Menstrual Cups: The Sustainable Period

The Diva Menstrual Cup

The Diva menstrual cup

The menstrual cycle is something that every woman becomes familiar with during her lifetime. How each woman deals with it is a personal choice, but not one that goes without major consequences on both her health and the environment. The common Western way to handle a period often involves tampons and pads.  There is another option, however, that you may have never heard of. Something that is becoming increasingly popular due to both the health benefits and positive environmental effects is a device called a menstrual cup. The Mayo Clinic‘s Mary M. Gallenberg, M.D tells us that

A menstrual cup is a bell-shaped device worn inside the vagina during menstruation to collect menstrual fluid. Menstrual cups provide a viable alternative to pads and tampons. Menstrual cups are typically made of silicone or other nonlatex materials.

*Note: This article will specifically address why menstrual cups are a good alternative to traditional tampons and will not discuss sanitary napkins in depth as the internal use of tampons and menstrual cups makes them more comparable in manner than menstrual cups and sanitary napkins.



Health Effects

To better understand the health benefits of menstrual cups, it’s important to understand the health effects of tampons. To fully grasp this let’s take a look at what tampons are made of, and how they’re produced. Remember that all of these items are inserted into the body and held internally for extended periods (4-8 hours) for about a week every month.


Material Production 

According to Wikipedia:

The majority of tampons sold are made of rayon, or a blend of rayon and cotton. Organic cotton tampons are made from only 100% cotton.

Rayon is a semi-synthetic fiber manufactured mostly from wood pulp using a chemical process.  The production process of rayon might make a person second guess the use of this fiber internally, but what’s wrong with cotton? According to the Organic Trade Association:

Cotton is considered the world’s ‘dirtiest’ crop due to its heavy use of insecticides, the most hazardous pesticide to human and animal health. Cotton covers 2.5% of the world’s cultivated land yet uses 16% of the world’s insecticides, more than any other single major crop (1). Aldicarb, parathion, and methamidopho, three of the most acutely hazardous insecticides to human health as determined by the World Health Organization, rank in the top ten most commonly used in cotton production. All but one of the remaining seven most commonly used are classified as moderately to highly hazardous (1). Aldicarb, cotton’s second best selling insecticide and most acutely poisonous to humans, can kill a man with just one drop absorbed through the skin, yet it is still used in 25 countries and the US.

That sounds healthy.


Chemical Processing and Dioxin

After the cotton is grown and harvested it must be bleached to make it a pleasant looking bright white. In the past this process involved a chlorine gas bleaching process which produces a poison called dioxin.  Kotex addresses the issue of dioxin on their website stating that,

KOTEX® tampons are bleached using Elemental Chlorine Free (ECF) processes which significantly minimize the potential for dioxin formation during bleaching.  Using extremely sensitive analytical studies, independent laboratories are unable to find any dioxin created by the bleaching process in KOTEX® tampons. These tests measure amounts as low as one-half part per trillion. To put this into perspective, one part per trillion is equivalent to one drop of water in over 11 million gallons. 

menstrual cups contain no dioxin

Menstrual cups contain no dioxin. Even though dioxin seems totally safe…

That doesn’t sound so bad, but according to the World Health Organization,

Once dioxins have entered the body, they endure a long time because of their chemical stability and their ability to be absorbed by fat tissue, where they are then stored in the body. Their half-life in the body is estimated to be seven to eleven years. Dioxins are highly toxic and can cause reproductive and developmental problems, damage the immune system, interfere with hormones and also cause cancer.

not to mention that,

Due to the omnipresence of dioxins, all people have background exposure, which is not expected to affect human health. However, due to the highly toxic potential of this class of compounds, efforts need to be undertaken to reduce current background exposure.

Natracare, a producer of 100% organic cotton tampons, informs us that Elemental Chlorine Free bleaching is in fact, not free of chlorine, and therefore not free of dioxin. It is simply free of the pure element of chlorine in gas form. Natracare uses a 100% totally free from chlorine bleaching process and wins my vote for best tampon out there.


Toxic Shock Syndrome 

Another health risk, and one of the largest worries of tampon users, is Toxic Shock Syndrome (TSS), a type of staph infection that arises when a tampon provides a breeding ground for bacteria in the vagina during menstruation. This risk is more associated with the semi-synthetic rayon fibers than cotton, but a potential risk exists with any tampon. The Playtex website and informational insert in all Playtex packages states that,

Tampons are associated with Toxic Shock Syndrome (TSS). TSS is a rare but serious disease that may cause death. The incidence of TSS is estimated to be between 1 and 17 cases of TSS per 100,000 menstruating women and girls per year.

Some might argue that this means TSS is rare, but let’s take a closer look. The US Census reports that in 2011 there were approximately 72,677,000 women between the ages of 15 and 49 alive in the United States. I will make what I believe to be a modest estimate and say that a quarter of this population uses tampons to help with her menstrual cycle, which comes to 18,169,250 women using tampons. So, if 1-17 out of every 100,000 will get TSS, my calculations conclude that between 181 and 3,088 women in the United States will get TSS every year. The CDC does not require TSS infections to be reported so the data concerning infections is not complete.  Menstrual cup producer Lunette urges people to,

Keep in mind that it is scientifically proven that menstrual cups don’t change the composition of blood during the time the cup is kept inside the vagina. There are no reported cases of TSS in connection with use of menstrual cups since the cups were invented in the 1930’s. The Lunette menstrual cups hold 25 ml (size 1) or 30 ml (size 2). As a comparison, a tampon that absorbs this amount (25 to 30 grams) is dangerous and even illegal in some countries, because of the risk of TSS.

Related Article: Natural, Living Pesticides TSS is a serious disease related to tampons, but according to Natracare a Canadian study found no connection to 100% all cotton tampons and TSS. While one study isn’t conclusive it’s a good sign for all cotton, organic tampons.


Dryness and Tearing

Although TSS is the most significant health risk associated with tampon use, it’s not the only disadvantage. Tampons absorb fluid from the vagina, disrupting the delicate vaginal ecosystem. The dryness associated with tampon use causes vaginal health problems. Inserting and removing tampons with no lubrication can cause tears and rips in the vaginal wall leading to increased risks of infection and diminished health. Vaginal discharge is the body’s way of cleaning and protecting the vagina.  The Mayo Clinic links “inadequate vaginal lubrication” as a cause of vaginal yeast infections. WEB MD says that:

A tampon inside a dry vagina can cause significant irritation as well as microscopic tears in the skin. The irritation and tears can later open the door to infection.

Menstrual cups leave the vaginal ecosystem intact and don’t alter the environment. Many menstrual cups are made of medical grade silicone and their role is to collect the menstrual blood, not absorb it. This difference creates a healthier environment in the vagina, allowing the vagina to continue protecting itself.


Environmental Benefits

Pads_and_tampon_garbageMost commercial tampons and pads are one time purchase and use items. This means that every menstrual cycle a female has is a burden to the environment. All of the tampons and pads she uses head straight to the landfill and take years to decompose, all the while leaching dioxin and pesticides into the ground. The Chic Ecologist says that

 A typical woman can use anywhere between 8,000 to 17,000 tampons in her lifetime.

That’s a lot of tampons. In the book Flow: The Cultural Story of Menstruation Elissa Stein and Susan Kim discuss the idea of menstrual cups. This idea is discussed enthusiastically and with the same reasoning used in this article.

Think about it… at roughly thirty bucks a pop, menstrual cups can be quite the bargain! And considering that the average woman will throw away 250 to 300 pounds of pads, plugs, and applicators in her lifetime, one would also save oneself significant guilt about dumping all that waste into our already-stressed environment.

Slate magazine states in an article about greener periods that period related waste is a small percentage of total female produced waste, but let’s consider the accumulated effect of all women of menstruating age. If we take another look at the number of women in the US between the ages of 15 and 49 (approximately menstruating age) and assume that half of them are menstruating (accounting for pregnancies and other circumstances) then that leaves 36, 338,500 women menstruating and producing 250-300 pounds of menstrual garbage each, for an accumulated total of over 9 billion pounds of trash. All produced from periods. So yes, maybe looking at the total amount of trash that we as individuals produce every year makes our menstrual waste seem small, but factor in total accumulation and all women, and the number becomes very significant. For each person using a menstrual cup instead of tampons and pads, the environment is benefited by having that much less waste in landfills. This in itself is an instantaneous reward for the new menstrual cup user, but what if using a menstrual cup could help the environment even more? Now this part has no real science behind it that I could find, but some people claim that menstrual blood is a great fertilizer. The website Holy Hormones hearkens back to the Native Americans and their practices saying that,

There are also native tribes that would return the sacred life-giving blood back to the earth. They would sit over seeds and let the sacred blood flow directly on the seeds or on newly planted seedlings.

So even if the menstrual blood collected in the menstrual cup is not used as a fertilizer the impact on the environment through lack of landfill waste is truly something amazing.

Related Article: The “Friends of the Indian” and How They Treated Their Friends


Impact on the Budget 

The average American woman can spend upwards of $1900 in her lifetime (40 years) on feminine products such as tampons and pads. Comparatively, menstrual cups cost as little as $104 for a 40 year period.  This is because they are a one time purchase for up to 10 years and can cost as little as $26 each. So in addition to the significant impact these products can have on the environment and women’s health, they can also ease stress off the budget. Even if you opt for the slightly higher price menstrual cups the savings over a lifetime are significant enough. The company which produces the Keeper estimates that over a 10 year period the average woman would spend $400 on pads and tampons, whereas the cost of one Keeper is $35 for the same 10 year time span.

Related Article: The 20 Biggest Wastes of Money and How to Avoid Them


Choosing and Using a Menstrual Cup

797px-Fleurcup_and_tamponsEveryone is different. Choosing the best menstrual cup is dependent upon one’s size. To help you choose which cup is best suited to your flow and size I suggest a visit to to view their comparison chart. I highly suggest watching an instructional video before using a menstrual cup as it can be difficult to use if not done properly. There are many different brands, the most popular being the Diva Cup, and the Moon Cup. If you’re American and want to support an American company the Keeper and the Moon cup are the only menstrual cups made in America, and they’re darn tootin’ proud of it. To answer some frequently asked questions about menstrual cups check out the Diva Cup’s FAQ list and the Moon cup’s Q&A page. You can of course read many, many testimonials all over the internet, but I’ll give you my own personal experience below (I sincerely hope it’s not TMI).


My Personal Experience

I use a menstrual cup. I use the moon cup size B for women who haven’t given birth. I also use an IUD which makes my periods really, really heavy. Personally, I was spending $105 a year on feminine products before I switched (Did I mention I have a heavy flow?). Over a 40 year period that adds up to over $4000 I would have to pay had I stuck to traditional feminine hygiene products. Given the choice between spending $104 and $4000 on something I don’t even like, I’ll choose $104 every time, thank you.

The moon cup also holds more than any legal absorbency tampon, making my heavy flow days a lot easier, because that means less trips to the bathroom. I initially switched based entirely on the cost aspect. My decision was also influenced by a quickly approaching 10 month journey around the Eastern Hemisphere (Asia, Australia and New Zealand). I was only bringing a 30 liter backpack and didn’t want the hassle or stress of finding feminine products in Asian countries or bringing them with me in such a small bag. I ordered the moon cup and had it for two cycles before my trip. I’ll admit it was a little rough going at first, and after watching a few instructional videos and a little “at home practice” it became easier. I successfully took my menstrual cup through China, Thailand, Laos, Indonesia, compost toilets in Australia, and living out of a car in New Zealand (100% public restrooms).

