One Millennial World - A Millennial's Path to Financial Independence
I am Lara. I live near Denver, Colorado. I am a nurse, a millennial and a personal finance champion. I started this blog because I want you to know that I am just a typical millennial, but I learned to manage my money, live below my means, pay off debts, work hard and make my money work hard for me.
I am finally posting my goals for 2018! Only took me over a month to finally decided what they are and write them down!
So here they are!
My Goals for 2018:
I am hoping to make a big career change this year. It’s not a complete career change. I am still a nurse, but I want to change specialties. I work in Cardiac now, but I want to become a NICU nurse. This is something that I have always wanted to do, but I have let time, circumstances and a small amount of fear get in the way, and I am determined not to let those things get in they way of my dreams.
I ended 2017 contributing 12% to my 401k (I started 2017 by only putting in 5%). I have already put in the request to increase that to 15%. My goal for this year is to reach 20% by the end of 2018!
I am of course going to max out my IRA (that’s $5500 for the year). But, I am switching to a traditional IRA, instead of a Roth IRA. You can read these great articles that explain why:
I am going to stay strong with whatever 2018 brings. 2017 and the stock market were very kind to investors. Things kind of got shaken up a bit this past week. Personal Capital was kind enough to notify me that my holdings were down 3.2% this past week. But, I am going to continue investing. I am a going to look as this opportunity that stocks are sale and discounted! I am investing for the long-haul, so I need to learn to just let things ride.
Increase my charitable giving and volunteer hours! Even though, there might not be a tax-incentive this year for charitable giving. I still firmly believe in giving back to my community.
If you have been following my blog, you know that I am a big proponent of getting rid of student loan debt ASAP!
I myself paid off my student loans in 2 years. I didn’t utilize refinancing, but most of my student loans were Federal (they have certain protections built-in that can go away if refinanced) and when I was in repayment mode, interest rates were not as great as they are now!
Interest rates are astoundingly low right now!
There are also now some great companies popping up to help you refinance your student loans and save your THOUSANDS!!
I talked about refinancing student loans with SoFi a few months back, but recently I have discovered an alternative that might be a better option.
LendKey is different from the other student loan refinancing options because it doesn’t directly lend to borrowers. Instead, it compares student loan refinancing offers from more than 300 community banks and credit unions.
Borrowers with undergraduate and/or graduate student loans can refinance through LendKey’s platform.
With LendKey, you can refinance anywhere from $7,500 to $250k and choose from 5-, 7, 10- or 15-year loan terms.
LendKey’s platform will help you narrow your search to find the loans for which you’re eligible. And, just checking LendKey’s rates will not affect your credit score!
In most cases, when you refinance you will become a customer or member of the bank or credit union that funds your loan. But you will continue to manage and pay your loan through LendKey’s platform.
And, you will still reap the benefits of joining with a local bank or credit union. Community banks and credit unions are known for their friendliness, competitive interest rates, and emphasis on customer service.
Student loans aren’t fun. Kill them with LendKey!
I wanted to share what I thought was the best financial move/decision I made in 2017!
It’s probably not what you think either. If you read my first post of 2018, you would know that I maxed out my Roth IRA, increased my 401(k) contributions from 5% to 12%, and I started contributing more each month to a taxable account.
But, what I think my best overall financial move of 2017 was ditching my long-standing relationship with a large, brick-and-mortar bank and switching to an online checking account.
Time to Ditch Your Traditional Bank!
I opened up a savings account a few years ago with an online bank to capitalize on the high interest rates being paid. I found out in 2017 that the same bank had started offering a free, interest checking account as well.
I immediately opened one up, transferred and reorganized all my money, and lastly closed my accounts at my local bank. And, I have never been happier.
I was never completely happy with my local, traditional bank. It was just convenient. My parents opened up an account for me when I was probably 7 years old.
I never really realized how their “free” checking accounts were not really free. They will try to nickel and dime you at every turn.
Truly Free Checking!
