environmentalism http://www.wisebread.com/taxonomy/term/8084/all en-US The Compact: Mindfulness and Frugality Through Buying Used http://www.wisebread.com/the-compact-mindfullness-and-frugality-through-buying-used <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/the-compact-mindfullness-and-frugality-through-buying-used" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/1811121162_0d74fea666_z.jpg" alt="yard sale" title="yard sale" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="141" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>In 2007, I became a member of the environmental movement known as <a target="_blank" href="https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Compact">The Compact</a>, mainly because everything in my life has to be a dare. The basic idea behind The Compact is to take as few new resources out of the planet as possible. The way that Compactors put this idea into practice is <a target="_blank" href="http://sfcompact.blogspot.com/2006/01/new-years-resolution.html">by pledging to only buy used</a> products for one calendar year, with obvious exceptions for things like food, heath care products, and services.</p> <p>I started The Compact because I like to test myself, but many people come to The Compact for the same reason people get involved in the voluntary simplicity movement &mdash; they are broke. And this is totally OK because frugality is often the way that people lower their carbon footprint. So the motive for pledging to buy nothing new isn&rsquo;t really important. Learning to be aware of the environmental costs of every purchase is. (See also:&nbsp;<a href="http://www.wisebread.com/simple-living-lessons-i-learned-from-hoarders">Simple-Living Lessons&nbsp;I Learned From&nbsp;&quot;Hoarders&quot;</a>)</p> <h2>Saving Money vs. Conserving Resources</h2> <p>While I have yet to hear of anyone who has joined The Compact and not saved thousands of dollars, The Compact is about environmental responsibility, NOT personal frugality. Depending on how you define frugality, how you spend money versus how you spend resources can be very different things.</p> <p><b>Is Couponing Bad for the Planet?</b></p> <p>For example, a long-running discussion on <a target="_blank" href="http://groups.yahoo.com/group/thecompact/">The Compact&rsquo;s message board</a> is on the subject of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/extreme-couponing-5-reasons-why-i-ll-pass">how to use coupons responsibly</a>. While there are several Compactors who are black-belt coupon masters (one member uses her ninja couponing powers to save her local food bank thousands of dollars a year), a number of standard couponing maxims are terrible for the environment.</p> <p>One of the first lessons that most people learn about shopping with coupons is that you should use your largest denomination of coupon to buy the smallest size of an item in order to lower the cost per ounce. While this strategy, when used properly, can save the couponer money, alas, it&rsquo;s horrible for the planet. Buying ten small four ounce containers of say, lotion, not only generates more trash, it takes more resources (plastic, water, electricity, gasoline, etc.) to create ten small containers than it does to create one twenty ounce bottle.</p> <h2>Buying Local Is Not Always Buying Cheap</h2> <p>Another core principle of The Compact is &ldquo;<a href="http://www.wisebread.com/choosing-local-businesses">buy local</a>.&rdquo; This is where The Compact can get complicated. Because it&rsquo;s really important to me to have a good used bookstore in my town (Los Angeles), it is worth it to me to spend, on average, $2.00 more per book at my brick and mortar bookstore than I would spend for the same book on Amazon.com.</p> <p>Because the 10,000 members of The Compact live all over the place, the principles of buying used and buying local often come into conflict with each other. For example:</p> <ul> <li>What happens if you live in a small, rural town, where the closest store is the Walmart the next town over?<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Is it more environmentally responsible to buy the greenest possible new goods from a store that&rsquo;s become synonymous with exploitation or buy probably more expensive used items from eBay or Goodwill.com that will have to be shipped hundreds of miles to your doorstep?</li> </ul> <p>While frugality often has an immediate reward &mdash; more money in your pocket &mdash; automatically looking for the best deal might have long-term negative repercussions for the environment and for your neighbors.</p> <p>There are two selfish reasons why I go out of my way to try and buy locally even if it means spending more money up front:</p> <p><b>Supporting the Local Economy</b></p> <p>By buying used and buying local in my neighborhood, I am supporting the local economy, not some multinational corporation that doesn&rsquo;t care about maintaining a high quality of life. This positively impacts the value of my home. Target couldn't care less if their store results in traffic gridlock for my neighbors or makes our Main Street less attractive. By patronizing local establishments, I&rsquo;m helping to create and maintain a vibrant consumer experience that is tailored to the needs of local residents.</p> <p><b>Supporting the Health of Locals</b></p> <p>The sprawling ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach are the largest in the nation and basically serve as the mouth of America&rsquo;s consumerist habit. The combined ports are also the <a target="_blank" href="http://www.examiner.com/article/dealing-with-air-pollution-at-fast-growing-ports-of-la-and-long-beach">largest single contributor to air pollution in Southern California</a>. Because we cannot break our addiction to cheap goods from China, people who live in Long Beach and San Pedro suffer from elevated levels of asthma and other respiratory illnesses. They are literally subsidizing other people&rsquo;s purchases with their health.</p> <h2>The Compact Is a Journey</h2> <p>The Compact is about the journey and not the destination.</p> <p>The process is ultimately fun, which is why most Compactors tend to stay with their pledge long after the first twelve months. And while all Compactors not-so-secretly strive for perfection, every Compactor eventually has to buy something new. Not surprisingly, most Compactors end up subscribing to the &ldquo;<a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-case-for-expensive-shoes">you get what you pay for</a>&rdquo; school of thought. Socks and underwear are a Compact exemption and can be purchased new without breaking the pledge.