In this article, you will learn about tax-free money, how to tax-defer capital gains taxes, and how to keep rolling your profits over and over forever! A 1031 exchange allows the owner of an investment property to sell it and buy another property while deferring the capital gains tax.
You will spend about one-third of your life working to pay for your taxes. It is by far one of your biggest expenses. By learning the tax rules, you can legally reduce your tax bill and keep more of your hard earned money!
A 1031 exchange gets its name from Section 1031 of the U.S. Internal Revenue Code. It allows you to avoid paying capital gains taxes when you sell an investment property. The proceeds from the sale must be immediately reinvested into another property or properties of like-kind and equal or greater value.
What does that mean?:
As long as one property is being exchanged for another real estate holding, it doesn’t matter whether you are selling a home to buy a duplex, an apartment, a piece of land, or a 4 plex. You can even sell one rental home and split the proceeds to purchase two rental homes!
In fact, you can defer taxes on the portion that is being rolled over or the entire gain. The point is that you can defer taxes as long as that money is being immediately reinvested into another piece of property.
Should you decide to purchase a smaller property, resulting in a leftover gain, you will need to pay taxes on that amount. Remember to consult your tax accountant.
If you own a property for a long time, then you will need to recapture the depreciation, which can affect how much you need to pay in taxes.
If a property sells for more than its depreciated value, you will likely have to recapture the depreciation. That means the amount of depreciation will be included in your taxable income from the sale of the property.
As long as you continue to roll the invested amount into another property, you can defer the taxes on the gain until the last sale.
Tax-Free Money Tip:
Properties that have gone through a like-kind exchange are particularly well suited for inheritance gifts.
When you die, your heirs won’t have to pay ANY income tax should they decide to sell the property shortly after your death. This is because the property receives a step-up in value, and the gain goes away upon the death of the owner.
What is a step-up in value you ask?
A step-up is the readjustment of the value of an appreciated asset for tax purposes (upon inheritance). The new value is the market value of the asset at the time of inheritance. Thus, the asset receives a step-up in basis so that the beneficiary’s (i.e. the receiver’s) capital gains tax is minimized.
So if you died, and your heirs sold the property upon your death, the property would receive a step-up cost basis (market value). Therefore, your heirs would not have to pay the deferred taxes on the increase in value.
To qualify for a 1031 exchange, you must use a qualified intermediary. This means that all proceeds from the sale must be transferred to an unrelated party to the transaction.
Typically, an escrow company is used to hold the funds from the sale, while you find and purchase a new (replacement) property.
What if I Need Cash?
If you own an investment property and need to pull out cash, you can always refinance or pull a home equity line of credit (HELOC). Instead of selling your investment property, you can use it as collateral for a loan.
Moreover, the money you receive when you refinance or pull out a HELOC is that it is tax-free! If you were to sell the property, then you would owe taxes on the proceeds of the sale!
Even if you refinance, you can always perform a 1031 exchange at a later date and tax-defer the gains. Just remember to keep the original invested amount in the real estate holding and within the rollover.
The 10,000 Foot Overview:
Through a like-kind exchange, you can keep buying more and more properties as your properties go up in value (all without paying taxes).
You can continue to reinvest the principal amount while benefiting from the monthly rental income (cash flow). The rental income is reduced by the depreciation of the property and is only taxed at capital gains rate.
Real estate really is a miracle investment vehicle!
Make sure to talk to your tax advisor before engaging in a 1031 exchange. This will allow them to guide you through one because the 1031 exchange guidelines are very specific. Additionally, talk to an escrow agent who has experience with 1031 exchanges to get the specific time guidelines.
Tax-free exchanges have very detailed rules that need to be followed to the letter.
Learn the Rules of the Game:
Knowing the tax law and wealth building concepts are critical to navigating your way through the game of finance.
Want to learn other tax tips that will save you a ton of money and help you retire early? Take the FREE Increase Your Financial IQ Email Course for more information on financial planning and wealth creation!
Who doesn’t love tax-free money? One of the benefits of using a Roth IRA is that all of the growth inside of this tax-advantaged account can be pulled out tax-free! In this article, I am going to share how you can grow your retirement account through the investment of commodities and skip paying the 28% capital gains tax legally!
Roth IRA vs. Regular IRA:
The difference between a Roth versus a regular IRA is “when” you pay taxes on the money. With a regular IRA, you take the tax deduction now but have to pay taxes on the amount you withdraw later.
The downside is that when you elect to pay taxes later, you have to pay taxes on the interest AND the gains that your money has made over your lifetime of saving and investing.
Moreover, you won’t know which tax bracket your future you will be in. Not to mention, tax rates are always fluctuating and the government keeps passing spending bills.
I love a sure thing, which is why I really like the Roth versions of 401ks and IRAs. I know that when I look at my account, every penny is MINE!
In a Roth IRA, your money grows and so does the compound interest. These two parts grow tax-free because you funded the account with post-tax dollars.
