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SuperGreener is authored by Jade Meridian. The following is her story, in her own words.
Back in 2003, I was “normal”.
My husband and I had 2 full-time jobs, a toddler, and a baby on the way. We were both bringing in above-average incomes but had little to show for it. We were floating through life without a plan – paying our bills mostly on time and putting a little money away for retirement, but without much left over at the end of each month. We had no idea how we would even cover additional diaper-and-daycare expenses for our 2nd child, much less consider having one of us step back from our careers.
Then we discovered Dave Ramsey’s radio show and started following his Total Money Makeover. We got a little weird. For the first time, we worked together to create a budget, gain control of our spending, and dig our way out of debt. It meant working some overtime, giving up a lot of extras, and saying “no” more than we ever had before. But the results were worth the sacrifice.
After 14 months of throwing every spare dollar into our “debt snowball”, and 5 months after the birth of our beautiful baby, we achieved our big goal. Two car payments, two student loans, a personal loan, credit cards, and medical debt… all paid off! I cut back to part-time, we kept saving, and the next summer my husband was able to leave his stressful, high paying job to pursue some alternate career paths and raise our kids while I switched back to full time.
Things were great for a while. We kept our spending down to within my income while my husband picked up some side hustles and later returned to the workforce. We paid off our home mortgage several years later and were 100% debt free.
Unfortunately, without a new goal, we lost our way a bit. We upgraded our house (taking on a mortgage again), loosened our spending, and made some investment mistakes. We learned some hard lessons before discovering the Financial Independence movement and realizing there were bigger goals ahead of us.
Meanwhile, my concerns over climate change, pollution, and waste have continued to grow. I really want to reduce our impact on the environment, but there are limits to the sacrifices we’re willing to make. Moving to a tiny house or spending $30k on a solar array
That’s when I transformed again. I didn’t just go from normal to weird. I went from weird, to aspiring superhero. Jade Meridian was born.
Every superhero has flaws, and that’s certainly true for me as well. My family and I are far from perfect. We still consume and waste far more than any family should. But we’re striving to make positive changes. Little by little, these changes are adding up to both a healthier financial life and a healthier planet.
While I appreciate the progress we’ve made, I’m still not quite satisfied. Our own changes can only go so far. But if I share what we’re doing with others, and they made the same changes, then all those small changes will add up to a big impact both on their own finances and the environment. By doing this, I can also bring in some extra income, AND donate half the profits to my favorite charity, which itself benefits the environment and low-income families.
All of these drive me to become a force for change: to share the ideas and the lessons I’ve learned and help you both save money, and save the planet.