A discussion of the amount of waste in our lives

Family Matters

Don’t worry this isn’t another column about weight loss as in a waist is a terrible thing to mind, but rather on waste, how we waste money, time, and things every day. I discovered that my new bank in Northern Lower Michigan has what I call a double fee, I used an ATM that wasn’t theirs, got charged $2 from that ATM/Bank, and then my bank proceeded to take $3 as well, my $40 cost me $5.

An easy solution to this is to always say yes to “do you want cash back.” I dislike automatic payments because quite frankly I’m not sure if there will be money in the account when it comes time to take it out, but, I also hate late fees on cable, credit cards, loans etc.

To stop wasting money on that front, I set reminders in my phone if I’m not sure I’ll have enough in the bank for when the bill is due. My dream financially is that I’ll someday have a bank account that can pay the bills even if I don’t put money in it that month; yup, not there yet.

I’ll step away from the financial waste we do everyday and discuss ways we waste intentionally. The first is how we waste food. Does anyone else have a bag of lettuce that’s liquefied in the month since you bought it; yet again another sign of your failed resolutions? I have juice that might as well be wine or will be if I let it sit long enough, and bread so green that it can cure anything that ails you. Why do we waste food? I think the real reason is that in our busy lives it’s easier to swing through Taco Bell on the way home then to create that well planned out meal that’s now just spoiled.

The next thing we waste is space. The junior high cutdown of “you’re a waste of space” doesn’t apply here, but sometimes choices we make do. That treadmill that you never fold up that takes up the corner of your living room. Often, we’ll arrange things in our homes that do take up space beyond exercise equipment for example totes full of our past lives, textbooks from college twenty years ago, or a closet full of clothing that isn’t coming back in style and highly doubtful you’ll ever fit in again. I think a crowded room in our home provides us comfort and emotional warmth but maybe that space would be better filled with plants or a beautiful piece of artwork?

Some minor things we waste that makes a difference in the long run, environmentally speaking, are tearing off five paper towels because we don’t want to even feel the cat’s vomit as we clean it up, the doubling up on a paper plate because we don’t spend the money on a good one, or the silverware given to us when we hit a drive-thru that we throw out with the bag. These types of waste we can control as well as controlling the ultimate waste; time.

My phone gives me a weekly update of how much screen time I use; can somebody tell me how to turn that off? In all seriousness it’s four hours a day, I get it I’m bored on my lunch, in the morning checking sites, and then at bedtime as well, but really, four hours a day? I watch about six programs a week, that’s six hours of television just in network shows. Add in sports, 4-6 hours, and Netflix, um, 8 hours, I’m wasting 40 hours a week sitting on my butt either on my phone or in front of a television screen. I’ll wrap up because I’ve maybe just wasted two minutes of your time, but remember, time is the one thing we waste that we can never get back. Stay warm.