Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Ferns in the Basement

Fern as Air Purifier

Why is there a fern in the basement? It cleans the air from the various chemicals that are trapped in the closed room.

“During a single hour, one average-sized Boston fern can remove about 1,800 micrograms of formaldehyde (a common pollutant from carpets) from the air in a typical room measuring 3 meters by 3 meters (10 feet by 10 feet). According to the Environmental Protection Agency, if properly maintained, the fern can almost completely rid the air of pollutants on a daily basis.”

Monday, April 22, 2013

Money is Time

Money is Time

“Time is the coin of your life. It is the only coin you have, and only you can determine how it will be spent. Be careful lest you let other people spend it for you.” Carl Sandburg

I do not like the saying, “time is money” because it implies that anytime not earning money is wasted, so I prefer to think of money as a kind of measurement of time that has already been used. I view not spending money as a way to give myself time to do more things that I like to do.

I used to work at a restaurant, where I made around $12.50/hr take-home pay. If I worked 30hrs/week, my typical income was about $1,500/month. The average American spends approximately $300/month on food and eating at restaurants, so in other words, I would have to work 288hrs/year just for food. Most people seem to underestimate how much money they actually spend, but the $300/month food expense seems to be an accurate amount. My goal is to reduce the amount of money I spend on food to just $1/day. I probably will not be able to reach my goal this year, but I will definitely be able to keep the amount to less than $1.64/day or $600/year. I will save $3,000 this year by watching prices, taking advantage of coupons, and growing a garden. Even better than the money saved will be the fact that 240hrs of my time will also be saved. If I continue my project for the next 35 years, I will have saved $105,000 and when measured in time is 8,400hrs or 5.833 years that would have otherwise been spent working at a job (I do realize that I’m over-simplifying for inflation rates and other unforeseeable economic factors).

I know saving a few thousand dollars a year seems like small potatoes or that I’m being a bean counter, but food is one of those expenses that doesn’t have to be so expensive. Someone asked me if all of my saved time will then be used growing a garden. If I spent 240hrs/year gardening, I would have one heck of a garden. My parents bought some pole-bean seeds 35 years ago and have been continuously using the offspring from those seeds every year. Imagine how much that initial investment yielded in savings over several decades. 

Monday, April 15, 2013

What will happen?

Food Pantry


I recently read an article about how more people than ever are using food assistance programs. Here is a quote from the article:

“Federal money would be electronically transferred to the broke residents of a nearly bankrupt town, where it would flow first into grocery stores and then on to food companies, employees, and banks, beginning the monthly cycle that has helped Woonsocket survive.”

I have noticed an increase in the number of customers at a local discount grocery store. Six years ago, I would occasionally shop at that particular grocery store and typically there would only be one cashier and a few customers, but now there are at least three cashiers and always a line of customers. I have noticed the same trend with the Goodwill stores. I think it indicates a major economic problem when discount food and clothes stores are packed with customers. What will happen to a nation that has 15% of the working age adults on food assistance programs? I am grateful to live in an area where I can grow much of my own food, but what about those people who live in urban areas and have to buy their food from stores?

Another huge problem I see is a lack of wealth building from people who are 40 and younger. Most people who I meet that are well-educated and considered to be middle-class are buried under a mountain of student loan debt and will need at least 20 years to pay it off. I am beginning to see well-educated people as indentured servants to their student loan debts.

What will happen to a nation with a generation of those who are either buried under debt and employed or those who are unemployed and living from hand to mouth?  

Thursday, April 11, 2013

March Food


March Food Cost

January Total: $39.48
February Total: $43.39
March Total: $35.51
Year Total: $223.71
Total Remaining: $141.29

I'm looking forward to fresh vegetables from the garden. I have eaten enough frozen berries and home-canned green beans that I need a little more variety. 

I didn't count the cost of family dinners this month which included two restaurant dinners and Easter. If I were more self-disciplined, I could get my total bill to much less than what it is. I have found out that 15lbs of flour and 16 sticks of butter will last me nearly 3 months. 

