Living Sustainably Helped With the Property Investor Credit Crunch

This is a blog topic I thought would never be covered on my sustainability ‘GreenerMe’ blog.

However last week it happened – the correlation between living sustainably and a property investing benefit.

The media has been so focused on the Sydney property boom that little is reported about the current property investor credit crunch.  Combank, NAB, ANZ and Bankwest have announced that they are tightening lending criteria for property investors and raising interest rates on variable investment loans (new and existing).  AMP have even announced that they will stop lending to all property investors indefinitely. 

This post is not about why this is happening but about our own experience with the restrictions in seeking a loan. 

One way lenders are tightening their  lending criteria, is by asking investors to prove their monthly, personal spending.

We were given a budget form, to fill out what we spend on food, clothing and household items etc. We filled the form accurately however once completed we were concerned. My husband stated what we were both thinking “they are going to question the small amount we spend in these areas”.  Therefore after discussion we decided we would add notes on the form explaining that we value sustainable practices i.e. buying 2nd hand, recycling, reusing and restoring.  These practises not only save the Earth’s resoures but also our savings.

Having a public blog of my sustainable living journey since 2008, certainly backed up our personal spending claims.

Despite the credit crunch our loan was approved and I am sure our sustainable living helped – even if just a little.

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Organic home grown mandarins - the joys of sustainable living.

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Visiting Family – We Needed to Buy an Enviro Aero Bed

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There is a point in time when you realise ‘I might not have enough beds’ for visiting family.  That point for me was a week before family were due to arrive.

Here is an insight into my ‘sustainable’ thought process when I realised we needed to acquire another bed:

1)  Can I burrow a bed from a friend?
No ➡

2)   Can I purchase a bed, second hand from Gumtree, Ebay or a second hand store?
No ➡

3)  What can I purchase new that would be best for the environment and sustainability?

With this bed needing situation, we proceeded to number 3) – needing to buy something new, when I failed to borrow a bed from others or source one second hand.

I jumped on Google to search ‘environmental air beds’ and discovered The Green Mom Review blog.  Don’t you love sustainable Mummy bloggers!

Anyway I purchased ‘the original Pakmat AeroBed’ because it’s PVC and phthalate free, hence making it more environmentally friendly (and non toxic).  I liked that it came with a manual hand pump and that reviews were favourable to it’s comfort level.

When you have to buy brand new, think of your money as a vote – voting for the best sustainable, kinder and environmentally friendly option available.

What corporations should know (if they don’t already)

My husband Brett works in the Marketing/Advertising industry.  He brought home an industry magazine entitled ‘The Issue’ which was all about ‘what you need to know about sustainability in marketing’.  I found it a very good read.

Here are some extracts that I thought was worth mentioning – words by Kevin Johns:

“Whether you’re a brand, an agency or a media business, it’s important not to look at carbon offsetting as a silver bullet.  The first steps to take are reducing your energy use as much as possible through examining your power saving options, such as turning off all office hardware and lights at night as well as buying the energy your business uses from renewable resources (wind or solar).  After that, carbon offsetting should be used to lessen the remaining impact of your energy use.”

“If you advertise carbon offsets that sequester carbon through tree planting, but fail to disclose the planting of those trees will not occur for several years, this could constitute misleading by omission, warns the ACCC.”

“There is mounting concern that business  and the individuals working within them,  are using carbon offsetting as an excuse to delay making changes to the way things have always been done.  Even if the world’s total energy consumption was offset by renewable sources, current levels of consumption are still unsustainable.  The conventional wisdom among environmentalists seems to be that business and individuals need to take direct action.  They urge us to join pressure groups that push for political change, and alter our consumption patterns and behaviour.  A far-reaching global framework to make sense of emissions cuts is what is needed, they say….”

“To most people looking at the total sustainability picture – climate change, all of the natural systems in the world, fisheries, water stocks, and so on – it’s clear that human activity is causing stress on the environment.  This raises a fundamental problem for brands, corporations and the very notion of consumerism.”  Words by Ben Wheaton of Beer Wheation “With current per annum global growth the global economy doubles every 24 years, and that means that in the next 24 years we will consume the equivalent amount of resources that we have already consumed in the entire history of humanity up to this point.  You might think ‘OK maybe we can do that’ but then in the next 24 years after that, we’d have to do the same again, so there comes a point when it all runs out of steam.  A lot of companies are fearful when they start looking at the big sustainability picture as they realise this stuff, and then the questions is, ‘well, what we are really saying globally is we have to actually use much less resource’.  And for economies to continue to grow we have to find a way for resource consumption and energy use to be separated from growing the economy”.

 

 


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What is everyone doing with their stimulus package?

The Australian government from the 1st of April, will be handing out the next stage of the stimulus package.  Up to $900 will be going to tax payers who have earned less than $100,000.00 last financial year (assuming you have your June 08 tax return done in time).

 

Regular readers will probably already know what I would suggest i.e. buy Australian made and owned products.  Also if the products could also benefit the environment like water tanks, fixing leaky water taps, water wise shower heads, compost bins etc that would be the topping on the cake for me.

 

There has been so much debate about the government’s fiscal policy to stimulate Australia’s economy, that I wondered what bloggers and readers were planning on doing with the money they received?

 

Thought it would be interesting to create a poll which will collect data on this subject anonymously.

 

I am interested in everyone’s thoughts?  Please leave a comment if you have anything further to add.


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A Green Economy

With all the economic uncertainly in Australia and the world, everyone really has two attitude choices on how they will deal with the current situation.

 

1)       Become overwhelmed, depressed and anxious about the ever increasing media reports.

2)       Be aware and perhaps cautious but ultimately deciding upon a reflective and positive attitude.

 

I say reflective attitude, as this is the perfect time to stop, think and reflect on what we individually have been doing in the past and what we would like to change for the future.  Use this time to look inwardly at your values, goals and life.

 

As a teenager when the ad campaign for ‘Buy Australian’ came out in the 80’s, I have been forever influenced.  ‘Hey true blue, don’t say you’re gone……….” are lyrics etched in my memory. 

 

The campaign was simply encouraging people to buy Australian made products.

 

So in my reflective and positive attitude I wish to encourage all Australian’s to remember the ‘Hey True Blue’ advertisement and buy Australian made.

 

Buying Australian is one requirement on new items I buy.  Here are some more requirements:

 

1         Australian made & owned company

2         Environmentally friendly made

3         Recyclable packaging

4         Products not tested on animals

 

 

Here are two examples of my recent purchases:

 

 

1)         Bought comfortable work shoes from Gilmore’s Comfort Shoes. Gilmore’s Comfort Shoes is an Australian owned business.  My shoes were Kumfs that were New Zealand made shoes (does Australia make comfortable shoes for ladies?).  I say if you can’t by Australian by New Zealand! 

 

I was impressed by Gilmore’s service.  They even gave me a free calico bag (great environment choice).  They asked if I need the shoe box as they could reuse it (another great environment choice).

 

The only problem was when I got home Mini & Cooper argued over who was going to sit on the bag (they are like two year olds).

 

 

2)         Bought Simply Natural Oils organic herbal shampoo.  Australian made & owned, recyclable packaging and not testing on little white fluffy bunnies.  Yay happy with that!

 

 

 


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