Reduce and Reimagine This Holiday Season

Reduce and Reimagine This Holiday Season

Black Friday and Cyber Monday have passed, and now we have the full month of December, which means gift planning, purchasing and accumulating of materialistic items. These holidays put your bank account and the economy of natural systems that support all life firmly in the red. Also, we are currently using the resources of one-and-a-half … Read more

Black Friday and Cyber Monday have passed, and now we have the full month of December, which means gift planning, purchasing and accumulating of materialistic items. These holidays put your bank account and the economy of natural systems that support all life firmly in the red. Also, we are currently using the resources of one-and-a-half planets on our one and only planet, Earth. Wow.

According to Patagonia, environmental bankruptcy, as well with corporate bankruptcy, can happen very slowly, then all of a sudden. This is what we face as consumers unless we slow down and try to reverse the damage. We’re running short on fresh water and raw materials, all of our planet’s natural systems and resources that support business and life.

There is much to be done and plenty for us all to do. Don’t buy what you don’t need this holiday season. Think twice before you buy anything. Remember to reduce, repair, reuse and recycle by supporting companies that are sustainable and making a positive impact. You can also fix old clothes instead of getting new things (it adds character anyways) or find a new home for things you don’t use anymore and see if any of your belongings can be recycled. The bottom line is that you should try to not buy what you don’t need, pledge to fix what’s broken, sell or pass things on and pledge to keep your stuff out of the landfill and incinerator.

More importantly, let’s reduce and reimagine a world where we take only what nature can replace.

“Christmas should be something to enjoy rather than endure,” writes author and activist Bill McKibben. “Instead of an island of bustle, it should be an island of peace amid a busy life. We want so much more out of Christmas: more music, more companionship, more contemplation, more time outdoors, more love.” In Hundred Dollar Holiday, McKibben, a church-going Christian, describes what it’s like to set a $100 limit on holiday spending – gifts, decorations, even the holiday feast. Some of us might find that level of simplicity a challenge, at least to start, but surveys bear out that those are the things people want most.

Time – especially time with friends – is one of the most valuable gifts we can give. How you choose to take back the holidays is up to you – that’s what it’s all about, creating and nurturing your own traditions. As with any gift, it’s the thought that counts. So this year, think hard about what really matters to you and your family and put that at the top of your holiday gift list.

As for me, I plan to spend time at home with my family who I haven’t been able to see for an extended period of time in so long, after being in Spain, then coming to Mount right away. I plan to simplify as well, and even though I already have some new clothes on the Christmas list and maybe a new camera, I believe my mindset and mentality is there. Most the clothes are from companies that support a good cause anyway!

How do you plan to reimagine your holidays this year?

(Thanks to Patagonia for some of the insight on this post)

Double Review: The Hunger Games

Double Review: The Hunger Games

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I heard about The Hunger Games from a number of my teammates who were reading the book. I didn’t even know they read books so this instantly convinced me to want to read this specific book. I bought it online and it took longer for it to be delivered than it did for me to read it. I finished the book the night before I saw the movie. The book pretty much took over my life until I finished it. It was hard for me to put it down as I had to figure out what happened next and how it happened.

This book was definitely an original piece but at the same time it reminded me of The Greatest Game, a story about a hunter hunting another hunter. Overall, this book is at a reading level that anyone in the family can enjoy.  I’m no critic, but I am critiquing this book anyways.

I saw the movie expecting it to be not as good as the book (just like any other book that is made into a movie), and I was right. But compared to other books that have been made into movies, this was a very good movie. It was easy to understand for anyone that didn’t read the book. I know a few things were left out from the book, but the movie was still about two-hours long and it didn’t disappoint. I felt anxious while reading the book. During the movie I felt a wider range of emotions, but it wasn’t as intense as the book.

Either way, I enjoyed both and I still have to read the second and third book of The Hunger Games. Once I get the money, I’ll buy them, read them and maybe even review them. If not, I suggest you read all three and let me know how they are.

The Many Uses of Dryer Sheets

The Many Uses of Dryer Sheets

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Some people think dryer sheets are only used for … well, dryers. Not anymore, I’ve discovered this simple sheet can do so much for the simplest things.

1.  Place one in your car, under a seat so nobody can see it, and wait a day. The next time you get in your car, you will smell the difference.

2.  Put one in your wallet, it’ll make your money smell great.

3.  Put one in your dresser or where ever your clothes may be.

4.  Wipe it on your skin to keep bugs away.

5. Put one in the toilet paper roll. Stick it in the actual roll and every time you use it, it will release just a little bit of fresh air.