Despite my initial reasons for switching my favorite aspect since the switch is the environmental effect, followed closely by the health benefits. I have much less irritation surrounding my menstrual cycle and because I’m still using the same menstrual cup I haven’t had  any environmental waste since I switched.

Would I recommend buying a menstrual cup? Yes!




Fresh Air: The Natural, Three-Plant Air Purifying System

fresh air systems

Get fresh air from this three plant system

Fresh Air

In today’s growing world clean, fresh air is getting harder to come by. Due to booming populations and rapidly advancing technologies there is a plethora of products on the market to help make fresh air. However, these products have repeatedly been found to contain chemicals linked to adverse health effects. In a TED talk from 2009, Kamal Meattle explains how this problem was approached in his native homeland of India, where air pollution is among the highest in the world.



The TED talk states that he was able to produce clean fresh air for one human for a whole day with a combination of three plant types. The three plants he mentions are the Areca Palm (Chrysalidocarpus Lutescens) , the Mother-In-Law Tongue (Sansevieria trifasciata), and the Money plant (Epipremnum aureum).

fresh air


The Areca Palm (Chrysalidocarpus Lutescens)

This plant takes carbon dioxide and turns it back into oxygen. In addition to producing oxygen and lowering carbon dioxide levels, it also removes certain pollutants from the air helping to produce clean indoor fresh air. Meattle suggests that for one person four shoulder high plants are sufficient. The Areca palm grows well in filtered light and likes to be watered often. For more information on how to take care of the Areca Palm visit SFGate’s page on special care.

Related Article: The Ugly Face of Overpopulation



Sansevieria_trifasciata_cv_GoldenHahnii_pmMother-In-Law Tongue (Sansevieria trifasciata)

This is a very common household plant in America. Meattle calls it “The Bedroom Plant,” because it produces oxygen at night. It’s also known as the Snake Plant. It was discovered by NASA to remove Benzene from the air and works in great combination with the other two plants mentioned in Meattle’s TED talk. The Snake plant can sit in full sun light but also does well in dim light. It doesn’t need to be watered very often since it is part of the succulent family.

This is a good plant for the first time plant owner because of its heartiness. Meattle suggests that for one person, six to eight waist high plants are sufficient. OF course just one would help if you don’t want that many. Check out Amazon for a nice selection of starter plants.

WARNING: This plant has been declared toxic to cats and dogs by the ASPCA, so if you have animals that like to eat your indoor plants, please do be careful and place this plant away from them, or find an alternative plant to help you make fresh air.


fresh air from a vine plantMoney Plant (Epipremnum aureum)

While many plants colloquially claim the name “money plant,” this one is a native to the Eastern Hemisphere. If you plan on purchasing one of these make sure to check the scientific name to be sure you’re getting the correct one. This plant has been shown by NASA (along with many others) to remove chemicals and other pollutants from the air. In the trio suggested by Meattle in his TED talk, this one does most of the pollutant removal. This plant enjoys medium, indirect sun light and regular watering. For more information about care check Princeton’s care page. This plant can be propagated from cuttings, so check with friends to see if anyone has one; but of course there’s always Amazon.

WARNING: This plant has also been declared toxic to cats, dogs and children by the ASPCA, so if you have animals or children that like to eat your indoor plants, please do be careful and place this plant away from them, or find an alternative plant to help make fresh air.


Related Article: Smelling Calmness: Aromatherapy and Essential Oils



The Ugly Face of Overpopulation

No More Red: Charge Your Phone With Wi-Fi

TED Talk: Kamal Meattle: How to Grow Fresh Air

Smelling Calmness: Aromatherapy and Essential Oils


Fracking Worse Than You Think: Delusional America and Special Interest Gangs

fracking water

Mam, your water’s just fine, a pungent gasoline smell is normal nowadays.

A recent peer reviewed study has revealed that greenhouse gas emissions from drilling and fracking are 50% worse than previously thought. According to the Harvard study US fossil-fuel-industry methane leaks are dramatically higher than the official estimates have claimed. Not surprisingly, the coal seam gas industry in Australia (one of the largest in the world) has rejected the study outright.

The report, published in the US journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, directly challenges the EPA’s decision to cut its methane emission (produced from fossil fuel extraction) estimates by 25% for 1990 – 2011. The report states that:

We find that [methane] data from across North America instead indicates the need for a much larger adjustment of the opposite sign

Fracking is altering the climate far faster than we first thought. However, before we continue with fracking, let’s first understand the difference between Australia’s coal seam gas and America’s natural gas.

Coal Seam Gas Vs. Natural Gas:

As an end-use product, coal seam gas is the same as natural gas...The only difference between CSG and natural gas is in the way that it is formed by nature. CSG is composed predominantly of methane and small percentages of nitrogen and carbon dioxide. The coal seam is both the source and the reservoir, which is different from the sandstone reservoirs of conventional oil and shale gas. As coal forms over millions of years, large quantities of methane-rich gas are generated and trapped in coal seams by water and ground pressure. CSG is trapped in the coal in tiny fractures, or cleats, under hydrostatic pressure. CSG is extracted at low pressures from coal.
Shale gas is methane held within shale layers, rather than a coal seam. Shale is much harder than coal and always requires fracturing ('fracking') to allow the gas to flow.
fracking graphic

Seems pretty technical boys, just throw in all the chemicals you can’t pronounce.

While natural gas produces less CO2 than coal, the savings become irrelevant when considering the amount of methane that is sprayed into the atmosphere from methane leaks at well sites and while transporting the fuel. The reason for all the worry is that methane traps about 20 times more heat over a 100 year period compared to CO2, despite remaining in the atmosphere for less time.

Related Article: What is the Solution to Smog? A Vacuum! 

A natural gas addiction has infected the U.S. with fracking spreading across the country like a viral epidemic. Fracking is the process of harvesting natural gas, or shale gas.  It involves mixing dangerous chemicals with large quantities of water and sand and injecting the mixture into shale wells at extremely high pressure. It is for this reason that fracking is believed to be poisoning well water all across the U.S. and in other areas of the world. According to the NRDC (Natural Resources Defence Council):

Over the last decade, the industry has drilled thousands of new wells in the Rocky Mountain region and in the South. It is expanding operations in the eastern United States as well, setting its sights most recently on a 600-mile-long rock formation called the Marcellus Shale, which stretches from West Virginia to western New York.  Fracking is a suspect in polluted drinking water in Arkansas, Colorado, Pennsylvania, Texas, Virginia, West Virginia and Wyoming, where residents have reported changes in water quality or quantity following fracturing operations.

fracking U.S.

The U.S. is ripe for the fracking!

Immense wells of shale gas are spread across most of the U.S. mainland.  These sites each undergo several fracking pumps. Although the media portrays natural gas as the new and improved, next-gen, problem free energy source, it couldn’t be further from the truth. Pipeline incidents and injuries abound and reports of polluted drinking water continue to pop up across the nation with greater frequency. Studies have directly linked shale gas fracking to:

The EPA still has not issued its report on the effect of fracking on drinking water. Despite all of the science pleading with us to reconsider our actions, fracking continues unimpeded.

Related Article: A Cheaper Alternative to Pollution


Fracking Denial and Delusions

By far the worst issue surrounding fracking is that as a whole, we still seem to have no clue that fracking is even taking place, let alone destroying the water supply and decimating the health of 1000’s of people as well as the land.  I suppose this isn’t surprising though as many nations are just as clueless about climate change. Afterall, climate denial is a real thing, actively and directly supported by a large number of the 90 institutions that are responsible for climate change since the industrial revolution. So, why shouldn’t the natural gas and fracking industries involve the same type of nonsense?


fracking climate

Superhuman denial abilties…

The truth is that human beings, especially us good ol’ Americans, will buy into anything given the opportunity. People are often fooled into passionate belief, and the denial campaigns and propaganda of billion dollar industries do a great deal of fooling.

Related Article: Climate Change too Fast for Evolution 

Let’s consider climate change again: Many Americans continue to believe that climate change is either a hoax or an over-dramatized issue.  This ignorance is a wrench in the spokes of global progress, especially in light of increasingly volatile weather patternsincreasing extinctions in land and marine lifewarnings from scientists across the globe; and the potential loss of trillions of dollars due to the costly effects of climate change.  This is cognitive dissonance in its purest form: we know the facts, but we are refusing to change.


Crony Capitalism and Special Interest

Despite America’s lack of progress in reducing emissions, most Americans’ desire a green, renewable energy policy. This applies to fracking as well; a large number of Americans are completely against it. Unfortunately though, oil, coal, and gas companies are at the top of the special interest dole list.

Special interest comes in the form of better government subsidies, tax cuts, court rulings, and allowances. We all know it takes place, and it has been widely practiced and wildly accepted. It is called crony capitalism, and it has been an an ongoing, yet somehow overlooked problem in America.

Related Article: Team Red = Team Blue

fracking george bush

No. Well, for the entertainment value, yes.

When Bush appointed Dick Cheney to lead an energy task force to revolutionize America’s energy policy, Cheney quickly organized a private meeting with fossil fuel giants at the head of the fracking movement. Companies such as Exxon Mobil, Conoco, Shell Oil, BP America and Chevron made the top of the list.  Today, these companies are still given billions of dollars in tax cuts and subsidies despite raking in hundreds of billions of dollars in private profit. According to PBS:

In 2005, Bush, who has received more from the oil and gas industry than any other politician, signed an energy bill from the Republican-controlled Congress that gave $14.5 billion in tax breaks for oil, gas, nuclear power and coal companies. The Energy Policy Act of 2005, which was based on recommendations by Cheney’s energy task force, also rolled back regulations the oil industry considered burdensome, including exemptions from some clean water laws. All of this transpired only one year after Congress passed a bill that included a tax cut for domestic manufacturing that was expected to save energy companies at least $3.6 billion over a decade.

During the time that Bush and Cheney, both of whom are former oil executives, have been in the White House, the oil and gas industry has spent $393.2 million on lobbying the federal government. This places the industry among the top nine in lobbying expenditures. The industry has also contributed a substantial $82.1 million to federal candidates, parties and political action committees, according to the Center for Responsive Politics. 80 percent of the industry’s contributions have gone to Republicans.

It is clear that special interest is taking place and is supporting companies in defiance of America’s health, wealth, and overall best interest. The truth is that a complete multi-industry infiltration of the U.S. government has taken place. Men and women with stake in the fracking, agriculture, pharmaceuticals and more are casting votes and making decisions that directly benefit the industries and leave citizens stripped of their money and power.


Monsanto the Usurper

The most obvious example of a corporation infiltrating the U.S. government is that of Monsanto. Monsanto, in case you didn’t know, is responsible for destroying thousands of local farms, using known harmful herbicides, pesticides, and fungicides, using chemicals responsible for colony collapse disorders in bees, and much more.

Related Article: The Senate is Useless and Should be Dismantled

Monsanto and Monsanto products are banned in several countries.  Numerous petitions to cut government ties to Monsanto have circulated, yet to no avail.  I wonder, why they didn’t succeed?

First, follow this link to view a list of 71 senators who voted against your right to know if what you are eating is GMO. Oh, and that’s despite 90% of the population saying they would be in favor of mandatory labeling.

fracking monsanto us

Whoa, there must be some huge cracks in the U.S. government for these people to slip through.

Next, check out the following list of U.S. government/Monsanto ties and the answer will be obvious.

