More on Singletary and Greenie Home Ec

I have no doubt that conservation and cost savings can sometimes go hand-in-hand. But I do think it’s helpful to know your own priorities and research the facts. In other words, decide whether your primary goal is to save money or engage in some enviro do-good. Efforts to save money should be balanced against the time and hassle factor. Efforts to “help the environment” should require some research into whether an action would actually do a wit of good or just make the doer feel good.

So, for example, if someone wants to cook meals on the roof using solar power because it’s great fun and adventurous, okay, to each his own. But I don’t think it’s helpful to confuse that with notions of energy conservation or cost-savings. It might save a bit on the gas or electricity bill. But I bet the “hassle factor” is higher. Sort of like, I could walk to the grocery store to do my shopping and save on gas, but it would take a loooong time and would be quite a hassle lugging around a half a dozen bags full of stuff. So, guess what? I drive. Or I could clamber up on my roof to cook my meals — or just pop into my kitchen and get the chore done more quickly and efficiently.

My main point was that a journalist who dishes out personal finance advice should stick to that mission, not confuse it with muddle-headed environmentalism.