Another benefit that comes with a Roth IRA is that since you have already paid taxes on the money in the account, there is no RDM (required minimum distribution). Meaning that you can decide to withdraw at any time after age 59.5.
With a traditional IRA, you are required by the government to start pulling a minimum distribution from your retirement account at age 70.5. This is because the government want’s it’s cut (taxes). Here is an easy RDM calculator by Schwab.
The goal of this blog is to show you how you can save money by going green and then reinvesting that money to gain your financial freedom! A Roth IRA is just one of the financial vehicles you should use to make sure you are ready for a worry-free retirement.
So how much do you need to retire? Well, that depends on what kind of lifestyle you plan on living when you are retired. Let’s take care of the bare minimum, and then work on using other investment vehicles to cultivate play-money!
How to Take Care of the Bare Minimum with a Roth IRA:
If you spend $40,000 per year during retirement, you will need around $1,000,000 to reach financial freedom based on the 4% rule. The 4% rule basically states that you can consistently withdraw $40,000 every year without touching the principle.
The result is that you can live off of the interest and appreciation of your portfolio. You are pretty much guaranteed to be able to live off your investments for 30+ years by following this rule. This is especially the case if you hold 75% stocks and 25% bonds.
In a prior post, I show you how you can fully fund a Roth IRA and become a millionaire by saving $15 a day!
In case you missed it, here is a quick summary.
How to Fully Fund A Roth IRA:
The maximum that the US government allows you to contribute to a Roth IRA is $5,500 or $15 a day ($458 per month). If you do this, you will end up with over $1.2 million in the bank.
Bang! You are a millionaire and are guaranteed to retire!
With the 4% rule, you will be able to retire at the age of 65. That is if you started investing when you were 25 (or over any 40 year period).
The image below shows the math, but if you want to play with the numbers yourself you can head over to Bankrate.com.
The Secret of Owning Gold and Silver:
Diversification is critical to lowering your risk while owning enough of the market to maximize your gain. Should you decide to own commodities in paper form (stock), you should trade them within your Roth IRA.
By owning paper gold and silver (stock) in a Roth IRA, you won’t have to pay taxes on the increase in the value of the gold and silver!
The capital gains rate tax on gold and silver is 28%, which is almost twice as high as the normal capital gains rate (15% for most).
If you were to trade gold and silver in your regular brokerage account, you would owe 28% of the gains in taxes. Say you made $100 in profit, well you owe Uncle Sam $28.
The benefit of trading gold and silver commodities within your Roth IRA is that you don’t own ANY taxes on the gain! Meaning that you get to keep all of your profit!
This is because you pay your taxes on the money you put into the Roth IRA before it goes into the tax-advantaged account. When you decide to pull the money out, you can do so without paying taxes on the withdraw, which includes the interest and gains!!
I love TAX-FREE MONEY!
Should you invest in gold and silver bullion (meaning that you actually take possession of coins or bricks), the dealer is only required to report to the IRS if you buy/sell more than $10,000 in a year.
Be sure to keep your receipt so you know how much you paid for the bullion (your cost basis). When you sell the bullion you need to report any gains or losses to the IRS. Should you have made money, you will owe a 28% capital gains tax on the increase. The increase is the amount you made above your cost basis.
**Gold and silver is a favorite of many investors due to the privacy it provides its owners.**
Remember, the goal is to get as much of your money from passive and investment income streams as possible. This is because they are taxed at a lower rate than regular income, and your money works for you while you sleep.
Here is a quick video that explains the IRS regulations on buying and selling bullion by SDBullion.com
The chart above shows how much you should have put away in savings for your age.
The formula is based on the assumption that a person saves 15% of their income annually beginning at age 25, invests more than 50% of their savings in stocks over their lifetime, retires at age 67, and plans to maintain their pre-retirement lifestyle in retirement.
Here’s the breakdown of Fidelity’s “How Much to Have Saved at Each Age” formula:
30: Have the equivalent of your starting salary saved 35: Have two times your salary saved 40: Have three times your salary saved 45: Have four times your salary saved 50: Have six times your salary saved 55: Have seven times your salary saved 60: Have eight times your salary saved 67: Have 10 times your salary saved
Being a Life-Long Learner:
I complete a book every week and a half because I know that knowledge is the key to success. Often times authors spend years writing a book that contains all of the secrets that they have learned over decades of experience.
Want to learn other tax tips that will save you a ton of money and help you retire quicker? Take the FREE Increase Your Financial IQ Email Course for more information on financial planning and wealth creation!
Where did I learn about Gold Tip #1? From an awesome book called Tax-Free Wealth by Tom Wheelwright CPA. I can’t say enough about this book and highly recommend reading it! You can get it on Audibles by clicking the photo below.
How to reduce or eliminate your climate change impact by acting and buying green. Living a sustainable lifestyle means something slightly different to everyone. The end goal is that everyone becomes a little more conscious of how they are using the earth’s resources and takes small but meaningful steps to reduce their impact.
It doesn’t matter where you are in your sustainable living journey.