David Beier 
MONSANTO POSITION: Head of Government Affairs for Genetech, (Now Monsanto)
FEDERAL POSITION: Chief Domestic Policy Advisor to Vice President Gore

William Conlon:
MONSANTO POSITION: Worked for Monsanto’s Legal Team
FEDERAL POSITION: Department of Justice

Sam Skinner:
MONSANTO POSITION: Worked on Monsanto’s Legal Team
FEDERAL POSITION: Department of Justice

Robert Fraley:
MONSANTO POSITION: Executive Vice President and Chief Technology Officer
FEDERAL POSITION: Serves as advisor in public agencies, including the USDA, among others

Michael A. Friedman:
MONSANTO POSITION: Senior Vice President for Clinical Affairs at G.D. Searle &Co. (Merged with Monsanto)
FEDERAL POSITION: Acting Commissioner of the FDA

Marcia Hale
MONSANTO POSITION: Director of International Government Affairs
FEDERAL POSITION: Assistant to President Clinton and Director of Government Affairs

Arthur Hull Hayes:
MONSANTO POSITION: Consultant to Searle’s (merged with Monsanto) Public Relations Firm
FEDERAL POSITION: Previously was FDA Commissioner

John L. Henshaw:
MONSANTO POSITION: Director of ESH Quality & Compliance
FEDERAL POSITION: Senior Advisor to U.S. Secretary of Labor

Rob Horsch:
MONSANTO POSITION: Vice President of Product and Technology Cooperation
FEDERAL POSITION: Advisor to the National Science Foundation and the Department of Energy

Michael Kantor:
MONSANTO POSITION: Board of Directors, also represented Monsanto as a lawyer
FEDERAL POSITION: U.S. Secretary of Commerce

Gwendolyn S. King:
MONSANTO POSITION: Monsanto Board Member
FEDERAL POSITION: Commissioner of SSA 1989-1992

Richard J. Mahoney:
MONSANTO POSITION: CEO of Monsanto for 14 years
FEDERAL POSITION: Serves as Director of U.S. Soviet, Japanese and Korean Trade Councils, a Member of the U.S. Government Policy Committee

Margaret Miller:
MONSANTO POSITION: Oversaw the Approval of rBGH, was a top Monsanto scientist
FEDERAL POSITION: In, 1991, Margaret was appointed Deputy Director of the FDA

George Poste:
MONSANTO POSITION: Sits on Monsanto’s Board of Directors, previously a Monsanto Animal Specialist
FEDERAL POSITION: In 2002, Poste was appointed head of Bioterrorism division of Homeland Security

William D. Ruckelshaus:
MONSANTO POSITION: Member of the Monsanto Board of Directors
FEDERAL POSITION: In 1970, he was the first Chief Administrator for the EPA, later the acting director of the FBI, then Deputy U.S. Attorney General

Donald Rumsfeld:
MONSANTO POSITION: Previous CEO of Searle (merged with Monsanto), he successfully had ASPARTAME legalized while in that position.
FEDERAL POSITION: Appointed to Secretary of Defense in 1975, then appointed to Secretary of Defense again in 2002

Suzanne Sechen:
MONSANTO POSITION: Worked on Monsanto-funded rGBH in connection with her graduate work at Cornell University
FEDERAL POSITION: FDA Reviewer on Scientific Data

Robert B. Shapiro:
MONSANTO POSITION: Previously the President and CEO of Monsanto, Chairman and CEO of Nutrasweet, and Chairman and CEO of Monsanto
FEDERAL POSITION: Previously Served as President’s Advisory Committee on Trade Policy and on the White House Domestic Policy Review of Industrial Innovation

Islam Siddiqui:
MONSANTO POSITION: Former Vice President of CropLife America, which represented Monsanto
FEDERAL POSITION: Chief Agricultural Negotiator for the Office of the Trade Representative

Michael Taylor:
MONSANTO POSITION: Former Attorney for Monsanto for seven years, previous h Head of the Monsanto Washington D.C. Office
FEDERAL POSITION: Former FDA Deputy Commission for Policy. In 2010, appointed by the FDA as a senior advisor of the FDA Commissioner

Dr. Charles Thomas:
MONSANTO POSITION: Previous Monsanto Researcher in charge of the Manhattan Project, creating the atomic bomb. Later, became Monsanto’s Chairman of the board.
FEDERAL POSITION: Previously Served as a consultant to the National Security Council and as a U.S. Representative of the United Nations’ Atomic Energy Commission

Clarence Thomas:
MONSANTO POSITION: Former lawyer for Monsanto, a notorious chemical polluter. Thomas would later cast the decisive vote in 2000 on the Supreme Court, ratifying the stolen election that put George W. Bush Jr. into office
FEDERAL POSITION: In 1991, was appointed to the U.S. Supreme Court

Anne Veneman:
MONSANTO POSITION: Previously served on the Board of Directors of Calgene, a Monsanto Biotech subsidiary
FEDERAL POSITION: In 2001, was appointed Head of the USDA

Jack Watson:
MONSANTO POSITION: Former Staff Lawyer with Monsanto in Washington D.C.
FEDERAL POSITION: Chief of Staff to President Carter

Seth Waxman:
MONSANTO POSITION: Hired by Monsanto to prosecute two Farmers who fought against Monsanto’s Seed Policies in 2002
FEDERAL POSITION: Former U.S. Solicitor General

Dr. Virginia Weldon:
MONSANTO POSITION: Retired Senior Vice President for Public Policy at Monsanto
FEDERAL POSITION: Previously, was a member of the FDA’s Metabolism & Endocrine Advisory Committee

Rufus Yerxa:
MONSANTO POSITION: Former Chief Counsel at Monsanto
FEDERAL POSITION: In 1993, was nominated as U.S. Deputy to the World Trade Organization

Toby Moffett:
MONSANTO POSITION: Monsanto Consultant
FEDERAL POSITION: U.S. Congressman (D)

Dennis DeConcini:
MONSANTO POSITION: Monsanto Legal Counsel

Josh King:
MONSANTO POSITION: Director, International Government Affairs
FEDERAL POSITION: White House Communications (Clinton)

Carol Tucker-Forman:
MONSANTO POSITION: Monsanto Lobbyist
FEDERAL POSITION: White House Appointed Consumer Advisor (Clinton)

Linda Fisher:
MONSANTO POSITION: Vice President, Government & Public Affairs
FEDERAL POSITION: Deputy Administrator EPA (Clinton, Bush)

Lidia Watrud:
MONSANTO POSITION: Manger, New Technologies
FEDERAL POSITION: USDA, EPA (Clinton, Bush, Obama)

Hillary Clinton:
MONSANTO POSITION: Rose Law Firm, Monsanto Counsel
FEDERAL POSITION: U.S. Senator (D), Secretary of State (Obama)

Roger Beachy:
MONSANTO POSITION: Director, Monsanto Danforth Center


How to Patch a Sinking Ship

It appears that industries spanning every sector, including fracking, agriculture, pharmaceuticals and more are playing a game with the U.S. government, swapping players each season for their own sake, not mine and yours. When congress, the congress of the people, stops acting in the people’s best interest we have a serious problem. Right now we are in the heart of the danger zone. What are we to do?

permaculture fracking system

So, let’s make this happen immediately.

In a capitalistic society you are a consumer first and foremost.  A capitalistic society feeds on your spending, and it feeds you with the sweet satisfaction of ‘things.’  You have power in your purchases; use your buying power to support sustainability-minded companies. If companies are getting away with infiltrating and orchestrating sections of the government, then why not make sure they are excellent companies willing to appease, not disease the masses.

Buy local, support the little guy. Sure, it may sometimes be more expensive, but try not spending your money on a few of your monthly non-essentials and you’d be surprised how quickly your savings add up.

Related Article: Income Inequality in America

Become more independent and deplete your dependence on ‘the system’ by making purchases with awarenessFind satisfaction in the little things and start wanting less. Become more aware of how each and every decision you make affects the rest of the world.  Imagine that everyone else on planet Earth is you; what effect would you like to have on yourself?

Grow a garden, go foraging for food, or keep honeybees. Learn about permaculture and begin practicing a zero-waste lifestyle. It’s way easier than you think, and is actually really fun.

Arguably the most important thing you can do is vote. Contact your elected officials  and tell them what you think. Demand that they act as your representative, not a rogue speaker. Help fight fracking by joining organizations that fight to stop it.

Educate yourself and spread awareness about issues that are important to you.

Consider. Constantly consider the effect you are causing.





Climate Change Caused by 90 Companies Since Industrial Revolution

climate change factory

Land of beauty, prosperity, and climate change…

A recent analysis on climate change has revealed that just 90 companies are responsible for 63% of all greenhouse gas emissions since 1854, the dawn of the Industrial Revolution. The companies range from private corporations such as BP and Exxon to government-run companies. 83 of the 90 companies are oil, gas, and coal based energy companies, with the remaining 7 companies being cement manufacturers. Information from the climate change analysis comes from public records and data from the US Department of Energy’s Carbon Dioxide Information and Analysis Center.

Related Article: A Cheaper Alternative to Pollution

The author of the analysis, Richard Heede, from the Climate Accountability Institute of Colorado concluded in the study that

There are thousands of oil, gas and coal producers in the world, but the decision makers, the CEOs, or the ministers of coal and oil if you narrow it down to just one person, they could all fit on a Greyhound bus or two.

Heede exhibited concern over the fact that many of the companies, besides being the presiding polluters of history, are also sitting on huge reserves of fossil fuel which represent a potential for an even more daunting future afflicted by climate change.

Related Article: Sweden is Running Out of Trash

Former US President Al Gore was very excited about the study as it is one of the most major efforts to hold individual carbon producers accountable for climate change rather than governmental policy. Gore stated that:

This study is a crucial step forward in our understanding of the evolution of the climate crisis. The public and private sectors alike must do what is necessary to stop global warming. Those who are historically responsible for polluting our atmosphere have a clear obligation to be part of the solution.

The actual solution itself is tough to set in stone. Global industrial emissions since 1751 stand at 1,450 gigatonnes. If we are to slow down and eventually halt extreme climate change, a necessary step is to understand who is producing greenhouse gases and who should be held ultimately responsible.  Unfortunately, it is difficult to decide who we should be pointing the finger at regarding climate change. According to Naomi Oreskes, professor of the history of science at Harvard,

There are all kinds of countries that have produced a tremendous amount of historical emissions that we do not normally talk about. We do not normally talk about Mexico or Poland or Venezuela. So then it’s not just rich v poor, it is also producers v consumers, and resource rich v resource poor.

Another aspect of the issue that clouds facts is the climate denial movement.  Oreskes has already shown in the past that several of the top companies from the study are some of the major sources of funds used in the global campaign of climate denial. Despite evolution not being able to keep up with climate change, marine life being destroyed, and weather becoming increasingly more extreme across the planet, companies and governments around the world maintain a stance of cold apathy to the problem or at worse vehement denial.

Related Article: Costly Climate Changes

How about some highlights from Heede’s study? Sure thing:

  • Government run companies in the former Soviet Union produced more greenhouse gases than anyone else at approximately 8.8% of the total.
  • Chinese run companies came in a close second at 8.6% of total emissions.
  • ChevronTexaco was the leading emission producer among private companies at 3.5% total emissions, followed by Exxon, and BP.

Operations of the companies currently span the globe, which is very disconcerting for those of us concerned about climate change because

These entities extract resources from every oil, natural gas and coal province in the world, and process the fuels into marketable products that are sold to consumers on every nation on Earth.

climate change action

There is hope after all!

This is where Heede hits upon the most important point in the study: consumers. Despite the profundity of this study, why point fingers at the producers when we are just as much, if not more at fault for climate change as consumers. Although there are countries like Germany paving the way for a green world, most countries aren’t, and we are still enjoying the life that greenhouse emissions have provided.  Our daily purchases are the reason these companies exist, and the reason they continue to influence climate change.  Despite income inequality, we are all living like kings and queens relative to our ancestors, due in major part to harmful greenhouse emissions.

