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Wednesday, December 6, 2017

8 Ways to Master Bulk Buying

The links in the post below may be affiliate links that support our current homesteading needs and the cost of building this business at no additional cost to you! Read the full disclosure to learn more and find out what your purchases are supporting.


One of the key parts of going zero waste and plastic free is to shop in bulk. This can also be one of the best ways to save money. When you combine them, you get an earth-friendly and wallet-friendly choice. Bulk-buying was a little intimidating for me at first though, so here are the tips I wish I had to get started shopping zero-waste in bulk.


1. You don't have to buy containers to get started. While it is really nice to have tons of organic cotton produce/bulk bags or homemade ones, you can buy 25-50 lbs paper bags of dry goods to reduce packaging (feel to make sure they aren't lined with a plastic bag though). This works great for flour, beans, rice, etc. Buying in these qualities also saves us shopping time, as we take 4-6 months to finish 50 lbs of beans, rice, flour, etc.

2. You don't have to shop for everything in glass. While glass works great for home storage, it is truly a pain to haul a bag of glass containers to and from the store. Some liquids, such as peanut butter, olive oil, etc. require you to fill up a glass container to avoid obvious messes. Spices, grains, pastas, legumes (beans and lentils), etc. are all fine to bring home in a paper or cloth bag if you don't buy a large quantity in a paper bag.
Free Vector 2016 Calendar November by 123freevectors on DeviantArt

3. You don't have to shop for bulk items every week, unless you want to. For example, we don't buy things like pasta, quinoa, etc. every week. We buy about these items once every six months, but we run out fast enough to buy once a month instead. Either way, we don't have to buy dry goods every week.

4. You can buy meat in bulk, wrapped in butcher paper, if you have a large freezer/dehydrator and buy directly from a farmer or just hunt and process your own. You can also buy meat (not in bulk) from the butcher counter in just butcher paper or bring your own container.

mygreatfinds: Perfect Portions Digital Scale + Nutrition Facts Display by Kitchen Gurus Review

5. You may need to know the weight of your container empty.  If your shopping location uses tare weight, you need to be able to subtract the tare weight from the total weight to only pay for the weight of the food. Butcher counters typically do this, but not all zero waste locations do.

Zero Waste Home: Our Bulk Locator App is out!

6. You don't have to figure out where to buy in bulk on your own. There is a free app/website where you type in your town/address/state/country to find bulk near you.

7. You don't always have to use the store's tags for PLU numbers. Bulk foods are usually marked with a code called a PLU number that tells the cashier what the item is. Since I typically use self-checkout, I can just type in the PLU number from a photo on my phone.

5 Keys to Managing your Stress that Actually Make Sense | Self Awakening

8. Enjoy the learning experience of finding out the best bulk options for you. Feel free to laugh at your mistakes and not to take the transition too serious. It can be hard to change, so always focus on the positive changes you're making and take on each new waste challenge with a smile.

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Now that you know how to start buying in bulk and saving money by wasting less, what are your tips for better bulk buying? Let us know in the comments below!

Monday, November 6, 2017

Podcast Episode 009: 5 Easy Ways to Earn Extra Cash

The links in the post below may be affiliate links that support our current homesteading needs and the cost of building this business at no additional cost to you! Read the full disclosure to learn more and find out what your purchases are supporting.

*This is NOT a sponsored post, just a free service that my family uses. I do receive a small percentage of every referral's points, but I only endorse it because we enjoy using it ourselves. You also get extra points by signing up through a referral link, so it's a win-win. All opinions are mine, and mine alone.*


Today we're talking about 5 easy ways to get extra cash for when you shop online and locally, (plus other easy activities). I look at it as a parent "commission". Go about your everyday tasks (like buying reusable furnace filters), and get cashback for things you're already buying and for doing things like running videos on your phone when you're not otherwise using it. See the blog post here for the written version.



Check out all of the Little Urban Greenie's Small Steps For Earth podcast episodes here!

Please Subscribe/Follow, Rate, and Review on your favorite podcasting platform. 
Whether that's I-TunesSoundcloudGoogle Play Music, or Stitcher Radio, make sure you don't miss a thing and that more people can find us too! Thanks for listening.

