Tag Archives: some kind of green

Some Kind of Green Progress Report

Stuff from Ellwood Thompson's

Okay, when I started the “Some Kind of Green” project I said I was going to confess when I failed and point out my wins so you could avoid my pitfalls and duplicate my successes. Here’s where I’m at so far.

Failures:

I haven’t started composting. I’ve read about both wet and dry methods, and I think I’m going to go with the dry, but I haven’t started yet.

Poor planning and my crazy work schedule has forced me to eat lunch at chain places once or twice a week. I had a made to order salad from the gasoline muliplex yesterday, and I’ll have to do that again today. On two different Saturdays I’ve eaten at Cook Out which is a technical failure. They’re a small chain, but they’re still a chain. It really requires perfect planning and regimentation to avoid eating out at chains.

Our Thanksgiving Turkey was a factory one. Price was a concern, but mainly flavor. A friend said free-range turkey tasted awful, and although I was game to try it anyway, the family was afraid to go for it.

We are still shopping at Kroger and/or Costco for most of our staples. At this point we really can’t afford to get everything we need from a non-chain grocer.

I haven’t been able to find a greener way to get to the office.  Thinking about getting a used motorcycle next year.  That will depend on the money situation and whether or not I can find something small that’s street-legal.

Successes:

I developed a greener financial plan: no more new stock investments for me — I’m making early mortgage payments instead.

In the kitchen and dining room we’ve 90% switched to cloth napkins and rags. We get a roll of paper towels maybe once every month or two, and use paper napkins only for parties.

As for toilet paper, we now use only 100% recycled with high post-consumer content.

I’m buying more stuff at Ellwood Thompsons — mainly bulk nuts, beans, etc. but also things that are at least close in price to chain market prices (like herbal tea, bagged salad, chicken if it’s on sale, etc.) I’m also buying Preserve razors and toothbrushes made out of recycled yogurt cups there.

I developed a capsule wardrobe.  Donated all my extra clothes to charity and haven’t bought any “new” clothes yet.  I really need a pair of dark wash jeans but can’t find any that are used and/or USA Made.  Might have to go the eBay route.

Signed up for Richmond Freecycleemails.  Haven’t offered or taken anything yet.

Still getting all of my red meat from Auburnlea Farms (free range, antibiotic free, grass fed, local), still getting my eggs either from my farmer friend Gene or buying free range from wherever I shop, still recycling, etc.

So far so good, but a long way to go.  If anybody has suggestions, please comment.

Saving for Your Future Without Investing?

Isn't all money green? Actually no, it isn't.

When I started the Some Kind of Green project I said I was going to look for alternatives to investing in 401K programs (a.k.a. the stock market).  Before I get started, let me say that I think this planet has no future unless there is a global revolution of immense proportions.  But since I’m willing to admit that I might be wrong, and since I have a wife and family to think about, I came up with this plan.

How is investing in the stock market “ungreen?”  Investing in the stock market gives mega-corporations more money to use for growth and expansion, and expansion means more industry, more trees cut down, more pollution, and so on.

Green Alternative: Make extra mortgage payments.  As of Nov. 1st, I have stopped all 401K contributions and set up automatic extra payments on my mortgage.  Any money in existing 401K plans will remain there (it’s madness to touch it until those stocks bounce back, and even then, it’s suicidal to consider taking it out before retirement with all of the penalties and such).  401Ks are like roach motels — money checks in but it never checks out.

How is this greener?  You can’t live anywhere for free in our society, and I’m not giving up my house, so I have to pay the mortgage. Chase Bank is going to get their money from me one way or the other.  But if I pay the mortgage faster, thereby paying less interest, Chase will get less of my money.  How much less?  Based on my calculations, about $20,000 less.  And I intend to spend that $20,000 way, way greener than either Chase Bank or the stock market will.  I will also be mortgage free about 7 hears sooner.  Here is a link to a mortgage calculator that will show you how much money you can save by making extra mortgage payments.

How is this a smart investment alternative?  Although it’s almost impossible to predict the net advantage or disadvantage in this investment strategy due to the unpredictability of the market, it can be approximated.  Most predictors seem to use 8% as the long term average rate of return for a 401K.  Taking off 2% for fund management fees leaves 6%.  My mortgage rate is about 5%, which means that I’m potentially losing 1%.  I’m also losing the employer 401K match, but since that’s only .25-on-the-dollar, it’s almost inconsequential.

