With Europe’s travails and China’s slowdown throwing a wet blanket on our slow burning recovery, what can we individuals do that will help our own personal economies and address our health and eco-energy concerns? Here are a few simple ideas, and by no means a complete list, of a few budget favorable ideas we could try that will help us individually and as a group, be it city, county, state, country or planet. Some of these ideas were mentioned in an earlier post “Conservation is the Key to our Future,” but there are others that go beyond the eco-energy front. I am taking a cue from one of my fellow bloggers at “My Magnificent Mess” at dje1231.wordpress.com, a must read. Most of these ideas are not new, but putting them on one list, they may spawn someone to try something new.
- Walk more, drive less – if stores, banks, restaurants are within a mile of your house, walk there. If you are eating you will get a two-mile walk in to improve digestion and you will buy fewer things as you have to carry them home. Note, since most car accidents occur within a mile of your house, you are reducing this risk, as well.
- Power down electronics at night – don’t let them go to sleep. This will reduce your electric bill and depreciation of your machines. Fire risk will be reduced, as well.
- Turn off water while shaving and brushing your teeth – this will save money and water which will become more valuable over the next few years.
- Drive closer to the speed limit and coast into stops – it is amazing how much gas and brake depreciation is used by zooming into stop lights. You cannot go anywhere. By driving 40 in a 35 zone rather than 45, you will save money and reduce risk.
- Alter thermostats by 2 – 3 degrees – this is one of the easiest things you can do.
- Change work hours/ work from home if possible – this will get you off the road during peak traffic hours and save gas and time. The right person can be more productive.
- Job share – this one is for the greater good, so you personal budget will suffer. Rather than see a teammate let go, find partners where you can job share and retain benefit coverage, which is key. This will usually mean 30 or 32 hours of work.
- Pay it forward – a key to our recovery is consumers buying things. Since most groceries sold here are made in the US, go buy canned/ boxed goods and donate them to a food shelter. The economy gains and others in need are helped.
- Hit the barter sites if you cannot find employment – you swap services and goods. A few sites are barter.com, swapstyle.com, zwaggle.com, barterplanet.com, u-exchange.com, but there are many others.
- Negotiate insurance deals – the commercials who advocate “bundling” have it correct. You can save money. Plus, check how many miles they have you driving for pricing your auto policy. If you can show you use your car less, then you can save. Higher deductibles should not frighten you. Most people won’t report an accident under $1,000, so why not have a $1,000 deductible.
- Donate campaign contributions to a charity – especially if the charity will help people get retrained, keep people off the streets or educate children. The campaign will only use it to produce a commercial you don’t want to hear.
- Eat more calories earlier in the day – this will reduce stress and your body will burn off the calories better. Do not eat within a couple of hours of going to bed. Bad news.
- Disconnect more, especially when driving – this will reduce your stress immensely and may save your and others lives. Note to younger folks, the fear of being left out will not kill you – trust me.
- Leave a bite for the cook – this will aid in portion control. An even better idea is to fill your plate up less and go back if you want more.
- Eat as a family whenever possible – this will pay dividends to all and slow your eating down.
- If walking is not your thing (see above), do something each day – 10 minute stretching, Pilates, etc.
- Avoid the emergency room unless it is an emergency – you will wait and pay more. It is like getting a drill out for one screw. Go to the Urgent Care Clinic – it is cheaper and they will see you faster. The ER doctors are better suited for emergencies.
- Be your own advocate – write your questions down for the doctor, nurse or pharmacist; understand the medications you are being given and make sure they know who you are in the hospital by introducing yourself to all caretakers (if you cannot do this delegate this to a trusted friend or family member).
- Volunteer at impoverished schools – with many single parents, the kids need mentors and the teachers need help. This will improve your own health as the psychic rewards are many.
- Unplug and read to your kids or yourself – kids seeing parents read will read more. Note, you can never be too well read and it is the gift that keeps on giving.
- If school volunteering is not your thing, there are many other outlets to lend a hand. This will help your networking, as you will be giving back with others and it will keep you fresh and enthused.
- Do not tolerate bigotry and bullying in the pulpit or in leaders – this is education for our kids and adults to treat people fairly. If a church minister is being bigoted, find another church. There are plenty of ministers who are not wielding the bible as weapon to exclude. I have said it in earlier posts just because someone is a minister does not mean he cannot be full of shit. Like any profession, there are good ones and not so good ones.
- Keep the pressure on governmental leaders to act on issues of import; don’t let them get away with talking about nonsense.
- In the past 28 months, 500,000 manufacturing jobs have moved back to the US after some incentives were put into law. The President has another bill which will provide further incentive to in-source more jobs. This is a tangible measure and is needed.
- Advocate companies to think of a more balanced deployment of resources. In-sourcing call centers for US-based calls is starting to happen more, so we should promote this concept more. Service will improve and jobs will be closer to where calls are placed.
- Advocate for sound eco-energy policy. Global warming is here and it is man-influenced. We must get greener in a thoughtful manner. Germany will be 80% alternative energy powered by 2030 and is ten years ahead of the US.
- Advocate keeping and hiring more teachers. We must find ways to pay for these jobs. These are our kids and future we are talking about.
These are only a few ideas. You may be saying we are doing that already in my house. My hope is the ideas may spawn further thoughts on how to save money, improve your health and the environment. Yet, on these last set of issues on advocacy – don’t let the candidates and politicians off the hook. We need them to act and not play politics. If they get off subject, point them back to the problem.
If you have other ideas and comments, please feel free to share them. Many thanks.