Thursday, November 2, 2017

5 Easy Ways to Earn Extra Cash!

The links in the post below may be affiliate links that support our current homesteading needs and the cost of building this business at no additional cost to you! Read the full disclosure to learn more and find out what your purchases are supporting.

*This is NOT a sponsored post, just a free service that my family uses. I do receive a small percentage of every referral's points, but I only endorse it because we enjoy using it ourselves. You also get extra points by signing up through a referral link, so it's a win-win. All opinions are mine, and mine alone.*

SWAGBUCKS - Look At This Now .com

What if in your downtime, you were able to make a little pocket money by letting your smartphone work for you? What if you could get cashback when you shop, without needing a credit card? When if your search engine paid you periodically, in exchange for your loyalty? What if you could earn cash for waiting in line,etc. by filling out surveys? Welcome to my world!

For me, part of being zero waste includes not wasting my personal time or resources. I only spend when I need to and I try not to waste money when I do shop. So, when I found Swagbucks gives free cashback for when you shop online and locally, (plus other easy activities) I was excited. I look at it as a parent "commission". As I go about my everyday tasks as a work-from-home mom (like buying reusable furnace filters), I get cashback for things I'm already buying and for doing things like running videos on my phone when I'm not otherwise using it.

Swagbucks: Shopping Portal Increase for many Stores (Best Buy, Nike, Target, Marriott & More ...

Shop online-
I don't often shop outside of going to the grocery store or the thrift store, but when I do shop, I often shop online. With a zero waste and plastic-free lifestyle, I don't often find the things I need locally. So, I choose to shop online. For example, last week I bought UG1 a vintage wooden peg doll as a "Barbie" doll upgrade on Etsy for Christmas. That's not something that would be easy to find locally, other than by chance. With Swagbucks, I get cashback/points towards Paypal cash or giftcards when I shop on Etsy or other online stores. I just use the browser extension, and Swagbucks pops up to let me know that I can receive cashback on that site.

Swagbucks Local Dining Program Review: Up to 25% Cash Back on Dining
Shop locally-
When you link up your debit card or credit card, you can shop locally and receive cashback
when you eat out or do activities outside of the home, like receive massages, etc. This is perfect for when you choose experience gifts over more physical stuff.


Watch videos-
When you install the video app on your smartphone, you can earn points by letting your phone just run videos. (You can also run videos on your computer.) You can choose movie trailers to see what's coming out soon, quick workout videos, home & garden tips, etc. You can also just turn the media sound off and let your phone use autoplay to earn cashback. (It's nice to put your phone to work for you!) I've been using this feature daily until my phone died for good last week. Since my refurbished smartphone arrived, I reinstalled Swagbucks again by signing in through my Google account.

How to earn free gift cards using Swagbucks (a beginner's guide) - Noobie

Search the web-
This is super easy! All you do is make Swagbucks your default search engine. Then, when you open a new tab, it pulls up the search box and you can earn cash randomly just by searching the web.


Answer surveys-
If you like to answer questions, or just earn cash faster, you can fill out surveys. Personally, I stopped doing this as I wanted to focus my time on my family and building up my business, but this is a great way to kill time when you don't have anything else to do, like standing in line or waiting for a meeting to start, etc.

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Now that you have learned of some great ways to earn cashback, what are some ways that you have used your Swagbucks cash? Let us know in the comments below!

Monday, October 30, 2017

Podcast Episode 008: 24 Life Changing Alternatives to Cable (Part 2)

The links in the post below may be affiliate links that support our current homesteading needs and the cost of building this business at no additional cost to you! Read the full disclosure to learn more and find out what your purchases are supporting.


Today we're talking more about a both budget-friendly and eco-friendly choice. Making the choice to get rid of cable will save you money, give you time for meaningful activities, and could positively impact the environment as well. See the blog post for the written version.



Check out all of the Little Urban Greenie's Small Steps For Earth podcast episodes here!

Please Subscribe/Follow, Rate, and Review on your favorite podcasting platform. 
Whether that's I-TunesSoundcloudGoogle Play Music, or Stitcher Radio, make sure you don't miss a thing and that more people can find us too! Thanks for listening.

