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Worth a Look #2

Tips & Tools

Here’s a snapshot of what I’ve been reading this week:

This Old House got a major website facelift full of pretty pictures and a little more white space. It makes me want to surf the site a little bit. Except that when I do, I’ll find all sorts of projects that cost $3.4 billion dollars to recreate and triumph themselves as “green” by incorporating an energy efficient third oven and $375 box crates made out of old railroad ties….

Wisebread had a good article on “The Many Reasons – Besides Frugality – To Do For Yourself“. It’s a list I can relate to; sometimes DIY doesn’t even save money, but you get something valuable out of it. Like a new skill, a higher quality product, or a sense of accomplishment (my personal favorite).

The Fun Times Guide answered one of my burning questions… what the hell does DirectBuy actually offer, and could it possibly be worth looking into? Those commercials always had me feeling like I was missing out on the deal of the century. But, being a skeptic, I figured it was a scam. Yep, pretty much.

In my movie queue: Blue Vinyl, a documentary about the horrors of vinyl siding that’ll arm me with a better argument when neighbors ask why we aren’t covering our beautiful 100+ year old clapboard siding with “maintenance-free” plastic.

The synopsis:

With humor, chutzpah and a piece of vinyl siding firmly in hand, Peabody Award-winning filmmaker Judith Helfand and co-director and award-winning cinematographer Daniel B. Gold set out in search of the truth about polyvinyl chloride (PVC), America’s most popular plastic. From Long Island to Louisiana to Italy, they unearth the facts about PVC and its effects on human health and the environment.

There’s a pretty big “rent vs. buy” debate happening online right now, what with the housing market collapsing and all. Everyone is weighing in. And by some calculations, under average circumstances, renting is cheaper. If you want to crunch numbers, NY Times has the prettiest Rent vs. Buy calculator I’ve ever seen. The housing market might suck, but I personally feel that owning a house isn’t just about money or investments. There are a lot of immeasurable benefits, like no upstairs neighbors dancing jigs on their hardwood floor at 2am when you’re trying to sleep.

Ok – now share your fun links with me!

Comments, Thoughts, and Feedback

Jennifer had this to say on 11.15.07:

I have been noticing that about “This Old House”… is it really “green” if it involves adding multiple appliances (even if they are Energy Star!)?

Interesting query about rent vs buy… I agree that buying has it’s own intangible rewards. I LOVE being able to change ANYTHING I want about my house at a minutes notice. I love fixing it. I love being able to use salvaged and used materials. And most of all, I love that can make mistakes and learn from them! Plus, all of the skills I am learning… I don’t think I would have the “gumption” to learn them myself without a small house breathing down my neck.

Great list! I’m thinking hard about what I have found recently… I’ll have to come back to that!

Millionaire Mommy Next Door had this to say on 11.15.07:

Thanks for the link to my rent vs buy thread! While I like the NY Times calculator you mentioned, I find that most people miss the “Advanced Settings” tab in the upper right of the calculator. For accurate results, you NEED to enter applicable numbers into those fields – otherwise the pretty graph paints an unrealistically pretty picture.

I agree with you – a home is about much more than money. But I’ve learned that my home doesn’t care whether I pay mortgage payments or rent payments. Our family lives in a very nice single-family residence in a nice family neighborhood, so we don’t have any “jigging” neighbor issues, either.

Rent or buy, home is where your heart is!

Jill - GlossyVeneer had this to say on 11.15.07:

Thanks for the DirectBuy info. Like you, I’ve wondered if it’s the magical source for quality goods at a good deal or a scam. Those articles are very informative.

ben had this to say on 11.15.07:

got the Blue Vinyl movie from our library – thought it was hilarious; poinent, pointed and puzzling. the relationships really kept my attention because isn’t that the bottom line rather than being green just for the sake of it?

casacaudill had this to say on 11.16.07:

there’s been a lot of discussion around casacaudill on whether it’s worth buying and i think that if you’re only looking at your house as a money-making proposition then you’re going to find yourself in trouble. if, however, you’re thinking of your house as a place to call home that you can enjoy and you make it the sanctuary that we all need these days, then you can’t put a price tag on that. maybe i’m just telling myself that though since i live in the bay area and paid $$$$ for my house. =)

Emily had this to say on 11.19.07:

Loved your comment about This Old House — that is exactly what drives me crazy about their magazine and show (and why I no longer watch / read it) — the unlimited funds aspect of it (or what cracks me up even more — when they talk about how the homeowner was on a limited budget, so they chose the $500 faucet instead of the $1000 one…)

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