9 years ago investing102Jake

Your Money, Your Health And The Earth

If you browse the blogosphere regularly you probably read a lot of advice on frugality and plenty “green” stuff about keeping the environment. As I’ve read many of those posts I’ve noticed both areas can fit quite well together. You can take care of your wallet by being frugal and making good investments, while at the same time eating and living healthy and finally helping the nature.

Schoolgirls Cycling
Photo by chrisjohnbeckett at Flickr

If you browse the grocery stores, watch TV and read magazines you may think that this sounds too good to be true. “Surprisingly” the organic foods, the “eco” and green stuff you find on the market is a lot more expensive than the “ordinary” things. If you want to take care of the environment and your health, you are supposed to pay more. Of course, do you expect the industry to miss the chance of making money from the “green” wave? Thanks, but no thanks.

If you buy the overpriced green stuff, you are just letting yourself to be fooled by the marketing. You can live healthy, care for the environment and save more/earn more money at the same time and without buying overpriced items.

Transportation

The wave of green ecological and economical transportation devices is just starting. But if you want to buy a “green” car that really works you have to pay a high price. The “middle class” electric car and bikes are almost useless because of the low distance they can travel, the low speed and the long charging time.

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The real practical “green” answer is to walk more or ride a bicycle. That’s a great way to save money, keep in a good shape and care about the nature. Then why isn’t everyone riding a bicycle? More often that you would think the obstacles are related to what people would say rather than something else. For most people especially in the US it’s a loss of face not to drive an expensive car. Once again your wallet size, your health and the environment depend on “prestige”. Sounds like a high cost we pay to prestige. But do you really have to pay it or you can live the way you want without worrying about other’s opinion? You could at least try.

If real practical reasons keep you from walking or riding a bicycle to work (like too long distance and so on), at least consider riding a motorcycle. It’s 2-3 times cheaper than driving a car and can be a lot faster in traffic jams.

Food

Trying to save on food? Don’t buy organic foods. They are just the new fashion way for the industry to sell you more overpriced healthy stuff. The positive impact of the organic foods on your health is not proven and for sure won’t be big if you eat lots of junk food along with the organic.

The real way to eat healthy, save money and save the nature is to eat simpler, less processed, less packed local food. It’s cheaper because it has lower transportation costs, it’s healthier because it’s fresher and less processed, and saves the nature due to less energy waste and packaging. Of course you can’t expect the commercial lifestyle magazines to tell you that it’s better to eat potatoes and rice instead of the new super cool organic food XYZ.

Energy

Looks like at least on the “green” energy almost everyone is in agreement. If you can supply your home with solar panels or wind turbine you will help the Earth and will save money long term. Even if the solar panels are too expensive now, buying them is one time payment and the electricity prices are going to increase again and again.

If you need heating you could try installing heat pump in your home and save a lot of energy and harmful emissions to the world. Again, you need to make a larger investment in the beginning but over time it’s going to pay off well (certainly better than the current investments on the stock exchange are doing!).

The key to save money along with taking care for your health and the environment is not to give advantage to any of the three and stay away from blindly following the fashion trends. If you are looking only to save money you are unlikely to eat healthy. If you are obsessed by the idea to eat organic foods, you’ll have to spend a lot more money for that with questionable results. And of course trying to do everything for the nature turns you into excellent prospect of the traders who want to sell you overpriced stuff.

Jake