Thursday, October 19, 2017

24 Life Changing Alternatives to Cable (Part 2)

The links in the post below may be affiliate links that support our current homesteading needs and the cost of building this business at no additional cost to you! Read the full disclosure to learn more and find out what your purchases are supporting.



Today we're talking more about a both budget-friendly and eco-friendly choice. Making the choice to get rid of cable will save you money, give you time for meaningful activities, and could positively impact the environment as well.

Advanced Cable Cutting:

In 2016, the average time spent per day watching TV was 2.7 hours daily.  If you wanted to use that time to do more budget-friendly and eco-friendly activities, you could and better yourself instead of zoning out. Here are 24 non-cable options, in no particular order:

anderson-craig-firns-green-jennings-kichakov - references

Read a book- Yes, I'm serious. You can get much deeper into a story by reading a book than by watching a movie. Reading is more active and movie watching is more passive. If you read a used book in the daylight, the only carbon footprint is from manufacturing and shipping the book to where you bought it from. If you buy it used at a local used bookstore or thrift store by biking, walking or taking public transportation, your carbon footprint will be incredibly small and your wallet will thank you.

The Anti-Aging Benefits of Exercise | Tom Corson-Knowles

Exercise- The time you spend watching cable could be spent making your body stronger, more flexible, healthier, more in shape, or healing old injuries. You won't remember every show or movie you watch, but your body will show you the results of every workout you did. The carbon footprint varies by how you exercise whether that's in a gym, a workout video, or going for a run/walk.

Everybody's Hobby - Wikipedia

Work on a hobby/Pinterest project- How many "when I have some free time" projects you do you have waiting for you to finish? If you spend your leisure time doing those "someday" projects, think of how much more you could get done. Your time spent would be physically visible, but watching your favorite show won't be. The carbon footprint varies by what your hobby or project is, some use more resources than others.

Learning Online | Use a computer to take online classes and … | Flickr
Learn a new skill/take an online class- Have you ever wanted to learn to cook? (Earn 25% cashback on every course on Udemy.) How about how to take nice photos? You can spend your leisure time learning those "someday" skills that you always wanted to learn, but could never find the time. The carbon footprint varies by what skill you learn is, some require more resources than others to learn.

File:Scrabble game in progress.jpg - Wikimedia Commons

Play a board game- Instead of watching TV, trying playing a board game with family or friends. If you buy the board game used, (Earn 2% cashback if you shop on Ebay) and play in the daylight, the only carbon footprint is from manufacturing and shipping the game to where you bought it from. You can even make your own board game as a fun activity and save yourself the shipping footprint by using what you have. If you buy it used at a local thrift store by biking, walking or taking public transportation, your carbon footprint will be incredibly small and your wallet will thank you.

Walking the dog | Flickr - Photo Sharing!

Nature walk/walk your dog- Instead of watching TV, walk around your neighborhood, with your dog if you have one to walk. Stop and smell the flowers. Observe the beauty of nature in all of its forms, the soil, rocks, plants, and animals. Feel the sun, wind, rain, or snow on your face. Get to know your neighbors a little. Other than the clothes and shoes you're wearing, your carbon footprint is zero. Your body thanks you for the mild exercise and tuning into the world outside your door.

Decluttering- Instead of watching TV, take some time every day to go through and get rid of stuff you don't need. You can even make cash by selling it! You can even be proactive and stop things like junk mail from entering your space in the first place. Carbon footprint varies by method of decluttering, but the less stuff you have to maintain, the less time you have to spend caring for your stuff. You can also share your "may be useful someday" with someone who needs it now.  You now have more time for the treasures you decide to keep.


Hike- Similar to a nature walk, hiking is great for your health, tuning into nature, and turning off your TV.  Hiking doesn't have to be far from where you live or really rigorous. It's just a chance to get outside of your little bubble. Carbon footprint varies by transportation method to get to your hike. By biking, walking or taking public transportation to your hiking spot, your carbon footprint will be incredibly small and your wallet will thank you.

Couple Learning Programme (former)/Culture Exchange ...

Learn a language- Instead of watching TV, try spending time improving your mind and expanding your possibilities. Being bilingual helps you to delay signs of dementia, can open up more job possibilities, can expand your friendship/communication possibilities, and may even help you earn more money. There are endless possibilities on ways to learn languages. While my life is crazy right now, I'm simplifying and focusing on what needs to be done. Once I'm able to make time though, this is how I'm going to become fluent in a second language.  Carbon footprint varies by education method. Most language programs rely on some form of media, if not multiple forms, so electricity and internet are usually contributing.

