Thursday, August 27, 2009

Reading Time

Like I said, I'm sick of just having mommy blog, so I'm reverting to my old habits, that most of my readership probably doesn't even remember. Don't worry there are plenty of mommy posts waiting in my future.
Last night I was reading my current issue of TIME Magazine-- the one with the slab of beef on the cover, and it had an article about the housing bust, and referenced an article from a couple years back, that I remember reading with some of my family around the kitchen table. The current article, is an analysis of when its better to buy or rent, with a couple of human interest stories mixed in. Didn't say any new information from what my husband and I have been discussing for years now. But I will say, I loved the second to last paragraph:
Sure, Uncle Sam twists the tax code to favor buying — and to reinforce the notion that owning a house is synonymous with the American Dream. But is it? "Moving up in the world and attaining material and nonmaterial success — that was always the American Dream," says Phelps. "That didn't necessarily mean you owned your house."

The last couple of months I've been working on figuring out what MY American dream is, not the tax code's is. I don't think I've figured it out, but I've started to realize Brent and I's goals do not include living in the same suburban home for 20 years. Then the last paragraph says,
In other words, maybe the calculus of ownership should include a measure of enjoying ourselves at home — whether it's one we've rented or one we've bought.
Which is basically what my dad kept saying during the real estate boom, a house is not an investment its some where to live. (Sure house are investments for investors, but that is a very select few of us. But true investors understand when to buy and when to sell.)

The cover story about food really made me think. There are two things in politics I hate, pharmaceutical companies, and agri-businesses, so I enjoyed The High Cost of Cheap Food, it made me glad we have started to add things like beans and lentils into our diet. I like meat, a good steak, hamburger or chicken can really hit the spot, not to mention I absolutely love the unkosher pig, bacon and ham, mmm. But I feel no need to feed my family the main course of beef more than 3-4 times a week. It also made me start second guessing my choice being a patron of the evil empire wally world. But truth be known, gerber baby food is gerber baby food, no matter if you buy it at walmart for 10 cents cheaper than at Smiths. The article made me want to garden more, even though we no longer have a yard (maybe next year we'll get a community plot), and made me glad we eat wheat for breakfast. I love unprocessed foods, but I also love process foods-- in moderation they make me sick otherwise. Long story short, I might start spending a little more on some high quality foods. But who knows, the budget is a powerful tool. But I wish there was less farm subsidies for agri-businesses. Sometimes I wish I could fight fights in other ways than the grocery store I shop at, but right now I have two small children to raise. Politics and me actively pursing it will have to wait.


  1. The book The Wealthy Barber also has a great argument in favor of renting over buying. It all depends on your situation.
    And the tax break is a sucky reason to buy a house, because you'll pay out way more in interest than you'll get back in tax refunds.

  2. I wish I were better at buying non-processed foods, but I'm not, especially because I'm not much of a cook. And we eat a lot of beef in this house. I do tend to avoid Walmart though. I drive 5 extra miles to another grocery store. I just can't stand the produce at our Walmart. It's so crappy. Plus I like shopping with all the old people at the grocery store I go to. I'm always the youngest one there. It has more charm that way.