Self-Sustainability

I think that many would agree with the statement, “This world is facing some large uncertainties in the near future.” Obviously that’s a pretty general statement, but who could disagree? Take a look at the debt of our surrounding countries? The USA had a national debt of $12 trillion in 2008. Now it has already sky-rocketed to $17 trillion! And, that number is not going to come down any time soon. It’s just going to keep growing! If the US self-destructs, then the rest of the world will probably end up coming down with it.

So What Can We Do?

As a single individual, there is not a lot you can do to change the national debt of a country. Heck, it might even be tough to impact the financials of your best friend. So, what power do you have to protect yourself and your investments? The best thing you can do is become self-sufficient and live on the resources that God gave you, rather than the artificial power and energy that is provided by large corporations and the government.

Now, I don’t want to be one of those radicals that has 5 years’ worth of dried food in their basement with riot gear and an assortment of guns. I’m not proclaiming doomsday. I’m just saying that it might be a wise idea to move your dependence from the government and take a little more responsibility for your own survival in this world. You could gain a lot from increasing your self-sustainability, and there’s really nothing to lose!

How to Become Self-Sustainable

For most of us, we live in a naturally green area that has water available right below our property. Why not install a well in your backyard? The water is completely free and you could use it to sprinkle your yard, water your garden, or even use it to freshen up if your city water fails on you.

Another area of self-sustainability is a garden (as I alluded to in the previous paragraph). You could grow many things that would provide nutrition to your body and it would keep some more money in your pocket (especially if you’re watering your plants will well water). You could grow green beans, tomatoes, squash, strawberries, and many other different varieties of fruits and veggies. Plus, by growing them yourself, you’ll know that there aren’t any pesticides that were used on them. You could grow them all-natural and do your body a favor in comparison to those genetically re-engineered fruits and veggies from the store.

So you might be wondering about electricity? Well, our early ancestors survived without it, so I’m sure you could too. As long as you have a fireplace in your home, I bet you could make it through each season just fine. If, however, you simply couldn’t do without it, there always is the option of solar panels. These can produce about half of your daily use of electricity today, so if you can find a way to survive on less, perhaps this would be a good way to go as well.

In short, don’t be the person that’s running around proclaiming that the world is going to end, but just to be safe, do your due diligence in creating a more sustainable lifestyle. The more you can provide for yourself, the safer you will be, no matter what happens or doesn’t happen in the future.

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Do Energy Efficient Light Bulbs Save You Money?

A few years ago, energy efficient light bulbs flooded the market and everyone jumped in line to buy them and save money. I wasn’t so sure though. It was clear that this ‘technology breakthrough’ cost more per bulb than the regular incandescent lights, so was there really savings to be had? I decided to make the purchase because I knew they would save energy, but how much money would I actually save?

Let’s Check the Costs

In order to see if we’re truly saving money with the energy efficient light bulbs vs. the incandescent bulbs, we need to find out what the average cost is for each. As expected the energy saving bulbs are fairly pricey at $2 a bulb, and the incandescent bulbs are less than half the cost at about 75 cents each.

How Long Does Each Bulb Last?

Alright, so as we expected, the energy saving bulb costs more than double, so now the question is, “How much longer will it last?” The old-school bulb will last only 1,000 hours and the new bulb will last ten times that amount at 10,000 hours!

Savings Per Year

The energy efficient bulb lasts 9,000 more hours than the traditional bulb, but what does this mean for our savings? How much does it cost to illuminate a light bulb for an hour? On average, electricity costs 12 cents per kilo-watt hour. By itself, that means absolutely nothing to me, so let’s find out how much it would costs to illuminate one light bulb for an entire year with this 12 cent/kWh cost.

One 60 watt light bulb might stay on for about 6 hours a day each day for the year. So, that’s 60x6x365, and it equals 131.4 kilo-watt hours. Multiply that by 12 cents and you’ll find out that your one light bulb is costing you about $16 per year.

The equivalent wattage of an energy efficient light bulb is 13 watts. Multiply that by 6 hours per day and 365 days per year and you’ll use up 28.5 kilo-watt hours, which will cost you about $3.50, which is saving you approximately $12 per year on that one bulb!

Savings Per Bulb

The above example shows you your savings per year, but I wonder what the overall savings is per bulb since the energy saving bulb lasts so much longer. The traditional bulb costs only 75 cents and lasts 1,000 hours. The energy saving bulb costs $2 and lasts 10,000 hours.

One traditional 60-watt will last 1,000 hours, which means it uses up 60 kilo-watt hours and costs $7.20. To match the length of the energy efficient bulb (10,000 hours), we’ll have to use 9 more, which will cost us a total of $72 in energy and $7.50 in bulbs. That’s a grand total cost of $79.50.

The energy efficient bulb will last 10,000 hours with 13 watts, which uses up 130 kilo-watt hours and costs $15.60. Add the cost of the bulb and you have a grand total of $17.60. Energy efficient bulbs will end up saving you over $60 per bulb!!! Who knew?

 

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How to Reduce Kitchen Waste

Have you ever thrown away food because it was spoiled or past its expiration date? We have all done this at some point in our lives, but it may happen more often than you think. Did you know that Americans throw away 40% of the food they buy? Not only is that terrible for our landfills, but it’s also hard on our wallets!

My best friend and his wife are all about saving money, which is why they became members of Costco, a large wholesale store. Here, they stock up on cereal, chips, breakfast sandwiches, milk, eggs, snacks, basically anything you can think of. They do not have any kids, but yet, they have a pantry that is overflowing and a refrigerator that’s nearly spitting food out it’s so full!

When I go over to their house to visit, they urge me to help myself to any food they’ve got, so I gladly get up and start raiding the cupboards and the fridge. First, I pull out some Wheat Thins and can already imagine the great flavor that I will soon pop into my mouth. “Don’t eat those! They’re stale” I hear from the living room. I set them aside, somewhat disappointed, and reach for something else. “Where did you find those? That’s probably been in there for years! I wouldn’t eat that if I were you.” My friend’s wife is standing next to me now, trying to help me find something that won’t leave me violently ill.

Sure, they may have gotten a great deal on all the food they bought, but when they end up throwing away more than half of it, it’s suddenly not such a great deal.

1)      The best way to avoid food waste is to buy only what you need from week to week. If you plan out your meals ahead of time, you can limit your food purchases and therefore eliminate your waste.

2)      If you don’t like leftovers, don’t make large meals. We all have great intentions of eating those leftovers, but for some reason nuking it in the microwave just takes away that great flavor from the previous day, so there it sits in the refrigerator. Make small meals and eat it all up. You’ll have much less waste.

3)      Keep your refrigerator and pantry organized. In order to keep your food from spoiling, you must know what’s in there! Plot out certain areas for your pastas, your snacks, your cereals, etc. etc. Also, be sure to always keep the oldest food toward the front of the pantry so you eat it first.

4)      Make your leftovers more appealing. I’m sure you know that the microwave basically kills all the flavor in your meal. Why not try to reheat your meals in the oven instead? Sure, it takes a little longer, but when it comes out, that great taste is still in your food.

If you are successful in wasting less, I’m sure you’ll notice that you have more cash at the end of each month as well. If my friends bought only what they needed, I bet their grocery bill will reduce by 40%!

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