Related Article: The Ugly Face of Overpopulation

If we are to live in harmony with the environment, we must also live in harmony with ourselves and make decisions that reflect our true values.  Don’t waste your money, but instead use your buying power as a consumer to influence the world in a more positive way. If we don’t start making dramatic changes soon (some climate change scientists have already said it is far too late), the future may not be as grand as we all hope for.



The Strength of the Chelyabinsk Meteor

Meteor from the sky

Look at the size of that meteor!

February 15, 2013 was no ordinary day, it was the day of an explosion in the sky! For some it was also a very unexpected and stressful day. For those that haven’t heard, on that day in Chelyabinsk, Russia, a meteor exploded and injured over 1200 people! This all happened in a relatively small city so the injuries sustained weren’t high in number, but what would happen if it were in a dense urban setting?

Isn’t that unbelievable though? A meteor entered the Earth’s atmosphere at 19 kilometers per second and exploded with a light 30 times brighter than the sun. I don’t know about you but I would definitely be scared out of my mind that the world was ending if I had seen that explosion.

Related Article: Let’s Capture US an Asteroid!

So what about all of this explosion talk? Glad you asked! According to new studies, the Chelyabinsk meteor explosion was comparable to the Hiroshima bomb, except multiplied by 30! 30 times the bomb that wiped out over 30% of the population of Hiroshima, some 70,000 people. 30 times a nuclear bomb! Holy cow! Did I mention that it outshone the sun over 30 times as well? How scary would it be if it got closer in the atmosphere over a populated area like Chicago?

Related Article: Amateur Astronomer Films Jupiter Explosion

NASA surely is doing something about this right? Preparing missiles or sensors or something? More-so since they recently talked about a re-occurrence of the meteor of Chelyabinsk is 7 times more likely than they originally thought. In fact, Professor Peter Brown, a planetary scientist at the University of Western Ontario, who is actively involved in NASA’s study of the Chelyabinsk meteor says:

We should see something like Chelyabinsk every 30 to 40 years rather than every 120 to 140 or so — a factor of three or four more of these impacts than the telescopic data suggest.

Related ArticleSign Me Up for Mars!

What does that mean? Are we heading towards a meteorite influenced nuclear warfare future? Will our Earth be constantly bombarded by meteor spectacles in our daily sky? NASA assures us that recurrences of the event are likely over ocean waters rather than populated areas, but still, I wonder. Maybe it really is time to venture out and explore space for new habitats to ensure our survival? For now… here’s a compilation of Chelyabinsk meteor explosions as captured by civilians and enthusiasts alike! Cheers!



Wikipedia – Chelyabinsk meteor

EuroNews: New study claims asteroid explosion 30 times Hiroshima

Youtube: Chelyabinsk Meteor Compilation

Wondergressive: Let’s Capture Us an Asteroid!

Wondergressive: Amatuer Astronomer Films Jupiter Explosion

Wondergressive: Sign Me Up for Mars!

What is The Solution to Smog? A Vacuum!

Smog. Seems like a pretty straightforward noun. But we live in an age of revolutions, of new technologies, of constant discoveries about ourselves and others, and of constant expansion. All of these wonderful things come with a heavy price-tag though. A steady increase in pollution, more specifically: an increase in smog buildup. As we build taller buildings, fly to higher heights, produce more goods to use, and drive oil driven cars, we inevitably produce more and more smog! Might it be due to our overpopulation as well? However! We may be heading towards a solution of sorts.

Related Article: Warning: Weather Hazards Ahead

Daan Roosegaarde, a Dutch artist and innovator, has created an “electronic vacuum cleaner” that cleans the air of smog by drawing smog particles down to electric copper coils that create an electrostatic field. The copper coils are implanted into the ground and the weak electrostatic field created by these electric coils is enough to clear the sky of smog and expose the shining sun. This animation represents the idea and the possibilities that this “electronic vacuum cleaner” will provide! In an interview with De Zeen Magazine, Roosegaarde says:

It’s a similar principle to if you have a statically charged balloon that attracts your hair, if you apply that to smog, to create fields of static electricity of ions, which literally attract or magnetize the smog so it drops down so you can clean it, like an electronic vacuum cleaner.

How cool is that?! Beijing thinks it’s very cool. In fact, so cool that the mayor of Beijing has signed on Roosegaarde to create a park to showcase the technology! Roosegaarde’s team will be actively refining the technology for the next 18 months, after which it will be put into play in a large scale park, finally ridding the air of smog in a public place in Beijing. This technology does have its limitations however. The area from which the smog will be cleared has to be surrounded by these coils, meaning there has to be a trench dug around all of Beijing in order for all the smog to be cleared away. Also, in the next 18 months, the artist and his team have to figure out how to make this technology work on a large scale.

Related Article: A Cheaper Alternative To Pollution

The technology was originally put into play in a 5 x 5 meter room where the smog was sucked down and then physically laid on the ground. The artist has great ambition with this project:

What I would like to do is capture all that smog and then compress it. So for example you could make a smog ring of all the smog in a cubic kilometer. It would show the reality and question why we accept it.

Roosegaarde also says the technology is completely safe and if one were to step over the coils nothing would happen. The coils give off such a low electric field that it is even “pacemaker safe”.

Related Article: Costly Climate Changes

This is indeed one way to clean up our act, but it may only be contained to public places as Daan Roosegaarde mentions. It is great to hear about new inventions that are countering our pollution and smog increase, but we always have to ask ourselves what else we can do to help! Ultimately, the artist plans to open our eyes! He wants people to realize how bad it is really getting with pollution, and that when he presents the compressed smog rings, other countries will spring into action and we will head towards cleaner and more sustainable lives!

Cheers to clean air!



Wikipedia: Daan Roosegaarde

Animation: Electronic Vacuum Cleaner

De Zeen Magazine Interview with Roosengaarde


Wondergressive: The Ugly Face of Overpopulation

Wondergressive: A Cheaper Alternative to Pollution

Wondergressive: Costly Climate Changes

Wondergressive: Warning: Weather Hazards Ahead

More Hazardous Weather Patterns for World

weather patterns ice cream truck

They say the erratic weather patterns got him. Poor truck never stood a chance in this heat.

Pollution is affecting our climates, increasing the severity of storms, and causing shifts in temperatures and weather patterns. It has been said time and time again, and yet it continues to be said, with good reason might I add! A recent study published in the scientific journal Nature, conducted by a team headed by Camilo Mora, claims that global temperatures will be drastically climbing within a generation. In less than 50 years we can see historical increases in temperatures, beating all past recorded highs for global temperatures. Imagine unbearable summers, intense heat waves, and dry times causing droughts and famine. At the same time, imagine freezing winter storms, strange weather patterns and unpredictable seasons.  This is all in response to the amount of increase in greenhouse gas emissions and the effect they have on our temperature and weather patterns.

Related Article: Costly Climate Changes

Now you may be wondering what exactly it all means, what a good comparison would be. The world’s hottest day was on July 10, 1913, clocking in at 134 degrees Fahrenheit in Death Valley, California. With global temperatures on the rise, and with the study predicting a drastic increase of global highs within 50 years, we can expect to see that high of 134 degrees Fahrenheit once again being reached, maybe even surpassed, sometime in the near future. Yikes. It is not only the heat we have to worry abut, but the erratic weather patterns as well, causing melting ice caps, deadly storms, intense rain; just to name a few.

Related Article: The Ugly Face of Overpopulation 

After all, weather patterns are responsible for half of our daily waking lives:

  • It rains, we cancel our sporting activity (some hardcore players may disagree).
  • It snows, well SNOW DAY of course! (Sometimes).
  • Hurricane/Tornado/Typhoon, houses damaged.
  • Humid Hot Days, stay in and blast the A/C

Anyway, you get the point. Whether you agree that weather and weather patterns are intensifying and impacting the world is up to you, but what are our preventative measures against this? Some talk of greener technology, some speak of wind power and solar power, while some encourage changes in car performance and oil usage. Some ideas even recommend taking advantage of the increasingly severe weather patterns to embrace the positive changes and avoid or harness the bad.

None of these ideas are drastic enough to stop pollution all together, nothing drastic enough to clean up more pollution than we are generating. Maybe it is because we believe ourselves to be unbeatable and indestructible, that no matter what we do or destroy, human ingenuity will persevere.

Related Article: A Cheaper Alternative to Pollution

Actually, we humans have always adapted and something like changing weather patterns and rising temperatures would be nothing new for us. In fact, I believe it would call for new crop irrigation techniques, new ideas towards more efficient cooling systems, and maybe even force us to venture out into space to colonize planets for the sake of our survival. An extreme, yes, but with our rate of pollution, and with the way we like to live comfortably and excessively, I would not be surprised if the proposed colonization of Mars is actually a trial for the coming desperate times. Weather patterns may shift, but so will humanity.

Cheers to new methods of preventing pollution!




Study Abstract: The Projected Timing of Climate Departure From Recent Variability

Nature: International Weekly Journal of Science

Camilo Mora, Postdoctoral Employee

USA TODAY: World’s hottest day was 100 years ago in Death Valley


Wondergressive: I Believe in GMOs

Wondergressive: A Cheaper Alternative to Pollution

Wondergressive: The Ugly Face of Overpopulation

Wondergressive: Costly Climate Changes

Wondergressive: Sign Me up for Mars!

The 20 Biggest Wastes of Money and How to Avoid Them

money garbage

Waste of Money

We all spend too much money on something out there. After all, money in and of itself is useless unless we are spending it. That being said though, some of the everyday things people spend their money on are an absolute waste and a downright scam. In this post, I will go over the 20 biggest wastes of money that we continue to spend our hard earned cash on. I am not here to judge anyone in particular, just the human race as a whole that I am happily a part of. How many of these are you guilty of?


1) Cigarettes

Cigarettes are bad for you, like really bad, like proven to cause cancer and a multitude of other illnesses bad. Despite what you tell yourself, and unlike other substances such as cannabis, there are actually no real benefits to smoking cigarettes, especially when it comes to the money in your pocket. There are however hundreds of reasons to quit.

Related Article: Smoking: A Pre-existing Condition Under Obamacare

To begin, cigarettes do not just contain tobacco, they contain over 599 additives. These 599 additives turn into 4000 different chemicals through the chemical change of burning the tobacco. 69 of these chemicals are known to cause cancer. Some of the lovely chemicals that cigarette smokers deeply inhale include: carbon monoxide, nitrogen oxides, hydrogen cyanides and ammonia. The initial 599 additives have been approved as safe by the FDA, but they were approved without being burned. The FDA never once approved the 4000 chemicals created through the burning process that are known to be noxious poisons. You are spending your money on unapproved carcinogens.

According to the CDC:

Worldwide, tobacco use causes more than 5 million deaths per year, and current trends show that tobacco use will cause more than 8 million deaths annually by 2030. Cigarette smoking account[s] for an estimated 443,000 deaths, or nearly one of every five deaths, each year in the United States. More deaths are caused each year by tobacco use than by all deaths from human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), illegal drug use, alcohol use, motor vehicle injuries, suicides, and murders combined. Smoking causes an estimated 90% of all lung cancer deaths in men and 80% of all lung cancer deaths in women.

