Thursday, April 10, 2008

The New "Improved" Life?

The old-time farmer said, "The fast-grown punkin usually turns out to be the 'pore' one," and the saying still goes. Despite all the progress of science, the average man of today most often ends up physically poorer than the same man of a century ago. Life-expectancy in youth and middle age, for example, has naturally risen because of medical progress; but because he lacks proper exercise, nutrients, and mental relaxation, the man over sixty today is actually a weaker man than his ancestor was at the same age. The elderly man of today has less chance of living than did his counterpart of the past! In 1832 a special census was taken of all people in the United States over 100 years old. The possibility of inaccuracies was taken into consideration and hearsay, such as reports about Negro slaves, was ruled out. It was found that at one person in every 4,500 Americans was a hundred years old or more. Today the figure is only one in 34,000.

Few of us can comprehend it, but two things have vitally changed the character of food and mankind during the past century. One is that much of present-day food is grown from a more depleted soil and it is therefore proportionately deficient. Another is that nutritional losses from refining and processing further lessens the value of food. In some cases the loss may be as much as fifty percent.

Very much like today's food, which is grown larger and prettier but with less nutrient, the average man of today is larger, but lacking in stamina. A striking thing about ancient armor and early American clothing is its smallness. Statistics show that man eats more now, but gets less food value than he did in the past. He becomes softer and flabbier as he increases in size.

-- Eric Sloane The Season of America Past,
Promontory Press 1988

Tuesday, April 01, 2008

Frugal Cleaning Tips

One place to cut down on waste and expense may be your cleaning closet. Over the past year I have started to implement easy ways to save and simplify the way we clean our home. Not only have I saved myself some money but, literally, the headache that comes with using powerful chemical cleaners. Now I find that when I have to clean with regular cleaners it really affects me. I used to just take it for granted that a headache came with cleaning, but thankfully no longer. So here are some tips that have helped me:

1. Make your own cleaners.
This may sound complicated but it is actually really simple. If you can follow a recipe you can make a cleaner. Often they only include a few household items that are poured into a bottle and shook up. For some great recipes I found online visit Clean and Green.

2. Use old rags instead of paper towels and cleaning wipes.
If you are like us you probably have many old wash cloths and dish rags that have seen their better days. Instead of throwing them out, give them a new life in your cleaning closet. To make sure they don't end up in the linen closet after they are washed I snip one corner off to identify them from any others. I normally can clean my bathroom with one rag by starting with the mirror, then the counter and sink, and last of all the commode. Then it gets thrown in the wash, not the trash basket. This has cut our paper towel usage in half. If you usually use a wad of paper towels to protect your hands, like my brothers (it is amazing how wimpy my brothers become when it comes to cleaning the bathroom), you can always buy a cheap pair of latex gloves to keep in the bathroom.

3. Buy supplies in bulk
When you make your own cleaners the supplies are pretty cheap to begin with, but you can save even more by buying in bulk. I can get two gallons of vinegar at our Sam's Club for $3.18 and 12 lbs of baking soda for $5.36. If you don't want to use a membership store you may be able to find the same things at any bulk store such as GFS. If you prefer to use ready-made cleaners you can often find concentrates for these at bulk stores that come out to be very inexpensive per batch.

For more advice and tips to save money visit Frugal Friday at Biblical Womanhood.