Barbeque, go to the park, or have a picnic- On a day with good weather, you can enjoy the outdoors instead of watching TV. Spring and summer are great for cooking outdoors to avoid heating up indoors, but Autumn and Winter can be great if you live in a good climate for it. I grew up in Las Vegas and Winter was often the best time to be outside because it has such hot summers. Carbon footprint varies by transportation method, but could be tiny if you walk, ride a bike, or take public transportation to a park or stay home.

Nurse Media Journal of Nursing

Journal- Instead of watching TV, write down your thoughts, feelings, and experiences.  This can be therapeutic for you and helpful for gathering family stories down the road. Carbon footprint varies by what you use to journal in and when you journal. If you make a journal from one sided paper or homemade recycled paper, then your manufacturing footprint will be much smaller. If you only journal in daylight, then your footprint will be reduced further.

Our "new" piano from 1886

Play an instrument
- Instead of watching TV, you can use your time to learn and play an instrument. Mr. Greenie received a long desired used piano for his birthday and has been using his free time to practice. There is something so much more peaceful about listening to a piano being practiced in the background rather than a TV blaring. Carbon footprint can be reduced by buying a used instrument, but bringing it home may add to carbon footprint if it needs to be delivered. Used lesson books can also reduce footprint, but getting them home or having a teacher can add traveling miles to footprint.

Visit a friend or neighbor- Instead of watching TV, you could be visiting the friend, family, or neighbor you haven't been able to find time for. Carbon footprint varies by transportation method. If you walk, bike or take public transportation, your footprint can be reduced.

eastcoastlife: Old Friends, New Friends - PhotoHunt

Bake or cook a meal from scratch- Instead of watching TV, you can have more time to learn how to cook and cook healthier meals from scratch. Your waistline will thank you, your wallet will thank you, and they'll much less stress going zero waste and plastic free when you cook from home. Carbon footprint varies by packaging, transportation, and cooking fuel source.

Call or Skype a family member- You can use some of your TV time to connect with family.  You know they miss you! Carbon footprint varies by energy source for calling, internet, and electricity.

forgiven - home

Serve someone in need- Instead of watching TV, you could be giving back to your community and feeling great. Opportunities abound, so search for areas that interest you or play to your strengths that you can give time in. Carbon footprint varies by transportation method and how service is rendered.

Get family photos done or find your ancestors- I don't know about you, but I never seem to find time to get a family portrait taken. By using the time that would have been spent watching TV, you can save memories of your family. You can also use that time to connect with family who have passed on. Carbon footprint varies by transportation method for photo taking and printing on non-photo paper (you can't recycle photo paper). Footprint also varies by energy source for internet and electricity.

Do that chore you've been putting off until you got some free time.- If you use your TV time to get things done, you can accomplish those extra chores that never seem to get done. Carbon footprint varies by resources needed to complete chores.

File:Dinas camping - geograph.org.uk - 1731943.jpg - Wikimedia Commons

Go camping- Instead of watching TV, head out into nature for a bit. Even a one night trip can be fun. Carbon footprint varies by camping equipment and transportation method. You can buy your equipment used or share it with your neighbors. You can bike and take public transportation or carpool to reduce your impact.

Go to a museum- Take a walk, bike, carpool, or take public transportation to a museum and your impact will be reduced to the ticket printing resourcing. More importantly, your mind will be expanded and some museums are free and require no ticket.

Ride a bike- Instead of watching TV, just go for a bike ride. You will enjoy better health and see the world more clearly by slowing down to look at it live, with no glass between you. Carbon footprint can be reduced by buying the bike used.

Square Foot Gardening | Flickr - Photo Sharing!

Garden/Go to a U-pick farm and harvest your own food- Instead of watching TV, you could have more free time to garden or pick your own food from a farm. Carbon footprint varies by transportation method and gardening supplies. If you bring pots back to gardening centers, start your own seeds, and compost instead of buying bagged dirt, your impact can be reduced down to transportation.