Translation: Cigarettes are a near guaranteed death sentence, a death sentence that consists of horrible pain and struggling until the very last moment. Oh, and if you don’t die from smoking cigarettes, you are still more likely to get sick. Because they lower the effectiveness of the immune system and other bodily functions, the CDC notes that compared to non-smokers, smokers are more likely to develop:

  • coronary heart disease by 2 to 4 times
  • strokes by 2 to 4 times
  • men developing lung cancer by 23 times
  • women developing lung cancer by 13 times
  • dying from chronic obstructive lung diseases (such as chronic bronchitis and emphysema) by 12 to 13 times

So if cigarettes are so harmful, why do people start smoking in the first place? The major reasons are:

  • Media advertising
  • Epigentic predisposition
  • Parental influence
  • Stress relief
  • Self medication
  • Appetite suppression
  • Rebellion
  • Social benefits
  • Peer pressure

Some of these reasons for starting are understandable and may seem like benefits from the get go. For example, stress relief doesn’t sound so bad. The problem is that once the incredibly strong sway of nicotine addiction sets in, which could be within days, cigarettes themselves become a stressor because smokers are antsy, anxious, and stressed without the tool they have become dependent on for solving their stress. Quite the downward spiral. The truth is that any physical benefit from smoking quickly subsides as the body builds a resistance to the nicotine found in tobacco. The positive benefits, such as appetite suppression and mood elevation, quickly fade in place of the same old you, that same old you that you originally tried to alter with a highly potent poison. Keep in mind that nicotine is incredibly potent, with resistance and dependency forming very quickly. To be precise, it is:

  • 1000 X more potent than alcohol
  • 10-100 X more potent than barbiturates
  • 5-10 X more potent than cocaine or morphine

What about social benefits? Isn’t it great to be able to do something with your mouth and fingers to distract from the awkwardness of getting to know other people? The truth is that in this case you are only slightly curing a symptom of a problem with much deeper roots. If you require a biologically destructive tool to be able to comfortably talk to people, then you should put your focus on overcoming this societal fear rather than using an irrational crutch forever and ever.

Related Article: Cannabis Cures Cancer and More: A Thorough History and Review of the Evidence

It should be obvious that the rest of the list consists of very shallow and poor reasons for choosing to take up such a clearly destructive and incredibly hard-to-break habit. Not to mention, cigarettes are extremely expensive.

Super, super expensive in fact! In 2011 a pack of cigarettes cost between $4.74 (West Virgina) and $11.90 (New York), depending on the state. In 2012 the price range for cigarettes changed to $4.84 (West Virgina) to $12.50 (New York). If you live in New York and smoke a modest 1 pack of cigarettes a day, you’re spending $87.50 a week, which is $4,550 a year. Not surprisingly, a recent study found that cigarettes smokers in New York that made $30,000 a year or less spent a whopping 25% of their income on cigarettes. 25% of their income on something that has no real benefits past the first couple weeks, is incredibly difficult to stop doing, is proven to cause cancer, and shortens your life span by at least 10 years. Go figure.

You might be thinking, ‘Hey, I’m sure some people enjoy smoking until the day they die whether they develop cancer or not.’ The odds are against you friend. 69% of smokers in the United States admit to wanting to quit completely with 52% of smokers trying to quit in 2010. Feel like throwing your health and money away? Grab a pack of cigarettes.

Sadly, even today, despite so much available information, 4,000 kids younger than 18 smoke their first cigarette everyday, and everyday 1000 kids younger than 18 become daily smokers. If you are attempting to quit smoking, there are many ways to change behavior and break habits successfully. Don’t give up on yourself, you’re worth it!

Related Article: A How To: Behavior Changes and Breaking Habits



2) Designer Clothing and Fashion

designer clothing expensive

If there was ever an absolute scam, this is it. Billions of people around the world have been brainwashed into believing that brand names equate to better quality and ‘cool factor’. While this may be the case in some instances, it is not the norm.

Whether it be sunglasses, watches, hats, handbags, pants, jackets, shoes, or any other material possession, much of the world is not happy unless they have an item made by their favorite designer. The problem is that designers charge insane amounts of money for products that often cost them about the same amount as it costs Walmart to make their products. The difference is that they claim their name and minimum amount of labor is worth the hundreds, sometimes thousands of dollars extra.

The brainwashing goes even further when people insist that they need to buy new clothes each season to keep up with the changing fashion. High end clothing companies and designers would have you believe that you are not cool unless you pay them exorbitant amounts of your hard earned money four times a year to keep up with the ‘in crowd.’ What an ingenious way to suck consumers dry.

Related Article: Income Inequality in America: Red Herrings and Wealth Envy

This form of brainwashing comes largely in the form of advertising, celebrity worship, and companies/independent designers banking on your insecurities. According to David A. Aaker, the vice chairman of Prophet, a brand consulting firm:

The cost of creating those things has nothing to do with the price, it is all about who else is wearing them, who designed them and who is selling them.

It’s not about price, it’s about competing with everyone around you. And for what? To look the flashiest? Readers, I have news for you: You are an adult, and if you haven’t figured this out yet, it doesn’t matter what other people think of you. The only time it matters is in a job interview, because a job has the benefit of giving you the ability to support yourself. Your potential boss is not looking at your wardrobe, he is looking at a single outfit. But even in that instance, guess what? Unless you have the Walmart logo on your button down collared shirt, your boss will have NO IDEA how much you spent on your clothing. As long as you look presentable, that is what matters, and it does not take $500, $200, or even a $50 shirt to do that.

The mark ups on all clothing are astronomical, but this is especially the case with designer clothing. Did you know that Kohl’s department store has been caught hiking up the price of their products right before a huge sale? It is even possible to pay more for a sale price than you would have for the normal price of the good. There is a reason why all your favorite designers are living in multiple mansions, driving cars that cost more than your life’s net worth, and purchasing their own islands: they tricked you. They have the world at their fingertips, and what do you have? Their sewn together fabric. Woopdie-do.

Related Article: A Note on the Top 1%: Psychopaths or Superhumans?

If you just can’t break the habit of buying designer goods and clothing, all hope is not lost. Head to a resale shop like Plato’s Closet and pick up some designer clothes at a fraction of the price. Sure, the clothes might be used, but after washing them no one will be able to tell the difference. Plato’s Closet has incredibly high standards for their clothing and even the slightest defect will be noticed and that piece of clothing removed from the store. You may be wearing used clothes, but at least you won’t have to work 20 hours of overtime next week to pay back the growing interest on your Macy’s credit card.

*Note: Another great idea is to buy clothes and other art from and support independant, and possibly even local artists/artisans. At least you’ll know that your particular item is one of a kind instead of wearing the same Abercrombie shirt as every other 20-something-debt-up-to-their-nose-fashion-freak.



3) Playing the Lottery

You actually have a better chance of being killed by a mountain lion or becoming president of the U.S.A than winning the Mega Millions Jackpot or the Megabucks Slot Machine Jackpot. There is a reason winning the lottery is called a pipe dream, and it’s not because pipes help you win.



4) New Cars

Buying a new car is one of the best ways to cut your money into little pieces and throw it to the wind. The moment you drive your shiny new vehicle off the lot it depreciates in value by up to 40% of the price you just paid only seconds before. So, if you pay $25,000 for a new car, within seconds of the purchase it is worth only $15,000. Yikes! By the end of the third year your 4-wheeled baby is worth about 40% of its original price. If you’re planning on holding onto yo6a00d83451b3c669e2013486235de6970c-800wiur car for longer than 3 years its only going to get worse. The older a car is, the slower it depreciates in value.

Don’t forget that it’s impossible to know whether you will get into an accident or not, potentially totaling your car. Remember, you might be the best driver in the world, but what about everyone else?




5) Bottled Water

Bottled water is next on the list. Not only is bottled water a completely unnecessary expenditure in all but the most extreme cases, it is also extremely detrimental to the environment and your wallet.

While there is an ongoing debate regarding the safety of many plastics and various other ingredients found in plastic bottled water, what is not debated is the effect on the environment. Bottled water clearly effects the already heavily burdened environment in a highly negative way. Just because you throw your plastic bottles in the recycling bin does not mean that the bottle is being reused; it’s probably being dumped right into a landfill or the Pacific Ocean.

Related Article: Unprecedented Changes and Extinctions Occurring in Marine Life

bottled water landfill waste money

Every bottle you buy and toss away has on average a 28% chance of actually being properly recycled. Keep in mind that due to improper recycling practices and the rise of plastic use around the world, parts of the Pacific Ocean contain more particles of plastic than plankton. Sea life consumes this plastic, is caught by fishing companies, and goes right back on your plate. You are eating the water bottles you throw away, that is not an exaggeration.

Furthermore, there is no clear proof that bottled water is any healthier to drink than tap water. While our tap water is not very clean, containing harmful drugs, plastics, pesticides and other dangerous elements, there is no evidence that bottled water does not contain the same substances. You are better off buying a water filter and filling your own BPA free water bottles at home. The best reason to fill up your own water bottles at home is how much money it will save you in the long run.

Related Article: The 5 R’s: Refuse, Reduce, Reuse, Recycle, Rot

Think gasoline is expensive? Bottled water costs up to 3 times as much per galon! To make matters worse, bottled water costs over 1000 times more than tap water, the water you are paying for each month anyway! The absolute worst part? Many studies have found that a large percentage of bottled water is just tap water.

On average, each person in the U.S. consumes 167 plastic bottles of water each year. You can use this bottled water cost calculator to figure out your own wasteful spending, but let’s just assume you are average. If you buy 167 bottles of water per year at a low price of 1.50 per bottle (some bottles of water like Fiji brand could cost up to $5.00 per bottle in the stores) you are looking at $250 dollars per year. Compare that to buying a water filter and a reusable water bottle and the purchase already pays for itself even before the end of a year. Remember that the water filter and water bottle are almost endlessly reusable.

Related Article: Conservation Efforts of Earth’s Seven Continents

The multi-billion dollar bottled water industry is one of the most lucrative businesses in the world, and it is a complete scam. Ever notice that Evian is naive spelled backwards?

*Note: The one instance where it is extremely tempting to buy bottled water is while traveling where it is unsafe to drink the water. The same suggestion applies: buy a couple reusable BPA-free water bottles and just fill them on the go at your hotel/hostel. You can even get a lightweight, compact UV water purifier to bring with you and ensure your water is completely safe to drink. If you live or are traveling in North America, a great solution to bottled water is to take advantage of purified water vending machines, an idea that many bottled water companies are implementing. These vending machines can often be found outside of supermarkets.



6) Weddings

Weddings: one of the prime sources of gossip on Facebook, and one of the ultimate stressors for couples and relatives alike. Weddings are romanticized and embedded deep into the psyche of little girls from the time they are toddlers. Since time immemorial, humans have simply accepted that the culmination of success and happiness in a relationship must lead to a budget crippling, single-day expenditure called a wedding. Of course, most weddings just end in the creation of bridezillas and couples taking out a few additional loans to base the foundation of their future lives on. No wonder so many marriages end due to arguments over finances.

wedding waste of money

Who needs a house?

The majority of couples end up paying far more for their wedding than they had originally budgeted for. After adding up so many variables (the wedding dress, makeup and hair, DJ, decorations, food, wedding favors, invitations, photography… the list is seemingly endless) the final price of a wedding usually ends up being about the price of the downpayment on a new couple’s house. I suppose that’s easy to understand when the average price of a DJ is $748, and the average price of a photagrapher is $1,777. Even saying thank you costs big bucks, with the average price of thank you cards totaling $94.

Related Article: Afraid to Wake Up? Conquering Fear and Living the Lives We Want

In 2012, couples and their families in the U.S. spent an average of $28,427 on wedding ceremonies alone. This is an absolute waste of money, especially for something that lasts less than a full 24 hours. According to the Bureau of Business & Economic Research, the median personal income in the United States in 2012 was $42,693. That means that on average, couples are spending 66% of the average person’s income on a single day to celebrate, well, themselves. Spending the cost of a house downpayment on a single day to remind everyone of your love: that might be the very definition of both insanity and vanity.

