Good eats on a thin budget

Mama is also feeling the financial crunch. I have gone back to using coupons, buying in bulk, growing my own food, swapping with neighbors, and cooking more meals at home. The video below has a lot of useful tips on how to eat well on a budget.

The Gratitude Challenge – Day 4

I’d like to invite you to take the Gratitude Challenge with me. Every day during the month of January join me in setting an intentional attitude of gratitude by writing about one thing you are grateful for. Hopefully our new attitude will last beyond January and carry us throughout the year. Email your gratitude to me at AuntB@MamasHealth.com or write below in the comments.

Day 4

Furlough: (noun) – a temporary leave from a place of employment.

Because of the recession I have two furlough days a month. These are days that I must take off without pay. Some of my co-workers complain about the loss of income. I don’t. At one point last year I put in an application for a job along with one hundred other people. Believe me, I’m grateful for all the days I do work and even for the couple of days that I don’t.

– Aunt B

All I Want for Christmas is… a Kill A Watt

I’m getting very serious about saving energy at home, especially with the slowdown in our income due to the recession. Finances are tight, so we’re doing all that we can to really save money by cutting down on our energy consumption on a daily basis. We’ve always washed laundry in cold water and hung it to dry, we’ve got over 15 CFLs installed throughout the house (as well as a token LED), we turn down the heat during the day so that we’re not using heating energy unnecessarily, and we try to shut down all electronics at night when we’re done with them.

But one of the challenges is knowing which of our things adds the heaviest weight to our monthly energy bills. And so, I’m wishing this Christmas for a Kill A Watt power monitor. While this doesn’t monitor our heating energy, it will help a great deal in determining where we’re wasting the most electric energy and how we can maximize our energy-saving efforts to save the greatest amount of energy.

The Kill A Watt has recently launched a new version of their popular power monitor—the Kill A Watt Graphic Timer—and it’s definitely the one I want. It has several cool features that make it easier than ever to use:

  • Attach the device to any appliance or electronic to get a read of the kilowatt-hour power usage on a large LCD display. It will continue to track energy consumption minute-by-minute so you can have an idea of how much energy the device uses as it turns on and off.
  • Program quarter-hour ON/OFF sequences and customize programs by setting different times for each unique day, 7 days a week.
  • With a backup battery, you can program the meter from your lazy girl chair, and it will maintain all measurements and programming gin the case of a power outage.
  • With a surge protector, it will protect my devices from over charging, over and under voltage, and more.

It’s available now from stores like Think Geek for a mere $69.99, so now you know what I’d like this holiday season!

– Lucy

The Purpose of Money

We can’t seem to stop talking about it. Every night on the news, the talking heads report on how much we’ve spent on the war, or healthcare or this program or that program, who’s not making money or how much things are going to cost, which generally includes the use of the word, “trillion.” It seems like “trillion” is the new “million.”

About money we are told “there is never enough,” or that “money is the root of all evil,” or even, “get yours or die tryin’!” People seem to go to great lengths to have it and they spend it all sorts of things. Like “if you have to ask you can’t afford it” dog collars or they save it and give it away like this guy. Come back after you click that story. Beautiful eh?

At times money can be a dirty and sexy thing. Other times, it’s wearing a halo and it’s all about the good work it does, feeding the hungry, clothing the poor.

Is money something you always want and can’t seem to get enough of? Do you want to have enough not to every worry about it again? Not owe any one, one cent? Yeah. Me too. I think we all do.

What we really want, if we dig deep, we want that vision of ourselves doing what we love. And the purpose of money is to finance THAT dream. It’s that simple. For a writer, it’s as simple as buying a special journal and pen and taking the time to write. If you dream of running a 5K, invest in running shoes and set aside time to train.

The purpose of money is to help you be entirely you.

– Aunt B

Stater Bros gives free antiboitics

The Stater Bros grocery chain will give away a free refill or a 14-day supply of generic antibiotics to customers, with or without insurance, who present a prescription at one of their Southern California pharmacies.

