a couple of the calculators did seem most interested in selling you offsets.

Then a co-worker tech guy told me about how studies have shown that even random guesses (like how many jelly beans in a jar) turn out to be nearly accurate once they are averaged. So, it’s admittedly more arbitrary than scientific, but until I can be proven better…carbon experts: bring it on!…I’m going to track our progress from a baseline of 18.7 tons of CO2 annually.

Have you calculated your family’s carbon footprint?

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

Mortgage refinance complete

Yeah!!! Our mortgage refinance is complete

We’ve been anticipating our refinance for a month plus now, so we are very excited to have this goal completed. Refinancing has taken a lot of diligence, but it’s worth it. One interesting difference between now and our last home purchase was that the IRS is clearly auditing, our mortgage lender Home Street made the honest typo of listing our address as SE instead of NE. The mistake triggered an inquiry from the IRS, and it had to be fixed before we could sign. Personally, I didn’t mind the inconvenience and I appreciate that there is more due diligence lending taking place now.

Given the mortgage atmosphere, we were cautiously optimistic about the whole process. Hubby didn’t want me to share anything until we had locked the rate, and even then we were holding our breath to make sure that the appraisal went through.

The appraisal did turn out to be a bit of a disappointment, not surprisingly, our house is not what it was worth when we bought it two years ago. But neither of us dwelt on that fact, and decided instead to focus on the long term investment. We never expected to get rich quick; we just wanted a home to raise our family and live our lives. 

It turns out that we needed to bring $3k+ cash-to-close, but at least now we don’t have a payment until March. Like I justified to Hubby, we’ll be able to save the difference in a few months, so it’s worth dipping into our emergency fund. 

Now that it’s a reality, we’ll be able to starting planning the savings in our family finances. Once our emergency fund is repaid, we’ll create a fund for home improvement/maintenance. Then we are planning to begin saving for our dream of buying property on the coast and building small eco-friendly cottages!  

What would your family do with extra savings?

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

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.