The truth is that traditional weddings are downright unnecessary and insultingly wasteful to the rest of the struggling world. Amy Keyishian reminds women in her article “Why I think Weddings are a Stupid Waste of Money,” to not make the mistake of spending thousands for a wedding. By not spending so much:

You’re not a princess, princess. You’re a smart cookie. Trust me, that’s so much better.

If you are spending anywhere near the United States average on a single day, this is a great chance to improve your creativity. There are a remarkable amount of DIY wedding ideas that you can implement to ensure that your wedding is a low cost, creative, unforgettable experience. There are also many ways to have the traditional wedding you’ve been fantisizing about on the cheap by cutting out some of the unnecessary expenses. One of my favorite solutions is cutting out all the ridiculous party favors. According to Gail Johnson, a Decatur, Ga.-based wedding and event consultant:

expensive wedding

I can’t tell you [how] many times guests leave these items on the tables or take them home and toss them. Entertaining your guests with a great meal and entertainment is plenty, so there is no need to spend money on wedding favors.

Weddings are not a fairytale, they are part of a multi-billion dollar industry that wants as much of your money as possible. What’s so romantic about that?

Related Article: Money: Designed to Fail

*Note: Even the prospect of marriage isn’t entirely necessary nowadays. Although there are a great deal of federal benefits afforded to married couples, domestic partnerships and civil unions are a great option as well. Check out your state policies to see if a civil union or domestic partnership is a better alternative for you and your significant other. Remember, marriage does not equate to true love.



Rolls of Paper Towels7) Paper Towels

One ton of paper towels is equal to 17 trees and 20,000 gallons of water. 3,000 tons of paper towels are produced in the U.S. each and everyday. That means that each day approximatley 51,000 trees and 60,000,000 gallons of water are used so that Americans can dry their hands.

Related Article: Wood Pulp is Changing the World

The solution is simple. Instead of shelling out clams for disposable paper towels each time you go the supermarket, make a one time purchase and buy reusable dish towels instead. It costs $13 for a 12 pack of reusable cotton dish towels. Throw them in the wash when they get dirty, dry them, and repeat. I know Bounty brand is tempting, but it destroys the bounty of our environment!


8) Diamonds/Jewelry

Many people purchase diamonds and jewelry as gifts that symbolize true love. This was not always such a widespread practice though. Giving a diamond ring as an engagement gift is only about a century old. Furthermore, the only reason people do it, as usual, is because a very clever business convinced all of us that it is not only a great idea, but a crucial one. Oh well, at least diamonds and other precious jewelry are a great investment right? Wrong. This myth has been dispelled time and time again.
The value of jewelry rises at about the same rate of inflation, but good luck selling your jewelry at even half that price. The biggest issue with trying to sell jewelry is that high-end jewelry stores generally do not buy back precious stones and metals. The amount they would offer sellers would be embarassingly low as they would have to offer them the wholesale price, not the insanely high mark-up price that we all pay.

Related Article: A Planet Covered in Diamonds

Diamonds and jewelry are a horrible waste of money and the very opposite of a smart investment. You’re better off recalibrating your societally learned bourgeoisie tastes and heading to for truly unique, creative, and beautiful jewelry. Besides, is it really worth putting so many eggs into one basket. Owning a $5,000 dollar diamond ring means that if your ring is lost or stolen, so are all those greenbacks the ring is worth.

Keep in mind that an unknown amount of diamonds on the market are blood diamonds, and it is very hard to be sure of the source of your precious stones. When you flash your bling-bling, there’s a good chance you are announcing to the world that you happily support slavery, suffering, and mass death. Support Etsy instead.



9) Fast Food

Fast food: quick, convenient, cheap, and a total waste of money. In 1970, Americans spent $6 billion on fast food. In the year 2000 that number rose to $110 billion and continues to rise year after year. To give you a better perspective of these numbers, every day 25% of the adult U.S. population shoves fast food down their gullets.

Fast food might seem like a bargain, but the truth is that you are scamming your body and your wallet with every bite you take. Sure, you can get a meal that will fill you up for 3 dollars by ordering off the dollar menu, but is it worth it? Is a dollar worth the nutritional value and health detriment of a Wendy’s Jr. Bacon Cheeseburger? The simple answer is no. Let’s take a look at the not so simple answer.

Related Article: Obesity Has More to Do With Diet Than Exercise

Eric Schlosser describes in his book “Fast Food Nation: The Dark Side of the All-American Meal” the ugly truth behind fast food: it tastes good, but is utterly destructive to your body. In an excerpt from Fast Food Nation, Schlosser explains that:

The Food and Drug Administration does not require flavor companies to disclose the ingredients of their additives, so long as all the chemicals are considered by the agency to be GRAS (Generally Regarded As Safe). This lack of public disclosure enables the companies to maintain the secrecy of their formulas. It also hides the fact that flavor compounds sometimes contain more ingredients than the foods being given their taste. The ubiquitous phrase “artificial strawberry flavor” gives little hint of the chemical wizardry and manufacturing skill that can make a highly processed food taste like a strawberry.

A typical artificial strawberry flavor, like the kind found in a Burger King strawberry milk shake, contains the following ingredients: amyl acetate, amyl butyrate, amyl valerate, anethol, anisyl formate, benzyl acetate, benzyl isobutyrate, butyric acid, cinnamyl isobutyrate, cinnamyl valerate, cognac essential oil, diacetyl, dipropyl ketone, ethyl acetate, ethyl amylketone, ethyl butyrate, ethyl cinnamate, ethyl heptanoate, ethyl heptylate, ethyl lactate, ethyl methylphenylglycidate, ethyl nitrate, ethyl propionate, ethyl valerate, heliotropin, hydroxyphenyl-2-butanone (10 percent solution in alcohol), α-ionone, isobutyl anthranilate, isobutyl butyrate, lemon essential oil, maltol, 4-methylacetophenone, methyl anthranilate, methyl benzoate, methyl cinnamate, methyl heptine carbonate, methyl naphthyl ketone, methyl salicylate, mint essential oil, neroli essential oil, nerolin, neryl isobutyrate, orris butter, phenethyl alcohol, rose, rum ether, γ-undecalactone, vanillin, and solvent.

fast food waste money

Here’s a hint: much of what you just read does not belong in your body, and that is just one example among tens of thousands of products. Despite this, American kids between the ages of 6 and 14 eat fast food 157,000,000 times every month. One of the major reasons is that the flavor wizardry of fast food keeps you wanting more. Simply put, fast food is addictive.

Related Article: Save the Food Pyramid by Cutting Out Carbs

You’d be hard pressed to find a doctor who would suggest that even a small amount of fast food is okay to eat. In fact, many doctors in the UK are demanding a ban on fast food chains near schools due to how serious of an epidemic fast food, and consequently obesity, is. That is why fast food is an utter waste of money. Sure, you won’t starve if you eat it, but you are far more likely to become obese and have very serious health problems down the road if you eat fast food on a regular basis.

Take a look at the nutrition facts for your favorite fast food chain. A Big Mac alone contains 540 calories, 29 grams of fat, and 1040 mg of sodium. Add the obligatary order of large french fries and you just tacked on an extra 500 calories, 25 grams of fat, and 350 grams of sodium. Based on a 2000 calorie diet, that single meal consisting of a burger and fries accounts for 50% of your alloted daily calories, 83% of your alotted daily fat intake (consisting of a great deal of saturated fats and some trans fats thrown in for good measure), %58 of your daily sodium intake, and 36% of your daily carbs at 108 grams. Not a pretty picture, is it? Let’s paint a complete picture just for fun and eat 3 meals at McDonalds, shall we?



Minutemaid Orange Juice: Calories (190), Fat (0), Carbs(0), Cholesterol(0), Sodium (39mg)

Egg McMuffin: Calories (300), Fat (12g), Carbs(30g), Cholesterol(260mg), Sodium (820mg)

Hashbrown: Calories (150), Fat (9g), Carbs(15g), Cholesterol(0), Sodium (310mg)



Big Mac: Calories (540), Fat (29g), Carbs(45g), Cholesterol(75mg), Sodium (1040)

Large Fries: Calories (500), Fat (25g), Carbs(63g), Cholesterol(0mg), Sodium (350g)

21 fl oz Diet Coke: Calories (0), Fat (0), Carbs(0), Cholesterol(0), Sodium (30mg)



Big N’ Tasty With Cheese: Calories (510), Fat (28g), Carbs(38g), Cholesterol(85mg), Sodium (960mg)

Medium French Fries: Calories (380), Fat (19g), Carbs(48g), Cholesterol(0), Sodium (270mg)

Mcflurry with Oreo Cookies: Calories (510), Fat (17g), Carbs(80g), Cholesterol(45mg), Sodium (280mg)

21 fl oz Coke: Calories (0), Fat (0), Carbs(58g), Cholesterol(0), Sodium (15mg)



Breakfast: Calories (640), Fat (21g), Carbs(45g), Cholesterol(260mg), Sodium (1169mg)

Lunch: Calories (1040), Fat (54g), Carbs(108g), Cholesterol(75mg), Sodium (1420mg)

Dinner: Calories (1400), Fat (64g), Carbs(224), Cholesterol(130mg), Sodium (1525mg)


Full Day Total: (Daily values based on a 2000 calorie diet)

Calories (3080) 154%DV

Fat (139 g) 214%DV

Carbohydrates (377 g) 126%DV

Cholesterol (465 mg) 155%DV

Sodium (4114 mg) 171%DV


Combine these atrocious numbers with all the artificial additives and preservatives in fast food and its easy to understand why it is so unfathomably unhealthy and not worth a single penny!

Related Article: The Obese Shall Inherit the Earth

The fats found in most fast food products have been linked to increased fat around the abdomen and an increased risk of diabetes. There is also clear evidence that fast food (constituting the foundation of a poor general diet) is in large part responsible for childhood obesity. Even seemingly healthy options at fast food chains are coated with hidden fats and biologically harmful ingredients. Keep in mind that all of the health problems caused by eating fast food also increases individual and statewide health costs.

What is the point of eating food that only serves to harm you? Doesn’t it make more sense to spend a little extra cash for the sake of actually eating a nutritional meal, maintaining health, and steering clear of medical bills? Paying more for healthy food actually gives you bang for your buck, as opposed to fast food which only serves as a health detriment in the long run.

Besides, eating healthy doesn’t have to be more expensive! In fact, with some careful planning, eating healthy and cooking your own meals at home could be even cheaper than your weekly fast food budget. For example:

Don’t have time to cook? Might as well start making time for more hospital visits. I can’t put this any nicer: find time! It is your life and well being we are talking about here! You could be spending $200 to $400 a month on healthy food, or a ‘fair price‘ of $63,648 on heart surgery. $63,648 is equal to 13 to 27 years of paying for healthy food. It’s your choice.

Related Article: The Life Changing and Life Lengthening World of Fasting

If you don’t think eating healthy foods will fill you up enough, remember that getting filled up is entirely dependant on food density, rather than calorie content. While 4 pounds of fruits and veggies will provide about 400 calories, 4 pounds of pop tarts will provide nearly 10,000. If you think 4 pounds of veggies won’t fill you up, give it a try. You won’t even make it a fourth of the way through.

People that struggle with body fat management tend to fill up on energy dense, processed foods. This means stored energy for later.

Translation: Fatness.

If we eat 4 pounds of energy-controlled, whole, real food – we get lots of nutrition with a calorie count that our body can handle.