The free antibiotics are:

— Amoxil (generic)
— Ampicillin
— Ciprofloxacin (Generic for Cipro)
— Doxycycline
— Erythromycin
— Penicillin
— Trimeth/sulfa (Generic for Septra or Bactrim)
— Tetracycline

Stater Bros also offers 300 medications that are just $4 for a 30-day supply or $10 for a 90-day supply.

Good job Stater Bros! You’ve earned a gold star.

– Mama

Recession = better health?

It is difficult to find good news about the recession but I found a little good news that I wanted to share with you all.

According to a report by researchers from the University of Michigan, a bad economy may have a positive effect on health.

During the Great Depression of the 1930s, life expectancy increased for nonwhite men and women. Life expectancy for nonwhite men grew by 8.1 years between 1929 and 1933. Life expectancy for nonwhite women grew by 8.2 years during the Depression, according to the study.

The research is interesting. It might be “just what the doctor ordered” for nonwhite men and women. However, I am curious to know what the statistics are for white men and women.

– Mama

Can’t we all just get along?

17 years ago, I remember watching Rodney King plead “Can’t we all just get along” on television news broadcasts. Rodney King asked the citizens of Los Angeles, CA to stop fighting each other, looting stores, and acting recklessly.

While we are not looting stores, many people are pointing their finger at others, blaming each other, and in some instances fighting. The world economic crisis has many people on edge and a lot of people are looking for someone to blame. Let’s stop blaming each other. Trade compassion for anger. Try not to be upset with your neighbor for having their home foreclosed on and bringing property values down in your neighborhood.

Stop

Stop pointing the finger at AIG executives, insurance companies, overpaid CEOs, and the neighbor next door who couldn’t afford the home they purchased and lost it to foreclosure. Look within yourself and determine what you can do to make your situation better.

Act Now

If you want solutions, take action (legally). If you don’t agree with how a company fires some of their employees and gives raises and bonuses to others, don’t give them your money. Support companies whose mission statement echos your beliefs.

Write, Write, Write

Do not estimate the power of the pen. Write letters to your congressman or woman and tell them about your views on issues that are important to you. Write letters to companies who you support. Let those companies know the positive reasons why you shop in their stores…and while your at it, give them a few suggestions on how they can make your experience better. Write letters to stores you do not support and tell them why. If enough people do this, stores may change their practices to reflect the practices of its patrons.

Have compassion

Compassion is an important part of happiness. Studies show that people who are more compassionate and less judgmental of others are happier and healthier. Share with your neighbor. If you have excess fruit or vegetables from your garden, offer some to your neighbor. Smile at a stranger. If you are unemployed and have extra time, volunteer at a library.

I believe we can all get along!

– Mama

Mama wants to help: food banks, homeless shelters, and mental health resources

handsrice A few months ago, I had lunch with a good friend. We talked about love, friendships, and of course, the “Worst recession since the Great Depression”. There are tons of interesting things going on in both of our lives, but rather than talk about the good, juicy bits, we kept talking about the economy.

We talked about the cost of food, and wondered how are people getting by. I had just read an interesting newspaper article about food banks the how access of free food recipients have changed. Before the recession started, food banks mainly served homeless people. But now, people who once had modest paying jobs with yearly bonuses were appearing at Food Banks and Homeless shelters.

We had an interesting, and heated conversation. Some of the topics we discussed:

  • Whether or not the U.S. government is responsible for feeding people who cannot afford it, and at what cost to the rest of the population?
  • What would we do if we were unable to feed our families?
  • What could we do to help?

After talking about what we could to do help, I decided to create a section on MamasHealth that provides help for individuals seeking food, shelter, mental services, and health services.

I am surprised by how many people use it as a resource. But I am determined to keep adding Food, Medical, and Housing sources as fast as my fingers can type.

Need help? Know someone who needs help? Here’s my list of resources.

– Mama

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