With our most recent vehicle purchase, we received a one year free trial of XM satellite radio. This free trial will end in the next two months so I have been preparing the family especially the teenagers for this eventuality since I refuse to pay for this service. Well, it turns out that they really don’t care since they have their own way of getting free satellite radio. This is just one of those ways of finding a cheaper alternative to achieve a similar lifestyle without adding additional cost.
It turns out that my college age daughter has been listening to Pandora on her smart phone and is able to run it through the speaker system of the car. She has several “stations” set up through Pandora’s service and can really live without the satellite radio. Pandora’s service is just as good anyway. You don’t have to worry about getting out of range on a long drive and the occasional ads which allow the service to be free are certainly tolerable.
I used my Droid phone this weekend to listen to the station that I set up while driving in a section of Illinois that had five radio stations, four of which were country music. It worked out very well and provided some needed entertainment on a long, solitary drive. The ads appeared every five or six songs. It was really only one ad for Living Social which ended up being pretty short. Mostly, I was able to listen to music from the 80’s which I hadn’t heard in a long time.
I am actually enjoying the concept of Pandora although I would never pay money for the service. Not that it wouldn’t necessarily be worth it, but why pay for something that I can get for free. I would revert to the regular radio rather than pay. That is why I wonder whether the business model of Pandora is really worth all that much. They will have to depend on advertising, but could do OK if they get enough market share of listeners. As far as investing in Pandora stock, that is a post for another day.
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I have been thinking a lot about monthly cash flow and what can be done to earn extra money or to save money. As a result, I have been brainstorming and couldn’t help but think that most of the quick things that I was coming up with were not only good for my wallet but good for the earth as well.
Making Extra Money
The big idea that I came up with and which I already do is to recycle. We recycle all of our aluminum cans. I even bring them home from work so I can take them in to the scrap yard. The last time I took them (in October), I was able to make $110 from recycling. That represented about a year’s worth of cans that were kept in my garage so when I finally got around to cleaning the garage, it was worth it.
We also recycle our magazines by taking them to Half Price Books and selling them. I can usually get $3 or $4 for a stack of 20-30 magazines. It is not a lot but does allow me to occasionally purchase a used book from the store. Plus, I feel good knowing that my old magazines won’t end up in a landfill.
Most of the ways I was thinking about saving money were also good for the environment. With $4 per gallon gasoline, saving gas by driving appropriately, combining trips, and walking or carpooling when able will release less carbon dioxide into the atmosphere and put more money in my pocket.
Using less electricity and natural gas by turning up the thermostat in summer and turning down the thermostat in winter is also a good idea to save money and Mother Nature. I hope you get the idea.
Waste Not, Increase Profits
I can’t help but think of Wal-Mart when it comes to saving money. Regardless your thoughts about the company’s competitive practices, treatment of employees, or squeezing suppliers for the best possible price, Wal-Mart does know how to save money by being frugal. I can’t tell you how many times I have been in the store and seen those cardboard boxes stating how much each returned box will save the company. Millions and millions of those cardboard boxes is some serious cash. I am also glad those boxes don’t end up in landfills.
I am surprised that other companies are not more aggressive at being green. It would seem to me that there is a lot of waste at companies across the country from leaving lights on in empty offices overnight to equipment and machinery that is sitting unused and could be refurbished or sold to someone who might put it to better use. I would think that the pursuit of profits would just encourage thriftiness, but maybe I am just being naive.
I want to reexamine everything that I do and everything that I own to see how I might be able to simply my life, improve my cash flow, and be more green all at the same time.
What are your thoughts about being green and saving money? Compatible and complimentary or not?