But what of those situations where such financial security isn’t a given? I hear often from readers who are truly stretching every dime they can get, even without the burden of a house payment or any significant debt - they simply aren’t bringing in much money, and they have to be creative with their choices. What can we learn from them?
That’s basically the premise behind Scratch Beginnings. The author, Adam Shepard, decided to take on the myths about what it takes to be successful in America. He started off with $25 in cash, the clothes on his back, and a gym bag (no job or anything else) and attempted to build the American dream in one year without using any of his contacts or personal accomplishments (in other words, a blank resume). His goal was to have, after one year, $2,500, a working automobile, and a furnished apartment.
So you’ve just moved into your nice new home. You’ve unloaded the boxes, unpacked most of your stuff and are just starting to settle into your residence.
Right now is the perfect time to walk through a checklist of ways to save money on your home. Starting on these things as early as possible will allow you to start saving money sooner rather than later.
For those of you who haven’t heard the news yet, on February 10 the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act comes into effect. One of the major changes that this program will bring into play is a mandate that everything sold for children 12 and younger will have to be tested for lead and phthalates, and anything that isn’t tested (or that fails) will be considered hazardous and can't be sold. Read more about the CPSIA at the L.A. Times and some interesting blog commentary from the fashion industry.
My wife and I chose our home in Norwood because more than two dozen of our friends live within a couple of blocks of our house. Camaraderie, to me, makes for a good quality of life in a neighborhood. It’s a friendly place and people frequently greet each other on the street.
Norwood also has its share of problems. Parts of the city are very nice, but in others, the effects of domestic violence, drug addiction, alcoholism and family breakdown are readily visible on its streets. It’s a far different place than Mariemont, which was recently voted one of the nation’s ten best neighborhoods by the American Planning Association.
From the Cincinnati Enquirer:
The association, which promotes good planning, announced its top 10 neighborhood list Wednesday. The 10 Great Neighborhoods list is part of the association's Great Places in America program, which singles out communities with exceptional character that were shaped by intelligent planning.
The association didn't rank the 10 neighborhoods.
Since Cincinnati philanthropist Mary Emery founded Mariemont, the village has been regarded as a paragon of planning and design. "Given the critical need for all of our cities and neighborhoods to reduce carbon emissions because of climate change, Mariemont provides us with a timely model of how to plan, build and adapt places for compactness, walkability and sustainability," said Paul Farmer, the American Planning Association's executive director.
I have no idea how friendly Mariemont residents are, so I won’t try to compare it with Norwood in that way, but there are some objective facts to consider.
- Norwood has a Kroger store, a viable retail strip and restaurants at its center, within walking distance of most residents. Mariemont’s nearest grocery store is of a mile east of the town square, more than a mile from residents on the west side of Mariemont. Mariemont’s central square is limited to entertainment and dining.
- Norwood is mixed income, including poor, Appalachian and Mexican residents, middle and working class folks and high-income residents.
What really makes a great neighborhood? Is it a resort styled community or one in which we can really live, work and engage with people from a variety of backgrounds?
If you use cereal bars as a quick snack (as I often do), you might be concerned about the ingredients (high fructose corn syrup) and maybe even interested in making your own.
I tried this a couple of years ago and ended up with some rather dry fare. I learned that I didn't use a binder. A binder is exatly what it sounds like--a sticky substance used to tie grains and nuts together. Maybe I'll take these tips and try again. What have been your experiences with trying to make healthier food?
A few days ago, I had the opportunity to sit down with a fellow in his early sixties who has already retired. He had been self-employed his entire life. I told him about my blog, The Simple Dollar,� and I asked him, if he didn’t mind, if he would tell me about how he had invested for retirement.