Now, I have a truly free checking account that also pays me interest! True story! It’s only 0.10%, but that’s actually better than the savings account interest at my ex-bank. In addition, my online savings account is at 1.25% APY!
I have never had to pay an ATM fee. I have always been reimbursed by my new bank if I used an out-of-network ATM (they will reimburse up to $10/month)!
I also get free checks! I have never gotten free checks before. I had to pay around $20-30/box and there was always 2-box minimum.
I also get excellent 24-7 customer service if I need it.
In truth, I don’t miss the brick-and-mortar building at all. I love the convenience of staying home and reaching customer service within minutes.
There’s plenty of excellent, online banks popping up.
Do your research and find the bank that best fits your goals and lifestyle. According to NerdWallet, these are some of the best online banks with checking accounts to look into:
Best for overdraft policy: 360 Checking by Capital One
Best if you want a credit union: Alliant Credit Union Free High-Rate Checking
Best for customer service: Ally Interest Checking Account
Best for interest rate: Aspiration Summit Account
Best for interest rate: Bank5 Connect High-Interest Checking
Best for interest rate: Bank of Internet USA Rewards Checking
Best for automatic savings: Chime
Best for earning cash back: Discover Cashback Checking
Best for ATM use: Fidelity Cash Management Account
Best for ATM use: Free USAA Classic Checking
Best for interest rate: Radius Hybrid
Best for ATM use: Schwab Bank High-Yield Investor Checking
Best for budgeting: Simple
Your Turn: What was your best financial move for 2017? Do you have a traditional bank, credit union or online bank?
************Happy New Year!!************
Sorry it has been a while since I last posted! I hope everyone had a great holiday season!
But, I am back and I wanted to do a 2017 financial goals review! I will be posting my 2018 financial goals as well very soon!
I originally posted about my financial goals for this year back in April that you can read here.
Max out my Roth IRA: COMPLETED! I maxed out my 2017 IRA in December. And, I am starting on maxing out 2018 this week! (FYI: You have until April 15, 2018 to contribute/max out your 2017 IRA- So get saving.)
Increase my 401k contributions: COMPLETED and BEAT IT! I have increased my contributions to 12% (not including employer match). My goal for 2017 was to increase it to 10%. Which means, I am now saving over DOUBLE was I was in January of 2017!
Increase my contributions to investment accounts: COMPLETED! I set-up automatic payments every other week (to transfer money into my IRA and taxable accounts. In truth, this is the easiest way to build wealth in my opinion: Pay yourself first! Set-up automatic, reoccurring transfers and deposits into savings and investments. Find the extra money and then transfer it before you get a chance to spend it.
Increase my savings rate to 50%: COMPLETED! I think I need to increase this goal to 60% for 2018, since I am averaging 50% savings most months. You can read more about how I save extra money each month and achieve this lofty goal here.
Continue to “detach” myself from “stuff”: COMPLETED! Surprisingly, I have made several trips to Goodwill this year. Just when I think I have pared down a lot as it is, I find more stuff lying around my house that I don’t need and it gets bagged or boxed up and dropped off at Goodwill for donation. Finding and exploring my inner minimalist has helped me find happiness and save money. This year, my family decided to spend less time shopping and buying Christmas gifts and emphasize spending time together and making memories. We collectively decided we didn’t want or need “more stuff”. A few days before Christmas, we went out and had a nice dinner and then went and enjoyed some Christmas lights the Botanical Gardens.
Create a second income stream/side hustle: COMPLETED (but not the way I had envisioned) With my blog, I have earned a whopping $36.68 in advertising and affiliate links this year. I am still working on increasing traffic. However, my small Etsy business did see a major jump in traffic and sales towards the end of 2017. I saw a 126% increase in traffic and a 424% increase in sales!
Thank you to all who have encouraged me to start this blog and continue to follow it! It means the world to me and I really appreciate it!
Now, let’s start 2018 with more money in our pocket, less debt and less stress!