Go fishing- Instead of watching TV, try catching your own food. You'll gain a greater appreciation for how your food gets to your grocery store and you'll enjoy getting outside more. Imagine how fresh your fish will taste! Carbon footprint varies by kind of equipment and transportation method. You can buy used equipment and bike, take public transportation, or carpool to reduce impact.


List the things you're grateful for/prayer of gratitude- Instead of watching TV, stop and think about all that you've been given. You can make a list to reflect back on later or pray with gratitude for all that you have, or you do both. Carbon footprint can't be calculated, as gratitude can stop you from wanting any number of things.

Hopefully this list helps you find enough alternatives for watching TV that you can ditch cable/satellite. See Part One for more ways to quit cable, but still watch shows and movies. This list could also be used to show kids things to do if they're bored.

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What are some other eco-friendly things you can do instead of watching TV? Share in the comments section below.

Thursday, October 12, 2017

Podcast Episode 007- How to Completely Change Your TV Viewing: Part 1

The links in the post below may be affiliate links that support our current homesteading needs and the cost of building this business at no additional cost to you! Read the full disclosure to learn more and find out what your purchases are supporting.



In this episode, we're talking about a both budget-friendly AND eco-friendly choice. Making the choice to get rid of cable will save you money, make your entertainment more mobile, and could positively impact the environment as well. See the blogpost for the options and links mentioned.



Check out all of the Little Urban Greenie's Small Steps For Earth podcast episodes here!

Please Subscribe/Follow, Rate, and Review on your favorite podcasting platform. 
Whether that's I-TunesSoundcloudGoogle Play Music, or Stitcher Radio, make sure you don't miss a thing and that more people can find us too! Thanks for listening.

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

How to Completely Change Your TV Viewing: Part 1

The links in the post below may be affiliate links that support our current homesteading needs and the cost of building this business at no additional cost to you! We try to support small business owners on Etsy and Ebay sellers first, and then bigger companies that offer the most zero waste products. Read the full disclosure to learn more and find out what your purchases are supporting. 



Today we're talking about a both budget-friendly AND eco-friendly choice. Making the choice to get rid of cable will save you money, make your entertainment more mobile, and could positively impact the environment as well.

First let's talk about cable/satellite. As of December 2016, cable/satellite customers pay an average of $100 a month for their channels. I can think of a lot of things I would rather spend that on! Keep in mind that every time you move, you have to stop your service and have someone come over and install your service again. Depending on your situation, that can be a lot of carbon miles for every install in addition to your move. If you want to save your money and make your entertainment more mobile (you can take your service anywhere there's WiFi), then keep reading.

Here are the more affordable alternatives to cable and satellite from the least eco-friendly (Beginner) to more eco-friendly (Intermediate). Read 24 Life Changing Alternatives to Cable for the Advanced options to be even more eco-friendly and save even more money. If you would rank them differently, or if you have other options to add to the list, let us know how and why below in the comments.

Beginner:

Amazon Prime


Amazon Prime includes free shipping, movies and TV episodes, music streaming, unlimited reading for select magazines, ebooks and comics, unlimited listening to original audio books, free game content and a free Twitch channel subscription, and unlimited photo storage. While much of Amazon Prime's services are digital, their shipping service obviously is not. You can try their service for free for one month and then it's $10.99 a month.

Every time you order something online vs buying it local, your item's carbon footprint increases with both the driving and the packaging (which is very hard to work with sellers to reduce packaging. Listen/see how to reduce packaging when buying online). That being said, Amazon can sometimes be one of the only places you can find a particular product and the shipping is one of the biggest reasons to get a Prime account in the first place. Also, keep in mind that any product you buy in a store will have some kind of carbon footprint, whether from shipping it or manufacturing it, or both. All of Amazon's digital products, including the streaming service, will require electricity in some form and internet to run, which creates its own carbon footprint.

Netflix Media Center
Netflix offers both TV shows and movies through streaming and a DVD subscription service. The DVD option isn't very eco-friendly with all of the shipping miles and packaging waste. I recommend just using the library for DVDs to keep it local, plus it's cheaper. You can sign up for streaming through here and receive a free month trial and then it's $7.99 a month (1 screen)-$13.99(4 screens). The DVD option is $7.99 a month (1 DVD at a time)-$11.99(2 DVDs at a time).  Or better yet, use your smartphone to earn points with Giftloop toward a Netflix subscription (or other giftcards/charity donations) by charging your phone, letting ads and videos run, answering surveys, and trying new apps.