Check out the differences outlined below:

Most people in the U.S. are consuming (on average) the following amounts of food each day:

2.0 pounds of meat, dairy and eggs
1.5 pounds fruits and veggies
0.5 pound grains
0.5 pounds added sugars, fats and oils
= 4.5 pounds
= about 3,700 calories per day

What if we switched this around?

2.5 pounds of fruits and veggies
1.0 pounds of grains and legumes
0.3 pounds nuts/seeds
0.3 pounds meat, dairy and eggs
0.1 pounds added sugars, fats and oils
= 4.2 pounds
= about 2,075 calories per day

You can eat healthy without paying anymore than you would for fast food and still be left completely satisfied. The dollar menu is an illusion; nutritionally the food is worth far less than a dollar.

If you happen to work 120 hours a week for $1 an hour, then there are still options for you. If for whatever reason you must resort to eating fast food, there are ways to make healthier choices when perusing the fast food menu, as well as ways to make normally unhealthy fast food healthier. Some of my favorite suggestions are to drink water instead of a soft drink, undress your meal by removing unnecessary sauces, and to research all ingredients. Don’t waste your money on non-nutritional garbage. Think of healthy food as an investment in yourself.

fast food waste money

“Supersize Me”


10) University

While some countries enjoy free university and college, here in the U.S. we are stuck paying prices that a Middle Eastern oil mogul would be awed by. From 2008 to 2010 the average tuition cost for American universities rose by 15%. For some schools, it was even as high as 40%. On average, in the 2010 to 2011 school year, the average cost of one year of tuition, room, and board for all insitutions across the U.S. was $18,497. To split that total up, the average 4-year private institution cost $32,617 per year while the average 4-year public institution cost $15,918 per year. That is a whole lot of dead presidents. Some for-profit universites, which are not included in those averages, could cost even more.

Related Article: Public School Failure in America

students-in-front-of-the-academic-building-on-the-texas-a-m-university-campus_slideA university education is not a waste of money for everyone out there, but for a huge percentage of the population it absolutley is. Think long and hard before setting foot on campus: there is no return policy. If you are paying $20,000 a year to get a bachelors degree, by the end of 4 years you are looking at spending the price of a brand new condominum, or 2 brand new condos, depending on where in the U.S. you lay your head at night. And that’s IF it takes you 4 years to complete your degree. The average time it takes to complete a bachelors degree is 54 months, or 4.5 years. So, if you are on the upper end of that average, and going to an above average university, you could be spending closer to $200,000. You could completley pay for 2 houses for that price; live in one and rent the other one out. We are talking about a very serious amount of money just to listen to people considered experts in their field give lectures. From my experience it is mandatory to buy the new version of their book each year too.

Despite what society would have you believe, going to college or university isn’t for everyone. A degree does not guarantee success, nor does it guarantee a job. With unemployment currently hovering around 7.5%, employers only plan on hiring an extra 2.1% of graduates compared to 2012, a number that they had originally estimated to be 13% in the Fall of 2012. Unemployment for people under 25 in the U.S. is closer to 16%. Financially, the situation is even more troubling for recent grads:

Young college graduates with full-time jobs earned an average hourly wage of $16.60 last year, roughly $34,500 a year. That is down 7.6 percent from 2007. Benefits are also a problem. Between 2000 and 2011, the share of young graduates whose jobs provide for retirement plans dropped to 27.2 percent from 41.5 percent. The trend is troubling given that most students are graduating from college with huge debts.

Let me reiterate: having a degree does not guarantee success, or even make success any more likely. The most important thing when thinking about university is to consider who you are as an individual, and to remember that there are so many other options. An article from shares a very poignant story.

A friend of mine recently told me the story from when she worked at McDonald’s back when she was still in high school. Someone came along and applied for a job. Under “educational experience”, the individual listed a 6 year degree in Calligraphy.

They hung the application on the wall and had quite a few chuckles.

They laughed because the degree was absurd and stereotypical. There are precious few things one can do with a degree in Calligraphy. Spending $50,000 was probably a bad choice. The individual could have simply learned the trade without the degree, and saved thousands.

Don’t go to a degree it isn’t necessary. If it is necessary, and you can make your money back with a typical job in the field you’ll be getting your education in, then go for the degree. Just rationally analyze your situation, your goals and the necessity of the degree, and you’ll be fine.

Related Article: Science Says “Smart People are Idiots”

studentdebtEducation comes in many forms, don’t let society convince you that university is the only way. So, what are your alternatives to university? How about traveling the world? Backpacking through different countries is a great way to widen your perspectives and find out what you truly want to achieve in life. It is also one of the best ways to meet other people and create a solid network. The age old saying ‘it’s not about what you know, but who you know’ still applies. Volunteering or interning is also a great way to get experience in a field without having to pay tens of thousands of dollars to find out that it doesn’t really appeal to you. You could also apply for vocational training, or even start a business. Ever heard of Mark Zuckerberg? He didn’t need a degree to make Facebook.

While not everyone who starts a business will succeed, the lessons you will learn will be an invaluable tool you can take with you for the rest of your life. PayPal cofounder Peter Thiel is even paying university students $100,000 to drop out of school and attempt to start a business. According to Thiel,

Learning is good. Credentialing and debt is very bad. College gives people learning and also takes away future opportunities by loading the next generation down with debt.

In a similair vein, Cameron Herold, an entrepreneur since he was a child, points out the importance of recognizing and fostering entrepreneurial talent in kids. He gives an extraordinary TED talk on how exactly to raise kids to better their chances of becoming succesful entrepreneurs, if not more successful people in general when they grow up.

Related Article: Paul Ryan: “School? Get a Job! In Fact Get Three!”

Sure, you may be nervous to go against the mold of society, but just remember that there’s no rush. Take some time to think about what you want out of life. Society insists that we go to university, graduate, and start a career as quickly as possible; don’t listen to everything you hear! Your life is yours to live. If going to university/college turns out to be a mistake, it will be a costly one that will haunt you in the form of loans and insane interest rates (6% or more!) for decades to come. You don’t have to waste your money on university if it isn’t right for you, and you can still be a fully capable, and even highly successful member of society.

If you feel alone in choosing not to go to university, check out this endless list of highly succesful people that never went to university or dropped out. Just to name a few:

Sandy Adams, U.S. congressperson. Dropped out of high school at the age of 17 to join the Air Force. Later got her GED and attended the police academy before being hired as a deputy sheriff.

Ben Affleck, actor, screenwriter. Left the University of Vermont after one semester; then dropped out of Occidental College to pursue acting.

Chuck Allen, banker, co-founder of the National Scholastic Surfing Association, and founder of the U.S. Amateur Snowboard Association. At the age of 19, he moved from Oklahoma to California and began working odd jobs until he was established enough to move on to a banking career.

Woody Allen, screenwriter, actor, director, and producer. Was thrown out of New York University after one semester for poor grades. Also dropped out of City College of New York. As he admitted, “I was thrown out of college for cheating on the metaphysics final. I looked within the soul of the boy sitting next to me.”

Hans Christian Andersen, short story author, fairy tales. Left home at the age of 14 to find work. Later attended Copenhagen Univesity.

Peter Arnell, advertising executive. Never attended college. Talked his way into the advertising business after graduating from high school.

Julian Assange, Wikileaks founder, software programmer. Studied mathematics at the University of Melbourne but dropped out because other students were doing research for the Pentagon’s Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency.

Dan Aykroyd, actor, comedian. Dropped out of Carleton University in Ottawa, Canada.

Keep in mind that this list consists only of famous drop outs with last names that start with the letter ‘A.’

Related Article: Coursera: Free Online Courses from the World’s Top Universities



11) Charity/Non-For-Profit

When you donate to charity it gives you a nice, warm feeling inside. You get to help the world, at least a little bit, from the comfort of your own home. In 2011, individuals, corporations, and foundations in the U.S. collectively donated $298.42 billion to charitable organizations. The sad truth is that a surprisingly large percentage of many charities’ donations do not go to helping anything or anyone at all, but instead cover the costs of overheads.

charity perpetuate poverty waste of money

Even well known organizations such as Feed the Children have been found to be utterly inefficient. While the founder and former president of the organization Larry Jones purchased a $1.2 million dollar house to better “reach out to celebrities,” Feed the Children was caught lying about donating food to the needy in Haiti. They hadn’t fed a single person!

A few weeks ago I was was traveling through Sumatra, trekking through the jungle with a guide. The guide explained to me that people from North America and Europe think that the money they donate to NGO’s such as the World Wild Fund for Nature is being used to make a difference. He expressed a very different reality, telling me that:

They do nothing to help the wildlife here, and often do more harm than good. They helped pay for feeding platforms for the dying organgutans, but this only makes the orangutans dependant on humans for food. It also spreads disease to the orangutans. Because they have nearly 97% identical DNA with humans, they can catch our sicknesses and have no way to cure themselves. WWF is useless.

Even handing out money to homeless people you pass on the street is often totally unhelpful because tiny amounts of money that they do not and cannot save only serves to perpetuate their poverty. What they need is direction, not beer money.

Related Article: Ever Heard of Microcreditng?

I am not going to claim that every single charity is a waste of money though! You can use the sites Charity Watch, and Charity Navigator to check the efficiency of charities and find out if the money you donate is actually being used to help the needy.

Another option is to look into is microcrediting. Microcrediting is:

a small loan that individuals invest towards small businesses or entrepreneurs in developing countries. It can also help to improve the lives of many women who, unlike men, have less of a chance to find stable employment.

This provides the direction that the needy require, hopefully allowing them to escape from poverty for good.


12) Makeup

Makeup? More like mark-up! The price of makeup is marked up by 78% on average. Ladies, all 80% of you that wear makeup on a regular basis have seen and paid for these high prices, but is it really worth it?

The average woman spends $15,000 on makeup in her lifetime, money that contributes to an industry worth more than $382 billion. Lost makeup alone costs women $400 a year on average. All of this money to alter your physical self in order to be more comfortable around people that will judge you regardless of the mask you wear. Daily makeup use is also very unhealthy due to the chemicals that are absorbed into the skin, and subsequently the bloodstream. Anything that has a 78% mark-up, is unhealthy for you, and only serves to hide who you really are is an absolute waste of money.

If makeup gives you a greater sense of confidence and security, then I can certianly understand your argument. But ladies, moderations is key. Your health and wallet will thank you dearly!



13) Greeting Cards

Whether it is for birthdays, anniversaries, religious holidays or just to say thank you, giving greeting cards is a staple tradition of society. It is subsequently a mindless waste of money. As Pretired Nick excellently describes:

At the local stores, the customer plays his or her role, flipping through the cards as quickly as possible until one is found that will “work” — not perfect, just “good enough.” The card is mindlessly purchased, a name is unemotionally signed and the card sits until it’s time to hand it over to the receiver. That moment is funny, too, with the giver anxiously waiting while the receiver opens the card, fakes a chuckle at the joke and says a heartfelt “thank you.” If it’s a group setting, the card is then passed around so everyone can enjoy the hilarious joke. And, then, of course, after the journey from forest to factory to store to lucky recipient, the card is usually recycled [or thrown away].

Related Article: Fooling People into Passionate Belief

The greeting card has become an object we now take for granted. We may as well pretend to open a card, say “blah, blah, blah” out loud, and then mock throw the card away; it will yield the same results only with less waste. Giving a greeting card is equivalent to giving a person a clump of dirt and saying “look, I picked this clump of dirt for you rather than any of the other clumps, how great is that!?” sad_batman_greeting_card_by_hatpire-d53ecao

They are a drain on the environment, a social stressor, and most of all, a sink-hole in your wallet. Americans spend between $7 billion to $8 billion each year on over 6.5 billion greeting cards.Birthdays are by far the most popular card sending occasion. And listen up ladies; you are responsible for a whopping 80% of all greeting card sales!

