Thriftiness beneficial to world and your wallet

Recycling. This has been a heavy topic sitting on minds and exiting lips around the world. Everyone needs to participate, and many do, but going beyond paper or plastic is as equally important as turning the light off when you leave the room.

The greenies featured in magazines have wonderful insight and deserve the accolades given, but for the rest of us, going to that kind of extreme is nearly impossible. We do our part by reusing plastic bags or choosing paper ones, sorting glass from aluminum and turning off water and lights when we don’t need them. But beyond this, there is little the average person does.

Chew on this: the average American household has one television in every bedroom, plus the living room. Most small kitchen appliances are sold under $20, the average restaurant meal is large enough to serve two adults and most of us have enough clothes to fill numerous closets.

We live in a disposable society where it is cheaper to replace an item than to repair it. If a coffee maker goes on the blink or the carafe breaks, most people simply buy a new one because they are inexpensive. Not so long ago, there were repair shops to fix things such as that. Toasters, blenders, televisions and microwaves used to be on that list as well. Even home computers are inexpensive enough today that many just get a new one.

The days of the small appliance repair shop are gone, the handyman is only thought of to repaint a house, and service centers are left for larger things. Think about how much is actually spent replacing each of those televisions in your house as compared to repairing them.

Look in your pantry. We go to the store for a few staple items to keep in the kitchen but see great bargains if buying in bulk. It is practically human nature to go for it. Many times bulk items sit there simply because we tire of eating whatever it was. Look in your fridge. You find take-out boxes, doggie bags and leftovers galore. We have great intentions when asking for a to-go box, thinking how great it will be to enjoy the meal one more time, but in reality, they usually sit there until they smell bad enough to toss out.

Going out to eat is great, but the portion sizes are amazing. One solution is to ask if the restaurant offers their "lunch size" portion at dinner time, but if they don’t, it is just as easy to share the meal or pack up half of it immediately to take home and then actually eat it. Wasting food is a waste of money.

Speaking of money – is there a way to recycle it legally? The answer is yes, most definitely.

Think about the clothes you buy. Sure, we all fluctuate in size at one point or another, and styles change at the flip of a switch. To make those dollars stretch and get your money’s worth, consider resale shops.

We all love jeans that are broken in and feel just right, but with the cost of things lately, we need to save money. Hoarding clothing for a skinnier or more fashionable day is not the answer. There are stores that buy gently used clothing – Taxi Taxi, Buffalo Exchange and Plato’s Closet, to name a few, and all operate on a buy-and-sell basis. Resale shops for items beyond clothing such as lamps, d’eacute;cor, music, movies and more can be found everywhere throughout our city.

Don’t forget Craigslist, EBay and Amazon for selling all items unwanted, beyond clothes. Others such as Goodwill, Purple Heart and Sand Dollar function off of donations. There is also Freecycle, a concept that works much like Craigslist, but no money is exchanged – ever. Either way, the savings are there and can be great ways for students to get those brand name items at a much cheaper price.

In doing a little research about this, a Baby Phat brand denim jacket adorned with all that Baby Phat offers was found at a resale shop for only $4. Add in a $3 charge at the dry cleaners and you have a $100 jacket well worth the gently used price of only seven bucks. Instead of leaving things to be ruined in storage, you have the option of selling them for a little cash or donating them to someone in need.

There are many ways for college students to save money, recycle, look and feel good about what they are doing for their environment, and maintain all that encompasses being a college student. Buy used, mend and repair all you’re able, recycle all you can and waste as little as possible. This is our world – let’s make it a better place together.

MousaviDin, a communication senior, can be reached via [email protected]

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