1. ReGift. There are many regift horror stories floating around out there. So, if you hesitate with this option, it is understandable. But consider this: Regifting does not mean you should give dusty, dirty, broken, or rancid items to others. The key to regifting is to give with respect and thought of the other. The same way you would hate to receive ill-flavoured chocolates is the same way others would feel. When you are regifting, consider that person’s interests. I once received used books on earth-sheltered homes and I absolutely loved them. Why? Because I have an interest in earth-sheltered homes. My friend’s gift to me showed that he actually listened while I talked. And he thought of who I am instead of who he wanted me to be.
So, if you receive a gift you cannot use, why not give it to someone who can? This saves you money and time. It’s conscious spending at its best. If you were to throw away the gift, the energy used to get it to you [growing the ingredients, shipping the ingredients to the manufacture, manufacturing the finished product, shipping the finished product to a store, someone driving to the store to buy the product, and someone driving so that you can receive your gift] would be wasted.
2. Go with Shopping Lists. Let’s face it, temptation is everywhere — on the TV and internet, in the stores and the houses we visit, and even on the street. There will always be something more beautiful or more advanced than what you already have. Accept this. And the next time you enter a store, on-line or off-line, enter with a detailed shopping list and a sincere intention to stick to it. It’s the best way to control impulse purchases.
3. Go for Quality. There’s nothing more aggravating than a product that only lasts a day or one use. So consider the quality of a product as much as the price when you are shopping. Sometimes, investing in products that last a lifetime is more efficient than buying products that continuously have to be replaced.
3. Go Green. If you are going to spend, why not spend in a way that helps save the planet? There are many ways do this.
- Buy eco-friendly products like compact fluorescent light bulbs, rechargeable batteries, reusable shopping bags, nontoxic biodegradable cleaners, organic bedding materials, solar lighting and heating, recycled furniture, low flush toilets, solar-powered ovens, and indoor / outdoor clothesline. Some of these products also make great gifts. For example, you can buy a 100% organic cotton sheet set as your next house-warming gift.
- Install a geo exchange system into your home or business. GeoExchange technology uses the earth’s renewable energy, just below the surface, to heat or cool a home or other building, and to help provide domestic hot water. These systems are so good that the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has said they are the most energy-efficient, environmentally clean, and cost-effective space conditioning systems available today. (www.geoexchange.org)
- Purchase carbon offsets through Carbon Fund and Trees for the Future. The basic idea is to balance out your impact (carbon footprint) on the environment by purchasing carbon offsets which fund clean energy projects, like wind farms that reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Carbon offsets are about taking responsibility for the damaged environment we help create every day.