Start by taking a mental inventory of where you are currently. Then, make changes towards a more sustainable lifestyle so that we can move toward a greener future together 🙂
Even politicians are having to come around to the fact global warming and climate change are issues that we are going to have to deal with in the near future.
If we know that global warming and climate change is a major problem, then why not tackle it today…Rather than put it off, and let it grow into a larger issue that we still have to face tomorrow.
There are two ways for us to tackle this problem.
The answer is to act in ways that prevent global warming, and purchase products from companies that consciously manufacture goods with social and environmental integrity.
What Does it Mean to Live Sustainably?
Sustainable living is not just about reducing your carbon output. Here is a quick list of meanings that come to my mind when someone says the word sustainability:
Use fewer natural resources.
Water conservation (only 1% of the world’s water resources can be used by humans). Reduce your water waste with this low-flow water conversion kit and save up to 12,000 gallons of water.
Throw fewer things away by reusing, re-gifting, or donating them.
Buy zero-waste, biodegradable, and all-natural products
Re-use the plastic bottles you already own (use an empty sriracha bottle as a squirt bottle for your all-natural cleaning solutions. You hide your cleaning solutions in a cabinet where no one sees them anyway!)
Take action today, and remember to visit the Sustainability Shop to start using zero-waste, plastic alternative, and biodegradable products.
Sometimes it may seem like it is impossible to find money at the end of the month to put towards your retirement account. This is why it is critical to making the most of every dollar! Insulating your home is one of the most effective ways to decrease your energy bill by going green. Another benefit is that many energy efficiency updates qualify for tax credits and utility company rebates!
You can double or even triple up on your savings! Consequently, you can put all of these savings towards your tax-advantaged retirement account!
How Much Can You Save by Properly Insulating Your Home?
In short, by adding insulation to your home you can reduce heating and cooling costs anywhere from 10% to 50%.
Of course, the amount you save depends on where you live and how much insulation you already have.
You’ll spend about half that if you do the job yourself!
So if you are nifty and have a spare weekend, add it to your list of DIY projects and save a cool $800. This also means that your payback period is also cut in half!
Visit the Sustainability Shop and under the tab called Energy Efficient Home you will find many insulation products to start saving money today!
The Nonbusiness Energy Property Tax Credit:
As of the 2018 tax year, the federal government offers the Nonbusiness Energy Property Tax Credit. These credits are good through 2019 and then are reduced each year through the end of 2021.
This means that if you are interested in taking advantage of the biggest federal renewable energy tax credit, you will need to take action within the next year!
The Nonbusiness Energy Property Tax Credit allows you to deduct 30% of the cost of installing a solar energy system from your federal taxes. On the same tax form, there is an area that allows you to deduct a portion of the cost to increase the insulation in your home.
The link to the tax form is included in a later portion of this article for your convenience.
The credit is equal to 30% of the cost, including installation. Moreover, there is no upper limit on the amount of the credit for solar, wind, and geothermal equipment.
The Increase Your Financial IQ Course will be released soon and will cover how to write-off solar energy improvements to your investment properties.
You can sign up for the Free Increase Your Financial IQ Mini-Email Course to get notified when the full-blown Increase Your Financial IQ Course becomes available. The mini-email course is designed to show you how easily you can save for retirement, and how to use a tax-advantaged account to reach over $1,000,000 in savings.
Equipment that Qualifies for the Residential Renewable Energy Tax Credit:
The credit includes costs to install solar, wind, geothermal and fuel-cell technology updates to your home.
Solar panels for generating electricity
Solar-powered water heaters. The water heated by the system must be used inside the home, and at least half of the home’s water-heating capacity must be solar. (Solar heaters for swimming pools and hot tubs do not qualify.)
Wind turbines that generate up to 100 kilowatts of electricity that must also be used in the home.
Geothermal heat pumps that meet federal Energy Star guidelines.
Fuel cells that rely on a renewable resource (usually hydrogen) to generate power for a home. The equipment must generate at least 0.5 kilowatts of power.
For the average person, the solar panel and wind turbine options are going to be the easiest to install, with the fewest regulations to get past.
Nonbusiness Energy Property Tax Credit:
Equipment and materials must meet technical efficiency standards that have been set by the Department of Energy.
Manufacturers typically advertise that their item meets this standard. In short, if a product does not advertise that it meets the standard, be sure to ask prior to purchasing.
Turbo tax does a great job explaining the two kinds of energy efficiency improvements that you can write off. I have listed them here for your convenience…
For this credit, the IRS distinguishes between two kinds of upgrades:
1. Qualified Energy Efficiency Improvements:
Exterior windows and skylights
Home insulation (Just about all types: fiberglass, cellulose, mineral wool, spray foam, foam board, and cotton batting qualify for the energy tax credit)
Certain roofing materials
2. Residential Energy Property Costs:
Electric heat pumps
Electric heat pump water heaters
Central air conditioning systems
Natural gas, propane or oil water heaters
Stoves that use biomass fuel
Natural gas, propane or oil furnaces
Natural gas, propane or oil hot water boilers
Advanced circulating fans for natural gas, propane or oil furnaces
There are a few credit restrictions, like a maximum of a $200 credit for windows. For a full list be sure to consult your tax accountant. You can review Turbo Tax’s exceptions list here.