DISCLAIMER: THIS PAGE MAY INCLUDE AFFILIATE LINKS. I MAY GET PAID WHEN YOU CLICK ON A LINK AND BUY A PRODUCT, BUT AT NO EXTRA COST TO YOU.
I love money savings challenges! They turn the challenge of saving more money into a fun activity for both adults and kids.
If you perform a quick Pinterest search, you can find dozens of them!
I had to “steal” and show off this one by Cassie Werner. Not only is it teaching you to save money, but it really hits on what I think are other important points such as healthy living, healthy eating, green living, buying less and spending less time in front of a TV/computer!
Every month is a new challenge, so it doesn’t get boring only a few weeks in!
Plus, it’s just in time for the upcoming New Year and dare I say New Year’s Resolutions!
I grew up in a largely Catholic family. I may not be very religious now, but one of the principles that I was taught growing up that has stuck has been charitable giving.
I wholeheartedly believe in donating my time and money to charities and organizations that I believe in.
With the holidays upon us, this is usually the time I rev up my donations to help charities reach more of those in need. At this time of year, I usually end up reflecting on the past 11 to 12 months and truly recognize how thankful I should be (and am) for the life I have and my overall good fortune.
And, for investors during 2017 the fortune has been good!
I want to spread that good fortune to others, and I am glad that companies like Betterment share in these values!
Betterment is now making it even easier to donate money to charities.
Starting November 28, 2017, all Betterment customers will be able to donate shares from taxable accounts to charitable organizations of their choosing.
Donating securities instead of cash helps maximize your charitable impact by saving you money on taxes.
When you give appreciated securities to a charitable organization, neither you nor the charity pays capital gains tax (BONUS).
Betterment will calculate and recommend donating shares that you’ve held longer than one year so that the gift can be deducted up to the maximum amount come tax time.
After donating, you can replenish your account, to help keep your saving and investment goals on track.
Gifting securities helps maximize your charitable impact. As an investor, there are two tax advantages you receive when you make a charitable donation:
Eliminating capital gains tax on donated shares.
Deducting the value of the gift on your tax return.
When you donate securities, the value of those assets is transferred to the charity. You, the donor, don’t pay any taxes on the gain, and the recipient organization generally doesn’t pay taxes on the gain either. Win-Win!
And, as long as you itemize your deductions, the whole value of your donated securities is deductible on your income taxes, just like any cash donation would be, as long as you’ve held the securities for more than one year.
So, in effect, donating your investments can help you maximize your total philanthropic impact year-to-year.
For years, mainly only the wealthiest of investors and donors realized and utilized the tax-saving benefits of donating their invested assets, but Better ment wants to change that because most taxpayers who also invest can benefit from using their investments to maximize the impact of their donations every year.
They also want to make it as easy as donating cash!
Here’s how they are making it so much easier:
On your behalf, Betterment tracks how much of your account is eligible to give to charity. You typically should only donate assets that you’ve held for more than one year, but they will take all the hassle of sorting through your assets and will do it all for you.
They will estimate the tax benefits of your gift. Before you complete your gift, Betterment will let you know the estimated tax benefits, including the expected deductible amount and potential capital gains taxes saved.
Betterment will move the assets from your account to a charitable organization’s account without any paperwork. With a traditional broker, a charitable gift has to move from your account to the organization’s brokerage account, which can take time and paperwork. Betterment is offering charities investment accounts at no-charge (on up to $1 million of assets) to make the gift process seamless and paperless.
After the donation is complete, Betterment provides a tax receipt. The receipt is emailed to you, and it will also be available in your Betterment account at all times.
As this new feature launches, Betterment is partnering with a small selection of charities to start, but reports that they are dedicated to adding new charities in the future. At this point, you’ll be able to choose from the following charities:
If you don’t currently see a charity you’d like to donate to, you can request a new charity be added to Betterment by navigating to the “Give to charity” option in the “Transfer” tab of your account. Where you’re instructed to select a charity, there is an option to request a new one at the bottom of the page.