March Food List

1st - (made bread) strawberry freezer jam,  dried apples, 2c applesauce, 1c bush beans, 2 eggscr, 1/3c rice, teriyaki sauce, 1/3 box turkey stuffing, 2tbs butter, peanut butter, 1tsp honey, 1 pot coffee, shortbread cookie, lemonade (motel: free shortbread cookie, many coffee pods)
2nd (made bread) strawberry freeze jam, dried apples, 1c bush beans, 2 eggfrtst, 2 eggscr, 1/3c rice, teriyaki sauce, 1/2bread, 1tbs butter, peanut butter, 1tsp honey, 1 pot from free motel coffee (work: raisins, crackers, coffee, sugar)
3rd - strawberry freezer jam, 1/4 bread, peanut butter, fries, ketchup (work: oatmeal, raisins, cinnomon, few fried green beans, sweet tea, coffee, sugar)
4th - strawberry freezer jam, 1/4 bread, peanut butter (subway w/ J: $3.00 6" chicken sub, Burger King: $2.00 caramel sundae, fries)
5th - strawberry freezer jam, 1 eggfrtst, 1 eggscr, 1/4 bread, 1tbs butter, peanut butter, mac&chs (3tbs butter) 1tsp honey, 1 pot coffee, work sweet tea (Dollar General: $1.00 mac&cheese)
6th - (made bread) 2c applesauce, dried apples, 1c bush beans, 2 eggscr, 1/2 bread, 1/3c rice, teriyaki sauce, 2tbs butter, peanut butter, 1/3 box turkey stuffing, work sweet tea
7th - dried apples, strawberry freezer jam, 3/4 pint tomato-basil sauce, garlic, 1 eggfrtst, 1 eggscr, spaghetti noodles, 1/3 bread, 2tbs butter, peanut butter, 2 tsp honey, 1 pot coffee, work sweet tea
8th - (made bread) dried apples, strawberry freezer jam, 1c raspberries, 1c blackberries,  1/4 pint tomato-basil sauce, garlic, spaghetti noodles, 1/3 bread, 1tbs butter, 1tbs honey, 2 pots coffee
9th - strawberry freezer jam, dried apples, 1/4c carrots, 1/3c broccoli, 1c bush beans, 1 eggscr, 1 eggfrtst, 1/3c rice, 1/4 bread, brown gravy, 1/2tbs butter, peanut butter, 1tsp honey, 1 pot coffee (work: coffee, sugar, sprite)
10th - dried apples, 1c bush beans, 2 eggscr, 2tbs butter, 1/3 box turkey stuffing, fries, ketchup, 1tsp honey, 1 pot coffee (work: biscuits gravy, sprite) (movie w/ j: slushi)
11th - (made bread) dried apples, 1/4 bread, 1/2tbs butter, peanut butter, 1/2 goat cheese-spinach-tomato-pizza, 1tsp honey, 1 pot coffee
12th - 1c bush beans, 3 eggscr, 1/3c rice, 1/4 bread, 1/2tbs butter, teriyaki sauce, peanut butter, banana bread (flour, bananas, sugar, egg, baking soda, salt, oil)  1tsp honey, 1 pot coffee (GO: 3 bananas $0.25)
13th - blueberry syrup, 2 eggfrtst, 1/4 bread, 1/2tbs butter, 1/2 goat cheese-spinach-tomato-pizza, banana bread, fries, ketchup, 2tsp honey, 2 pots coffee
14th - 2c applesauce,  blueberry syrup, 1c raspberries, 1c blackberries, 1/3c carrots, 1c bush beans, 1 eggfrtst, 1/4 bread, 1/2tbs butter, 2tsp honey, 1 pot coffee (sugar cookies: flour, vanilla, 6tbs butter, 1 egg, sugar, baking powder)
15th - 2 eggscr, 2tbs butter, 1/2oz pepperjack cheese, sugar cookies,  1/3 box cornbread stuffing, 1tsp honey, 1 pot coffee (outback gift card $25: bloomin onion, bread, sprite, salad, steak, mashed potatoes) (GO: $2.00 (2) cornbread stuffing boxes, $2.00 (8) 1oz pepperjack cheese, $1.00 babyruth and butterfinger, $1.00 banana granola peanut butter)
