Links Roundup: Food and More Edition

Maybe I was just hungry this week, but a lot of my financially related links happened to be about food!

CNN reporter lives on food stamps for a month
What’s it like to eat with a food budget of $176 a month? Some frugal families may find that plenty for one person, others can’t even imagine it. What about nutrition? Too many carbs, too few fruits and vegetables. Reminds me of this breakdown of foods by how much 200 calories costs.

Who moved my Parmigiano?
Banks in Italy are buying and storing Parmigiano Reggiano as a hedge against “the expected future devaluation of other assets and defaults in their portfolio.” This wouldn’t work in my house… because I’d eat my hedge.

How Much Water Does Pasta Really Need?
It is a surely the sign of the times when the NY Times is asking if we really need the entire recommended 4-6 quarts of water to properly boil a pound of pasta. But I was interested anyways, since I’ve been boiling pasta in a lot less water for years, with the primary reason being to save time with my slow stove.

Think Global. Drink Local.
A website supporting the drinking of tap water instead of bottled water. I’ve only recently learned about health concerns from the BPA found in many plastic water bottles.

Guide to Buying TIPS on the Secondary Market
The Finance Buff has a guide on buying individual inflation-protection bonds on the secondary market. It’s kind of like buying individual stocks as you can make market or limit orders, but with different variables like yield-to-maturity. For more advanced investors.

Card Issuers: How Can We Make You Go Away?
For specifically targeted customers, credit card companies are offering $300 or 10% of your balance if you pay your debt off and close your account. Dang, where’s my offer Citibank?

2008 Berkshire Hathaway Letter to Shareholders
Buffett’s annual letter to BRK shareholders, which is always a good read. Pal Carol Loomis of Fortune (editor of the letter) has a summary.


  1. For $176, you can buy a lot of veggies if you can find a u-pick farm nearby. Last summer (yes the entire summer), we just spent less than $200 for our veggies bought from a u-pick farm. We could not eat them all and ended up giving some sizable portion to our friends. They were fresh and tasty, much better than those sold in the grocery stores, and we enjoyed being out breathing some fresh air in the farm. We will do it again this summer.

  2. About the bottled water note. I kept track of how much bottled water I used during the month of July. In fact I literally kept the bottles. I had close to 80 bottles in one month. That was about $40 spent on water. During August I banned bottled water in my house. I spent $50 on Brita filter systems, and $30 on 3 reusable camelbak water bottles(BPA free of course). I paid myself back after 2 months and have kept 480 bottles out landfill after only 6 months. WOW. Basically what I’m saying is it is really a huge waste spending money on bottled water. I saved close to $500 a year switching off of it.

  3. wow, that’s rare. a link roundup where the links are actually useful and not just PF bloggers scratching each others’ backs. the only one i had seen was the pasta water one

  4. Not really money related but I was following this site called the 100 mile diet at Basically you only eat food that is grown within 100 miles. Not sure if it comes out cheaper or not or how prices at the farmers market compare to those of the grocery store but its still interesting.

  5. The problem with those sandwich toasters is the Teflon on them that you wind up eating. Although everyone uses them, they are a health hazard. Of course, no one listens to that complaint. So many cancers and so little time in our busy schedules.

  6. financePHI says:

    Is all that about the contaminants in bottled water true? Crazy. We switched to tap a while ago and it still tastes great.

  7. Question about bottle water, Tap water is great in some places like NY, San Antonio and Colorado but I have lived in Las Cruces,NM and now live in phoenix where the majority of tap water comes from recycled sewer water, where you can taste the difference. What is your opinion on buying gallon bottle waters for 89 cents I use about 3 a month which isn’t something I am worried about.

    The other thing I was curious about was that one of the articles said that chase is tacking on a $10 fee to some customers. I’m just curious if they did that cant you refuse the change of contract and cancel the card without having to pay the fee while slowly paying the minimum balance?

  8. Glad to see the mainstream media picking up on what regular people have known all along! 🙂 Pasta doesn’t need that much water to cook. You’re wasting water AND all the electricity to heat it!

    I also don’t drink the bottled water mainly because I get tap water for FREE and also because my tap water has fluoride added! I head that dentists are seeing a LOT more cavities these days because everyone’s drinking the bottled water.

  9. refer to this website regarding re-using water bottles.

    in short, it is safe to reuse plastic water bottles.

  10. Bottled water is held to a lower standard than tap water. And you are saving the fuel cost of shipping it from point A to point B. Plus, some bottled water is just city tap water anyway.

    Its great that you can get to a you-pick veggie place, but if you dont have a vehicle, and have limited funds for transportation to such a place, that isnt an option. Dont just think of it in terms of the $ for the food itself, think of it in terms of the $ it takes to get to the food, etc.

  11. Steve,

    Are you also against vaccines?

    If you’re going to make claims like saying the teflon coating on consumer grade sandwich makers causes cancer, at least back it up?

    This is all easily verifiable by googling, wikipedia, etc. Teflon does not break down until it reaches almost 700 degrees. Does your sandwich maker get anywhere near that hot? If it does, let me know where you got it–I would love to have a cheap appliance that could do that!

    Furthermore, when teflon does break down, you have nothing to worry about unless you were to sit around all down with your head inches from teflon with no food or oil on it, at max heat on a stove. You probably would have MORE to worry about from your oils. Oils like olive oil that have a relatively low smoke point DO break down and become toxic at temperatures far lower than 600-700 degrees. (most all fats are breaking down by those temperates)

    Of course if you know something I don’t, I would love to see the studies that show links between teflon and cancer–it would probably even change my mind!

  12. Question to those that don’t drink tapwater without running it through a brita, etc — is this just a taste issue?

  13. Matthew says:


    Water here in Indiana contains higher than normal amounts mercury, lead, and arsenic because of all the coal burning electric plants. Soon after moving here, I found that out, so ever since I’ve used a water filter. It does improve the taste too!

  14. “I’ve only recently learned about health concerns from the BPA found in many plastic water bottles.”

    Yet, for some bizarre reason, most people trust Flu shots and fluoride in tap water. Hey, the government and journalists said it’s ok, it must be good!

  15. On the bottled water comments…

    Yes, you should try to eliminate the BPA. However, it seems that web sites talking about the potential for toxins to leech into bottled water are forgetting about all the toxins present in drinking water!

    Let’s start with chlorine. There’s tons of it in drinking water, and more when it rains. Chlorine kills just about everything — ask your local hospital. Then, there is all the estrogen — yes, estrogen levels in water are growing all the time.

    Then, there is the federal Clean Water standard. It doesn’t include many toxins that are of concern, and even the ones it *does* include allow for levels of toxins that are … debatable.

    I’ve looked at some filters with interest, but your basic Brita filter will NOT do the job — may things of concern get through. You need to spend big $$$ to get one that might be good enough.

    There are, however, economical ways to get your bottled water. You can buy it in bigger quantities. And, you can get it in glass bottles! (Mountain Valley Water, AK: 800-643-1501)

    Tap water is not necessarily the answer… Do your research!

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