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Natural Awakenings

Conscious Spending Made Simple: Ways to be Wise with Your Money

Nov 02, 2010 03:31PM ● By Judith Fertig

Consider Quality. Investing our budget in more durable, quality products with long-term warrantees, rather than breakable gadgets, can pay long-term benefits. For example, “Good cookware not only enhances the quality of my cooking… it’s also an incredible joy to use,” writes Ina Garten, author of the Barefoot Contessa cookbooks and cooking programs. “It’s not about disposable products; it’s about buying things you can use for a lifetime, and then pass on to your children.”

Re-gift. Ingram has no problem redirecting a gift she has received, but cannot use, to someone who can. After all, antique malls and thrift shops—where many people enjoy browsing and shopping—are full of items that were once given as gifts.

Nan Fischer, an eco-broker in New Mexico who contributes to www.TheGoodHuman,com, likes the idea of repurposing gently used items as gifts, as long as she knows it’s something the recipient would enjoy—perhaps a vintage purse or brooch, a hard-to-find book or a guitar for someone just starting to take lessons. “We can calculate our carbon footprint based on our home energy bills, the food we eat and the cars we drive,” she comments. “The embodied energy spent in purchasing new items needs to be considered just as heavily. If we are buying used items, embodied energy is not expended.”

Search for sustainable products via the GoodGuide iPhone app that scans barcodes to confirm if a product is green.

Helping to Green the Planet. “Compact fluorescent light bulbs, rechargeable batteries and reusable shopping bags make great stocking stuffers,” says Wanda Urbanska, co-author of Less is More, and presenter of “Simple Living with Wanda Urbanska,” on PBS. “Using these and other eco-friendly products throughout the year is guaranteed to keep you on Santa’s ‘good list.’”

Another idea is proffering a gift certificate for a monthly or seasonal subscription to a community supported agriculture (CSA) group. This sends regards and love to the recipient each week throughout the local growing season, when they happily receive their weekly bag full of fresh local produce; it’s a gift with multiple benefits for local families, farmers, economies and the environment.

 

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