Friday, October 23, 2009

Birthdays, bread wrappers, the earth and wealth....

My older son was recently invited to a birthday party. It was held outdoors at a neighborhood park and despite a cold wind and damp air, the kids raced down slides, hung on monkey bars, and played tag.

The birthday girl's mom and dad had recently moved from a house to an apartment and were in a bit of a tight financial situation. As a result, the mom baked a simple box cake in a pan, frosted it and put on six candles to serve with a jug of lemonade. They brought assorted plates and glasses from home and had one big Happy Birthday balloon tied to a picnic table. We all belted out happy birthday while Alyssa made her wish.

After the party, the clean up consisted of the wrapping paper from the gifts the guests had brought and nothing else.

The kids had a blast and it occurred to to me this party could not have cost over $15. It was fun and served its purpose - to celebrate with friends. AND it had been quite light on the earth.

I notice this connection between costs to the pocketbook and costs to the earth more and more as I try to not only save money but live a more environmentally friendly life. When I use a bread wrapper rather than using a ziplock gallon freezer bag, I save 10 cents and there is less plastic waste going to a landfill.

Every mile I choose not to drive according to AAA saves me 52 cents and my carbon footprint is a tiny bit smaller. Each time I shop for my kids' toys at a garage sale or thrift store, there is less packaging to toss and more money in our savings accounts.

And it's always so satisfying when one choice can go toward accomplishing two categories of life goals! Have you found this as well?

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