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Showing posts from 2010

A very good Frugal Prosumer site

This site has lots of neat ideas for the Frugal Prosumer. Check out how to Make a grocery bag out of T-Shirt

When we lived in Japan we loved the Furoshiki cloth that the Japanese ladies used to carry things and give as gifts. The Furoshiki can be used in many different applications. It's ecologically sound and can be made out of a variety of recycled or new material. Also in emergency or survival situations it could be a life saver. Check out the video.

Thinking about education

As some of my readers may know I have a great interest in education. Having:
Attended, taught in, and been a guidance counselor in English speaking schools from kindergarten to college in the USA, Pakistan, Japan, Taiwan, and New Zealand. Homeschooling my son for kindergarten through college.A masters in education plus other degrees.An higher education experience that includes private, public, big, small, religious, online, correspondence, autodidact, and schools. The internet and computers have brought big changes to education. Be cautious about others telling your the old ways are better! A quality, nearly free, and debt free college education is now available to most anyone.

Very Interesting podcast on the Future of Education costs Overthrow the Universities (and the Public Schools, too)

There are some very interesting trends happening in education which have been in the works for years but have been held back by the money making business of education.
Before you spend big buck a…

What do you really own?

Very interesting article to rethink what you really own.
Living The Dream: What Do You Own – Really?

Do you know how many dollars your spare room is costing you?

I have said, "Instead of having a spare bedroom it would be cheaper to put your guests up in a hotel even at $100 a night." This article shows how investing the money saved in having a smaller house with one less bedroom comes out to a million dollars. You may live in a cheaper area so do your own math.

Been gone for a while

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We've neglected this blog and other writings as we have been busy implementing what we write about. Our goal for next 6 months is to spend virtually nothing on food. This year we planted 3 months earlier then usual and have been very please with the results. We have been eating from our garden daily for over a month when normally we wouldn't even be planting for 3 more weeks.
The secret is planting in cold frames. (boxes with  glass over them)

"I'll Sleep On It" ............Not

Recently a friend let us borrow one of their books on "green"living. I was always partial to green but at first my favorite color was blue. Anyway, this bit of info might just be of interest to someone. Or I wouldn't be putting it on the blog.

It was just a little fyi on bed sheets. Permanent-press, wrinkle free, or easy care cotton or cotton blend sheets have been treated with resins that contain formaldehyde. Maybe that's why you feel as old as a mummy when you get up in the morning.

Until these sheets have been washed enough times that they are capable of wrinkling, they can emit these fumes. And you thought it was what your spouse had for dinner. No, actually you won't smell the formaldehyde.I think.

With this info in tow, it makes older sheets (pre-treatment age) preferable to the vast majority of new sheets.

Now, you can go with "natural" cotton sheets but they can be expensive. Enter the inexpensive exceptions. I love this part. You can use fla…

Better than Paper Towels- Coffee Filters

Okay, we need a break. The world is falling apart and all the news seems bad and we still have to live life so here are some creative things you can do with a coffee filter.

Better than paper towels, and cheaper!

Coffee filters...
.
Who knew! And you can buy 1,000 at the Dollar Tree for almost nothing, even the large ones.

1. Cover bowls or dishes when cooking in the microwave. Coffee filters make excellent covers.

2. Clean windows, mirrors, and chrome. Coffee filters are lint-free, so they'll leave windows sparkling.

3. Protect China by separating your good dishes with a coffee filter between each dish.

4. Filter broken cork from wine. If you break the cork when opening a wine bottle, filter the wine through a coffee filter.

5. Protect a cast-iron skillet. Place a coffee filter in the skillet to absorb moisture and prevent rust.

6. Apply shoe polish (what's that?) Ball up a lint-free coffee filter.

7. Recycle frying oil. After frying, strain oil throug…

$chool of Money Management, A Lesson in Co-signing

The following stories are shared to help people see and perhaps relate to different financial situations. Our characters are purely fictional (although perhaps only in name) and the stories are made-up (um, is anything really new under the sun?). Oh well, take a peek into Fred and Fiona’s lives. Hope you can take away with you some helpful back door advice. Take it away Fred and Fiona.