So let’s say for round figures I’m earning 2% less than I would with a 401K.  But am I?  Just because 8% average return on a 401K has been true in the past doesn’t mean that it will hold true in the future.  Furthermore, I’m aged 50.  The stock market could be in the tank for another 5 years or more!  By that time I should be stabilizing my 401K investments in bonds anyway.  Returns on bonds will be way less than 8%, more like 2%.  So basically, by the time the market bounces back, I’ll be too old to take advantage of it.  If I was a younger man this decision might have been harder, but as it is, not so much.  More money for me and my family and less money to the growth-oriented financial system.  Better economically, environmentally, and politically.

Oh yeah — and I also closed my accounts at Suntrust and opened accounts at Virginia Credit Union — another step in the right direction.

Does anybody else have investment and savings alternatives that are greener, more socially forward, or anti-corporate?  I’d love to hear them.

Disclaimer: I’m not a licensed financial planner, I’m just a guy trying to pick a life path.  Use this information at your own risk.

Lots Going On

Update 7/18/19:  My club still uses the flag but we’re now called Cabal Fang Temple, and we’re a 501(c)(3) non-profit educational charity.  Visit our website or purchase our 12-week personal growth program at Smashwords, Amazon, B&N, or wherever fine e-books are sold.

————————–

Original post:

* The ‘Some Kind of Green‘ project is yielding results.  I feel better about myself, I’m more productive, and I’m saving money to boot.  If only I had done this 30 years ago.  * Started connecting with other like-minded bloggers (check my blogroll for cool people saying cool stuff).  Keep the faith my brothers and sisters!  * In two weeks my son and I will be spending three days off the grid practicing stone-age skills (since we can’t afford, and don’t want to drive 4.5 hours to attend, MAPS Meet #2 that weekend).  Sorry fellow MAPSsters 😦 * I’ll be attending the free Decolonization class at Wingnut 9/20, 9/27, & 10/4 and blogging about what I learn.  * My martial arts club, The Order of Seven Hills, will be tabling at Zinefest on October 8th.  The best stuff still ain’t for sale at big box bookstores!  * Re-writes of some of my unpublished books are under way and will be available for download at Smashwords by the first of next year.

Some Kind of Green : The Setup

I mentioned in a previous post that I watched the movie END: CIV over at the Wingnut the other night.  In the wake of that experience I have restructured this blog.  There are now 3 categories: Martial Arts, Writing, and Some Kind of Green.  The Some Kind of Green category will be about my attempt at living differently.

“What’s with the name?”

There are the Bright Greens and then there are the Deep Greens.  I suspect both might be onto something.  I don’t know what color I am, I just know I’m ‘some kind of green.’

“What are you going to do?”

1. I will buy 100% of my food from independent farmers and grocers, and I will eat out only at indie restaurants.
2. I will freecycle, trade, dumpster dive, or make everything else when possible.  Failing that, I will purchase from yard sales, Craigslist, and indie charities like Books, Bikes, and Beyond Thrift Store.  Absolute worst case, I will buy used or refurbished goods from retailers.
3. I will recycle and learn how to compost.  The only disposable product I will buy is toilet paper.
4. I will not actively support popular entertainment.  I will buy all music, movies, etc. directly from indie artists, or pick up used CDs from yard sales, indie retailers, etc.
5. I will actively pursue cutting gas consumption by finding another way to get to work, working from home, etc.
6. I will try to find a way to invest in my future without investing in the stock market.

“Any exceptions?”

Yes: coffee, tobacco, and razors (without my Cafe du Monde and General Snus I’d be dead within 30 days; without razors my wife wouldn’t touch me).I have a wife, four kids, three grand-kids, and a host of friends who don’t see things the same why I do.  I’m going to take my wife to go see the latest blockbuster romance movie and have a beer with my buddies at the chain restaurant from time to time.  I will not allow my views to alienate me from the people I love.   But whenever I cheat, slip up, or otherwise break any of the rules, I will fess up publicly on this blog.

“Be honest dude!  Why are you doing this?”

Because I’m sick of feeling guilty and apathetic, and I’m ready to take responsibility for my actions.