Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Are You Spending Your Refunded Green on Some Green?

It’s Tax Day (I hope I’m not the first to tell you) and, as I do annually, I’m sending Uncle Sam a big check today. At least, this year, I have a refund to look forward to sometime over the next few months.

A refund? The idea seems so foreign to me. Money back? How exciting. A check with my name on it? You have my undivided attention.

I’ve been hearing people talk about all the elaborate ways they are going to spend their refunds. Travel and big screen TVs seem to be the two most popular choices. Of course, there’s also the group that talks about investments and savings accounts, but let’s not listen to them . . . this is practically found money, and we all know that found money can be spent without any guilt.

Okay, there might be some guilt, but only if you don’t spend your refunded green in a green way. That’s right: I’m suggesting we all spend our refunds on environmentally friendly items, and here are my Top 5 Favorite Green Things:

1. An organic mattress. Do you know what you’re sleeping next to for eight hours a night? No, I’m not talking about your cat, I’m talking about all the toxins in your conventional mattress. It’s enough to make you sick—literally and figuratively. When Mark and I upgraded our mattress, we both started to sleep more soundly, knowing we'd done something good for the earth and very good for us.

My favorite source for an organic mattress: The Clean Bedroom (http://www.thecleanbedroom.com/).

2. A Toyota Prius. Okay, okay, I know the typical refund won’t pay for a Prius but it will certainly cover part or all of the down payment. We got a Prius a few months ago and it’s such a great investment . . . plus, I love driving by a gas station and watching those SUV drivers spending all kinds of cash at the pump.

My favorite source for a Toyota Prius: Where else? Toyota (http://www.toyota.com/).

3. An all-organic wardrobe. The average cotton t-shirt contains 1/3 pound of pesticides. Yes, you read that correctly. Do you really want that next to your skin? I don’t think so! This is especially true for your underwear, which gets just as close as things can get to some rather important bits and pieces. And who wants pesticides there?

My favorite source(s) for organic clothing: Karma Threads (http://www.karmathreads.com/) just unveiled two fantastic organic tees and, of course, I’m still a sucker for the designs offered by I’m Organic (http://www.imorganic.com/).

My favorite source for organic undies: Gaiam (http://www.gaiam.com/).

4. An all-organic pantry. Fresh, local, and organic fruits and vegetables are available at a premium this time of year. Instead of passing them up in favor of cheap produce from a world away, use your refund and splurge on that bunch of organic Kale, organic carrots, and everything else that looks good. And then fill up the rest of your cart with organic staples for your pantry. I started a raw-until-dinner program last year and love it; I feel and look great and attribute a lot of that to fresh, organic fare and organic staples. Give it a try!

My favorite sources for organic goodies: Trader Joe’s (http://www.traderjoes.com/), Whole Foods (http://www.wholefoods.com/), and—especially—all local health food stores that need our support!

5. Cloth bags. You know my real passion is cloth bags, which is why I started my own cloth bag company earlier this year. My suggestion for the best way to spend your refund is to purchase enough cloth bags so that you never have to use another paper or plastic bag again . . . and, with any leftover refund, you might want to buy several cloth bags for friends and family members as well.

My favorite source for cloth bags: You have to ask? EcoVixen (http://www.ecovixen.com/). [There are other bags, of course, but PLEASE make sure you buy bags with a green pedigree, made in the United States.]

Question of the blog: How are you spending your refund?

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