So here’s the scenario. One of thousands I might add. Fred and Fiona are “committed” to each other and stars are definitely blocking the view to reality. Read on. Fred has no money at the moment and very bad credit. Fred convinces Fiona that a new car would be the answer to his life’s problems and not to worry, he can come up with the money for the payments. Fiona says thoughtlessly “Yes, dear, anything for my sweet bumpkin.”

Fred then convinces Fiona to co-sign for the loan and the deed is done. They live happily never after. You see on that trip to Florida that Fred took in the new car, he met another…

Monitoring Home Energy Usage

In our book "The Frugal Prosumer Philosophy" we talk about the Kill-a-Watt electric meter for monitoring how much electricity you are using. It is the most inexpensive way to do that (cost about $25 dollars.) But the down size is you can only measure something that is plugged into a 110 electric socket. That means you can measure your ceiling lights, furnace fan, central air, etc.

Now for the first time there are some items out there that can do this that don't cost hundreds of dollars. One of them is the Blue Line’s PowerCost Monitor for around a hundred dollars.

Here is a brief review by someone who tried it out.
Monitoring Home Energy Usage | Click Chick | Midweek.com

Aquaponics, Gardening Using Fish

Being a Prosumer is about producing more of what you consume. Producing your own food is a major way of doing that. Here is a New York times article on some inexpensive and creative ideas.

Aquaponics, a Gardening System Using Fish and Circulating Water - NYTimes.com

Aspartame changes name to AminoSweet

If you believe Aspartame is bad for you then don't be deceived into using it by its new name.
Aspartame has been renamed and is now being marketed as a natural sweetener

In response to growing awareness about the dangers of artificial sweeteners, what does the manufacturer of one of the world's most notable artificial sweeteners do? Why, rename it and begin marketing it as natural, of course. This is precisely the strategy of Ajinomoto, maker of aspartame, which hopes to pull the wool over the eyes of the public with its rebranded version of aspartame, called "AminoSweet".
If you want to see how nice they make it look, go to their web site aminosweet.info and see how they try to make it look like a good health food. Here is a prime example of how the Robber Barons work to deceive us. It doesn't matter whether you think Aspartame is good or not. They are trying to deceive people who want to avoid it.

Dealing With Debt: Credit Counselors

Dealing With Debt: Credit Counselors is a very good article on debt counseling. I can vouch for what he says as in the past I did consumer credit counseling and was certified by the National Foundation for Credit Counseling.
It's not a solution for everyone but can be a tremendous help to many. In the right situation I have no trouble sending people to consumer credit counselors.

U.S. Car Fleet Shrank by Four Million

It looks like more people are thinking like Frugal Prosumers.

"I haven’t had to use pedal power often for emergencies. I hope it stays that way, but using it in the mean time has enriched my life. It has provided wonderful exercise and contributed to memorable times with family and friends, enjoyment of the out of doors, being more ecologically minded, reducing transportation cost, and having a better sense of security. There were times in my life that the option to do without a car has meant some good savings for us." From The Frugal Prosumer Philosophy

Looks like a lot of other people are finding that doing without a car means some good savings for them.

Read the article U.S. Car Fleet Shrank by Four Million in 2009 After a Century of Growth, U.S. Fleet Entering Era of Decline

More on walking away from a mortgage

The tsunami may be building. The banks and auto industry have led the way. They have shown America how to solve your debt problems. How? By defaulting and not paying their bills. Last year one million Americans followed suit by "strategic defaults." That is purposely stopping payment on their homes. In a Wall Street Journal article American Dream 2: Default, Then Rent they say:
Thanks to a rare confluence of factors -- mortgages that far exceed home values and bargain-basement rents -- a growing number of families are concluding that the new American dream home is a rental. Some are leaving behind their homes and mortgages right away, while others are simply halting payments until the bank kicks them out. That's freeing up cash to use in other ways.

"It's a stealth stimulus," says Christopher Thornberg of Beacon Economics, a consulting firm specializing in real estate and the California economy. "The quicker these people shed their debts, the faster the…

The Suburbanization of Poverty

It's happening! The suburbs are becoming the new center for the poor. The economy and the sub prime meltdown has accelerated our predicted decline of the suburban home.

