Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Same old, same old

One thing I often find frustrating about articles on frugality and/or green living is that they so seldom have any new advice to offer. I'll eagerly click on a link to a list of "20 ways to cut your utility bill" or "10 simple steps to reduce water use" or "15 ways to save $100 this year," only to find that most, if not all, of the tips on the list are things I've been doing for years. (Those few that aren't are usually things that, for one reason or another, don't apply to my situation. For instance, I can't run my dishwasher only when it's full, because I don't have a dishwasher.)

Today, for example, I found this article about "Saving Money and the Environment" on the Dollar Stretcher site. Pleased to see someone else writing about ecofrugal ideas, I clicked on it and skimmed through it, only to realize that the tips she's offering in this article, such as "put aerators on your faucets" and "turn down the heat to 68 degrees," are essentially the same guidelines that appeared in 50 Simple Things You Can Do to Save the Earth more than 20 years ago. Are there actually eco-conscious people out there who don't already know this stuff?

Of course, I realize that I'm probably not the intended target of this article. It's more likely intended as a primer in ecofrugality for people who have never really made any effort to save money or natural resources before. (Perhaps they've decided to start now as the recession starts squeezing their paychecks. Well, if it gets more Americans to pay attention to what they consume, then I guess this economic cloud has a silver—or green—lining.) And I guess that the reason so many books and websites keep going over these same ultra-basic ideas is that there are still so many people out there who don't reuse baggies and scrap paper, or hang their laundry, or take cloth bags to the grocery store, or any of the other hundreds of things that most of the folks in my circle already do. But all the same, I can't help wishing that just once in a while I could find an article with some new frugal ideas, ones that I haven't already heard countless times.
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