It's Easy Being Green (if you're cheap)

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

I've been flattered - in fact my Inner Miser has been blushing a lot recently - by all the attention my little book has been receiving. Of course it didn't hurt sales that just about the day it was released back in January, the U.S. economy promptly collapsed, ushering in the Era of the Cheapskate.

OK, fine, we cheapskates know how to survive tough times. But I didn't write my book as a survival guide, I wrote it as a revival guide; a way of reviving our non monetary souls and reminding us that there's a lot more to life than money and stuff. Of course, my Cheapskate brothers and sisters understand this and enjoy life more because of it.

But I have to say that one of the most heartening - and positive - responses I've had is from the burgeoning "green" movement. You see, as we cheapskates know, if you're a typical American you can't truthfully embrace the green movement without first accepting that it means YOU need to consume - and spend - less in your own life. We are 5% or the world's population, but we consume more than 30% of the world's resources.

So we of the Cheaphood have always know that we're the Ultimate Greenskates, too, but others in the environmental movement have sometimes been slow to recognize us as such. I guess it's easy for most Americans to think of environmentalism as something that's important for us to promote in the Amazon basin, but not so easy when it comes to accepting that maybe you shouldn't replace that 1970's avocado colored wash basin in your bathroom, since it still functions perfectly.

But here's the good news: Attitudes in the environmental community and public at large are changing. Cheap is the new cool, and it comes in only one color --- a cool shade of green.

As a result, I've locked arms with a number folks involved in the green movement, hoping to bring the cheapskate's perspective on consumerism into the public dialogue about conservation and the environment. To that end, I recently started blogging as the "Green Cheapskate" on the marvelous website The Daily Green. You can read my blog posts at, and I'll be posting the introduction to each new post in this space going forward.

Stay Cheap ... and Get Green!

posted by Jeff Yeager at 10:35 AM


Blogger Yelena said...

Jeff, this week my husband and I are doing our first "Fiscal Fast". We're looking at it as a challenge, a competition, and a very nice conversation starter. So far we're in Day 3 and going strong. How does it relate to your post about being green? Well, since we're not buying anything this week, our trash bin is almost empty. Just thinking of the packaging along that we would've overwise had to remove and discard makes me appreciate the power of consuming less. I'm trying to keep track of this week's money saved here -

June 25, 2008 2:50 PM  
Blogger Jeff Yeager said...

yelena -
Thanks for keeping us posted. Stay strong ... and Stay Cheap!
-Jeff Yeager

June 28, 2008 1:31 PM  
Blogger Christy said...

Just finished your book and loved it. My family just moved to our forever house and cut my husband's commute from a 40 minute drive to a 5-minute bike ride!
While I applaud your title of "ultimate cheapskate" I feel sure that if you met my mother you might be humbled by her cheapness. When we were kids, she would take us to the grocery store and, as a treat, buy us sweets from the bulk containers. However, the items were weighed by the pound. My mom would buy, say, five jelly beans or one chocolate covered pretzel. The weight was so low it wouldn't show up on the register. We always got a little treat and my mom felt she had outwitted the store into giving her something for FREE.
Thanks for writing your book. I wish more people with your creativity could be selfishly employed.

August 12, 2008 9:38 PM  
Blogger The Garden Faerie said...

Yes, being green and cheap just go hand in hand. Way back a friend of mine introduced me to the concept of the green triangle--or at least that's what I think it was called. The concepts at each point in the triangle are health, money, and nature. The idea is that improvements you make in any one of the aspects will lead to improvements int he other two. For example, if you decide to bike to work to save gas (money), you may also feel better (health), and save cash (money).
~ Monica
P.S. The only "problem" with the surge in green awareness is I now feel like a long-time band fan who says "I liked them before they were popular!" ;-)

September 8, 2008 10:17 AM  
Blogger The Garden Faerie said...

Um, my example should have read "For example, if you decide to bike to work to save gas (money), you may also feel better (health), and you will emit less CO2s (nature)."

September 8, 2008 10:18 AM  
Blogger Heidi said...

Well, I am glad I always was cheap; this way I always had money even when my salary was very small, and moving was easy! I do buy the best food I can get for me, our pets, and the pets I make foods for ( But else? I don't need much, I need to keep up to date with nutrition but much goes via internet access to libraries. Maybe I've learned to be 'cheap' when I grew up in the Austrian countryside and kept learning when I observed nature. Unnecessary things take away space and accumulate dust, they disturb the room in more than visible physical ways. Less is more; I choose quality over quantity. ... and I only have to put out the recycling bin 6 or 7 times a year :-)

August 27, 2009 11:46 AM  
Blogger Cheapskate said...

I got rid of my car because I'm cheap. So many things we cheapskates do are great for the environment!!!

April 14, 2010 5:17 PM  

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