I have really been into spending time with S. this summer and writing my Wet Wednesday blog posts about some of our water adventures; however, I realize I have been slacking on posts focused on other topics that I initially intended to write more about, especially “living a little greener”. I feel like I have also been slacking on “living a little greener” in my life as well so I think it is time to refocus a bit. As long as it is warm S. and I will still be playing in water when we can, but I just might not write about every one of our new water activities.
In terms of being green, I know the big thing I need to do is think about my actions and start doing things like grabbing reusable bags instead of plastic when I can, but I also know that there are a lot of products out there that would help Matt, S., and I live a little greener. I have decided that not only do I need to reevaluate some of our green living practices, but I also need to stop being so cheap and buy a few new things that will help us lead greener lives both in terms of better for our environment and better for our health. The problem is that I have trouble convincing myself to go out and buy new things that might not be 100% necessary. I mean, I could just keep using plastic Tupperware instead of investing in glass right? I already have the plastic Tupperware or if I need more I can pick it up cheap somewhere; however I know it would be much better to store our food in glass or stainless steel. So in order to make myself feel better about the money I want to spend on green products, I asked Matt if he would mind using money from various credit card reward programs or other similar programs to buy some products to help us live a little greener. This is money that we look at as “extra” usually since it doesn’t come from a regular paycheck. Matt agreed and I set out to add up how much money I have to spend:
- Reward points from our Citi Card MasterCard. This used to be the card we used most frequently until American Express swooped in with a better rewards program. Now we just use the card when they have bonus categories where you get extra points. We have a total of 13,401 points saved up that I can cash out for approximately $125 in gift cards (i.e., Amazon, Target, Home Depot).
- We are currently using our American Express card as our every day card because we get cash back on all of our purchases. Our current cash back amount available is $294.
- I also have an Amazon credit card that I only use for Amazon purchases. Since I only use the card on Amazon, it takes a little while to accumulate reward points, but I currently have 2,335 points which amounts to about $23 to spend on Amazon.
- I used to use the website Swagbucks a lot, but now I just use it occasionally for their affiliate shopping rewards program. If I was more diligent about using Swagbucks for searches as well as shopping rewards I am sure the points would add up faster, but I currently have 2,962 Swagbucks, which amounts to about $35-$40 in gift cards.
- I also recently started using the shopping apps ibotta and Checkout 51. I haven’t been using them as much as I should since I haven’t been very organized with our grocery shopping the past month or two, but I do have $12.50 from ibotta that I can cash out.
That is a grand total of about $490 in either cash back rewards or gift card value. I was pleasantly surprised when I added it all up and I am not sure I will spend it all on “greening my routine”, but I will see how it goes. There are a few other sites where I have some credit, but not enough to get any actual cash back or gift cards at this time so I didn’t count them. They include the stock photo sites iStockphoto, Dreamstime, and Shutterstock, the shopping rewards programs Checkout 51 and Ebates, and the collaborative group invention site Quirky.
So yay! I get to spend our “extra” money. I am way better at saving than spending so we will see how this goes, but I am excited. I know I have some work to do in our kitchen in terms of food storage, but I also want to take a look around the rest of our house and even our yard to see how I can “green my routine”. So please, if you know any great new inventive products or other ways to help me live a little greener let me know! Also, if there is anyone who would like to join me on this journey, it would be fun to share our experiences. I will definitely share how I choose to spend my money, ways I hope to make my life a little greener (even if it is free, which would be even better), and I will try to share follow-ups on the things I do and products I purchase to see if they really are making our lives greener and if I think they are worth the money.