Thursday, July 13, 2006

Green Choices For The Planet

The website produced by Consumer Reports has lots of information on making green choices in Autos and Fuels, Appliances, Home & Garden, Electronics and Food. Get the scoop on the best brands and ideas on being green.

There's even allergy-free gardening tips. Just because you have asthma or allergies doesn't mean you can't enjoy the pleasures of gardening. In fact, there is a wide range of big, showy flowers, shrubs, and trees that won't make you wheeze, cry or sniffle. Learning what these are, along with some overall tips, will get you on your way to an allergy-free gardening experience.

Visit now and soak up the alternatives: Greener Choices at Consumer Reports

Monday, July 10, 2006

Do Homemade Cleaning Products Work?

The results are in! Homemade cleaners equal and even out perform commercial household cleaning products!

Here's a mother and daughter who spent two weeks on a science project for school to find out which household cleaners work best. We did three tests: one with window cleaners, one with carpet cleaners, and one with laundry stain removers. Read about the results.

We make our own cleaning supplies from Sunshine Concentrate and essential oils. My wife has used this product for laundry, soap pumps at the sink, in the shower, cleaning kitchen countertops, soaking fruit and veggies to remove pesticides, doing dishes, and more. I use it for washing cars and gardening since it keeps soil wetter longer and holds the nutrients for the plants.

Friday, July 7, 2006

Smaller House Back In Style

In a nation where homes have been getting steadily larger for decades, Jay Shafer thinks "cozy" may be ready for a comeback. CBS News correspondent John Blackstone reports, Shafer builds and designs tiny houses - and lives in one himself.

"The small space is a symbol of something else," Shafer says. "I think it's a symbol of a desire for a more simple life."

The founder of the Tumbleweed Tiny House Company, Shafer has become a sort of guru to a small house movement. For those who have little need for elbow room, he has a whole catalog of tiny houses. At $20,000 to $40,000 apiece, he'll build and deliver them almost anywhere.

Meet Jay Shafer, Builder And Guru Of The Small House Movement - Read more about smaller houses.

Tuesday, July 4, 2006

How Much For Your Stuff?

by Greg Moore

Craig's List is an Internet marvel.

Mass quantities of stuff advertised mostly private party to private party, neighbor to neighbor or border to border, at garage sale prices, for free.

Mint condition brand name furnishings... Thomasville Traditional Couch. New $1200. CL: $350 Vintage electronics... JBL L100 Loudspeakers (30 years old): New $300 CL: $25 Automobiles of all stripes... Lexus 1993 LS400 96K miles: New $50,000. CL: $7800

It's a distressing reflection of the sum total of the monetary value of our acquired stuff... It ain't much.

Eventually, all of our stuff winds up on Craig's list ... or picked up by the Salvation Army... or delivered to Goodwill... or pawed over at garage/yard sales... or passed on to family and friends... who eventually dispose of it in similar ways. We move, we die, or we acquire more stuff resigning our meticulously maintained, climate control stored, expensively insured, mint condition stuff to the depreciated status of "previously owned."

What does this suggest with respect to wealth building...?

1. Don't put too much monetary value on your accumulated stuff. Stuff gives you a false sense of wealth. If your strategy is to sell it all and move to a tropical island, best to give that another thought. If you want an unemotional assessment of what selling-it-all would bring, price comparable stuff on Craig's list or eBay; though I caution you to sit down first...

2. Buy other people's mint condition stuff. They'll be relieved someone bought it, you'll pay less for it, and you won't be quite as depressed when it's your turn to get rid of it...

3. Don't buy any stuff with debt... new or previously owned. This is compounding in reverse. You're paying more money for decreasing value. About the only thing more depressing than disposing of your stuff at dramatically deflated prices is continuing to make payments on it after it's sitting in someone else's living room...

4. Give cash, not stuff. A lot of your stuff was given to you by family and friends. In hindsight, if they had given you cash, you could have purchased the stuff on Craig's list and invested the difference. If your recipient needs neither cash nor stuff, as is the case with my wife's 86 year-old parents, give an ear to hear their stories for the umpteenth time... and act surprised at the punch line.

If you think giving cash reflects poorly on you, and simply must spend the time and energy to get just the right gift for this special person, this is fine by me. Just don't be shocked when you see it on Craig's List.

Greg Moore is the Architect of the Debt Freedom System,
"DebtIntoWealth -- Lessons from My Journey to Debt Freedom" Pay off all of your debt in 5-7 years using the money you already make. Find out why financial guru and best-selling author, Suze Orman, is advising her millions of followers to "Pay Everything Off as Fast As Possible!"

Saturday, July 1, 2006

Walking Is Cheap Exercise

Donna and I have begun a fun walking program sponsored by AARP. It uses a step counter and you walk a virtual path on famous trails. We chose the Appalachian Trail beginning in Maine. We're about a week into it and it's a 10-week program. They also have another program for those who want to track number of hours exercised. If you work out or play tennis, bike, swim, sports, etc., this one would fit better. Here's the links to both of them. We'd love to have you join us! Step Up to Better Health - Walking a Famous Trail

Here's another option:
Get Fit on Route 66 - Exercise Your Way From Chicago to Santa Monica

I play tennis so my step counter logs away a lot of numbers which makes me grin and Donna frown. Let me know if any of you take the challenge. We purchased the step counters from AARP for only $9 each and it came with a booklet that has a lot of good health information.
"Simplicity of living, if deliberately chosen, implies a compassionate approach to life. It means that we are choosing to live our daily lives with some degree of conscious appreciation of the condition of the rest of the world." Duane Elgin

"Do what is good with your own hands, so that you might earn something to give to the needy." Ephesians 4:28