Trip to Mars Doesn’t Have to Break the Bank
Just days after the launch of India’s Mangalyaan satellite, NASA sent off its own Mars mission, five years in the making, named Maven. Its cost: $671 million. The budget of India’s Mars mission, by contrast, was just three-quarters of the $100 million that Hollywood spent on last year’s space-based hit, “Gravity.” “The mission is a triumph of low-cost Indian engineering,” said Roddam Narasimha, an aerospace scientist and a professor at Bangalore’s Jawaharlal Nehru Center for Advanced Scientific Research. “By excelling in getting so much out of so little, we are establishing ourselves as the most cost-effective center globewide for a variety of advanced technologies,” said Mr. Narasimha.(NYTSL)
José "Pepe" Mujica had been the President of Uruguay since 2010 and is considered to be the 'World’s poorest president'. "His humble lifestyle is reflected by his choice of an aging Volkswagen Beetle as transport, his only asset. The Economist describes him as "a roly-poly former guerrilla who grows flowers on a small farm and swears by vegetarianism". He also donates 87% of his state salary to charitable causes. He does not believe in God." [more inside]
Living The Dream ... at AOL . For two months last fall, Eric Simons secretly took up residence inside the Internet giant's Palo Alto, Calif., campus, eating free food, enjoying gym access, and building a startup in the process.
Don't toss that celery base! Did you know you can use it to re-grow a new bunch of celery? The same thing works for romaine lettuce and bok choy. You can regrow scallions or leeks or any cooking onion. You can grow garlic. What about lemongrass or ginger? Try planting pepper seeds or key lime seeds; a leftover pineapple top or the classic avocado pit. You can eat the leaves from carrot tops or sweet potato vines or just keep them as houseplants. Seeds Straight From Your Fridge (NYT link)
[M.F.K. Fisher's] "How to Cook a Wolf" reads like an issue of Lady's Home Journal, if the editorial staff were taken over by a philosopher with an empty stomach, a slightly tipsy poet and your mischievous, foxy grandmother who once kept many lovers. (related) [more inside]
Low on money, don't despair, before money there was barter and you can still barter! Bartering for space. Bartering for the use of a car. Bartering food for pints of beer. Bartering books you've read for books you haven't read. Bartering gifts you don't want for gifts you do want. Bartering for dental care. Bartering for baby sitters time. Bartering time on your couch for time on someone else's couch. Bartering time in your home for time in someone else's home. Bartering your UK Council flat for someone else's council flat. Time as a currency alternative. Time banks, bartering your free time for time money. A list of 101 US based timebanks. A timebank in New York. Timebanking in The UK. A bartering exchange. Another bartering exchange. And another bartering exchange.Yet another bartering exchange. A UK based bartering exchange. Obligatory tale of serial bartering: a paperclip for a house. Lest you think bartering is for small transactions only, China barters infrastructure for $9B worth of copper. All the BarterNews you'll need to keep abreast of the fast moving world of barter!
A new brand of super shoppers use coupons and other discounts to get products for absurdly low prices. The Web has turned this group from a series of independent operators into cohesive groups, frustrating retailers.
Value engineering (also known as Value Analysis) is an approach to cost-effective product development that seems to have had its heyday in the developed world. However, as this recent student project "Value Engineering Project (Tata Nano)" seems to show, it is still popular in the developing world. Comparing this definition of Carlos Ghosn's now famous phrase "Frugal Engineering" with VE's seems to imply "new name; same approach" - understandable since Tata are the leading lights of the Indian Value Engineering society. Is it time for a global revival of interest?
Eating healthy on a budget isn't just for hipsters on food stamps. While some have called Michael Pollan and Mark Bittman's ideas about cooking and eating "elitist," there are many cooks who are smart enough to know that cooking at home is the only way to eat healthy on a budget. While Jamie Oliver pledges to give all school children "10 recipes that will save their lives," almost anyone on any budget can change the way they shop for, prepare, and think about food. [more inside]
Finding Dolly Freed by Paige Williams. "In 1978, at age eighteen, she wrote Possum Living, a frugal-living book that made her briefly famous amid an infamous economy. Then she went off the grid in the most unexpected of ways—she went mainstream. Now Dolly—and her book—are back." [more inside]
This Christmas: 6 ways you're not saving money (when you think you are) and 39 ways you could be (that you're not doing).
From bagpipes to xylophones, Dennis Havlena's legendary website will show you how to make musical instruments, cheaply. Some of them sound pretty good [YouTube].
Canning makes a comeback. Is it just another foodie trend? Or is canning back for good? [more inside]
"What would you say if I told you that I filled my entire living room with completely original works of art for less than $300?" Andrea Dickson from Wise Bread has found an unlikely -- though, the more you think about it, almost obvious -- place to find original art from new artists: Ebay. If you can filter through the crapload of "artistic nudes", there are plenty of gems, and usually at buyers' market prices. And, as Andrea's mother mused, when it comes to decorating the house, it beats buying mass-produced art from Costco, which is about as original as a Big Mac.
“I bid you peace…” Jeff Smith, The Frugal Gourmet, dead at 65. One of television’s most popular cooking shows throughout the 80s and 90s, The Frugal Gourmet defined the genre. An ordained United Methodist chaplain, Smith lost his PBS show in 1997 after eight men accused him of sexual assault during the 1970s. Denying the allegations, Smith nonetheless settled the cases out of court. Did the Frugal Gourmet do the ultimate shark jump? Maybe someone should ask Elmo.
Tightwad Chic, Baby! The Thrift Revolution Begins! According to today's Observer, prodigality is out and thrift is in. Magazines like Budget Living and Cheap Date are thriving, while good old Tightwad Gazette and Frugal Fun have become modern classics of extreme mean-fisted hedonism. Can Cheapskate Cool, as practiced by Jarvis Cocker and other figureheads of popular culture, be a long way off? Is saving fun? Does it hit capitalism where it hurts or merely reinforce it? Or perhaps (sorry, can't resist!) you yourself have some penny-pinching tips of your own...