The Festival of Frugality is up at Sound Money Matters. Lots of good ideas and entertaining reading. I completely agree with Money Blue Book’s post about higher gas prices (hopefully) leading to a decrease in the number of cars on the road. I will always walk or bike if it’s a reasonable alternative. If I’m going to my parents’ house 75 miles away, I’ll drive. But if I’m going to the bank 4 miles from our house, I bike. And the majority of the errands I run are within a five mile radius. The 75 mile trips are very infrequent. But the one or two mile trips happen all the time. So walking or biking really does add up in the long run. It’s very frustrating to me to see people in my neighborhood driving their SUVs to their jobs that are less than two miles from home. I’m very hopeful that higher gas prices will make people really think about when they need to drive and when they could use an alternate way of getting from A to B.
I also liked Save and Conquer’s post about taking care of your own health at home. I go to the doctor once a year for a checkup, and that’s it. I’ve never been to the doctor for anything other than a physical (although I did go to an oral surgeon to have my wisdom teeth removed several years ago). With our pregnancy, I’ve been seeing a midwife and we’ll be having a home birth with the midwives in attendance. We’re lucky to both be healthy, although we go to great lengths to keep ourselves that way. We almost never get sick, but every few years one of us will get a cold. It would never occur to either of us to go to the doctor for a cold, but I’m always amazed by how many people schedule a doctor visit at the first sign of a sniffle. We also have a high-deductible ($3000) health insurance policy with an HSA, so we’re motivated to spend our health care dollars wisely. My husband had knee surgery a few months ago, which meant we had to meet our deductible. We didn’t mind though, because there was nothing we could do on our own to fix his knee. But for minor ailments, a little time, patience, good food, exercise, and rest will usually do wonders.
Funny About Money has a great post about cost-efficient home improvements. Hard flooring throughout the house and xeriscaping are two projects that we’ve done in the last year, and I couldn’t agree more about all the benefits. All of our floors are now either wood, laminate, vinyl, or tile. Everything can be swept and mopped in a flash. Dog and cat hair (and the occasional cat puke) are no problem now. And our yard looks great with very little fuss and almost no watering. Both projects were definitely worth the effort.