TGIF! Have an awesome weekend everyone! I haven’t done a Friday wrap-up with awesome links in a loooong time (like years). And of course, it’s time I changed that.
I am a glutton for learning. I usually have 20 books checked out at the library at any given time, I am toying with the idea of taking some foreign language classes at a nearby college, and I have many hundreds of blogs in my RSS reader. I LOVE to learn and read about new stuff. That is what makes life so wonderful IMO. I am here to learn and absorb like a sponge. Lately that has been headed in the financial direction so many of my links will be to awesome financial resources and blogs.
The book that has recently changed my whole outlook on money and finances is first at bat. I have never been very responsible with money even though I have read tons of books about the issue. We don’t struggle to make ends meet but we can never manage to save much. For people who have two VERY old cars that could break down at any moment and who want to buy a house soon… this is not good.
At the library last month I picked up The Automatic Millionaire by David Bach and I am sooooo glad I did. The title almost put me off because I hate cheesy titles like that and I don’t aspire to be a millionaire either so it seemed like a waste of paper to me. It was the “automatic” part that made me check it out. In my job (I work from home) much of my income is passive… it is on autopilot. So the idea of set and it forget it is my kind of tactic. I ended up devouring the book in a couple hours an haven’t shut up about it since. It motivated me to reactivate my Mint account (which is a most awesome free money management program), encourage my husband to double his 401K contributions, set up a ING account for myself, and an IRA fund. The book not only demystified a lot of financial jargon that eluded me before … the automatic process that he recommends is spot on. I now have a habit of taking any income that comes to me and taking 12% off the top immediately… for our future.
The only thing that slightly bothered me while reading the book was that it was several years old and written before the 2008/09 financial mess. But alas he also wrote a book written last year called Start Over, Finish Rich which addresses finances in bad times. It is equally awesome.
Oh and if you are looking for good fiction books to read… I read an amazing one recently. Wither is a new trilogy that knocked my socks off. It is about a young girl who lives in the US after an attempt to genetically engineer humans so they are disease free, goes terribly wrong. A genetic mutation spread the world over now causes men to die at 25 and women to die at 20.
Okay… on to other links.
On Mint Life I spied the article Don’t Let Your Baby Blow Your Grocery Budget. It has some great advice that is pretty green too.. aka not buying that yucky processed baby food and not buying all the baby gadgets that are marketed to us.
On My Dollar Plan this morning is a great article titled 6 Surprising Benefits of the One Car Household. We went with one car for so long that even now we mostly use one car out of habit. Our second vehicle is parked 95% of the time and it saves us tons of money but there are other benefits to.
Did you know that people with cluttered and messy houses are typically the same people who have have messy finances? Yikes! Yesterday I picked up an ebook that I am actually enjoying quite a bit. I posted a link on my Facebook page along with a coupon code to get the book for 1.00. That deal is expired but you can get it for $2.00 at the moment. The book is Creating Your Perfect Cleaning Schedule. Ironically I was thinking the other day that I wanted a chore chart of some kind to check off loads of laundry and see a visual of my “success” when I manged to stay on top of it. This ebook has a couple printables and one of them is a checkbox list where you can check off each load of laundry to go in the washer and dryer. I ended up doing 5 loads yesterday! Still can’t see the bottom of the basement floor but hey.. progress is progress. Code: 200for2
LOVED this Slow Family Living Post: Do You Want to be Right or Connected? Powerful stuff.
The Artful Parent posted an awesome tutorial on making Leaf and fern print t-shirts. I have some blank tees that could really use some fern printing on them to spice them up! I so want to do this!
DealPulp is offering a group buy deal on stainless steel cups. We have had some of the steel tumblers for years and we love them still. They are actually pretty hard to find so when I saw this deal I knew I had to share it. There is also a sale on BabyLegs until 9/6. Use code HALFOFF to get 50% off. That makes most pairs only $6. We had to get some of the candy corn BabyLegs.
And lastly the Nourished Kitchen is offering an awesome ecourse on How to Cook Real Food. Learn to prepare wholesome, traditional foods easily with this online course.
Spied any awesome articles or blog posts this week? Share below.
As more and more people are going green in their own homes and lifestyle choices, why not include entertainment? For your next dinner party, try a green theme. Yes, some friends might be afraid you will make them eat tofu and cardboard or play Scrabble by the light of a solar lamp but this would be a great opportunity to show them how fun and easy it is to go green. Here are some ideas for keeping it fun and eco friendly.
* Invitations – This is an easy one in this day of Internet savvy and smart phones. Consider going informal and inviting your guests via electronic invitation. You can send an email invitation, a mobile invitation from your phone, or even a Facebook group invite.