16th - 1/4c carrots, 1c bush beans, 2 eggscr, 1/2oz pepperjack cheese, 1/3c rice, brown gravy, 1/2tbs butter, fries (last bunch), ketchup, 1tsp honey, 1 pot coffee (work: pancakes, syrup, handful fried green beans, 2 fried pickles, ranch, coffee, sugar)
17th - (made bread) 1c blueberries, 1c strawberries, 1c bush beans, 2 eggscr, 1/2oz pepperjack cheese, 1/2 bread, 2tbs butter, peanut butter, 1/3 box cornbread stuffing, 1tsp honey (work: biscuits and gravy, coffee, sugar)
18th - 1/4 bread, peanut butter,  pizza, mountain dew, 2tsp honey, 2 pots coffee  (little ceasars: $5.00) (dollar general: 0.85 mountain dew)
19th - 2 eggscr, 1/2oz pepperjack cheese, 2tsp honey, 2 pots coffee, butterfinger, baby ruth, 1 almond magnum, 2 fish cakes, 1tbs butter (school: choc chip cookie) (GO: (8) fish cakes $1.49, (3) magnum almond ice cream bars $1.00, baby ruth and butterfinger $1.00)
20th - 1c bush beans,  3/4 pint tomato-basil sauce, garlic, 2 eggscr, 1/2oz pepperjack cheese, 1/4 bread, spaghetti noodles, 2tbs butter, 1/3 box cornbread stuffing, 2 almond magnums, mountain dew, 1tsp honey, 1 pot coffee
21st - 1/3c carrots, 1c bush beans, 1/4 pint tomato-basil sauce, 2 eggscr, 1/3c rice, teriyaki sauce, 1/2tbs butter, spaghetti noodles, 2 fish cakes, mountain dew, 2 magnum almond, jolly ranchers, 2tsp honey, 2 pots coffee (GO: $1.00 (3) magnum almond bars) (mom's school: jolly ranchers)
22nd - 1c bush beans, 2 eggscr, 1/2oz pepperjack cheese, 1/2tbs butter, jolly ranchers, 1tsp honey, 1 pot coffee (sonic: $4.68 chicken sandwich and mozzarella sticks)(school: $1.00 snickers)
23rd - 2c applesauce, 1/3c carrots, 3 eggscr, 1/3c rice, teriyaki sauce, 1/2tbs butter, sugar cookies (6tbs butter) 1tsp honey, 1 pot coffee (work: toast, coffee, sugar)
24th - (made bread) 1/4 bread, peanut butter, 1tsp honey, 1 pot coffee (bogart's w/ family: chicken philly, onion rings, ranch, sprite) 
25th - 1/2c blueberries, 1/2c raspberries, 1c bush beans, 3 eggomlt, 1/2oz pepperjack cheese, 1/4 bread, 1/3c rice, poultry gravy, 1/2tbs butter, peanut butter, 2tsp honey, 2 pots coffee, jelly beans, doughnut holes (wal-mart: $1.25 doughnut holes) (gift: jelly beans)
26th - 2c applesauce, 1/2c blueberries, 1/2c raspberries, blueberry syrup, 1 eggbld, 2 eggfrtst, 1/4 bread, 1/2tbs butter, peanut butter, jolly ranchers,  2tsp honey, 2 pots coffee
27th - 1c bush beans, 1/2c broccoli, 2 eggscr, 1/3c rice, 1/3 box cornbread stuffing, teriyaki sauce, 2tbs butter, peanut butter, starbursts, 2tsp honey, 2 pots coffee (mom's school: free starbursts) (long john silvers: $4.99 (2) fish, hushpuppies, fries, ketchup, sprite)
28th - (made bread) 1 eggscr, 1/4c rice, teriyaki sauce, 1/2tbs butter, sprite, cupcake, mac&cheese (3tbs butter) 1tsp honey, 1 pot coffee (mom's school: sprite, cupcake) (DG: $1.00 mac&cheese)
29th - 1/4 bread, peanut butter, jelly beans, chocolate (gift: chocolate, jelly beans)(birthday lunch w/ family: chinese)
30th-31st - Easter