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Green Purse Alerts!

Why My Purse is Green

Because I believe…

  • the fastest, most effective way to stop polluters is by pressuring them in the marketplace
  • women can be the world’s most powerful economic and environmental force if we intentionally shift our spending to the best green products and services
  • women have the power right now to solve many of our most serious environmental problems by using our green purses to make a difference
  • women must act – intentionally, collectively, and with the full force of our purse power behind us – if we hope to leave our children and grandchildren a better world.
  • June 12, 2012

    Kids Drive Moms' Passion to Save Energy, Join Team ENERGY STAR

    Using energy efficiently is the key to many of the health, environmental and even financial crises we TeamES_Badge_FINface. Burning fossil fuels like coal and oil pollutes our air and water, contributes to asthma and other respiratory problems, and is a major cause of climate change. It's up to all of us to do what we can to make a difference, and most of us try to do our part, especially where our families are concerned. That job has gotten a little easier with the launch of Team ENERGY STAR, a new program to get kids and their parents engaged in simple actions that collectively can have a big impact.

    The program has received a strong welcome from many moms who have made the connection between their kids' future and the energy we use. Here are some of the reasons why they care and what they're doing about it.

    Continue reading "Kids Drive Moms' Passion to Save Energy, Join Team ENERGY STAR" »

    April 19, 2012

    Earth Day or Any Day, Don't Toss Your Cash With Your Trash

    Aviva headshot purple shirt kitchen 09Aviva Goldfarb of The Six O'Clock Scramble fame shares her "Earth Day Every Day" suggestions for living greener in the kitchen that will save you money, too.

    "If I asked you to reach into your wallet and grab a couple of twenty dollar bills, and rip them up and throw them away, you’d probably think I was crazy, right?  But that’s essentially what most Americans are doing each and every week!  According to an article in On Earth magazine, “Americans waste 30 – 40% of their food, or the equivalent of about two full meals a day.” 

    Think about those weeks that you buy food without having carefully planned your meals.  Do you end up throwing away more flimsy produce, expired meats, or moldy cheese? There are high costs to wasting all this food, and they're not just economic. All this extra food has to be produced and transported before it’s eaten and even after it’s discarded, resulting in higher energy costs and emissions. 


    What to do?

    I’ve found my family can vastly reduce waste and save hundreds of dollars each month by:

    * planning ahead for meals and snacks before grocery shopping,

    * grocery shopping just once a week,

    * keeping a grocery list on the refrigerator for all family members to update during the week so I can stick to shopping just once a week, and

    * using up as much leftover food as possible in a final meal or two before doing the weekly shopping.


    Start Composting

    Even if you do plan your meals and cook at home, you’re bound to have some waste.  Last year my family started composting as a way to reuse some of our waste and reduce the amount of trash that has to be hauled from our curb.

    While the thought of composting was a little intimidating, it turns out to be the easiest thing in the world! Each day I collect our fruit and vegetable rinds, peels and ends, along with any egg shells and coffee grounds, in a bowl on the kitchen counter.  At the end of the day I dump the bowl’s contents into a large plastic kitty litter bin I keep under our kitchen sink.  When the bin is full, we dump the contents in a pile in our back yard, rinse the bin with the hose, and start over.  This summer we’ll use some of the compost to enrich our garden, but until then, we can feel good knowing that we reduced the amount of waste that is transported and takes up space in local landfills. 

    (NOTE: If you want to get a compost bin, Big Green Purse sells them in our store here.)

    This month, let’s all commit to saving money and the environment by reducing our food waste.  Please keep me posted on how your family has met or plans to meet this challenge by commenting on The Scramble Facebook page or via twitter(@thescramble) or by email at aviva@thescramble.com. I look forward to learning and sharing how much you save!"

     

    Scramble logoEarth Day Bonus!

    Between now and Earth Day (April 22), use the promo code EarthDay12 to get $5 off every subscription to The Six O'Clock Scramble weekly plan. As an added benefit, The Scramble will donate 5% of its Earth Day sales to the Natural Resources Defense Council. Subscribe to The Scramble here.

     

    Aviva Goldfarb is a family dinner expert, mother of two and the author and founder of The Six O'Clock Scramble, an online dinner planning system and cookbook. Her most recent cookbook, “SOS! The Six O’Clock Scramble to the Rescue: Earth Friendly, Kid-Pleasing Meals for Busy Families” was named one of the best cookbooks of 2010 by the Washington Post .  Aviva contributes weekly to the Kitchen Explorers blog on PBSparents.org, and often appears on television, radio, and in magazines such as O, The Oprah Magazine, Real Simple, Working Mother, Kiwi, Every Day with Rachael Ray, and Prevention.You can sign up for her weekly newsletter at thescramble.com. For more information, contact Aviva@thescramble.com.

