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Silver linings

Some things are good to give up:

Cable TV. Many people are cutting back on pay-TV services or canceling them altogether, which saves $50 to $100 a month. As a replacement, some viewers watch free programs on Hulu or YouTube or make do with broadcast TV. Others are giving up television completely. "There's no money for cable TV, so my Internet does me for all my news and other entertainment," says Mariluna Martin of Los Angeles. "That's money saved, plus no TV means no blaring of bad news, fear-mongering, ad pressures, and other unpleasantness." Martin spends more time reading books and sipping tea at a neighborhood café. She finds that rewarding: "The changes I've had to make have made my life better. Things are simpler and healthier now."

Prepared foods. More people are cooking at home, and they're doing it with fewer premade sauces, marinades, dressings, and other ingredients. "Moms are back to basic cooking," says Chance Parker, a market researcher at J.D. Power & Associates. "They want to use fresh herbs and spices. It saves money, and it's more healthy." Patricia Tremblay of Dayton, Ohio, has given up her microwave as she's cut back over the last two years. She now cooks instead of zapping a premade entrée. "I've traded convenience for choice and done well, with the added bonus of weight loss and a sense of accomplishment," she says. "It's a great beginning that seems likely to stick."

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nihil obstet's picture
Submitted by nihil obstet on

Unless you've got an herb garden. And I would note that you can cook in the microwave and use the microwave to heat foods you've prepared yourself. Many of the things listed as given up are good -- they do make your life less expensive and simplify it for the better. But some of them are just kind of counterproductive nostalgia.

DCblogger's picture
Submitted by DCblogger on

that make it easy to grow herbs, and even some vegetables, inside. Hydroponic tomatoes are not the greatest, but better and cheaper than there tomato like objects for sale at the grocery store. If you live in the inner city, there may be no source for good vegetables.

Submitted by Lex on

A sunny window sill and/or a fluorescent "shop light" is all you need to grow herbs; they're pretty much weeds.

I once built a little hydroponic set-up for herbs under fluorescent lights (it was cheap to do) and was so overwhelmed with herbs that no one could visit without taking home bags of basil, chives and oregano. I was probably harvesting $10+ dollars of "fresh" grocery store herbs every other day.

Submitted by hipparchia on

although they can be a challenge when you have cats helping you.

i've been able to grow more than enough herbs for one person in just a few small pots.

DCblogger's picture
Submitted by DCblogger on

you don't even need an internet connection. I am writing this from the tea room in the National Portrait Gallery. Between the Library of Congress, the Smithsonian Castel, DC Public Library, and a host of coffee shops, I have no need for an internet connection at home. In fact, it has been a very good thing for curing me of my internet habit.