You can open up Donor Advised Funds (DAF) at almost all the big brokerage firms (Vanguard, Fidelity, T Rowe Price, etc). They serve the same purpose. However, most of these accounts have to be opened and kept separate from your other investment accounts and there is a minimum balance to open ($5,000 being the lowest I have seen). Through my research, Fidelity also charges a $100 annual fee (that’s a 2% fee if you have the minimum of $5k).
In light of the recent and disastrous (for us!) Equifax breach, I hope you have all learned the importance of regularly checking your credit reports!
If you haven’t not done this recently (or ever), you need to do so now. Checking your credit report is actually pretty easy and can be done online in just a few minutes.
Not only does it give you a chance you make sure your identity or social security hasn’t been stolen, it also gives you the chance to make sure there are no errors or mistakes on your reports.
Make sure your addresses are correct. Make sure nothing looks amiss. Most common errors included:
Information that is not yours because of similar names, addresses, etc. Credit reporting agencies may confuse names, addresses, Social Security numbers, or employers. If you have a common name—say, John Smith—your file may contain credit or personal information on other John Smiths, or Jon Smiths and may lack some of your own credit information. Your file may erroneously contain information on family members with similar names.
Identity theft. If you have been the victim of identity theft, mixed account information may appear in your credit report.
Information from an ex-spouse. If you have been divorced, your prior spouse’s information may be mixed with yours.
Outdated information. Accounts may still be listed after the legal deadline for removing them from your reports. Most black marks should “fall off” credit reports after 7 years.
Incorrect payment status. The payment status of accounts may be incorrect.
More than one delinquent date on an account. If an account has been transferred to a debt collector, your report may contain more than one date for when the account became delinquent (which triggers how long it may remain in your report).
Wrong notations for closed accounts. Accounts you closed may look as if the creditor closed the account.
Remedied/Resolved delinquencies not reported as such. Credit reporting agencies often fail to note accounts in which delinquencies have been remedied.
Having any black marks on your files could mean denial of job offers, higher interest rates on loans, higher insurance rates, or outright denials for new credit/loans. If they should be there in the first place (an error), make sure you dispute them asap. This can be accomplished online and by mail.
Simple errors could be impacting your overall credit score as well.
However, the biggest will always be make sure there are no accounts opened up under your name without your knowledge or authorization.
Checking Your Credit Reports
So, here is where the simple hack comes in.
By law, you can obtain a free credit report at AnnualCreditReport.com from each of the 3 credit bureaus once a year (Transunion, Equifax, Experian).
Don’t go anywhere else that promises the same things…they don’t. This is the only website you should ever use to obtain your credit reports.
If you are like me, I have already frozen my credit at all three bureaus in lieu of the Equifax breach. But, beforehand, I was annoyed that I could only check my credit reports once every 365 days. What if something happened during the next 364 days? What if someone stole my identity during the 11 months, 3 weeks and 6 days I was unable to check my reports?
We have already learned that some companies are not quick to report these security breaches in the first place.
This is what you can do instead. Check only 1 credit report from 1 of the credit bureaus (for example: Transunion), wait 4 months and then check your credit report at one of the other bureaus (for instance: Experian) and then check your report again in another 4 months at the remaining one (Equifax).
This way you can check your credit reports up to 3 times a year, and all for free!
Freeze Your Credit
But, seriously, with all this Equifax mayhem, your best bet to protect yourself is to check your credit report(s) asap, open up FREE credit monitoring with either Credit Sesame or Credit Karma and then immediately freeze your credit with at all 3 credit bureaus!
Monitoring only goes so far, even if you are paying companies like Life Lock. It alerts you after someone has attempted or succeeded in stealing your identity. A credit freeze will prevent it in the first place!
“Investing is not nearly as difficult as it looks. Successful investing involves doing a few things right and avoiding serious mistakes.”
