Last night I posted an interesting article on considering “end of life” costs when calculating your retirement savings. Afterward, I started thinking about my recent posts and realized there may be an unintended trend emerging.
If you’ve been reading my articles, there’s a certain “negative” vibe to each of them. On the surface it may appear I’m a NO kind of guy and my aim is to tell you everything that’s wrong.
This could not be farther from the truth.
I’ve been making an effort to establish my baseline. More important than offering little nuggets of information you may use once, I want readers to question what’s considered conventional wisdom.
Changing our behavioral errs starts with us, and unless we make a fundamental mind shift in the way we perceive money, it will continue to be an uphill battle.
Enter EngineerYourFinances Pillar #1 – EDUCATION.
With that said, I’ll launch into my final* negative post. *For the time being, I’m sure I’ll think of something else down the road :)
While I commend people’s efforts to turn green, I find myself shaking my head more often than not. Despite their best intentions, some people are missing the point with being green.
Case in point, I was flipping through articles on Bankrate and stumbled on a video about 5 Green Myths. At first I thought, “maybe I’ll learn something new from this”. How wrong I was….
PROBLEM: Green is too hard.
SOLUTION: Buy recycled napkin products.
My eyes tripled in size….
Here’s a quick production chain scenario. That recycled napkin probably came from an individually wrapped plastic package. And that individual package was probably shipped to the grocery store on a palette full of individually wrapped packages wrapped in plastic as a unit.
Being green has become more about looking chic, then actually striving to make changes. Going back to what I noted in the beginning, we need to make FUNDAMENTAL changes in the way we think in order to evolve our habits.
In line with my belief that information should be free, I’ll refer to you iTunes U. The Stanford Engineering series, Energy Crossroads: Building a Coalition for a Clean, Prosperous, and Secure Energy Future, provides some food for thought.
Within the engineering field, there’s been a break from the term “green” and more of a focus on “sustainability”. Being sustainable means that you are green, but being green does not necessarily mean you are sustainable.
Used loosely, “Correlation does not imply causation”.
For my undergraduate research project, I did a comparison of the energy consumption between LEED and regular non-certified buildings. An interesting outcome, I learned that those who focused their attention on being more RESOURCEFUL with their existing systems were able to reduce their consumption to the same order of magnitude as those who revamped their outdated systems with renewable technologies.
The green technologies and products available to us will not make us green by themselves. Until we make a fundamental mind shift towards resourcefulness, our efforts to change will always be countered by our consumptive nature.
You may have read how I missed out on an opportunity to profit $14,000 in a few days. Although this was a special scenario, there will be other opportunities. I’m more interested in you reading the post on why you need to earn more AND spend less.
And here’s the tie to personal finance. There’s nothing magical about MAKING MONEY, it’s not about special products or the hottest rates, but simply being more RESOURCEFUL with your money. It’s the equation everyone knows, but the hardest to implement:
EARNED INCOME (salary, investments, freelancing, whatever)
EXPENSES (life costs, entertainment, obligations, whatever)
And with that, we’re off to bigger and better things. My next few posts will focus on providing tidbits of useful information. I’m starting to realize the value in effective blogging. Personal finance sites are very similar to military scouts.
Sent ahead of the unit to perform reconnaissance and bring any useful information back to the troops, PF sites search through the weeds to find useful information to share.
Here’s an extremely EASY and CHEAP way to insulate your home. How many times have you thrown away bubble wrap from packaging? Turns out, you can shave a few degrees off what’s permeated through your windows with this “trash”.
In order for this to work, you need wrapping with relatively small bubbles and firm backing (not sure how well it does with over-crinkled material).
STEP 1: Spritz your window with water. Don’t dose it, a light covering will do.
STEP 2: Apply the bubble wrap to the window.
STEP 3: DONE
Why it works: Similar to how wetsuits keep divers warm, the voids between the bubbles create an insulating layer. The outside air becomes trapped in this layer, and instead of passing into your home, it helps to prevent additional air from coming in.
How it works: The surface tension created by the water adheres the bubble wrap to the window. The contact angle formed between the plastic bubble and water keeps the wrapping up on the window. This is why smaller bubbles are required. If too large, the water can’t form a proper bond around the bubbles.
Photo by: nsobject