     

    RELATED POSTS:

    Here's How You Can Afford to Spend 30% More on Organic Food

    Learn How to Compost

    April 16, 2012

    Are You Ready for Earth Day? Best Tips for Pets, Parties, Beauty & Your Budget!

    Happy Earth Day!

    To honor this day of environmental action and awareness, we're highlighting some of our most popular Earth Day posts. We'd also love to hear how you're celebrating this day devoted to Nature, the environment, and how we humans interact with both. Please share your suggestions and tips, and have a great day.

    DogsPETS

    Earth Day Countdown: Make the Earth Friendly for Pets, Too! Research has shown that our beloved cats and dogs (I have two cats, and one wonderful dog) may be just as susceptible to pollution as we people are. Here's what you can do to keep your pets happy and health.

    Spoil Your Pup and Protect the Environment

     

    PARTIES

    Planning a party to celebrate Mother Nature? Here are our "green" suggestions. Please share yours.

    Going on a picnic? Here's how we do it.

     

    BEAUTY

    Earth Day Health & Beauty Countdown: Switch Your Liquid Shampoo to a Bar

    Cosmetic How-Tos

    Beauty...or the Beast? Depends on the Safe Chemicals Act

     

    Globe moneyBUDGET

    One of the biggest obstacles to "going green" can be the perception that it's too expensive. You may change your mind after you read these money-saving suggestions for ways to lead a more environmentally-friendly lifestyle without breaking the bank.

    This Earth Day, Save the Planet and Save $4,000 a Year, Too!

    Ten Low-Cost, High Impact Ways to Celebrate Earth Day

    More Money-Saving Eco Tips

     

    And just for fun...

    DON"T Do This on Earth Day!

    and...

    Earth Day Countdown Begins...With Sex!

     

     

    March 02, 2012

    Beat High Gas Prices Ten Smart Ways

    Gas pump2Gas prices have topped $4 a gallon in some states, and are inching higher and higher in many others. You're probably not surprised: if you're reading this blog, then you know that gasoline comes from oil, and oil is an unreliable source of fuel. Prices are volatile right now because the Middle East is so shaky, worldwide demand is rising, and some American refineries are not operating at full capacity.

    But even when prices at the pump aren't high, the environmental and human health "costs" we pay for burning gasoline are out of sight, considering the pollution and climate change  it causes and the toll it takes on the air we breathe and the water we drink.

    These tips will help you save money at the pump - because they'll help you drive less.

    • 1. Drive smart - Avoid quick starts and stops, use cruise control on the highway, and don't idle.

    • 2. Drive the speed limit - Remember - every 5 mph you drive above 60 mph is like paying an additional $0.10 per gallon for gas.

    • 3. Drive less - Walk, bicycle, use a scooter or moped, combine trips, and telecommute.

    • 4. Drive a more fuel-efficient car - Consider one of the new hybrids; at the very least, choose from among the EPA's "Fuel Economy Leaders" in the class vehicle you're considering.

    • 5. Keep your engine tuned up - Improve gas mileage by an average of 4.1 percent by maintaining your vehicle in top condition.

    • 6. Carpool - According to the Natural Resources Defense Council, 32 million gallons of gasoline would be saved each day if every car carried just one more passenger on its daily commute.

    • 7. Use mass transit and "Ride Share" programs - Why pay for gasoline at all?

    • 8. Keep tires properly inflated - Improve gas mileage by around 3.3 percent by keeping your tires inflated to the proper pressure. Replace worn tires with the same make and model as the originals.

    • 9. Buy the cheapest gas you can find - Buy gas in the morning, from wholesale shopper's clubs, and using gas-company rebate cards. Track neighborhood prices on the Internet.

    • 10. Support higher fuel-efficiency standards and the development of alternative fuels - Ultimately, our best hope for beating the gas crisis is to increase fuel efficiency while we transition to renewable and non-petroleum based fuels. Endorse efforts to boost average fuel efficiency to at least 40 mpg. Support programs that promote research and development of alternatives to transportation systems based on oil.

    Need a gauge to check your tire pressure? Find one in our store.

    Want 10 ways to save money and energy in your home? Here you go.

    These energy-saving tips save more than fuel.

    January 06, 2011

    Need Help Getting Inspired for 2011? Learn From These Great Green Role Models.

    Pondering woman What environmental lifestyle shifts are you planning for 2011? If you still haven't been able to make up your mind, take a minute to read about the folks below. In the last couple of weeks in December 2010, they all answered the question, "What's Been Your Biggest, Coolest, Eco-Friendliest Change This Year?" Some people switched to greener cleaning products. Others started their own organic gardens. A few launched their own companies. One person is even building a house from scratch. Hope they give you some great ideas for 2011!