-John C Bogle
When it Comes to Investing, My Best Advice is to KISS it!
In other words, Keep It Simple!
When it comes to successful investing, there are only a few things you need to know. You don’t need to learn how to day trade to be successful. In fact, day trading will probably not be successful at all.
MY SIMPLE INVESTING STRATEGY
I have a total of four investment accounts: a 401(k), a Roth IRA, a Traditional IRA, and a taxable account. My money is invested in ETFs, index funds and a few bonds. Of all of my long-term investments, three are tax advantaged (the Roth IRA, 401(k), and the Traditional IRA), meaning I get a tax benefit either when I deposit or withdrawal my money.
Taxes are important to note and consider. Taxes can take a massive chunk out of your future earnings, so it’s important to minimize their impact as much as possible. This is why I always recommend maxing out your 401k, Roth IRA, and if you have your own business or side hustle, a SEP IRA before investing in anything else. One cool feature of all the IRA accounts is that you can buy and sell stocks, index funds and ETFs inside them.
I love and prefer ETFs and index funds. They make investing and staying diversified so much easier. I also 100% manage my own investments. I have never used a financial advisor or firm.
(FYI: I typically don’t recommend mutual funds due to high commissions and fees. I don’t own any either).
“The index fund is a sensible, serviceable method for obtaining the market’s rate of return with absolutely no effort and minimal expense. Index funds eliminate the risks of individual stocks, market sectors and manager selection, leaving only stock market risk.”
-John C. Bogle
There’s a big difference between long-term and short-term investing. A lot of people don’t invest in stocks because they are afraid of losing money – which only really matters if you need the money in the short-term (say the next 10 years or less). But if you are investing for the long-term, then I don’t know of any better investment than the Stock Market (ie equities). Sure, stocks can go up and down drastically, but over any 10-year period in history they are always up at least 7% per year when the gains and losses are averaged out.
You can teach yourself how to invest through reading books and blogs. That’s how I learned how to invest successfully. The main thing you have to realize is that a lot of anxiety, fear and emotions get involved with investing, but that is usually simply due to lack of knowledge and education. However, taking just a little bit of time to do some research and learn from others that have been investing for decades. If you only have the ability to read one book on investing here’s my utmost, highly recommended book: The Simple Path to Wealth: Your road map to financial independence and a rich, free life by J.L. Collins.
“Time is your friend; impulse is your enemy.”
-John C. Bogle
TIME IN THE MARKET VS. TIMING THE MARKET
The down years (ie Bear Market) have an impact, but the degree to which they impact you is often determined by whether you decide to stay invested or get out. An investor with a long-term view may have great returns, while one with a short-term view who gets in, and then bails out after a bad year may have a significant loss.
No one will, or has ever been able to consistently time the market. They is no expert that can tell you when to get in and out and avoid the loss of down years, and then get back in time for the up turn.
If you are going to invest, you should expect the down years. You should know they are going to occur, and stick with your long-term investing plan. Not only that, you should see great opportunity in a Bear Market to buy “cheap” stocks.
BROKERAGE FIRMS VS ROBO-ADVISORS
Vanguard and Fidelity are your best choice for low-cost brokerage firms. Both are pretty competitive on fees.
Brokerage firms like Vanguard usually have a $3,000 minimum for mutual and index funds, but there are no minimums or commissions for ETFs. So you can invest in Vanguard’s Total Stock Market ETF (VTI) with as little as the price to buy one share.
That’s just one of my favorites. There are hundreds of different ETFs and index funds to choose from to fit your personal investing needs and risk allocation. You can also invest in bonds. remember to keep your portfolio as a whole diversified.
If you are more interested in a robo-advsior (a more hands off approach), Betterment has been very successful in this arena and also has low fees and no commissions, but not as low as Vanguard! You can read my full review of Betterment here.
Either way you choose, I recommend setting up automatic deposits timed with each paycheck and “pay yourself first”.
