08 August 2011

August Readings & Thoughts

It has been awhile since I spammed my blog with interesting links.  While traveling last month, it was nice to be able to keep up on my reading through Google Reader, but I didn't have much to say about what I read.  Since I've been back home, it's been easier to focus and think.  Here's what I've been thinking about:

  • Grocery Shopping: When I did my weekly grocery shopping last Thursday, a gallon of 2% milk had gone up to $3.13 from $2.86 just a week before.  That doesn't sound like much, but if 9.4% is indicative of rising grocery prices, no wonder my food budget has been creeping up a bit lately!  Get Rich Slowly (GRS) recently did an update to their ongoing "how much do you spend on food?" post.  It's garnered over 300 comments and reading through them is fascinating... everything from families of 8 living on $300/month to singles or couples spending $1500/month!  
  • Comparative Statistics: Most of the comments on that article include info about urban/suburban/rural location and how picky people are about food choices.  This is a data goldmine that I really want to sink into.  For two suburban, non-organic eaters, we spend about $300/month on groceries and another $200/month on eating out; groceries includes entertaining an average of once a month.  Surprisingly, while our eating out amount varies, it never affects our grocery bill much.  As an added bonus, one of the comments introduced me to Bundle where you can compare how much you spend in certain categories relative to others in your age, family, income, and geographic groups.  Fascinating info!  This is one place where I don't mind being below average!
  • Food & Science: Hmm, I'm starting to see a trend.  This article on biofortification of foods is why I love both the Freakonomics books and their blog.  This one is a guest post (which happens frequently) and, in addition to providing good data on a relevant social topic, gives a strong case for why waiting for the perfect solution is often a bad idea.  This is essentially why I'm an engineer and not a researcher; perfect theories blow up in the real world and you need to know how to adapt new knowledge to existing problems.  The article also brings up a favorite soapbox topic of mine: that engineered foods have, on the whole, been a Good Thing for the human race.
  • Economic Circumstances: GRS had an entry last week about what part of your personal financial situation is your responsibility/fault and what is not.  This is a fascinating discussion and, interesting as the comments are, they don't begin to scratch the surface of how complex this topic truly is.  There's a lot of personal philosophy and experience revealed in how you feel about this subject.  We all know people who complain and yet do nothing to help themselves; equally, we know people who did "everything right" and still ended up broke (hopefully, we also know lots of people who did most things right and came out okay!).  Hindsight is 20/20 and articles like this remind me of two favorite quotes: "Chance favors a prepared mind" and "Statistics mean nothing to the individual".
That's enough thinking for me today... after all, I have homework to do.  ;-)

What's been on your mind lately?  How are issues like this affecting you?

1 comment:

  1. interesting. i really need to update our expense report to include july now that the month is over. we keep up an expense report every other month (or at least we used to) to see how much we're spending and what changes we might need to make. since the Little One's birth, we've gotten out of that habit. or rather, i've run out of opportunities to complete that task. having an infant in the house is all about balancing priorities. during their naps, you only have a small amount of time to get non-baby things done. and for me, it's hard to decide whether i want to track expenses, research the future of my career (job searches/entrepreneur ideas), craft, or just rest/shower/eat. enjoy pregnancy; life will never be the same again!