    Saving Energy

    Reader Bonnie installed a programmable thermostat. It cost her $35, but she expects to easily recoup the cost on her heating and cooling bills. StudioJMM of http://profile.typepad.com/studiojmm put solar panels on her roof. Ann started a "no idling" campaign to get buses to turn off their engines when they're waiting to pick up kids at school. Saves energy AND keeps the air cleaner.

    Cleaning woman Green Cleaning

    Hana, aka the Green Granma http://thegreengrandma.blogspot.com/ discovered "the unending merits of vinegar" for greener cleaning. Celine spent a few dollars on cleaning rags she purchased at Goodwill. Lynne at http://greenertoday.blog.ca/ is now making her own green cleaners, plus buying local and kicking the throwaway water bottle habit.

    In the Kitchen

    Continue reading "Need Help Getting Inspired for 2011? Learn From These Great Green Role Models." »

    November 21, 2010

    Buy This Book Before Black Friday

    Generation earn Black Friday - the big shopping day right after Thanksgiving - is building up a big head of steam. But before you give in to advertisers' entreaties to spend, spend, spend, STOP - and read Generation Earn: The Young Professional's Guide to Spending, Investing, and Giving Back, by Kimberly Palmer.

    Palmer, the personal finance columnist for US News & World Report, is an expert when it comes to personal money management. Her magazine column and daily blog, Alpha Consumer, offer short, smart tips to help consumers live on a reasonable budget and avoid wasteful consumption that not only takes a toll on the environment, but racks up big credit card debt.

    Palmer's book encourages saving rather than spending, investing sooner rather than later, and building up enough cash reserves so you can support the causes you believe in as well as buy necessities and enjoy an occasional splurge.

    Thumb_green The book is geared towards 20-somethings, but it will benefit anyone who wants to manage money smartly and with an eye towards the future and retirement. I particularly like the chapter on "Green Spending " (full disclosure: the author interviewed me for this chapter), which encourages readers to forgo shopping sprees even if they are "environmentally friendly" and to avoid "greenwashing" by buying products that are certified sustainable. Thumbs up, Generation Earn!

    For more money-saving strategies, don't miss:

    Top Ten Ways to Afford Going Green

    Top Ten Ways to Beat the High Price of Gas

    Top Ten Organic Food $$$ Busters

    Top Ten Ways to Save Energy and Money at Home

    November 02, 2010

    Energy Tax Credits Expire 12/31 - Act Now to Save $$$ on Efficient Windows, Doors

    Storm_doors_windows Energy-efficient doors and windows save money by keeping cold air out in winter and warm air out in summer. The federal government and many states are encouraging homeowners to replace drafty old windows and doors with new, energy-saving models by offering tax credits that allow you to deduct a percentage of the replacement cost from your taxes.The federal tax credits run out on December 31, 2010; if you want to upgrade, doing so now will save you money.

    How much?

    You can take a 30% tax credit up to a total value of $1,500. In other words, you can spend up to $5,000 on a single or multiple products, for your principal residence that you own and live in, and get 30% or $1,500 (30% of $5,000 = $1,500) back as a tax credit. If you made some of your  purchases in 2009 and some in 2010, you can combine the total, but you can't get more than $1,500 in tax credits on the total purchase. 

    Of course, once you make the investment, the new doors and windows will also reduce your heating and cooling bills. Your local contractor should be able to help you estimate savings depending on what  you buy, the HVAC system you use, and the climate where you live.

    In addition to insulating windows and doors, purchases covered by the 2010 tax credits include:

    Continue reading "Energy Tax Credits Expire 12/31 - Act Now to Save $$$ on Efficient Windows, Doors" »

    July 07, 2010

    The Truth Behind Buying in Bulk

    Grocerycart Is buying in bulk worth it? Really?

    Only if you want to protect the planet and save money...

    Seriously, buying products in bulk is one of the most "eco" ways to shops; it's one of the best ways to save money, too. Why? For starters, larger sizes deliver the same amount of product using less energy and materials than the equivalent number of smaller packages.

    Next time you go shopping, browse the snack aisle and compare the difference for yourself. When you buy one large box of cookies, all you pay for is the cookies and the one box. But if you buy a "snack pack" of ten or twelve small bags, you end up with all those individual bags, plus the display box they came in and the cellophane wrapped around them. That's a lot of excess packaging!

    All that extra wrapping costs you more money. At Peapod, an online grocery store, a 15 oz. box of Famous Amos Chocolate Chip cookies runs around $3.99 or $.27/ounce. The package of 12 snack bags costs $5.79 or $.34/ounce. If you need snacks for yourself or your kids, why not buy reusable containers you can easily refill with cookies from the larger bag? Bonus: The snack containers will do a better job of protecting the snacks from getting crushed in a lunch bag or backpack.