Remember it is critically important to save your receipts and labels for Uncle Sam.
Which Tax Form to Use:
The form to use to claim your solar or wind credit is called The Residential Energy Credit Form 5695, which is filed with your tax return.
On this same form, you can add any write-offs you have made to insulate your home.
For insulation updates, you can write off 10% of expenditures, up to $500 for the year. This amount is for all energy improvements combined.
The R-value measures the home’s resistance to air flow, which means less heated or cooled air escapes. The higher the number value, the better the insulating power.
The Department of Energy (DOE) recommends an R-value between 30 to 60, depending on where you live.
According to the EnergyStar website, the recommended level for most attics is to insulate to R-38 or about 10 to 14 inches, depending on insulation type.
I have inserted a photo of a map of the US and a chart with the recommended values provided by the DOE.
Eco Economics will be Offering Two kinds of Courses:
The Sustainability Course: How to live a sustainable lifestyle and save money by going green.
The Increase your Financial IQ Course: How to achieve financial freedom by using tax-advantaged accounts, understanding proper financial planning, and wealth creation through real estate.
The two courses are designed to be taken together so that one shows you how to save money, while the other shows you how to reinvest that money to help you achieve financial freedom.
A Few of the Topics That are Covered Are:
Money-saving green swaps and actions that you can take to save our planet
How to maximize the energy efficiency of your home (reduce your utility bills)
Find the right renewable energy solution to give you energy independence (reduce or eliminate the impact of utility rate increases).
How to reduce your carbon output
How to start your own carbon sequestering organic garden
If you have enjoyed this content, please remember to share! By sharing we can help others save money by going green, all the while saving the planet together! Remember, it is our own lives and futures at stake.
Saving for retirement and a down payment for a home may seem like it is an impossible task, especially with all of the other bills you have coming in. I am going to share 8 easy ways to save for a down payment on a home and a Roth IRA retirement account. Retirement and home ownership are possible, you just have to rework some of your daily habits.
To fully fund a Roth IRA account you must save $15 a day (that’s $458 per month or $5,500 per year).
To save $5,000 a year, you must save $13.50 a day.Over 4 years you will have saved $20,000 for a down payment on a house.
Thus, with $29 a day you can you can fully fund a Roth IRA (that will grow to over $1,000,000 in 40 years) and save for a down payment on a home.
If you believe in the power of crystals, this is a great way to give your water an awesome energy boost!
For thousands of years, ancient civilizations have utilized the power of crystals to release mental, physical and spiritual blockages, thus facilitating the free flow of energy throughout our bodies.
Click here to read more about the healing power of crystals.
4. Bring a Flask and Pre-Game!
The average mixed drink is probably between $10 and $12.
What really drove home the concept of how expensive drinks are, was that I lived in the land of $20 vodka Redbull‘s for 5 years (Vegas).
So I found that I could save a ton of money by bringing a flask and pre-gaming before I went out.
Yes, I have had a few friends give me a questioning look when I bust the flask out… But halfway through the night, they are asking for a swig…
Moreover, now that I am in my 30’s I find that I don’t really go to clubs and bars anymore. Instead, I find myself at friend’s houses having a cocktail or a glass of wine.
The point is that one cocktail is about the same price as the cost of a meal!
Plus, you tend to drink more than one cocktail when you are out.
5. Enjoy the Great Outdoors!
I love going outside to play. Outdoor activities (like hiking) are free or have a relatively small start-up equipment cost.
A really fun indoor activity is salsa dancing.
What’s really great is that many places offer free salsa lessons!
Another benefit is that salsa is an awesome cardio workout.
In fact, it is a great way to meet new people if you are single, and an even better way to work on non-verbal communication and team building skills if you have a significant other.
Not to mention, Latin dance is very sexy and can help spice up your romantic life.
I used to go to the gym quite often, but now I find that I do all of my exercises outdoors and for free. An added bonus is that you get to experience the outdoors, re-connect with nature, and breath fresh air.
I typically walk 2.5 miles a day, salsa 2x per week, and in the winter I go skiing.
When I worked in an office, I would eat at my desk and walk for my 1-hour lunch. I was able to walk 2.5 miles in that 1-hour lunch break.
6. Cut the Cable:
I haven’t owned a TV since high school. I do have Netflix, and it is so much cheaper!
Additionally, I don’t have to watch advertisements.
On the other hand, I love listening to audiobooks. I mostly read nonfiction, but for fun, I listen to high fantasy and sci-fi books.
In the Increase your Financial IQ Course I teach you the secret of how I crush a book every 1.5 weeks!
Animals are treated with antibiotics and hormones, which we ingest.
Biomagnification of pesticides. The grain and corn that cows are fed have tons of pesticides, and cows eat tons of it.
