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Archive for November, 2007

Nickel & Dimed

November 29th, 2007 at 05:45 pm

I'm about halfway through reading "Nickel & Dimed, On (Not) Getting by in America" by Barbara Ehrenreich.

I think many here in this forum would enjoy reading this book. The author is a journalist and decided to see for herself whether it really was possible to live on minimum wage, so she went undercover and took jobs as a waitress, nursing home aide, Wal-Mart employee and cleaning lady to experience life on the edge.

From the back cover: "She soon discovered that even the 'lowliest' occupations require exhausting mental and physical efforts. And one job is not enough; you need at least two if you intend to live indoors. Nickel and Dimed reveals low-wage America in all its tenacity, anxiety and surprising generosity - a land of Big Boxes, fast food and a thousand desperate strategies for survival."

Her story is quite an eye-opener. The book was written in 2001 and made the New York Times best-seller list.

As Carolina Bound mentioned in an earlier comment on this book, it's definitely going to make me tip more generously the next time I eat out.

How Many Gallons of Heating Oil Do You Use Over the Winter?

November 19th, 2007 at 05:43 pm

I read somewhere recently about a family living in a very old house that used 800 gallons of heating oil each winter. This seems like an awful lot of heating oil. Curious to see how my energy consumption habits compared, I dug out my old oil bills.

For the last two years, I only used about 380 gallons of oil to heat my 78-year-old house; last year, I used about 70 gallons less than the year before. Last winter was mild, so that undoubtedly helped.

I aim to be on track this winter with the same kind of low usage, perhaps even lower.