Wednesday, June 11, 2008

My Footprint

There is a lot of discussion these days of watching our “carbon footprint” and ways to “go green”, etc.  all to aid the environment we live in.  While I do believe that we should be responsible as a culture and not do things that harm our environment, many of the ways people “go green” actually end up being a higher cost item.  Take a hybrid car, for example.  In order to recoup the cost of a hybrid over a regular vehicle, you would need to own the car for over 5 years just to break even (source:  WSJ)  So, clearly the decision to drive a hybrid is not fueled by economics (pun intended), but by a concern over the environment.

Here we reach a critical juncture in what I believe to be the argument for green living.  If “getting back to nature” requires the bleeding edge of technology, are we really getting back to nature?  It sure seems to me that simplification, not complexity, will do the most to reduce toxins in the air, wasted time and energy, etc.  However you look at it, whether you are looking to simplify the economics in your life, or reduce the carbon footprint you leave on the earth, the end result is the same.  Simplification, not complication, is what we need to strive for.

From an economic perspective, reducing my expenses and the “things” in my life will have at least as much effect on my overall finance success as raising my income.  In fact, raising my income without concern for controlling my expenses will have a negative effect on my finances, not a positive one.

As I continue to push to get out of debt and move to a positive net worth, I am going to begin the process of analyzing not only our expenses, but also our overall way of life.  If we can simplify our lives, we will see an economic impact to that.  I think it will be far easier to accept changes in lifestyle based on simplification than purely for an economic benefit.

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