Spend your Cash from Uncle Sam, Save Big and Go Green

Well your 1040 EZ should be on its way to the Uncle Sam’s greedy little nephews at the IRS by now. Hopefully you’ve got a fat refund coming to you, or at least you didn’t have to pay extra and you’re looking forward to that stimulus check that’s on its way.

The government would like us to spend all this money on frivolous goods and services to give the sluggish economy a swift kick in the pants. Word is a lot of people plan to just save the cash or use it to pay down debt. Both good ideas, and definitely beneficial to those who do. But there may be a few ways to spend the money, help our fiscally irresponsible friends in Washington (Not intended to be a partisan statement. Republicans, Democrats — none of them could balance a regular middle class family’s checkbook if they had to.) and save yourself some money also.

First, I have to give credit where credit is due. If it were up to me I’d take that money and buy three seats on the next flight out of Grand Rapids to Hawaii. And after the winter we had, they would be one-way tickets. My intelligent and slightly more sensible and frugal husband is one who started me thinking this way.

What is the one thing that you can not live with out on a daily basis that is probably eating up a huge part of your budget every week? Energy costs. They’re going up and up, and immediate relief seems unlikely. So why not invest your “windfall” (Clever of them, isn’t it? Making us think giving us back or own money is a gift from them. Politicians.) in a few new energy saving devices. You’ll put some green back out into the market and line your pockets with your savings in the end.

It just so happens that energy efficiency is also good for the environment. Look, I’m no tree hugger. If drilling in Alaksa and building an oil refinery in my town will make it cost less to keep my family warm, I’m all for it. But I also see the good in saving a few bucks and helping to make the world a little cleaner along the way.

Here’s a few suggestions for what you can do with that money.

Replace your natural gas, propane or electric furnace with a multi-fuel stove .

Replace your old-fashioned tank water heater with a hot-water-on-demand tankless model.

Put the cash toward a down payment on a new fuel-efficient vehicle.

Replace all your incandescent light bulbs with the new compact fluorescent ones.

Update old appliances like refrigerators, dryers and stoves with newer energy efficient designs.

Replaces old, drafty windows with new Low-E Glass windows.

Add extra insulation to an attic that looses heat in the winter.

The multi-fuel stove is first on our list and second is the tankless water heater. We figure we can save around $1000 a year on propane costs after our initial investment. Sock that money away for a couple years and we’ll be on that plane to Hawaii! 

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