One of my favorite parts about the YOFL is how it translates easily into environmentalism and conservation. There are lots of financial incentives to reducing energy usage, consumerism, and waste. I recently read Living Like Ed by Ed Begley, Jr., a book that guides you on making more environmentally friendly decisions but breaks them down by the cost to you. So, hanging up a clothesline and line-drying your clothes might cost you $10 for the line and some hooks, but a new Energy-Star rated washer will cost you a couple hundred. (There are apparently no Energy Star rated dryers- Begley states this in the book and according to energystar.gov, it's true.)
While I obviously can't drop a few hundred on a washing machine right now, there are plenty of things I CAN do to both save money and reduce my impact. I put power strips on my computer and tv (but I don't think I can shut the tivo off during the day- I need to figure that out). I'm trying to keep the heat down and the lights off, which is a struggle at times. I'm not buying as much food at the store, which means I run out before I ever throw anything away now. I remember there used to be forgotten, rotting vegetables in the back all the time- not anymore.
My garden will be financially, environmentally, and emotionally rewarding. I can't wait until my children really "get" where their food comes from. My three year old JUST realized that carrots don't grow in "baby" form. My friend is planning on doing a small garden of her own, so we're going to split trays of seedlings. I really can't wait.
It's not all so perfect, though, and I'll admit it. When you coupon, often the smallest item will get you the best savings, meaning lots of packaging. That really bugs me and will probably be one of the first things to go when I'm back on track and can afford to spend a little more. My kids get baths every other night, that uses a lot of water and there's not much I can do about that right now. And I never remember to unplug my cell phone chargers!
I better go shut some lights off.