The Carnival of All Things Eco is up at Focus Organic. As a partial raw foodie (I eat about 50% raw), I enjoyed the post about eating raw in cold climates from Goddess of the Garden. Looks at all the angles of packaging, waste, transportation of food during cold local season… good food for thought.
I also enjoyed Organic Mommy’s blog about eating organic food on a budget. A good primer for anyone wanting to get into eating organic, but concerned about the cost.
And from I’ve Got A Little Space To Fill is a great article about garage sales, reusable shopping bags (very cute ones!) and a reusable egg carton. I’ve never even seen one of these. I love it! I wonder if I could find a place around here for us city folk to buy our own eggs from a farm (and use a reusable egg carton!).
The Festival of Frugality is also up at Squawk Fox. It’s worth a visit just for the pictures of undergarments and fruit.
Financial Reflections has a fantastic post about what makes children happy. A great reminder of some simple truths that our consumer-driven lifestyle might sometimes have us forget.
Greener Pastures has a post about a four day workweek. Personally, I think we should all work less, spend less money, and have more free time to spend with our friends and family. I’d be in favor of a four day workweek, with four eight hour days. If you bought a ten-year old car with cash and didn’t have a $350/month car payment, how many fewer hours would you have to work? What if you bought all your clothing in a thrift store? What if you didn’t buy a bigger house just because you had a child, and instead figured out ways to make your smaller space work for you? By cutting back on expenses, a lot of people could afford to work less and spend more time doing things that they enjoy more than their jobs. Unless of course your job is your favorite thing to do – if that’s the case, then work as much as you like!
Andy from Tight Fisted Miser is going to move into a van down by the river to save money on living expenses. All I could picture was Chris Farley… so I had a smile on my face the whole time I read the article. But seriously, $400/month is a lot of money he’ll be saving (assuming the van isn’t too expensive, he should recoup his costs in just a few months). An added bonus is that there is seriously limited space in a van, so any material desires driven by consumerism would have to be ignored by a person who lives in a van down by the river. So for most people, the savings would go beyond rent and utilities. I wish Andy all the best.
Savvy Frugality has a post about getting a tune up for your air conditioner. This is definitely a good plan. We replaced our thermostat last winter, and we’re careful to remove and clean our reusable filter every month. We noticed that this year’s particularly heavy cotton from our cottonwood trees had coated the mesh grill on the outside of our AC unit, so my husband hosed it all off yesterday – should help quite a bit with efficiency. And since we’re frugal and trying to reduce our carbon footprint, we keep our thermostat set to 77, which means that the AC doesn’t have to work as hard as it would if we kept the house at 72.
And in case you need another incentive to quit smoking, Where Does All My Money Go has an eye-opening post about how much smoking costs. And that’s just for the money you spend on cigs – he doesn’t even go into the increased premiums you’ll pay for health and life insurance, and how much more you’ll spend on health care over the years.
Coupon Artist has a post about ways to pay down your mortgage faster. This is a great post, with tons of options explained. I’m a big fan of being debt-free, so paying off our mortgage is high on our priority list. We have a 30 year mortgage (we’re 5.5 years into it now) and our current strategy is to pay off the second mortgage (current balance about $23K) by 2010 by putting all of our extra money into that account. Our strategy for the primary mortgage (current balance of $134K) is that we pay an additional chunk of money towards the principal, increasing the chunk by $10 every month. This month we paid an additional $200 – next month it will be $210…)
Thanks for all the great reads, and thanks to Focus Organic and Squawk Fox for hosting!