In our book the Frugal Prosumer Philosophy in the chapter Preparing for your economic future we state:

"The winds of change are blowing, and the social disruption of change, for good or bad, has already started. Many concerned with preserving the planet had moved to the country. Now rural areas are seeing major changes. Shoppers can no longer afford the gas to drive many miles to buy what they need or want. Commuters from the suburbs have started to realize their lifestyle is not economically and ecologically sustainable. They are waking up to the fact that by moving back to the city they can save on transportation costs, obtain cheaper housing, live in more energy efficient, multiunit dwellings, and have more free time.
The flight to the suburbs in the 60’s and 70’s is reversing. Without cheap fuel the large,…

Lie #1. If I win the lottery, my financial problems will be over!

In our book The Frugal Prosumer Philosophy in the chapter Myths & Deceptions That Can Ruin You we say:
Lie #1. If I win the lottery, my financial problems will be over!
Truth: Most families will earn one million or more in their lifetime. (45 years of work means your family has to earn only $22,000 per year to earn a million). Therefore you’ve already “won a million dollar lottery” and are getting the payouts. Unless you have a plan and good record keeping, you’ll waste the money away, like most lottery winners do. Most people will have nothing or very little to show for that million. My statement to you is: “If you can’t hang on to the current million you are getting, if you win the lottery, you’ll likely lose that money too.”
If, by some itty-bitty chance, you win an actual million dollar lottery, it will not make you a millionaire. Read on. A million dollar win is usually paid out over 20 to 25 years. After taxes that comes to around $35,000 a year. You're a thousandaire -- …

Electric Bicycles

Wow, while we sit and talk about electric cars and how they will save the environment, China is exploding with e-bikes (electric bicycles). I've always been interested in the idea of electric assisted bikes.
By some estimates there are 120 million e-bikes on China's roads—up from just 50,000 a decade ago, making it the fastest growing form of transportation in China.
I have done a lot of experimenting with recharging batteries for flashlights and emergency lighting for many years. Over the years my experiments covered several eras of recharging batteries.

My first experiments were with recharges for non-rechargeable batteries. They were horrible. I tried many different recharges not believing they could all be so bad. They were. The recharged battery lasted for 1/3 the time of a new one. You had to be sure they were charged in a contained area as they would occasionally burst open. They also tended to leak and ruin the device you were using them in. If you see these recharges i…

Saw Dust Toilet in Haiti

In my book The 7 Pillars of The Frugal Prosumer I talk about how the saw dust toilet can save the world.
Here is an example of how a sawdust toilet is making a difference in Haiti.


SURVIVING IN ARGENTINA

I have found that the best place to learn how economic collapse comes about, is to read and follow how an actual collapse has happened. Fernando Ferfal Aguirre has a very interesting blog I follow. It helps me understand what happens and as a result to be better prepared in the event that the same thing happened here. Check out this post SURVIVING IN ARGENTINA . It shows how Argentina in the early 20th century was one of the richest countries in the world.


He has written an interesting book The Modern Survival Manual: Surviving the Economic Collapse It addresses the economic collapse and hyper inflation that happened in 2001 and how to be prepared if it happens in your neck of the woods.

Warning: Killer Stoves. Do you have one in your house?

Just had to do some research on this one. While over at a friends house on New Year's Eve their brand new kitchen stove was delivered and set up. The installer asked the home owner if he wanted the anti tipping bracket installed too. This necessitated drilling into their nice floor to install it.

The home owner declined. No sooner had the installer left than the homeowner received a call from Sears to confirm that they indeed did not want the "killer" stove protection installed. Wow this was so important that they even called on New Years eve evening.

So today I had to find out what this was all about. As suspected, the robber baron litigation attorneys at it again. With a little bit of research I found out. One attorney web site stated:
Most Kitchen Ranges and Stoves Pose a Serious Threat to Millions of Americans … Stove tipping has become an unrecognized epidemic in our country that has caused more than 100 reported cases of death and injury from scalding and burns du…