I started by asking myself if the decisions I make are “eco-conscious” or “frugal” ones. I initially thought it’s not an either/or question, rather a both/and proposition. My dad instilled frugality, while my step-father promoted a sense of stewardship by having us collect cans to recycle. There was a monetary incentive. Growing up in Los Angeles, each can had a deposit and we earned money for returning them. If memory serves, my step-sisters and I earned over $100 for turning in cans (multiple large trash bags full of crushed cans).
Every time I come back to the question of whether I walk somewhere because it’s good for the environment or I’m just cheap, I almost always tend toward the frugality. I can’t stand paying for gas. Every time I drive the car I think about how much money I’m wasting and how much I could save by walking (or biking). Every month, when our auto loan gets deducted from our meager checking account, I curse how expensive it is to own a newer car. The same goes for the insurance on it. We don’t drive much, neither my wife or me. In all honesty I don’t know what her aversion to driving is. She supports environmental awareness, but I don’t know if she quite disdains the financial commitment the way I do.