Increase in greenhouse gasses (cows produce a lot of methane)
Cruelty to animals
Cowspiracy is an environmental documentary that explains how animal agriculture is the leading cause of deforestation, water consumption, pollution, and is responsible for more greenhouse gases than the transportation industry.
Saving for the future is something that you probably know that you need to do, but may not be sure how to go about or where to find the funds to invest. The good news is that I am going to show you exactly how you can save for a down payment on a home and fully fund a Roth IRA! It is as simple as finding and saving $29 a day!
One key thing to keep in mind is that every dollar has an opportunity cost.
An opportunity cost is the benefit that you miss out on when choosing one option over another.
Saving is the Core of Investing:
The government gives you incentives for reinvesting your money… because you have to sacrifice some of the things that you like today, in order to save so that you can have funds to invest with.
Saving money can be hard, but it can also be easy…
My personal goal is to achieve financial freedom. I’m not interested in a huge house with a lavish car.
That’s how you get stuck in the rat race.
If you are renting a large home, just remember that your rent payment is someone else’s investment cash flow and mortgage payment.
Remember, the more house you have, the more cleaning you have to do.
The larger the house, the more stuff can fit in it (and the more stuff you need to buy to furnish it).
The bigger the house, the bigger the mortgage. Which equates to fewer savings you can devote towards investing into an asset that actually provides you additional income.
My biggest recommendation for you is to live below your means.
If you earn $1 million and you spend $1 million, you’re still living month-to-month!
Growing your own garden has many health benefits, not to mention it reduces your carbon footprint. I have created this handy Gardening Tips and Tricks to Prevent Global Warming Starter Guide to encourage you to consider the benefits of growing your own organic fruits and vegetables. The goal of this article is to point out the main benefits of starting an organic garden, and how to plant a diverse vegetable mixture to give you a healthy and well-balanced diet.
Benefits of Planting Your Own Organic Garden:
Here is a list of benefits that gardening can bring to your life:
Reduces the transportation fuel (carbon output) used to ship vegetables across oceans and highways to get to your local store.
UN scientists have released a warning stating that the world has less than 15 years to reduce the carbon output to nearly 0 or else face serious climate change consequences. Planting a garden is a way you can make a difference by helping sequester carbon from the atmosphere!
Organic food tastes better because it is fresher and is able to ripen on the vine (instead of a gas chamber).
Many people live in cities, which are cement jungles surrounded by black asphalt (roads and parking lots). That being said, dark materials absorb heat which is why cities tend to be hotter than their surrounding areas. Adding vegetation provides shade and breaks up all off of that dark material.
Grow fresh vegetables forever! Fruits and vegetables have seeds that you can harvest at the end of the year. Meaning that you can use the seeds to start your garden next year!!!
A fun and family-friendly activity that can inspire you to take an interest in the origins of your food and make better choices about what you put on your plate.
Health Benefits of Gardening:
Eliminates the addition of chemical pesticides that you are currently putting into your body.
No chemical fertilizers. In short, worm casting is nature’s Miracle Grow and is anall natural organic fertilizer! Read on to learn about worm casting.
It helps you eat more fresh fruits and vegetables.
Adds a bit of exercise to your life.
Breath fresher air by being outside. People are often stuck inside an office all day. Taking the time to tend to your garden will give you an opportunity to enjoy the outdoors.
Plants increase oxygen production. The air around your home will be fresher (less carbon dioxide).
Help Prevent Global Warming by Starting an Organic Garden:
Now that I have your attention with this serious list of benefits. Let’s get you started on your money saving, healthy, better for the environment path to an organic garden!
I have put together a gardening kit that will get you started on your journey. For additional resources, visit the Sustainability Shop 🙂
You can reduce the amount of waste that is headed to a landfill by composting your food scraps.
Another benefit is that composting recycles nutrients, which can be used to start your own organic vegetable garden.
Nutrients from a compost pile is better for your health and cheaper than purchasing chemical fertilizers.
This stainless steel bin controls odors naturally with an airtight lid and a replaceable activated-charcoal filter.
It holds 1.3-gallons of compost. It is big enough to hold several days’ worth of kitchen waste like vegetable peels, fruits, and coffee grounds, yet still small enough to fit on your countertop.
Dimensions: 7.16” in diameter x 11” high.
The compost bin is molded from one piece of metal, so it resists rust and leaks. Moreover, it does not leak toxic chemicals into your compost pile.
Benefits of Worm Casting:
I am sure you are aware of how healthy bacteria (probiotics) help us digest food. Well, worm poop (worm casting) combines enzymes and positive bacteria to provide plants with optimal nutrition content.
Many of the nutrients that plants need to thrive can be found in large quantities within earthworm castings. Nutrients include magnesium, calcium, potassium, phosphorus, copper, zinc, iron, cobalt, borax, manganese, nitrogen, and carbon.
High levels of microbial activity have the following benefits:
Helps plants grow faster.
Increases soil aeration, which helps plants absorb nutrients and allows their roots to breath properly.
Is all-natural! The consumption of fewer chemicals is vital to a healthier lifestyle. Worm casting allows you to grow “organic” vegetables!
