Monday, June 8, 2009

The "Door Fund"

A couple of months ago, I started a project that I so cleverly named, The Door Fund. In reality, there isn't anything clever in the name at all. I wish I could tell you that it's a well-endowed fund created for the purpose of supporting bold new ventures that improve our society, (I work in philanthropy, after all!). In truth, the door fund consists of a well-worn envelope that holds two dozen bills, a few $20s and $10s, and several one dollar bills, all of which are destined for an energy-efficient replacement door for our kitchen.

By now, it's should come as no secret to regular readers that we live in a money pit. We love our house, but every time we turn around there is a new catastrophe to deal with, or another thing-a-ma-jig that needs replaced, which in turn creates new problems that will also need fixing. In an effort to limit our carbon footprint, eliminate waste and cut our fuel bills, we finally accepted the brutal truth that we need to replace three original exterior doors. All of these "improvements" to save money, require two things: money--lots of it!--and time. And since our money tree had been infested by pests, we had to have it removed, by a professional, of course. There's another few hundred dollars, for the arborist. Worse yet, was that our source of lots of "extra cash"had just been eradicated. Quite literally. It looked like we were going to need to make some important decisions about priorities.

Around the same time I was mulling over all of this, I heard the best-selling author of Three Cups of Tea, Greg Mortensen, speak about his life journey to build schools for children in Pakistan. (I have so much to say about that, but I should save that for another post.) I'd been captivated by the book, and after I heard him talk about the Pennies for Peace program, I became convinced that if I collected up all the "throw away money" in our house, I could save enough money to pay for one of the doors, one, at the least!

So, I began by collecting all the spare change I found lying around our house, especially near the washer/dryer. And to that, I added all the returned money from the can and bottle returns, proceeds from Craigs List sales of random household items that I can't really use anymore, and little rebate checks from consumer products. Little by little, my total has been creeping up there. I figure we should have enough money for a new door in a few more months.

After seeing what Greg Mortensen can do with pennies in Pakistan, the value of a dollar, and even a penny, has taken on new meaning to me. I would encourage you to start your own "fund". You would be amazed at what you can save with just a little diligence and determination. Or read Mortensen's book, it's just as rewarding.

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