Self-Sustainability

I think that many would agree with the statement, “This world is facing some large uncertainties in the near future.” Obviously that’s a pretty general statement, but who could disagree? Take a look at the debt of our surrounding countries? The USA had a national debt of $12 trillion in 2008. Now it has already sky-rocketed to $17 trillion! And, that number is not going to come down any time soon. It’s just going to keep growing! If the US self-destructs, then the rest of the world will probably end up coming down with it.

So What Can We Do?

As a single individual, there is not a lot you can do to change the national debt of a country. Heck, it might even be tough to impact the financials of your best friend. So, what power do you have to protect yourself and your investments? The best thing you can do is become self-sufficient and live on the resources that God gave you, rather than the artificial power and energy that is provided by large corporations and the government.

Now, I don’t want to be one of those radicals that has 5 years’ worth of dried food in their basement with riot gear and an assortment of guns. I’m not proclaiming doomsday. I’m just saying that it might be a wise idea to move your dependence from the government and take a little more responsibility for your own survival in this world. You could gain a lot from increasing your self-sustainability, and there’s really nothing to lose!

How to Become Self-Sustainable

For most of us, we live in a naturally green area that has water available right below our property. Why not install a well in your backyard? The water is completely free and you could use it to sprinkle your yard, water your garden, or even use it to freshen up if your city water fails on you.

Another area of self-sustainability is a garden (as I alluded to in the previous paragraph). You could grow many things that would provide nutrition to your body and it would keep some more money in your pocket (especially if you’re watering your plants will well water). You could grow green beans, tomatoes, squash, strawberries, and many other different varieties of fruits and veggies. Plus, by growing them yourself, you’ll know that there aren’t any pesticides that were used on them. You could grow them all-natural and do your body a favor in comparison to those genetically re-engineered fruits and veggies from the store.

So you might be wondering about electricity? Well, our early ancestors survived without it, so I’m sure you could too. As long as you have a fireplace in your home, I bet you could make it through each season just fine. If, however, you simply couldn’t do without it, there always is the option of solar panels. These can produce about half of your daily use of electricity today, so if you can find a way to survive on less, perhaps this would be a good way to go as well.

In short, don’t be the person that’s running around proclaiming that the world is going to end, but just to be safe, do your due diligence in creating a more sustainable lifestyle. The more you can provide for yourself, the safer you will be, no matter what happens or doesn’t happen in the future.

Like What You See? Share the Story!

Reduced Carbon Emissions Rewarded With Low Car Insurance Rates

In the present day, many of the decisions that affect Canadian society are pitted in a fight between what’s best for the economy, and what’s best for the environment.  Partisan politics sadly drive a wedge between these two issues rather than finding solutions to satisfy both sides.

People are becoming more aware of the ecological impact of carbon emissions.  As a result, individuals and businesses alike are doing all they can to lower their carbon emissions to sustain a long-term healthy environment.  At the same time, progressive political leaders, unlike partisan extremists, are even offering financial rewards to people who can reduce their personal ecological footprints.

Individuals who rely on their cars are finding ways around using their vehicles as an environmentally friendly alternative.  Local governments are demanding more investments from provincial and federal counterparts into public transportation in order to service the growing green movement.

However, for those who are unable to reduce use of their cars, there are other ways to make an impact.  Many people are choosing to trade in their older vehicles for fuel efficient alternatives.  In addition to helping the environment, many car insurance companies are offering rebates or even lower insurance rates if drivers choose an environmentally friendly vehicle.

Some of these companies offer their rebates and competitive insurance rates online, and encourage drivers to find these options.  There are even car insurance comparison sites that help people save money on car insurance, while also promoting lower carbon emission vehicles to live a greener, sustainable lifestyle.

Searching online allows drivers to find insurance plans and providers who match their environmental mindset, and could offer rewards for contributing to the green shift towards ecological sustainability.  The process only takes minutes, and lists offers from some of the most well-known car insurance companies in Canada.

The economy and the environment are important in maintaining healthy living, and attempting to promote one while disavowing the other is unfit for today’s world.  We can all do our part by finding ways to save money, and save our planet at the same time – we just need to find those options.

 

Like What You See? Share the Story!

Do Energy Efficient Light Bulbs Save You Money?

A few years ago, energy efficient light bulbs flooded the market and everyone jumped in line to buy them and save money. I wasn’t so sure though. It was clear that this ‘technology breakthrough’ cost more per bulb than the regular incandescent lights, so was there really savings to be had? I decided to make the purchase because I knew they would save energy, but how much money would I actually save?

Let’s Check the Costs

In order to see if we’re truly saving money with the energy efficient light bulbs vs. the incandescent bulbs, we need to find out what the average cost is for each. As expected the energy saving bulbs are fairly pricey at $2 a bulb, and the incandescent bulbs are less than half the cost at about 75 cents each.

How Long Does Each Bulb Last?

Alright, so as we expected, the energy saving bulb costs more than double, so now the question is, “How much longer will it last?” The old-school bulb will last only 1,000 hours and the new bulb will last ten times that amount at 10,000 hours!

Savings Per Year

The energy efficient bulb lasts 9,000 more hours than the traditional bulb, but what does this mean for our savings? How much does it cost to illuminate a light bulb for an hour? On average, electricity costs 12 cents per kilo-watt hour. By itself, that means absolutely nothing to me, so let’s find out how much it would costs to illuminate one light bulb for an entire year with this 12 cent/kWh cost.

One 60 watt light bulb might stay on for about 6 hours a day each day for the year. So, that’s 60x6x365, and it equals 131.4 kilo-watt hours. Multiply that by 12 cents and you’ll find out that your one light bulb is costing you about $16 per year.