No heavy metals. Worms actually have the ability to absorb heavy metals like copper, lead, and cadmium from the soil. This means that the castings are heavy metal-free. This reduces the likelihood that those metals will end up in your vegetables and on your plate!
Burn-proof. Often times fertilizers are too high in nitrogen, which burns your plants. Casting will never burn the roots of your plants 🙂
It is a natural pesticide!Save money on pesticides while avoiding the need to spray chemicals.
Increases your crop yield :). In 2014, Nature Research published a study that showed that crops grown in worm castings produce 25% more yield.
To get your organic garden rocking-and-rolling with the worm casting kit, grab 300 hundred live Red Worms and you will be all set!
These red worms turn organic waste into nutrient-rich soil!
The manufacturer even guarantees live delivery!
The 10,000 Foot Overview:
Often times we feel helpless because global warming can feel like such a big problem to tackle.
But, know that you can make a difference by making small changes to your daily actions. We all got ourselves into this climate change dilemma, and we all have to pitch in together to get ourselves out.
Let’s look to ourselves before we look to judge how others act. We can make a paradigm shift towards a sustainable planet if we make it the new “cool thing to do”.
Followers will always follow the trend, so be a leader and make sustainability the “new trend”.
Planting a garden is a way you can make a difference and help sequester carbon from the atmosphere!
I have listed a few of the benefits of planting your own organic garden. With some creativity, you can think of many other reasons how gardening can benefit your health and the planet.
Of course, I encourage you to add additional gardening benefits or tips to growing a successful garden by commenting at the bottom of this article.
If global warming, climate change, and resource depletion are important to you, then pre-enroll for a free mini-course to learn about other money-saving sustainability swaps and actions that you can take to save the world!
Moreover, becoming a Sustainability Hero has health, environment, and budget benefits.
Click here to visit the Sustainability Shop to start using zero-waste, plastic alternative, and biodegradable products today.
The shop includes energy efficiency and water conservation conversion kits, solar products, zero-waste, and minimally packaged home goods.
Navigating the federal, state, and local government renewable energy tax breaks (credits, deductions, and incentive) can be quite confusing. Not to mention, the added utility company’s rebates and programs. As a result, I decided to put together a roadmap, to help you navigate this rather complicated process.
If global warming, climate change, and resource depletion are important to you, then pre-enroll for a free mini-course to learn about money-saving sustainability swaps and actions that you can take to save the world!
The Federal Renewable Energy Tax Credit:
You better act quickly if you are interested in taking advantage of the biggest renewable energy tax credit. At the end of next year (2019), it will slowly start decreasing and until 2022.
In other words, Congress could decide to extend the Renewable Energy tax credit… But, there is no guarantee that they will.
The federal renewable energy tax credit allows you to deduct 30% of the cost of installing a solar or wind turbine system from your federal taxes.
As you can see, in the photo below provided by Energysage.com, the tax credit will slowly start decreasing over time and eventually disappear. However, the exception is that there will be a permanent 10% tax credit for commercial use of renewable energy systems.
As of the date of this writing, you only have around 1 year to get your butt in gear If you want to take advantage of these serious savings.
Meanwhile, if a $15,000 solar system installation sounds like its way over your budget… You aren’t alone.
The DIY solar panel system is a step-by-step video instruction guide that will teach you how to build your own solar energy system for around 25% of the cost that you would have paid a professional installer.
In other words, that’s nearly a 75% savings!
Surprisingly, you can actually build a solar energy system in your spare time for a very reasonable price. This guide will help you build each solar panel in approximately 1 hour and for around $100!
State Tax Credits:
Most statesand some city governments have tax breaks (incentives, deductions, or credits) that can be used in addition to the federal tax credit for renewable energy or energy efficiency updates to your home!
First, take a look at the U.S. Department of Energy’s website called DSIRE (Database of State Incentives for Renewables and Energy).
It is a super handy tool for understanding federal, state, and local tax incentives. The site also includes utility company incentives for each state.
Just visit the web page and click the state that you live in 🙂
There are two solutions to the current energy dilemma:
According to EnergyStar.gov, the average home has approximately 40 lightbulbs.
You can save $128 per 100-watt light bulb equivalent over the life of the LED light by making the switch.
That’s 40 lights x $128= $5,120 saved!
If you are ready to save money by making the switch, you can find 100-watt equivalent lightbulbs at the Sustainability Shop.
In short, I would highly recommend switching to LEDs over CFL lights. Unfortunately, CFL lights are made with mercury, which can become hazardous to the environment if they are not disposed of properly.
2. Programmable thermostats
Some utility companies offer rebates or incentives if you install a programmable thermostat.
If you are interested in taking advantage of the biggest federal renewable energy tax credit, you will need to take action by 2019. The federal solar tax credit, also known as the investment tax credit (ITC), allows you to deduct 30% of the cost of installing a solar energy system from your federal taxes.
As you can see in the photo below provided by Energysage.com, the tax credit will slowly start decreasing over time.
As of the date of this writing, you only have around 1 year to get your butt in gear!