LASTLY, DON’T INVEST IN ANYTHING YOU DON’T UNDERSTAND.
You have worked super hard for your money, don’t gamble it on investments, business or schemes you don’t 100% completely understand. If it sounds too good to be true, it most likely is. There is no “get rich quick” approach when comes to investing.
And, that’s about it. I invest in only things that I completely understand with low fees. Then, I continue to buy and hold whether the market is up or down (truthfully, I don’t watch the market day-to-day, because that’s when worry and doubt can set in).
You might be pretty surprised at how much money is spent on everyday items that just end up in our trash and landfills.
If you are an average American, you produce 4.4. pounds of trash every single day. Considering there are 324 million people in the USA, that amounts to more than 700,000 tons of garbage produced every day— that’s enough to fill around 60,000 garbage trucks EVERY DAY! And, that’s just talking about the U.S.
Which is why I have earnestly started reducing, or stopped buying completely certain items that just end up in landfills.
I also found out that my city has free recycling centers that I can take plastics, glass, cans, cardboard and paper to.
Plus, reducing and completely ditching these items can lead to savings of THOUSANDS of dollars. The average American spends around $5,000 on products that are eventually thrown away EVERY YEAR!
For example, this one blogger saved $12,000 in 2.5 years by ditching simple, but wasteful household items!
1. Paper Towels and Napkins
Did you know that disposable paper towels were created by accident in the early 1900’s?
The average American family uses two rolls of paper towels per week, and at an estimated $14 for an 8-pack you could be spending up to $182 a year for paper towels alone.
Thankfully, paper towels and disposable napkins are so easy to ditch! I have not bought paper towels or napkins all year.
Instead, I use dish towels and homemade, reuseable fabric napkins. My sister actually made my napkins by cutting up some old linens and a bed comforter. Nothing fancy since it’s for my personal use.
I found these on Etsy! Saving trees can look cute too!
2. Aluminum Foil, Plastic Wrap and Plastic Baggies (ie Ziploc)
These products are very handy in the kitchen to use when cooking/baking and storing food.
However, not only do these get thrown out after being used only once, but there is some evidence to support cooking with aluminum can leech and contaminate food.
There is also growing health concerns for plastic, including plastics used in food packaging.
If you’re looking for something to bake on, check out these easy to clean silicone mats. If you’re looking for something to wrap your food in, check out these organic beeswax wraps.
You could also just skip buying plastic garbage bags and simply empty your trash into the garbage can itself. This will require you to wash the can from time to time, but if you are also composting it won’t get too messy.
A typical family spends on average $210 on trash bags!
And, if you do go zero waste, you could cancel your trash pick-up service all together and save even more money.
But, if you aren’t there yet and still want to forgo plastic trash bags, they make compostable trash bags and liners.
4. Tissues (ie Kleenex)
Time to go back to handkerchiefs!
Again, you can sew and make your own. It doesn’t have to be fancy. Or, find some cute ones on Etsy!
Whenever they’re dirty, you just throw them in the laundry hamper and wash them with the rest of your laundry.
5. Disposable Water Bottles
Americans (and the entire World) spend WAY too much on bottled water. If you don’t like the way your tap tastes, just invest in a good water filter.
I am lucky though. I get fresh-tasting, mountain spring water from my tap living in Colorado.
However, sometimes bottled water is unavoidable. For example, I recently traveled to Bali, and unless I wanted to get “Bali Belly”, I could only drink bottled water. It was also recommended to use bottled water to brush your teeth.
Otherwise, bring a reusable bottle with you when you’re out and about.
6. House-hold Cleaning Supplies
According to this article, American’s spend an insane amount of money on cleaning products and supplies!
It’s anywhere from $300-800 per year per household!
Not only that, but most of these products can contain dangerous, unhealthy chemicals and ingredients. For example, popular air fresheners like Febreeze actually contain dangerous chemicals and pollutants according to several studies.