Public library for movies ,older TV seasons, CDs, and unique streaming

File:Stevenson Washington public library interior.jpg ...

This is a gold mine! Not only is this free, but then you don't have to bother owning, storing, and caring for all of the movies you don't watch that often. Skip all of the commercials and give yourself the option to watch old favorites, binge watch when you want to, and save money on cable/things you aren't seeing advertisements for. Most library systems allow you to request materials, even if they don't have them yet. They will often buy based on patron suggestions.

The only carbon footprint is from manufacturing the CDs/DVDS/Blu-rays, sending requested materials from library to library, the BPA-lined printed hold slips (similar to receipts) and any driving done to pick up the materials. You can lessen the impact by biking, walking, or taking public transportation to the library that has the materials you want, versus having everything held at the library of your choice.

We create a list of movies when they come out in theaters and get on hold lists as they come out on DVD. We save money on going out, we can usually add subtitles, pause for bathroom breaks, have whatever zero waste/plastic-free snacks we want, and watch on our own schedule. We also borrow CDs on occasion to for a change of pace.

Intermediate:

YouTube
YouTubeBrasil - YouTube

Besides being able to learn new skills and information from free videos, YouTube can also offer full length movies, some are free, but some are digital rentals/purchases, starting at $1.99. Look for your favorites and enjoy the digital age. Pay only for what you want to watch, no subscription fee needed.

One of our favorite kinds of channels to watch are movie review channels, where they note all of the plot holes in movies. Since YouTube is all streaming, the carbon footprint comes from using the electricity and internet to stream.
Hulu lets you stream both TV and movies, including sports channels, kids channels, etc. Earn $15-$25 cashback when you sign up through Swagbucks. You can even stream live TV, as well as Hulu originals and exclusive TV and movies. These can be streamed to various devices. Comes with a first month free trial, and then starts at $5.99 a month. Since Hulu is all streaming, the carbon footprint comes from using the electricity and internet to stream.
How To Cut Cable And Still Watch Your Favorite Shows
SlingTV is an internet based pick-and-choose your live sports and TV channels.  It has no long term contracts either. This is the closest thing to cable, but with only the channels you want and none of the fluff. You can also use on phones, tablets, computers, or internet-connected TVs. Free 7 day trial and then starting at $20 a month. Since Sling is all streaming, the carbon footprint comes from using the electricity and internet to stream.

TV antenna for local channels

We've been using our antenna for about a year and it works great. Ours has about a 30 mile range, which is one of the lowest ranges available. You pay for it once, other than the electricity to run the TV and don't need to pay for any subscription service. You don't even need the internet! No repairman has to come and fix it or install it (Mr. Greenie installed it fairly easily), and nothing has to be shipped once it's installed, so there is a relatively small carbon footprint, from having it shipped and using the electricity. The antenna we use is easy to install indoors or out, some are for one or the other. We have the news channels and a few others, for a total of about 30 channels. This doesn't include any sports channels, which is problematic for major sports fans.

Listen to podcast/radio


By switching from viewing TV shows to listening to podcasts or radio shows, you can switch to more unique and sometimes educational entertainment.  Both podcasts and radio shows are free, unless you subscribe to an upgraded podcast experience. All you need is a way to listen to them. You can listen on a traditional radio station on your car radio, a radio, a computer, or a device, such as your phone (with a speaker or headphones in the headphone jack).

You can listen to a podcast directly on a website, on most devices with apps, on a podcast platform (such as I-Tunes, Google Play, etc.), or in some newer models of cars. I like listening to podcasts when I wash dishes, laundry, or other similar housework that I'm moving a lot in the same space, but not easily able to actively watch something. the carbon footprint comes from using the electricity and and internet to stream (for podcasts and listening to radio on the internet.

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Thanks for reading through your alternatives to cable! Read 24 Life Changing Alternatives to Cable for the Advanced options to be even more eco-friendly and save even more money. If you would rank them differently, or if you have other options to add to the list, let us know how and why below in the comments.

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