Secret to Finances

I’ll be the first to admit that in terms of film production The Secret is pretty darn hokey, but the message is what matters. Here’s a quick video clip from the film.

Just remember that living your dreams is only a thought away, plus the baby steps…

What are you dreaming into reality?

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

Closet Time

As promised last week, I spent some quality time simplifying a small corner of my life.  With the changing season I decided to start with my own closet, since it tends to get done last. ..I only had two hours to dedicate, but it felt good to tackle it.

The task wasn’t exactly enlightening, but I set the mood by blaring some Brett Dennen. Then I c reated two bags, one for consignment and one for Goodwill donation. Everything seasonal was co nsolidated to fit in one big bin.  Alas, my closet still doesn’t look like this, but it is significantly better.

On an ongoing basis my best green closet practices is to limit dry cleaning, and I’ve been using these easy tips for washing “dry clean only” items. Washing and ironing at home certainly saves us each month!

Here are some green storage tips I found for preventing moths and mildew. Thankfully we don’t have many moths in the NW, but once my Twin Sis lost half her closet to mildew in a cramped, cool, and dimly lit apartment closet! Now that was a huge waste of money 🙁

How do you create a greener closet?

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

Energy Evaluation

The crisp autumn weather has made us feel cozier than ever in our newly insulated home.  Last spring I shared a three part series ( 1 , 2 , 3 ) on our participation in the pilot phase of the Clean Energy Works program. I wasn’t planning a final evaluation until after a winter’s worth of energy bills, but I feel like I need to defend the program after a pretty critical article in the Tribune.

The Portland Tribune criticized the program and concluded that it was shy on results. While I agree with some points, we are still among the many satisfied customers of the program. I know that our family would have dipped into our emergency fund in order finance the home improvement, and we were glad to take out a micro loan that will be paid off mostly through improved home efficiency.

Here’s the skinny so far from a finance perspective:

  • We’ve been paying $49.24 extra since the loan was processed (Our previous average was $97, and went up to $146.24 in April)
  • When the annual average was reevaluated, we received a $3.90 credit in September
  • We’re on an equal pay bill plan, but it easy to see that our bill will go down further
  • And that’s even after signing up for the Smart Energy program.

We first turned on the heat on October 15th, and we’ve all felt too hot at night at 67 degrees! Yes, we used to turn off our heat at night, but with radiant heating it’s more efficient to keep the temp relatively constant. But it does feel strange not to feel the wind inside any longer 😉  Insulating your home is really a smart investment, and probably the one that will give your family the most comfort for your buck.

Have you been satisfied with Clean Energy Works?
Do you wish it were available nationwide?

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

Little Swimmers

I know that I’m a biased water lover, but I think that swimming is a skill every child should learn, and the earlier the better. So we sign up for swim class on Saturday mornings from fall through spring.

It’s a relative bargain at our local community center for $40.50 per child for 9 classes. We can walk there, and we often sign up with friends to make it a play date too.

My only real tip for signing up for class is to make sure that the class time works for your current routine. I once made the mistake of signing up as our nap time was shifting, and we missed several classes. I’ve heard from several friends about how challenging summer classes can be when they are scheduled for every afternoon. Swimming is exhausting, and it could be too much unless they are used it already. It’s probably an age/experience level thing though, because I vividly remember wanting to swim every single day of the summer as a kid.

Yet, secret extra bonus for me is that Hubby usually uses this time to clean, and the kiddos are always tired enough for a nice nap when we return. So in reality I get multiple benefits from a simple swim class.  I certainly think it’s worth the “investment.”

What classes do you do with your family?

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