Wednesday, March 28, 2012

The Ecofrugality Quiz

Today I'm going to try something I've always wanted to do: putting a quiz on the blog. I love quizzes myself; maybe they're just a nostalgic reminder of my school days, but for whatever reason, I just can't resist them, from the serious ("Test Your Financial Know-How") to the trivial ("Which Downton Abbey Character Are You?"). So I decided it was time to create one of my own, on the topic (naturally) of "How Ecofrugal Are You?"

Blogger doesn't seem to have a feature for incorporating a quiz into a blog entry, so I'm afraid you'll have to write down your answers the old-fashioned way, with pencil and paper, and then scroll to the end to score yourself. (By the way, I know that for many of these questions, your real answer is likely to be "none of the above," but just pick the answer that's closest to reality.) Pencils ready? Question one:

1. When you crave a good cup of coffee, you head for
a. Starbucks.
b. McDonald's—same coffee selections, but much cheaper.
c. your local coffee shop, where they will serve up organic, shade-grown, Fair-Trade coffee with hormone-free organic milk in a reusable cup that you brought from home.
d. your kitchen, where you can brew your own from fresh-ground, organic beans that you bought in bulk at the co-op.

2. The clothes in your closet are most likely to be
a. from high-end boutiques.
b. bought on sale at Target or Wal-Mart.
c. made with high-priced but eco-friendly fibers such as organic cotton or hemp.
d. secondhand.

3. Your dream home would be
a. a sumptuous villa in Tuscany.
b. rent-free.
c. a beautiful retreat in the countryside, built with reclaimed materials and outfitted with solar panels.
d. in the middle of a vibrant neighborhood with everything you need in walking distance.

4. If you needed a new set of wheels, you'd most likely opt for
a. a snazzy little convertible.
b. an old beater—it's cheaper to buy and to insure.
c. a new Prius (50 miles per gallon, baby!).
d. a bicycle.

5. Your cart at the grocery store is most likely to contain
a. prepared foods like frozen pizzas or TV dinners.
b. store brands and whatever's on sale.
c. all-natural, organic items—bagged washed salad greens, hormone-free milk, humanely farmed meats, and Fair Trade chocolate.
d. staples like dry beans, rice, and flour for cooking from scratch.

6. You always wash your clothes with
a. the same brand of detergent your mom used.
b. the cheapest detergent available.
c. an all-natural, phosphate-free, environmentally friendly detergent.
d. only one tablespoon of detergent—they get just as clean that way.

7. Most of the light bulbs in your house are
a. halogen—they simply give the best-quality light.
b. incandescent—on sale, they're only 25 cents apiece.
c. LEDs—they may cost $20 apiece, but they use 7 watts and they'll last for 25,000 hours.
d. CFLs, for now—no point in replacing them with LEDs until they burn out.

8. If you had to remodel your kitchen, you would probably
a. splurge on the granite counters, the custom cabinets, and the glass tile backsplash—if you're going to invest a lot of time and money anyway, you might as well go all the way and get the best.
b. keep costs down with laminate counters, stock cabinets, and vinyl flooring.
c. scour the Internet for deals on recycled glass countertops, cork floor tiles, and sustainably sourced wood cabinets.
d. try to salvage and reuse as much material as possible from your old kitchen.

9. Next Christmas/Hanukkah, you're hoping to delight your kids/grandkids/nephews and nieces with
a. a new Wii.
b. a board game off the sale rack at Wal-Mart.
c. a set of building blocks made from sustainable hardwoods.
d. any of the above, so long as you can get it for five bucks at a yard sale.

Scoring

This quiz will give you two separate scores: one for your eco-consciousness and one for your frugality. Here's how to calculate your score:
For each A answer, give yourself 0 points.
For each B answer, give yourself 1 point for frugality, 0 for eco-consciousness.
For each C answer, give yourself 1 point for eco-consciousness, 0 for frugality..
For each D answer, give yourself 2 points for frugality and 2 points for eco-consciousness.

How to interpret your score

If you scored less than 9 points on both scales, you are a Profligate. You think money is for spending, and natural resources are for using. You believe you deserve the best and you'll spend whatever it takes to get it. Problem is, every dollar you spend today is one you won't have to spend tomorrow. By trying out just a few ecofrugal tricks, you can eke out more delight per dollar—and maybe help the rest of the planet a bit while you're at it.

If you scored more than 9 points for frugality and less than 9 for eco-consciousness, you are a Tightwad. You're always trying to do things as cheaply as possible, and you aren't too concerned about the environmental consequences. However, if you focus too much on saving money up front, you may end up spending more than you need to in the long run. If you look at lifetime costs, you may realize that in many cases, the greener choice is also the one that will put the most green in your pocket.

If you scored less than 9 points for frugality and more than 9 for eco-consciousness, you are a Tree Hugger. You care about the environment, and you're willing to pay more for products that help you tread more lightly on the planet. What you may not always realize is that the products with "Eco-Friendly" on the label aren't always as green as other choices that are much cheaper, or even free. If you consider all the options, you may find that sometimes, you can save the planet and save money at the same time.

If you scored more than 9 points on both scales, you are a Master Manager. You can't stand waste—of money or natural resources. When making a purchase of any kind, you consider all the factors involved, including up-front cost, energy use and environmental costs. By making wise use of the resources available to you, you are ensuring that you will always have plenty for the future. In your home, money really can grow on trees.
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