How I Made $100+/hr and Saved The Earth

No capes or flying were involved in the making of this post.

Superheroes move over, there is a new girl in town. All it took was less than an hour of my time and I helped save the planet. Impressed?

What if I told you I made $100+ in that same hour? Impressed yet?

My husband’s response, “What have you been up to?”

Did I really earn $100? Not exactly. Did I keep from having to pay $100 that the average person would have just handed over? Yes. In reality what I did was obtain an item for free for 20 minutes of my time instead of going “to work” to earn the money, then going to purchase it with said money I earned from working elsewhere. Usually I don’t count that as “making money” though some do.

The need arose a few weeks back when the wind picked up our open patio umbrella and pulled it such that it drug our patio table off the patio, knocked over the heater, and ended up breaking one of the umbrella supports. This umbrella had been picked up curbside, the material was replaced this summer from another broken umbrella found curbside, and I was not relishing having to spend $100 to purchase a new umbrella. We use the back patio fairly often and this is the only shade we have. When I mentioned it to my husband he suggested I forgo spending money on something that might as easily get broken the same way again, instead looking for one curbside. I was a bit surprised but glad we were of the same opinion.

Then began my month-plus time of cleaning out the house of random items collected curbside but never sold or donated, items we have not use in years, items in the backyard which were serving no purpose, and the bits of this and that recycling. The idea of going back curbside shopping for an umbrella was not appealing.

We had a heavy rain on Sunday. Monday morning is bulk garbage pick up in some of the nicer neighborhoods. I have had luck finding umbrellas there before and hoped there may be a few after the storms had gone through. Before the kids were up I headed out to see what I could find in 1 hour’s time. After about 20 minutes I came across a home which seemed to be getting rid of their faded umbrellas. I came away with 2 in the style we like and 1 manual umbrella.

Once home I tested out the workings and found the manual-opening umbrella did not work well, though the other 2 were fine. The faded umbrella cloth on one was replaced with our previous canopy and in place before the kids woke for the day.

The second working umbrella found a temporary home in the garage while awaiting a more permanent location. It will be kept for the next, inevitable, strong storm to come and leave its impact.

Now, as for saving the earth…3 patio umbrellas will not find their way into a landfill. The non-working umbrella will be recycled later this week.

In general I do not like the term “saving the earth”. Being a good steward, yes. Being responsible, yes. Thinking ahead to future generations, that works, too. However, my one act will not save the planet. As we have seen with recent issues dealing with recycling pipeline, we can all recycle everything possible yet are not guaranteed the results we desire. Recycling alone will not save anything. Walking or biking everywhere instead of driving will not save the planet, though may improve the clarity of water and air.

“Saving the Planet” was a great marketing slogan which makes us all feel good and like we are actually contributing. So, while we may not literally be able to save the planet with our individual, daily life actions I am curious to hear what it is you have done recently to make less of an impact and possibly saved money at the same time.