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Jeff Sullivan

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since Nov 16, 2011
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Recent posts by Jeff Sullivan

Meg Mitchell wrote:Zero waste is a movement that involves working to produce minimal amounts of trash as a household, and it doesn't take into account trash produced upstream or activities that have a high carbon cost but don't produce household waste.

This is really important to keep in mind. I remember once when a local chain started selling "bulk" soap: unwrapped bars of slightly fancy soap in a nice stack with just a little paper wrapper for the price tag. We were so excited to see positive movement! Then, someone (forget whether it was me or my spouse) went in to the store during restocking hours and saw someone unwrapping each bar of soap from its shrink wrap before adding it to the stack.

You've got to really look at the full lifecycle of everything before deciding whether or not your eco-guilt is warranted. Marketing experts are great at making you *feel* how they want you to feel; doesn't mean it's true.
2 weeks ago
I use the database features and search, but I don't really get involved with any of the "social" aspects, other than to trade reading recommendations with people I already know IRL.

If I were an author, I would certainly invest the time to establish a profile and make sure all my books were properly entered. After that, the returns on invested energy are going to decline quickly.
This is purely anecdotal, but the guy who runs GardenFork (very much choice one) noticed swings in viewership on YouTube when he would change topics. I forget the exact details, but it was something like: he'd do 3 videos on gardening, and then 1 video on home maintenance and viewership would drop substantially. The hypothesis was that people had tuned in expecting garden videos and were put off by the change.

As a consumer, I take in a bit of both styles, but I'd say that I reliably consume everything from niche feeds and just sample bits and bobs from the generalists.
I use Wave for my small business (two rental units) and I enjoy it. I do not have it linked to any bank accounts and instead enter all the details by hand. So, the dollar amounts and scanned receipts live in the cloud, but no bank account numbers or any other such thing.

I don't keep any inventory, so I'm not sure how well that would work.

Every year, I just export a profit/loss statement along with the associated receipts and send that along to my accountant for taxes. It is quite streamlined from my point of view.
3 months ago

Jason Hernandez wrote:I will add my thoughts on one point:

S Bengi wrote:
6) Trying to save for too many future projects, when you are already overwhelmed.

I found that for me, the most effective step in reducing clutter was when I made up my mind to stop buying stuff for an imagined future. Stick to present needs only. *IF* a project comes up, get what I need for it then, but not until.

I concur. This is the approach I took with a recent remodeling project. I was never sure when I'd be able to work on it more, so I only got the supplies for one phase at a time. It did result in a few more trips to the store, but the alternative would have been devoting an entire room to supply storage for the ~2 months it took to finish the job. On completion, everything unopened went back to the store. No need to store it IF someone else can buy it AND I can get another in the future for the same price.
6 months ago
I use Wave (#4 on that list you linked) and it works just fine for me (small property rental business). You can create invoices, record and categorize expenses, and view reports.

My main use of it is to record all my income and expenses and then export a detailed report for the accountant every year.
7 months ago

Jason Hernandez wrote:

Mike Cantrell wrote:Well, one such thing is selling life insurance and annuities.

The life insurance agent typically gets a moderate commission upon seeking a new policy, and then an itty-bitty commission each year the policy stays in force. That eliminates the temptation fur shenanigans related to signing up and cancelling.

Well, life insurance must be very different from health insurance, then. Because with health insurance, the policy can't stay in force from year to year -- the insurance company stops offering it at the end of the year, so that you have to buy its more expensive replacement.

Yes, life insurance is very different. If you buy a 30-year term life policy, the terms do not change for 30 years. The earlier in your life you buy the policy, the cheaper it will be, but once you lock in a price, it's constant as long as you keep your account current.
It's not inevitable, but it can be difficult to completely eliminate, depending on your house and habits. A few things to look in to:

* where is the moisture coming from? Vent fans in bathrooms and kitchens can help a lot with this
* If the windows are old (i.e. single-pane), you should have storm windows. This will keep the interior surface warmer
* If the windows are double-pane, check that the seals are still good (is there moisture or rust inside the window itself?). You can often replace the sash (the part that goes up and down) without replacing the whole window. The good ones have 10- or 15-year warranties.
* An air-tight barrier on the inside of the window (plastic wrap if that doesn't bother you, well-fitted curtains for a longer-lasting approach) will often help, but make sure that you aren't just making a nice spot for mold to grow
8 months ago
If you're dealing with radiators and very few heat zones, you might want to look into thermostatic valves:

They operate on each individual radiator, essentially giving you more heat zones without having to replumb the house.
9 months ago
We're also in the Northeast and use natural gas for cooking and heating, so when I'm looking at our energy picture, I convert those therms in kwh and add it together with the electricity. Since so much of the US uses electric for heating, I think leaving that out biases your estimates if you're looking at a truly nationwide average.

Our household of seven uses 4,000 to 7,000 kwh of gas + electric per year, but the mix varies a lot over the year. This summer, with two window A/C units running as needed, sometimes our energy was > 50% electric, while in winter months it can hit 98% natural gas.
9 months ago