The federal solar tax credit applies to both residential and commercial systems. What’s more is that there is no cap on its value!
The cost to install solar panels can vary greatly, based on the state and solar installation company you use.
A professionally installed solar energy system can cost upward of $20k, but there are two ways to minimize this cost.
Don’t want to spend $20k on a solar energy system? That’s ok. Read on 🙂
Lease vs. Build it Yourself
1. You can opt for a solar lease agreement– A company like Solar City will install solar panels for free. Then you purchase the power from the solar power company at a lower rate than you are currently paying your utility company.
This means that you still have to purchase electricity from a company. Instead of purchasing your energy from your utility company (that probably gets its electricity from coal and other fossil fuels), you will be getting electricity from a renewable source (the sun).
If that doesn’t settle your mind from worry, know that the DYI Home Energy System Guide comes with a 60-day money back guarantee.
You can always watch the video and return it if you think that you won’t be able to complete the project. This way you can see what you are getting into before making for a final decision (worry-free).
Jeff really emphasizes that you will be purchasing professional grade building materials to construct your solar power system.
He explains that the reason why there is such a large cost differencebetween having a professional installer build your unit and building it on your own is that you are paying for the labor, know-how, and additional mark up.
Companies need to generate a profit, and as you probably know the standard mark up for retailers (from a wholesale distributor to a retail store) is 50% of the cost of the product.
DIY Solar Energy System Vs. A Solar Lease:
As you know, I am a huge advocate of renewable energy. Up till this article, I always thought that the cost to install a solar energy system was way too expensive to make financial sense.
Typically, a standard solar energy system lasts around 25 years, and the average payback period is 15-20 years.
So purchasing your own system doesn’t really make sense, unless you plan on living in your home for 25 years. Most people end up moving within that time and won’t have the opportunity to recover that investment cost.
This is why I had opted to go with the solar lease option (for my home in Las Vegas).
Now that I have found this solution, I really do believe that I could have bribed a few friends with a home cooked meal to help me build a solar energy system for cheaper than the cost of purchasing electricity through my solar lease.
Because the DYI Home Energy System is so much cheaper to build, you will hit the breakeven point on the cost of the unit much quicker.
Some of the Benefits of a DIY Solar Project:
1. Energy independence. Who cares if the utility companies decide to raise electricity costs? Not you!
What’s more is that you can sell your excess electricity to the utility company.
2. Low to no maintenance. Once you build your renewable energy solar system, there is little to no maintenance required.
Build a solar energy system for a fraction of the cost you would have otherwise had to pay a professional installer.
A Few Minor Drawbacks:
Just like with any major remodel, you will need to have your solar energy system inspected by an official city inspector.
The inspector will probably have you fix a thing or two, which will require him to come back and re-inspect another day… Don’t take it personally, stay strong, and make any required corrections to pass that inspection. Just think of this step as part of the process.
If you include this step in your mental accounting process, you won’t think of it as a pain in the butt. Instead, think of it as just part of what needs to happen to make sure you have a safe solar energy system.
You really do want a city inspector to come by to make sure that you installed your system correctly... After all, you are playing with electricity.
The only negative review I have seen thus far is by Solarreviews.com. Upon further research, I found that the website is owned by a solar installation company. Of course, It is in their best interest to have you pay them to install solar panels for you.
Every DIY project is going to some take time and require a little perseverance. The instructional videos are very thorough, and you will have to set aside time to watch them. Of course, building a solar energy system yourself will also take time.
If you can find 2-3 weekends to devote to building your own energy system, you can save a ton of money with the DYI Home Energy System guide.
Remember, by building your own solar unit you are able to save money because you are the labor (instead of paying someone else to put in the labor).
The 10,000 Foot Overview:
Renewable energy is the way of the future. As a society, we need to make the switch away from fossil fuels.
Take the pledge to become a Sustainability Hero. Living in harmony with the planet has health, environment, and budget benefits.
Remember to visit the sustainability shop, which includes energy efficiency and water conservation conversion kits, solar products, zero-waste, and minimally packaged home goods.
It seems like the topic of climate change and resource depletion is on the tip of everyone’s tongue, but no one really knows what to do about it. I have compiled the UN’s most important blueprint actions for achieving a happier and healthier world while adding a few of my own tips to create the Ultimate Guide to Prevent Global Warming.
By implementing these simple actions we can manifest a change for a better future. The UN has created a campaign called the “Be the Change Initiative” that provides an opportunity for all of us to better “walk the talk”.
I have created a “Sustainability Shop” and have done the work of reading the labels and reviews to offer you the best sustainable products on the market.
This collection of sustainable living products have been amassed in one place for your convenience. The shop includes energy efficiency and water conservation conversion kits, solar products, zero-waste, and minimally packaged home goods.
I want to encourage you to reuse your current belongings until they are either broken or no longer useful (and you need to replace them).
The exception to this is if what you are currently using produces lots of one-time use waste or is harmful to your health.