    Wal-Mart claims that a family of four can save as much as $2,000 per year just buying in bulk. When you have the space, choose the largest available sizes of shampoo, laundry detergent, toilet tissue, light bulbs, blanks CDs, pencils and pens...you get the idea.

    Here's how I saved $20 buying bulk cat food. 

    Got any bulk bargains of your own to share? Let us know.

    March 29, 2010

    Plastic Activist Shifts $1114 to Green Goods

    Beth terry Beth Terry is best known for taking a stand against plastic over at her inspired blog Fake Plastic Fish. But living plastic-free is not the only way this Bay Area accountant and activist makes a difference. She's shifted her spending to organic produce and natural products like toothpaste and laundry powder, too. She bought a bicycle instead of a car, and gives gifts like fair trade organic chocolate.

     

    Beth took the One in a Million Challenge last year, as you can see from her balance sheet below. But the spending shifts she's made weren't temporary. They're a way of life that I hope will inspire you to do the same!

     

    Grab

    Total ................................................................. $1114.59 

       

        **NOTE:  "None of this includes cash spent at the Farmer’s Market or elsewhere. These are just credit card expenditures." Wondering how Beth made these shifts and avoided plastic? She bought laundry powder in a recyclable carboard box, rather than liquid laundry detergent in a plastic jug. She uses cotton mesh baggies to collect produce, rather than plastic bags. She also buys milk in a cardboard carton rather than a plastic bottle. (BTW, ACV stands for apple cider vinegar. TJ stands for Trader Joe's, though Beth has recently shifted to Tom's because the aluminum toothpaste tube is recyclable. In the last year, Beth also shifted from detergent powder to Laundry Tree soap nuts.)

     

     

    One_in_a_million Feeling inspired? Please join Beth and the almost 5,000 other consumers who have already taken the One in a Million Challenge! It's easy -- Fill out this balance sheet, keeping track of the shifts you make over time until you have shifted $1,000. Then send us your sheet, along with a picture so we can add your lovely face to our growing wall of One in a Million members. We'll feature you in Big Green Purse, so you can help inspire others - though we hope you'll urge your friends and family to take the challenge, too.

     

    February 01, 2010

    Tax Credits Can Help You Save Money and Shift Green

    energy efficiency tax credits Buying energy-efficient home energy systems, appliances, and cars can save you loads of money by reducing your energy consumption.  But the upfront cost of investing in efficient technologies can make ditching your old energy guzzlers for new energy sippers seem prohibitive. Federal and state tax credits help defray your purchase costs (image source). Here's how: 


    Federal Energy Efficiency Tax Credits

    Home Renovations: You can earn up to 30% in federal tax credits on the first $1,500 you spend on improving the energy efficiency of your home.  These credits apply only to existing home renovations and not to new construction. Remember: a tax credit is better than a deduction because it actually reduces the amount of money you pay tax on at the end of the year.

    Qualifying products include energy-efficient:

    • windows and doors
    • insulation
    • roofs
    • central air conditioners, furnaces, and boilers
    • water heaters
    • biomass stoves (like those that burn wood, wood pellets, dried corn, etc.)

    This credit expires at the end of 2010, so act sometime in the next eleven months to take advantage of this benefit.

    Alternative Energy Substitutions: If you've been thinking of transitioning to a renewable home energy system, you have until the end of 2016 to use tax credits to help defray the expense.  These credits are also being offered at 30% of cost, but with no upper limit (in other words, if you spend $20,000 putting solar panels on your roof, the credits could generate as much as a $6,000 tax credit). Qualifying systems include:

    • geothermal heat pumps
    • solar panels
    • solar water heaters
    • small wind energy systems

    The EnergyStar website offers more details on what systems qualify and which ones don't.


    Federal Hybrid Vehicle Tax Credits

    When I bought my hybrid Prius in 2002 for around $20,000, I received $4,000 in tax credits: $2,000 from the IRS, and $2,000 from my state government. Today, the rules for hybrid vechicle credits are a little more complicated.  Hybrids purchased after December 31, 2005 are eligible for a credit up to $3,400, but that number declines once the car manufacturer sells over 60,000 units of a particular hybrid model.  GM and Chrysler are still offering full credits; Ford is offering reduced credits until the end of March 2010.  The credits are subject to change, so check back frequently.


    State Credits

    Many states have created their own financial incentives for going green.  Check out DSIRE.org for a comprehensive list of what your state can offer you, including tax credits, rebate programs, and much more.

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