plonkee money an english-er's thoughts on personal finance

October 15, 2007

save money. save your health. save the planet. walk

Filed under: environment — plonkee @ 12:00 pm

Today is Blogger Action Day, when bloggers all round the web will be trying to make a difference on one of the defining issues of our time, global warming.

There are no passengers on Spaceship Earth. We are all crew.

Marshall McLuhan

How often do you jump in the car to somewhere that’s in walking distance? If you are anything like most people, more often than you should.

Walking saves you money

This is clear and apparent. If you use your car, at the very least, it will cost you petrol. And then there’s the wear and tear that it puts on your car, especially short hops in traffic. There’s also the increased possibility that you will do some expensive damage to your car if you are involved in a collision. If you walk to the shops to run your errands, you are also less likely to buy excess stuff, since you only have two hands to carry it with. If you cut down on a few trips in your car, it will save money that can be put towards the more important things in your life.

Walking saves your health

If you are walking somewhere, I can pretty much guarantee that you will be using some calories. You will also be using your heart and lungs to work a bit harder, keeping them maintained in better condition. If you cut down on a few trips in your car, it will improve your fitness and will probably make your happier.

Walking saves the planet

Transport is a major contributor to the excessive levels of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. Burning petrol in an internal combustion engine emits xx, yy and zz chemicals that befoul the very air that you breathe. If you cut down on a few trips in your car it will make a difference to the planet that we live on – and the difference will be increased if you start encouraging others to do the same.

Get out of your cars and walk. Pass it on.

May 29, 2007

the train is better than the plane

Filed under: environment,ethics — plonkee @ 7:32 pm

Trains are commonly cited as better for the environment than planes. Recently Eurostar published figures that show that it has a tenth of the CO2 emissions of planes on the same London-Paris and London-Brussels routes.

I enjoy travelling and like to do a little to reduce my environmental footprint, so this year I am aiming to take the train rather than the plane where possible. Unfortunately, this conflicts with my desires for wealth as the train is generally more expensive than the plane.

This is particularly true for me, in terms of time and money, as I don’t live in the metropolis of London, and so to travel to Europe by train I have to first get to the capital and then take a Eurostar. This adds a few hours to my travel time, meaning that I don’t benefit from the city centre to city centre time savings of the train. Overall my journey from my front door to Paris or Brussels is probably around 6-7 hours. Whereas if I flew it would be around 4 hours max.

 The rise of the budget airlines make it difficult for the train to compete on price. I mean, if I’m going to Paris or Brussels then the cheapest all inclusive train is £83, which is not too dissimilar from a reasonable return flight, once taxes and fees have been taken into account. Yet if I want to travel further afield (and I do), taking the train is going to be considerably more expensive. The cheapest train to Frankfurt (inclusive) is approximately £131 (thank seat 61) , whereas the cheap trips (inclusive) with flights are around £83. And thats without even looking for the optimum dates.

I think that there are more important things than money, so I’ll still endeavour to take the train (partly because its enjoyable in itself). But I wish it was cheaper.

March 12, 2007

isn’t it nice when your values make financial sense

Filed under: environment,ethics,plonkee — plonkee @ 1:23 pm

I believe that potentially irrevocable global warming is underway and that we all should do as much as possible to reduce our destruction of the planet. I’m not asking you to agree with me on this. If you disagree strongly, I won’t change your mind and you won’t change mine. If you think other things are more important then so be it.

Given that I feel this way, is nice to know that a good way of being environmentally friendly is to cut down on the amount of energy I consume. I no longer leave the tv on standby, I use compact flourescent bulbs for lighting, and I switch off lights and appliances when I no longer need them on. When I last bought a kitchen appliance (a washing machine) I chose one that was A rated for energy that had the features that I particularly wanted.

This is a good way of being environmentally friendly from a personal finance point of view because it saves me money.

Using less energy by switching the tv off properly and switching off lights and appliances costs nothing and reduces my electricity bills. Using compact flourescent lightbulbs is generally calculated to be cheaper overall, even though they cost slightly more to buy in the first place and the prices are coming down all the time. The washing machine I bought not only had the features I was looking for, but was also the second cheapest machine in the shop – I could have bought less efficient appliances for more money.

Its so nice not to have to make a compromise between what I believe to be the right thing to do and what is good for my bank balance.

Powered by WordPress