If you use a dishwasher, stop rinsing your plates before you run the machine. Yes, you should still scrape all of the food off before putting the dishes in the dishwasher. Dishwashers today use high heat to take off any food residue left on dishes.
Reuse your holiday decorations. Unfortunately, the holidays are the most wasteful time of the year. Just think of all the one-time-use cups, plates, utensils, decorations, gift wrapping, etc. Look for ways to plan eco-friendly parties and events.
I love the holidays and the idea of spending time with friends and family just as much as you do. Let’s be responsible about how we plan our events so that Mother Nature can have a happy holiday too!
Tile Floors in High Traffic Areas:
This flooring option has many benefits.
First, tile floors basically last forever (unless you drop a sledgehammer on it and crack the tile itself).
Second (real estate investment tip), due to its durability tile is great for rental properties.
Third, you won’t need to keep replacing the flooring like you would with carpet. This will save you money in the long run and reduces the amount of trash going to our landfills.
Fourth, tile is great for easy cleanup. Liquids can be easily mopped up and won’t stain the floor.
Fifth, tile keeps your home cool in the summer. Add rugs in the winter for a cozy warmer feel. Carpets in the bedroom and rugs in the living areas keep your home warm, your thermostat low, and will save you a chunk of change.
Step 2: Your Daily Routine
Request that vendors stop sending paper statements. Pay your bills online or via mobile. Remember, every sheet of paper leads to more forest destruction.
Use cardboard matches. Unlike plastic gas-filled lighters, they don’t require any petroleum.
Recycling paper, plastic, glass, and aluminum keeps landfills from growing.
Buy minimally packaged goods, goods that are packaged in eco-friendly materials, and packaging and products made from recycled materials.
Many of the products found in the Sustainability Shop are packaged in cardboard, recycled paper, or do not have packaging at all.
Bike, walk or take public transportation. Save the car trips for when you can carpool or need to go long distances.
Moreover, the conversion kits pay for themselves and take 2 minutes to install. Its small actions like these that make the biggest differences.
Let your hair and clothes dry naturally instead of running a machine.
If you do wash your clothes, make sure the load is full.
When you finish drinking a cup of cold water/juice, water a plant with your leftover ice cubes. 🙂
Here are a few surprising facts about water by The Infographics Show that I bet you didn’t know.
Did you know that a leaky faucet can waste up to 11,000 liters of water per year?
Fixing leaky faucets can save water, energy to filter/transport the water to your home, chemicals to remediate the water after it has been used, and reduce your utility bill 🙂
Lastly, remember to turn off the tap water while brushing your teeth.
Step 4: The Kitchen
Shopping for food locally supports neighborhood businesses and keeps people employed. Moreover, it helps prevent trucks from driving far distances to transport food.
Food that is sourced locally tastes better because it is fresher and was able to ripen on the vine (instead of a gas chamber).
Shop Smart, plan meals, and use shopping lists to avoid impulse buys.
Remember these? What exactly are they for? How many of these will end up in a landfill 3 years from now?
Don’t succumb to marketing tricks that lead you to buy more food than you need. Although you may save money by purchasing perishable items in bulk, it does you no good if you end up not eating them because they have over ripened or grown mold.
Buy Funny Fruit 🙂 Many fruits and vegetables are thrown out because their size, shape, or color are not “right”. Buying these perfectly good funny fruit, at the farmer’s market or elsewhere, utilizes food that might otherwise go to waste.
Remember, it takes water, transportation, fertilizer, and labor to grow these funny fruits. They need love too!
You can find bento lunchboxes, reusable glass containers, biodegradable lunch bags, and reusable silicon bags for food storage in the Sustainability Shop.
Don’t forget to freeze fresh produce and leftovers, if you don’t have the chance to eat them before they go bad.
Eat less meat, poultry, and fish. More resources are used to produce meat than plants. You can learn more about the Reducetarian Diet and how the meat industry produces more carbon than the transportation industry in the library section of the Sustainability Shop.
Step 5: Grow Your Own Food and Compost
Composting food scraps can reduce waste that would otherwise need to be transported to a landfill.
Another benefit is that composting recycles nutrients, which can be used to start your own organic vegetable garden.
Nutrients from a compost pile is healthier for you and cheaper than purchasing chemical fertilizers.
The 10,000 Foot Overview:
Save money today by becoming a Sustainability Hero.
Remember, it is our own lives and futures at stake.
UN scientists have released a warning stating that the world has less than 15 years to reduce the carbon output to nearly 0 or else face serious climate change consequences.
This means that we need to drastically cut back on our carbon output and even start carbon sequestering campaigns to meet this goal.
Take action today, and remember to visit the sustainability shop to start using zero-waste, plastic alternative, and biodegradable products today.
Reduce your single-use waste output and take the Sustainability Pledge.
Becoming a Sustainability Hero has health, environment, and budget benefits
If global warming, climate change, and resource depletion are important to you, then pre-enroll for a free mini-course to learn about other money-saving sustainability swaps and actions that you can take to save the world!
Start by changing simple habits and using products that are sustainable/reusable.