* Green food – Choose local, seasonal food. If meat is on the menu, choose organic, grass-fed beef and free range, organic poultry and ham. If you can find locally-raised meat, that is also a good choice. For vegetarian menus, emphasize bean dips and whole grain dishes with fresh fruits and vegetables.
* Beverages – Serve organic, fair-trade wines, teas and coffee in re-usable cups and mugs. Avoid soft drinks, water or juice in plastic bottles or cans. Instead, serve home-made punch in re-usable cups and hot beverages in insulated pitchers. You can also get organic liquor and use real glasses. Also instead of pre-mixed drinks in plastic bottles or margaritas in plastic tubs buy glass bottles that can be recycled and channel your inner bartender. Having a stainless steel martini shaker and a Vita-Mix make it quite easy I might add. You could also ditch the alcohol altogether and make sparkling fruit smoothies.
* Decorations – Get creative with your decorations! Look to the outdoors for inspiration, and cut greens if it’s winter, fall foliage if it’s autumn, and flowers for a spring or summer party. Your local farmer’s market will have seasonal fruits and veggies that can make attractive centerpieces and decorations, such as colorful squash, cranberries, apples, pears, peaches, etc. Just be sure you use the decorative foods and don’t throw them away – in fact, your guests could take some of them home as favors. You can even use live plants as decorations. I LOVE the look of wheat grass growing on kitchen counter tops and dining room tables.
* Lighting – Light your home and table with eco-friendly candles and LED lights, whether as regular-sized bulbs or in festive strings of mini bulbs. You can also get beeswax or soy candles and thrift store jars in various sizes. You can even decoupage the jars with left over holiday tissue paper first if you want colored lights.
* Compost – Don’t toss the leftovers! If your menu is vegetarian, leftovers can be composted. Ask your guests to put their veggie and fruit scraps into a designated bin.
Can you have fun and be green? I say yes, how about you?
This week I have been keeping an eye on my junk mail. After seeing all those plastic windows from junk mail envelopes on Beth Terry's plastic video I can't help it. Junk mail is a hugely wasteful practice and it is so unnecessary. I don't want that junk mail, do you? The average adult receives 41 pounds of junk mail each year. Thankfully, there are things we can do to stop the waste and say no to junk mail.
1. Think twice before giving out information
Typically, you receive junk mail because someone, somewhere has sold or given your name and address to a marketing company or other businesses. When you give out personal information and have it entered into a database (such as when you apply for a library card, mail forwarding service, or credit card), request that the organization does not share your personal information with anyone.
Also in this category of informational caution are product registration cards, sweepstakes, raffles, and contests. The chances of winning these are actually tiny. What they really want is your address so they can sell it.
2. Don't let them follow you
If you move, don't fill out a change of address form at the post office. Just contact your friends, colleagues, and respectable businesses personally and let them know of your move. Otherwise, the junk mail will start showing up at your new residence shortly.
3. Send it back to them
Hehe… when I used to pay bills via check and envelope I would stuff the wasteful little fliers they put in with the bill and any junk mail they sent inside the provided envelope along with the paid bill. I figured they were responsible for getting rid of their own waste. Now that I pay all bills online I don't get to do that anymore. With other junk mailings that have return addresses I have also put Return to Sender and then stuck it back in the mail.
4. Have your information removed from mailing lists
You can contact the major marketers (such as the Direct Marketing Association) yourself, or save time and have someone else do the legwork for you. An organization that specializes in such help is 41pounds.org. For $41, or a little over $8 a year, 41pounds.org will remove your name from mailing lists for five years. When you get junk mail look for a number to call and ask that they stop sending you further mailings AND not sell your address to anyone.
Do you have a tip to share for reducing the volume of unwanted mail?
I just had to post about this amazing video I saw from Beth at My Plastic Free Life. It really shows how ANYONE can stop using and buying so much plastic. If Beth can do it (without any known superpowers) than surely we can to. It sure as heck motivated me to try even harder! Enjoy!
I have fallen in love with a new reusable bag. This one is more like a bag/basket hybrid and ever since I got one last month I have been using it non-stop. They are polyester bags (wish they were canvas), on an aluminum frame. Mine has an attached cover that zips around it to enclose the basket. It is super light too.
Here are some of the things I have already used it for:
Shopping the produce isles at the supermarket
Shopping at farmer’s markets
Using it to hold books at the library
Packing lunches for the zoo or a picnic
Holding towels and sunscreen at the public pool
Cleaning out miscellaneous junk from the car
Holding my other reusable bags in the trunk
Holding takeout so I don’t have to take a plastic bag home
Hi there! I am a green, paleo, homesteading mom of three. I am concerned about health, wellness, and sustainability issues. This is my life. This what I am passionate about. Come get to know me and feel free to connect. Enjoy!