Saturday, April 30, 2011

Does the Cost of Gas Make you Green?

photo used with permission from MorgueFile Free License
If you’re like most of us, the steadily rising cost of the gas you’re putting in your car is making you wonder if it will ever stop going up and wondering what you’ll do if worst case predictions really do come true.

Look around. After replacing the gas cap, people are immediately driving away from the pump. They are jotting in their notebooks, keeping track of how many miles per gallon there vehicle is getting, ever alert that a change would be a warning that something on the car has to be adjusted to get better mileage.

You might do that, too. You might even go a step further. Once you’ve figured out your mileage per gallon of gas, you might go on to calculate how many miles you get for each dollar you spend on gas. No suprises there. At each fill up you’re reminded that you’re getting less miles for that hard earned dollar.

So now we know, and it doesn’t seem to be helping.

Did you ever wonder if those miles that you put on your vehicle every week are smart miles? Do you know how that mileage is used?

Keep a log each time you get into your vehicle. Write down your starting place each time you turn the ignition key along with the mileage. When you get to your destination, log the stops you made along the way, even if it was at the fast food place for your morning cup of coffee.

At the end of the day or week, figure out how many miles you put on your vehicle getting your kids to school or day care. From there, how many miles is it to work? At the end of the day, you probably take the same route, just in reverse.

How many miles are left over? It may surprise you. Try to justify all of the miles by going over your driving log and it should become apparent that a lot of these miles aren’t smart driving miles at all. Multiply the miles that you can shave off of your driving schedule and multiply them by that mile per dollar of gas spent you came up with earlier.

It’s just like finding money, isn’t it? Actually, finding money is exactly what it is. And eliminating those miles every week is also good for the environment.

Saturday, April 9, 2011

Repurpose Your Furniture

Photo used with permission from morgueFile free license
Each time you purchase a used item, you're not only helping your pocket book, but doing your part to help the environment. Just think of the energy used and emissions released when items are manufactured, transported and then discarded. Be creative before you buy. Every item has several uses.

Just because a piece of furniture is sold for a certain purpose doesn’t mean you have to use it that way. One of the best deals I ever found was a layette constructed of wood.  It stood out from the other items at a garage sale I just happened to drive by. Always on the lookout for a bargain, I pulled over.

The beautiful piece didn’t have a pad, and as the woman who was holding the rummage sale came over the first thing she did was apologize and offer me a discount. I didn’t show my surprise, and I was surprised. I thought it was a dresser and was looking for something for my bedroom. The piece was priced at $50.00.

I commented that it seemed like an unusual size and wondered if a replacement pad would be easy to find. The woman said that she had never found a replacement pad for it, and that was why she was selling it. She also pointed out a scratch on the side that I hadn’t noticed and offered it to me for $25. I smiled and accepted.

I used the layette for several years in my bedroom. It had 3 rows of nice sized drawers. I especially liked the 4-1/2 inch lip on the back and sides. They kept all of the odds and ends that end up on the top of a bedroom dresser from falling down behind the piece.


A few years later I found another great deal on a chest of drawers at a rummage sale and the layette was transferred to my entry way. I hung a mirror over it, placed a colorful bowl on it to hold my car keys, and it was a convenient place to drop my mail and purse when I came home. The drawers offered me additional storage space in an area that would otherwise be wasted.

From the entry, the piece was moved to the dining area to serve as a side board. I installed a shelf above it and filled it with greenery, candlesticks and at one time it even showed off pieces of my salt and pepper shaker collections.

Repurpose Again

I don’t have the piece anymore. I gave it to a friend when I moved. She had just decided to provide day care for her new grandbaby while mom went back to work. The layette is back to serving its original purpose. By the way, she had no problem finding a replacement mat for the piece.