6.  And, basically any old bag, book, shoe, compartment or cabinet will benefit from having one of these sheets in there.

These are just a few ways a dryer sheet can be used. I’m quickly realizing that even the cheap dryer sheets work well and they come in such a large quantity that you can use it anywhere and for anything! Dryer sheets are simple yet they’ll surprise you. So next time you see someone smell your money, just know that it’s because of that dryer sheet you just put in your wallet.

Makin’ Some Extra Cash

Makin’ Some Extra Cash

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It appears as if college students always seem to lack one thing – money. Students always tend to use the phrase “I’m just a poor college student.” So much money is spent on tuition, textbooks, food and groceries each semester. Even though all this money is spent, it is often times hard to hold down a steady job due to a heavy academic load and busy schedule.

At Mount Union though, this is not the case. On campus, there are so many ways and opportunities to make a few bucks and even gain just a little more than that in the process. Mount Union offers many on-campus employment opportunities, which vary from working in an administrative office and working in the MAAC to being a science laboratory assistant and being an academic tutor in a class. There are even opportunities to earn money working closely with freshmen and the incoming freshmen class. At Mount Union, you can be employed or take part in work study at just about any place on campus.

Holding a job on campus, however, does not just allow you to make a few extra dollars and offset your college tuition though. It provides so much more. It allows you to get involved and put yourself out there. It gives you the chance to meet new friends and form relationships with people you would not have had the opportunity to without the job. It presents the ability to get to know others. A campus job also helps you to better adapt to campus life and become more familiar with the campus itself including where things are located, who to go to for certain issues and where the best hang out spots are.

Just take me for example. I currently hold a job in Beeghly Hall in the Office of the President. I began working there last year during the second semester of my freshmen year. Not only have I been given many unique opportunities and experiences through this job, but also I have met and formed relationships with many extraordinary people. It truly has been an amazing experience that I would not trade for anything.

So when going to college don’t let the aspect of money wear you down. There are always ways to earn a few extra bucks on campus and gain just a little more than that along the way!

Confessions of an appaholic

Confessions of an appaholic

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I’ll admit it. I’m somewhat of an appaholic. But I’m changing that and conquering my impulse buying at the same time.

iPhone apps appeal to me. They hover nicely in that psychologically-pleasing price range of .99 cents to make each purchase not sting as much as it probably should. New to do list manager? Sure, I’ll check it out! What’s that, it’s like Angry Birds, except with mice and cheese? Excellent!

No. It has to stop.

For one, I’m on a budget. Now, my definition of “budget” may be more loosely defined than others, but I like having money available for things that tie into life experiences. I have yet to find the real-world need to throw birds at buildings. Actually, it sounds quite cruel.

Secondly, it reinforces a bad habit I’ve had since I was a little kid – impulse buying. When I was younger, any money I got was quickly exchanged for whatever Walmart happened to be selling that day. I didn’t buy recklessly, but going into a store without a specific item of purchase in mind was the Angry Bird to my piggy bank.

Eventually I matured through high school and realized the value of money for things beyond that $15 to $20 threshold. All was good, and then the App Store hit. Thousands upon thousands of insanely cheap outlets for my free time were just a touch away. They were too easy to buy. One tap to change the Buy button to green, preparing for the go ahead. One more tap and you knew it was only a matter of minutes before a new toy was dropped off on your home screen. The receipt would be emailed to you in a few days, and you ended up spending less than you would have for gas to even get you to a physical store. I may not have thought it was much money at the time, but even the smallest grains of sand, when amassed, could cover hundreds of miles of shoreline.

Oh, and that .99 cent app you just bought? It, with tax added on, is actually costing you $1.06 (with Ohio tax rates at least). As soon as you shove the price up above that .99 sweet spot, things get a little more realistic. I knew the only way to really give myself an edge in this battle was to cut away completely. Five minutes later in my iTunes account settings, I had found, and removed the credit card I had on file. Since it will be a hassle to add it back every time I check out a new app, I see this being a very effective deterrent. So far, it’s working great.

Sometimes you have to go to an extreme to help compensate for a personal weakness. Mine was impulse buying. By removing my credit card, I can’t buy another app even if I wanted to. Drastic? Maybe a little, but if it means that I can start saving a couple dollars here and there for the things that really matter to me, then it’s worth every penny.