The equivalent wattage of an energy efficient light bulb is 13 watts. Multiply that by 6 hours per day and 365 days per year and you’ll use up 28.5 kilo-watt hours, which will cost you about $3.50, which is saving you approximately $12 per year on that one bulb!

Savings Per Bulb

The above example shows you your savings per year, but I wonder what the overall savings is per bulb since the energy saving bulb lasts so much longer. The traditional bulb costs only 75 cents and lasts 1,000 hours. The energy saving bulb costs $2 and lasts 10,000 hours.

One traditional 60-watt will last 1,000 hours, which means it uses up 60 kilo-watt hours and costs $7.20. To match the length of the energy efficient bulb (10,000 hours), we’ll have to use 9 more, which will cost us a total of $72 in energy and $7.50 in bulbs. That’s a grand total cost of $79.50.

The energy efficient bulb will last 10,000 hours with 13 watts, which uses up 130 kilo-watt hours and costs $15.60. Add the cost of the bulb and you have a grand total of $17.60. Energy efficient bulbs will end up saving you over $60 per bulb!!! Who knew?

 

Like What You See? Share the Story!

What is an Enhanced Annuity?

Are you nearing retirement? Have you been wondering what your options are? You might not know it, but there are many more options to your retirement than your retirement savings. Sure, this investment may have done you well for the past few years, but if you don’t want to constantly make withdrawals each month, you might be more interested in a plan that pays you automatically each month, just like the days when you were receiving a regular paycheck.

The Annuity

A regular annuity is typically set up when an investor has a lump sum of money, but would rather earn a small portion on those dollars with interest, as well as receive a monthly payment on a consistent basis. Normally, there are terms in place for each type of annuity (they can all be slightly different, depending on the institution offering the annuity) that will tell you how much you will receive each month, and how long your annuity payments will last. Depending on the amount you deposit and the amount you would like to receive each month, your monthly payments will change accordingly. Most often though, the common payback period is 20 years (based on my experience with various annuities).

The Enhanced Annuity

So let’s say your annuity is set to last for 20 years. It begins after your retirement date (typically), so you’re probably about 65 years old. What if you have a medical condition and you’re only expected to live for five more years? Then what good is a 20 year annuity? It would be foolish to invest your money this way! Why wouldn’t you instead look for a more short term annuity that would pay back a larger amount of money each month with a lower period for payback, say five years instead of 20?

Believe it or not, there is such a thing. It’s called an enhanced annuity. If you have high blood pressure, high cholesterol, type 2 diabetes, are underweight, overweight, or currently smoke, you may be eligible to reduce the term on your annuity and receive a higher income each month. If your condition is even more severe than these, then you might be eligible for enhanced annuities, which would offer an even higher level of income.

When you start shopping around for an annuity, you’ll most likely have to fill out some forms with medical information. Be sure to answer these questions honestly and accurately. If you do not, then you might only qualify for a longer term annuity, which could just go to waste if your life expectancy is much less.

I understand that you might be embarrassed to state various conditions on those forms, and it might be upsetting to think that you only have a few years to live on this earth, but think about it. If you’re in this situation, wouldn’t you much rather receive a larger sum of money each month and enjoy your life while you’re here on earth? I would!

Like What You See? Share the Story!

How to Reduce Kitchen Waste

Have you ever thrown away food because it was spoiled or past its expiration date? We have all done this at some point in our lives, but it may happen more often than you think. Did you know that Americans throw away 40% of the food they buy? Not only is that terrible for our landfills, but it’s also hard on our wallets!

My best friend and his wife are all about saving money, which is why they became members of Costco, a large wholesale store. Here, they stock up on cereal, chips, breakfast sandwiches, milk, eggs, snacks, basically anything you can think of. They do not have any kids, but yet, they have a pantry that is overflowing and a refrigerator that’s nearly spitting food out it’s so full!

When I go over to their house to visit, they urge me to help myself to any food they’ve got, so I gladly get up and start raiding the cupboards and the fridge. First, I pull out some Wheat Thins and can already imagine the great flavor that I will soon pop into my mouth. “Don’t eat those! They’re stale” I hear from the living room. I set them aside, somewhat disappointed, and reach for something else. “Where did you find those? That’s probably been in there for years! I wouldn’t eat that if I were you.” My friend’s wife is standing next to me now, trying to help me find something that won’t leave me violently ill.

Sure, they may have gotten a great deal on all the food they bought, but when they end up throwing away more than half of it, it’s suddenly not such a great deal.

1)      The best way to avoid food waste is to buy only what you need from week to week. If you plan out your meals ahead of time, you can limit your food purchases and therefore eliminate your waste.

2)      If you don’t like leftovers, don’t make large meals. We all have great intentions of eating those leftovers, but for some reason nuking it in the microwave just takes away that great flavor from the previous day, so there it sits in the refrigerator. Make small meals and eat it all up. You’ll have much less waste.

3)      Keep your refrigerator and pantry organized. In order to keep your food from spoiling, you must know what’s in there! Plot out certain areas for your pastas, your snacks, your cereals, etc. etc. Also, be sure to always keep the oldest food toward the front of the pantry so you eat it first.

4)      Make your leftovers more appealing. I’m sure you know that the microwave basically kills all the flavor in your meal. Why not try to reheat your meals in the oven instead? Sure, it takes a little longer, but when it comes out, that great taste is still in your food.

If you are successful in wasting less, I’m sure you’ll notice that you have more cash at the end of each month as well. If my friends bought only what they needed, I bet their grocery bill will reduce by 40%!

Like What You See? Share the Story!