</p> <p>But, even with exemptions, Compactors generally will pay top dollar in order to buy high quality undies that will stand the test of time over a multi-pack of cheap knickers that will fall apart after a few trips through the wash. Sometimes new really is better for the environment. And sometimes more expensive can be better for the budget.</p> <p><em>How do you define frugalness vs. mindfulness? Are they the same thing? Can one be truly mindful without being frugal? Do you think you could step away from the consumer grind for 12 months?</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/max-wong">Max Wong</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-compact-mindfullness-and-frugality-through-buying-used">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/are-poor-folks-and-the-middle-class-on-the-same-side">Are poor folks and the middle class on the same side?</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/15-wonderful-uses-for-witch-hazel">15 Wonderful Uses for Witch Hazel</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/23-effortless-ways-to-go-green-and-save-money-too">23 Effortless Ways to Go Green (and Save Money, Too)</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-baking-soda-took-my-bathroom-from-yuck-to-yes">How Baking Soda Took My Bathroom from “Yuck” to Yes!</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/save-money-by-rekindling-the-art-of-reusing-your-stuff">Save Money by Rekindling the Art of Reusing your Stuff</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Green Living buying local environmentalism mindfulness The Compact Thu, 24 Jan 2013 11:24:31 +0000 Max Wong 966270 at http://www.wisebread.com Finally, Frugal Rules http://www.wisebread.com/finally-frugal-rules <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/finally-frugal-rules" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/dumpsterdiving.JPG" alt="cat Dumpster dives" title="Now Dumpster Diving Is for Cool Cats" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="188" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>For most of my life, I felt slightly ashamed at my frugality. You know, if I held onto a piece of furniture that wasn&#39;t showroom-new, made a meal out of leftovers, or shopped for clothes at Goodwill, I was being &quot;cheap&quot; or &quot;a packrat.&quot; I thought, this will do for now, but it&#39;s not as good as having everything brand new.</p> <p>You&#39;ve heard the comments. Most people don&#39;t brag about frugal acts, they confess them. &quot;Sometimes I save tissue paper, iron it, and use it again,&quot; my aunt once said as she opened a gift bag. &quot;Isn&#39;t that terrible?&quot; </p> <p>But glory hallelujah, in the last year or so we have this environmental surge that is bringing the sexy back to reusing stuff. Now when my husband throws out a bunch of clothes or coat hangers or whatnot and I rescue them from the trash, I can fall back on the Earth as an argument. As in, no, I&#39;m not mentally ill, I just love the Earth! Don&#39;t you? Do you want Al Gore to be mad at you?</p> <p>What used to be called being tight, a hoarder and a skinflint is now called reducing, recycling and reusing. And I love it. </p> <p>I still hope I don&#39;t end up as one of those old ladies with plastic over every piece of furniture, keeping everything forever so I can be buried with all my money. But come on, washing out a few Ziploc bags is nothing compared to the life led by <a href="http://noimpactman.typepad.com/blog/2007/02/what_you_need_t.html">No Impact Man</a>, who says he composts his own poop! And he&#39;s having a book published and a movie made about him.</p> <p>Making stock out of that chicken carcass and a bunch of the tough ends of broccoli stalks? You thought that was penny-pinchy of me? Obviously you have not heard about the <a href="http://www.latimes.com/news/nationworld/nation/la-na-freegan11sep11,0,2162976.story?coll=la-home-center">freegans</a> who are out there Dumpster diving for their supper. That&#39;s right. Eating food out of the garbage is now cool in some circles. If only <a href="http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0697706/quotes">George Costanza</a> could see us now.</p> <p>Deep down in my soul, I know when I take a Little Tikes toy from my neighbors&#39; trash, I&#39;m not doing it out of true environmental concern. Yeah, that&#39;s a bonus, but I&#39;m really doing it because </p> <p>a) I&#39;m cheap -- that is, I&#39;m not willing to sink into the tar pit of consumer debt but I still want my kids to have a little fun.</p> <p>b) I just hate to see anything wasted. It offends my sensibilities the way an unkempt front yard might bother other, classier people. </p> <p>I&#39;m not above letting others believe I&#39;m garbage picking out of environmental concern. After all, hotels can do it: They&#39;re always claiming that conserving water is the reason they don&#39;t want to wash our towels and sheets every day. Maybe if I practice acting like it long enough, I&#39;ll actually grow the nobility needed to really do things to save the Earth. Or at least become more believable than those hotel bathroom signs.</p> <p>In the meantime, I&#39;m just glad I get to save a buck now and then without lurking in the shadows. Then again, staying in these shadows <em>does</em> save me money on sunscreen.</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/carrie-kirby">Carrie Kirby</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/finally-frugal-rules">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-line-between-frugal-and-crazy">The line between frugal and crazy</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/do-you-really-need-soft-water">Do You Really Need “Soft” Water?</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/put-it-in-a-pie-for-fast-frugal-food">Put it in a Pie for Fast, Frugal Food</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/wisdom-from-my-favorite-frugal-tv-character-julius-rock">Wisdom from My Favorite Frugal TV Character - Julius Rock</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/frugal-or-just-plain-wrong">Frugal... or just plain wrong?</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Frugal Living Dumpster diving environmentalism frugal Tue, 30 Oct 2007 21:36:17 +0000 Carrie Kirby 1338 at http://www.wisebread.com