A University of Washington study found that the typical American air fresheners released an average 18 chemicals into the air. With one in five of these chemicals labeled as a hazardous substance highlighted in either federal or state pollution standards.
Do a simple Pinterest search and you will find dozens of easy DIY cleaning recipes.
I use distilled white vinegar and warm water. Simple and non-toxic. I also buy the DWV in the glass container to reduce plastic consumption.
In addition, if you are a fan of Swiffer Sweepers (like me!) go to Etsy and buy some reusable, fabric pads. They work better than the expensive, disposable pads!
7. Beauty Products
As a female, it is amazing how much cosmetic and beauty supplies I ended up buying and accumulating. I have drastically cut down on my spending in this category. This includes make-up, shampoo, conditioner, lotion and body wash.
I discovered this fabulous store called Lush at a local mall this year. They make fresh, handmade cosmetics and beauty products! They sell no bottle shampoo and condition. It comes in a concentrated bar that lathers really well and lasts up to 80 washes. They sell lots of bath and beauty products that have minimal to no packaging at all!
Or, learn to make your own! There are lots of tutorials online to make your own lotion, shampoo, conditioner, body scrub, bath bombs,toothpaste and deodorant!
8. Convenience Food
Not surprising, but the average American spends 30-40% of their entire grocery and food budget on overly processed and convenience food.
Not only does this food actually increase your food bill, it is full of hidden salt, fat and sugar.
Did you know that “maltodextrin” is actually an additive made from starch with a much higher glycemic index than sugar? Look at some food labels, you will probably find it listed under the ingredients.
I have switched to buying mostly real food and whole ingredients. Not only is it great for your health, it is also great for your budget.
Buying whole ingredients and foods allows you to control how much salt, sugar, preservatives and additives get in your food.
9. Plastic Utensils
I never really bought plastic utensils to use at home before, but I usually end up using ones at work to eat my breakfast and lunch, and certain restaurants like Chipotle offer only plastic utensils.
I now pack my own fork and spoon into my lunch box for work.
There are also zero-waste, bamboo kits you can buy that fit in your purse on Etsy.
10. Toilet Paper
Yes, I said TP! It’s not all that healthy or hygienic for you anyways.
Toilet paper and flushable wipes are full of chemicals.
According to an article in the New York Times, the average person uses at least 57 sheets of toilet paper per day and 27 rolls per person annually, which adds up to 384 trees in a single lifetime.
Consider using family cloth instead of toilet paper. I am dead serious! It’s softer, healthier and far more efficient at cleaning than you would think.
11. Magazine and Newspapers
Cancel your magazine and newspaper subscriptions and read them online or at the library.
If you like to read, buy e-books instead of paper books, unless it is a reference book you will need if the power goes out (not likely in my case). Organize your e-books for easy browsing and searching with this free software.
Use the library for books you don’t want or need to own. Most libraries now have a e-lending service, where you borrow and download books for free on devices like Kindle.
12. Baby Wipes and Diapers
The cost of cloth diapers is significantly lower than the cost of typical disposable diapers. Diapering a baby in generic disposables will cost you over $1,400 over 2.5 years. With some premium earth-friendly options, this cost can go to $2,500 over 2.5 years.
This family saved an estimated $835 over 2.5 years for just one baby by switching to cloth, reusable baby wipes and $1,680 by using reusable cloth diapers ($3,360 for 2 kids).
For only 1 kid, using cloth diapers and wipes could save you $2,515!
Side Note: The Growing A Green Family has a goal of saving $50,000 by just switching to greener, eco-friendly options for their family!
13. Feminine Products
Feminine care products are usually a consistent, monthly expense that also adds considerable waste to landfills.
If you’re a women, just think about how many pads, tampons, liners, etc. you use each month. Then remember that each comes individually wrapped.
More importantly these reusables come without the unhealthy additives like bleach (and who knows what else) that are typically found in pads and tampons! There are organic feminine products but they are more expensive and will still end up in landfills and sewer systems. Just more money down the drain.