Monthly Archives: July 2014

Cheap Accidental Environmental Superhero?

environment super hero


Cheap. Frugal. Penny pincher. Miserly. Scrooge. The concept of “cheap” seems to have a negative connotation in our society. But then I thought about some of the things I do that might seem cheap on the surface but in actuality, aren’t half bad when you think about it from a sustainability perspective. Could being cheap be good for the environment? For example, I often:

  • Re-use plastic sandwich baggies. As long as the contents aren’t perishable or wet or sticky, I can re-use a bag for at least a few days to hold dry food like pretzels or popcorn.
  • Use scrap paper for notepads. I’ve been guilty of sending a 50-page, one-sided document to the office printer and finding mistakes in the text after the fact. Usually the document would go straight to the recycling bin but I remembered that my mom used to cut up similar one-sided documents into quarter-sized sheets, staple them together blank side up and voila: a notepad! It’s nowhere near as cute as those notepads from Paper Source but it’s free and does the job (and reduces the guilt of printing 50 pages for nothing).
  • Re-wear clothes instead of going directly into the hamper. The sniff test is just as valid as the 5-second rule, people. Obviously, underwear and socks go straight into the hamper (I’m not that cheap!).
  • Save interesting glass bottles. I’m too cheap to buy a vase for flowers, so I always keep my eye out for interestingly-shaped glass bottles that contain things like pasta sauce, jelly, roasted red peppers, or, if you’re in Europe, water. I was recently in Spain and when you order water at a restaurant, the waiter gives you an individual glass bottle, rather than just a glass of water itself. At one restaurant in particular, the bottle was just too pretty to leave on the table so I stuffed it into my bag when no one was looking (yes, I paid for the water!). Now, not only do I have a vase but I have a great souvenir from Spain!

I guess I could add “Don’t drive” to this list but that’s kind of lame. Who actually wants to drive in New York City?

What kind of cheap habits are you willing to confess to?



Today, I:

1) Cancelled my Zipcar membership ($60/yr)

2) Cancelled a Flickr account from school ($6/every three months)

3) Ended my Birchbox subscription ($11/month)

That’s all.


Financial Freedom


I can’t write an entry on the 4th of July without using the words “independence” or “freedom” at least once. I was inspired to share what the concept of “financial freedom” means to me after reading this article on DailyWorth. To me, financial freedom means not thinking and worrying about money on a constant basis. I hate having an intensive pros vs. cons debate in my head every time I deliberate a purchase, whether a $40 dress for work or a $4 iced coffee on those days when I feel like I’m suffocating in the NYC humidity. I want to have the freedom to make those little indulgent purchases every now and then without scolding myself for not channeling that money instead towards my loans or credit card debt or savings account. I want the freedom to use boosts in income – whether a raise, bonus, or tax refund – for fun, like a spontaneous weekend trip or a visit to San Francisco just because. Ultimately, it’s this latter concept of freedom that (for the most part) motivates me and persuades me to keep my spending in check.