improvingminds

A blog for learning and teaching how to live a smarter life. Focusing on personal finance, living sustainably and general personal development.

7.17.2006

Emergency Fund


An emergency fund, as most of you know is usually around 6 months worth of savings that you use for... yep you guessed it, emergencies. A great article from Suze Orman explains why Emergency Cash Is a Necessity, Not a Luxury. One thing I have noticed in life is that unexpected cash emergencies happen all the time. That's right, we should expect things like having to buy new tires for the car, or replacing a dishwasher or any number of hundreds of things that can and most often DO go wrong and will require a large amount of cash. These types of "emergencies" often lead to debt, because most people don't have the cash to pay for it, so the just put it on there credit cards.

Suze gives this advice for people...
I don't care how healthy or young you are, or how financially stressed: You need an emergency cash fund, and you need it now.

 

7.14.2006

A 12 Step Program to Break America's Addiction to Oil


The Rainforest Action Network has come up with a 12 step program to break America's addiction to oil.

Our climate, national security, universal human rights, economy and health are threatened by America’s addiction to oil... Rainforest Action Network is committed to help break America’s oil addiction.

The 12 steps are
1. Admit we have a problem
2. Separate oil & state
3. Jumpstart Detroit
4. Redesign American mobility for smart growth
5. Plug in America
6. Grow our gas
7. Rooftop revolution
8. Green the grid
9. Fund the future
10. Wean... to green
11. Low carb USA
12. Vote

Visit their site to find out more.

 

How To Get Things Done

An article at Pauls Tips lets everyone know The number-one most important fact to understand if you want to get things done.

Some good tips from the article...
... too much is never enough for almost everybody. No matter how many of our desires are fulfilled, we always want more


To get things done, prune your desires down to as few as you possibly can. To try to achieve everything, is to condemn yourself to achieving almost nothing.


And the basis of the article...
Human wants are unlimited, but the resources to meet those wants are scarce.

 

7.13.2006

Smarter Charitable Donations


A great article at Bankrate.com, Give your charitable donation extra power gives a couple good ideas on how to make the most out of your givings.

One great idea is to use shopping websites that will give a percentage of your purchases to a charity of your choice. Bankrate.com suggests the following sites:
iGive.com
DonationTree.com
Buy for Charity
GreaterGood.com

 

7.11.2006

Going Green

A new Newsweek article posted today talks about how america is turning green after Katrina and rising oil prices.
Kelley Howell, a 38-year-old architect, got on her bicycle a little after 5 a.m. and rode 7.9 miles past shopping centers, housing developments and a nature preserve to a bus stop to complete her 24-mile commute to work. Compared with driving in her 2004 Mini Cooper, the 15.8-mile round trip by bicycle conserved approximately three fifths of a gallon of gasoline, subtracting 15 pounds of potential carbon dioxide pollution from the atmosphere (minus the small additional amount she exhaled as a result of her exertion). That's 15 pounds out of 1.7 billion tons of carbon produced annually to fuel all the vehicles in the United States. She concedes that when you look at it that way, it doesn't seem like very much. "But if you're not doing something and the next family isn't doing anything, then who will?"

Now this is exactly what being Smart and living sustainably is all about
...a new Bank of America tower, designed by Cook & Fox, which takes "sustainability" to a point just short of growing its own food. Every drop of rain that falls on its roof will be captured for use; scraps from the cafeteria will be fermented in the building to produce methane as a supplementary fuel for a generator intended to produce more than half the building's electricity; the waste heat from the generator will both warm the offices and power a refrigeration plant to cool them.

I aplaud this guy...
Far away in Traverse City, Mich., a resort town four hours north of Detroit, home builder Lawrence Kinney wrestles with a different problem, people who want 6,000-square-foot vacation houses they will use only a couple of weeks a year. Outraged by the waste, he refuses to build them.

Read the rest of the article here.

 

About this Site

A blog for learning and teaching how to live a smarter life.

Personal Finances:
Personal debt and bankruptcies are at an all time high. This site is dedicated to learning and teaching others how to get out debt, stay out of debt and how to not live pay check to pay check.

Living Sustainably:
The talk about living greener and more sustainably has really picked up the last few years. This site is dedicated to learning and teaching others how to live more sustainably not because it's trendy or because I am a "tree-hugger" but because it makes sense. I want to promote practical, smarter, sustainable living.

Personal Development:
We want to focus on real, practical information that you can use in your everyday life, stuff that motivate you to be a better, smarter person.