Related Article: A How To: Behavior Changes and Breaking Habits

The average price of a greeting card falls between $2 -$4. If you buy greeting cards for a modest 10 people, on 4 different days out of the year, you are spending $80 to $160 per year on something that is glanced at, thrown away, and never thought of again. If you are buying cards for more than 10 people, well… you may as well just burn your money and leave out the middle man.

I know, I know, you still don’t want to break the societal mold and just stop giving greeting cards, so what can you do? Luckily for you, technology!

You can always send your friends and family an e-card and save the environment, money, and your time. The best part about sending an e-card is that they are usually free. Even Hallmark, the almighty Baron of Greeting Cards, offers unlimited e-cards for only $1 per month! E-cards will also reach the recipient instantaneously. Goodbye snail-mail, hello 21st century!

Related Article: Go Go Gadget: Wearable Tech

Another major reason for not buying greeting cards is that picking a piece of paper from amongst other pieces of paper requires zero creativity. The same applies to ready made e-cards. If you truly want to show someone that you care about them, make your own greeting card or e-card. There is endless amounts of greeting card software available for those that are not creatively inclined.

For those with even a minute semblance of creativity, get a piece of paper, put a writing instrument in your hand, and make your own. Simple, yet surprisingly not so obvious.


14) Wrapping Paper

Wrapping paper may be the single most belligerent thing humans have ever conjured up. It’s single, solitary function is to be ripped apart and thrown away. That’s right, not recycled, but thrown away, because the dyes and chemicals in wrapping paper make it non-recyclable.

Here are some disgusting facts about wrapping paper and its evil cousin, ribbon:

Related Article: Unprecedented Changes and Extinctions Occuring in Marine Life

The environment is just one consideration. Think about how much time you spend wrapping each and every gift. I’ve seen people set aside entire nights devoted solely to wrapping with paper that will be immediately disregarded in lieu of what is inside of it. Waste of time, waste of resources, burden to the environment, and an utter waste of money.

Let’s assume a naked gift is simply going to far. You’re modest and have a sense of dignity, and you want your gifts to reflect your top notch moral values. I understand. Here are some cheap, eco-friendly alternatives to wrapping paper:

Related Article: A Product That Will Turn You into a Tree After Death

More often than not, wrapping paper is dyed and laminated. It can also contain non-paper additives, such as gold and silver coloring, glitter and plastics. Additionally, it can be very thin and contains few good quality fibers for recycling. To make matters worse, it usually has tape on it from gift wrapping. Recognizing that those pretty words at the beginning of this paragraph probably distracted a few pro-wrapping paper fiends out there, if you do receive a gift covered in it, make sure to reuse it and not just throw it in the garbage.

The way I see it, giving unwrapped gifts can be a great gauge of a person’s personality. If they seem irritated, angry, or disappointed that you didn’t wrap their gift, then they missed the whole point of your giving them a gift in the first place. They are short-sighted and ungrateful. Pat them on the back, leave them alone for the time being, and send them over to this article for some perception restructuring. We’ll have them back to you good as new in no time.

Related Article: Sweden is Running Out of Trash


15) Vitamins

Many of us took Flintstone vitamins as kids, take vitamin supplements as adults, and will continue taking vitamins well into the winter of our lives. You probably already know this, but I’ll remind you anyway: food, that natural stuff that grows out of the Earth and comes in various shapes and colors, contains the same vitamins and nutrients found in all the pills you’re popping!

Just because vitamin supplements contain nutritious elements doesn’t mean they’re your best option for attaining nutrients. In fact, the only reason ANYONE takes vitamins is due to a single Nobel prize winner named Linus Pauling, who despite decades of clear scientific data showing the opposite, claimed that taking multivitamins would eradicate the common cold, cure cancer, and Vitaminsamongst other miracles, extend life expectancy to 150 years. In case you weren’t sure, Linus was dead wrong.

Related Article: Cannabis Cures Cancer and Everything Else

Although just about the entire global scientific community agrees that multivitamins/ nutrient supplements do more harm than good in the long run, over half of the American population still takes their daily multivitamins. This is largely due to age old hype and unfounded propaganda convincing people that money spent on vitamins equates to years of elongated, healthy life.

Even a glance at the tip of the research iceberg regarding the effects of multivitamins makes it clear that they are incredibly dangerous and in fact detrimental to health. They are a waste of money in the same way that cigarettes are. The vitamin and supplement industry combined is worth nearly $90 billion, despite the fact that according to Steven Nissen, chairman of cardiology at the Cleveland Clinic, it is clear that:

The concept of multivitamins was sold to Americans by an eager nutraceutical industry to generate profits. There was never any scientific data supporting their usage.

Studies repeatedly make it clear that this multi billion dollar market is pure quackery, and yet:

On October 25 [2011], a headline in the Wall Street Journal asked, “Is This the End of Popping Vitamins?” Studies haven’t hurt sales. In 2010, the vitamin industry grossed $28 billion, up 4.4 percent from the year before. “The thing to do with [these reports] is just ride them out,” said Joseph Fortunato, chief executive of General Nutrition Centers. “We see no impact on our business.”

HealthyVitaminFeatureRelated Article: Starve Cancer by Eating

Just eat food! As long as its not a money waster like fast food. It borders on impossible to consume too many vitamins or other nutrients from actual food.

If you do have certain allergies or restrictive diets, your choices may be slim, but there are SO many options out there. Be creative and do your research. You don’t need pills to be healthy, quite the opposite!



16) Cleaning Products

How many households including your own do you know of that have a cabinet filled with cleaning products? I’m willing to bet there’s bottles you didn’t even know you had sitting under your sink, filled with chemical names you can’t pronounce or even begin to know the danger of. The truth is that all of those bottles of biological/environmental poison can be replaced by a few simple, sunder-kitchen-sink-cabinet-organization-hall-of-fame-21605295afe substances/solutions that you can make yourself in moments for a fraction of the cost.

Related Article: For Humanity’s Sake Wash Your Hands!

Websites abound with various options for creating your own cheap household cleaning products. These cleaning products often involve white vinegar, lemon zest, certain essential oils, and the legendary baking soda! I consider it legendary because baking soda can save you money by being used in literally hundreds of different ways, from deodorizing smells, to cleaning produce, to putting out fires!

A mixture of baking soda and white vinegar mixed with a solution of water can take care of just about any area in the home that needs some cleaning and disinfecting. If you’re looking to kill mold, instead of bleach, use clove oil, which in my experience works just as well.Need to cut grease? Use lemon juice, it’s that simple!

Related Article: pH Levels and Your Scalp

In no time, by making a few simple changes, you can clean your home non-toxically and on the cheap. Not to mention, think of all the cabinet space your cans of Febreeze and Oxy had been hoarding that is now ripe for the filling! For 1000’s of cheap, alternative cleaning ideas, check out the following links:

Non-Toxic Home Cleaning Solutions

1001 Uses for White Distilled Vinegar

Eco-Friendly Cleaning Recipes

Cleaning with Clove Oil



17) Gadgets


Give me 6 of everything please.

We love our gadgets! How could we not? With a single device that fits into our pocket we can put our lives on autopilot and have even more time for shopping, Jersey Shore re-runs, and fast food.

But, and I know I should walk on eggshells when I ask this, do we really need all our fancy gadgetry? Of course not, but it makes life so much better. So, let’s rephrase the question: Do we really need a new gadget so often? Do we really need to upgrade our phone every 6 – 12 months, get a new computer every 1-4 years, buy the latest, greatest, mind-bending fast machine the moment it is released?

Related Article: The Draw of Cellphones

We all know that technology changes rapidly; there is always something new. Weeks after buying state of the art technology it is rendered obsolete by the next best thing. It is simply impossible to keep up with every single generation of new gadgetry. And yet, in the face of impossibility, we humans persevere, and practically kill ourselves trying to keep up with society’s view of the Western dream:

A television in every room, a computer, a laptop, a tablet, a smartphone, printer, faster internet, a bigger television, a better computer, an external harddrive, faster laptop, new headphones, more advanced smartphone, faster internet, new camera, 3-D television, quad core computer…. you get the idea.

Related Article: 3D Printing: The Next Revolution in Creativity

Isn’t it incredible that the moment we hear rumours about the iPhone 5S, suddenly, our iPhone 5 seems like a drab toy barely capable of entertaining a Neanderthal? The tech industry, specifically the at-home-electronics industry, is a Yoda-level swindler when it comes to convincing you that what you need is the next greatest technological development NOW. The industry, like all big industries, is a master of constantly reigniting your desires for something new, and convincing you that what you have simply isn’t good enough.

Every 3 – 12 months Apple releases a new model of the iPhone, and its out with the old, in with the new. Their sales continue to rise, and the population continues to fork over their hard earned cash for something they pretty much already have. And that’s just the iPhone! Countless other gadgets, electronics, and gizmos attain the status of ‘necessary to our lives’ on a daily basis. How is it possible that a device that can do everything, including have a conversation with you, can bore us in less than a year? Our grandparents used to get a kick out of playing wall ball for half a day. Wall ball, a game so simple that you can describe the entire premise of the game with two syllables: wall, and ball. Try to do the same with Final Fantasy. And yet, More than 20 Final Fantasy games later, we need more, more, MORE!

Related Article: Oculus Rift and Omni Treadmill: Gaming of the Future

The hard truth is that in contemporary society, enough is simply never enough. Take a look at the graph below. It is evidence of the aforementioned truth.


According to the graph:

— In 1900, <10% of families owned a stove, or had access to electricity or phones

— In 1915, <10% of families owned a car

— In 1930, <10% of families owned a refrigerator or clothes washer

— In 1945, <10% of families owned a clothes dryer or air-conditioning

— In 1960, <10% of families owned a dishwasher or color TV

— In 1975, <10% of families owned a microwave

— In 1990, <10% of families had a cell phone or access to the Internet

Today, at least 90% of the [U.S.] has a stove, electricity, car, fridge, clothes washer, air-conditioning, color TV, microwave, and cell phone. They make our lives better. They might even make us happier. But they are not enough.

Related Article: Income Inequality in America: Red Herrings and Wealth Envy

Compared to a single generation ago, everyone has everything, and yet, the majority of everyone is in debt and/or living paycheck to paycheck. So, is the only solution to become the fool on the hill and live gadget free? Not a chance. The answer is far less extreme.

Decrease your frequency of gadgetry/electronics purchases. That’s it. As long as you can still browse the internet, take pictures and video, call friends and family, play endless amounts of games, take notes, have conversations with AI, and pinpoint your exact latitude and longitude in the blink of an eye, you DON’T need a new gadget that performs the exact same functions with the sole added bonus of a fingerprint scanner for an additional $500 or more. Gadgets themselves are not a waste of money, far from it. It’s a waste of money to buy a brand new, redundant gadget so often. Let’s have a look at some solutions to your expensive gadget habbit:

Related Article: Your Old Android Phone Can Save the Rainforest


Is that a thing? Oh my god I need that right now!

Be honest with yourself. Buy a single gadget that meets your needs. Don’t buy a new one until you TRULY need it. If you have a built in camera in your phone, do you really need a state of the art $2800 camera? Unless you are a professional photographer, the answer is no.

Look for sales. For many people, a sales price means that because the item is so cheap they have money left over to play “what’s the quickest way to empty my wallet?” This defeats the purpose of buying items on sale. Take advantage of sales prices, but don’t spend the money you save on something else you don’t need. Be patient. Some of the best sales can pop up at any time. Use sites like to ensure that you are getting the best bargain price possible.

Upgrade instead of buying new. The next time your computer starts processing information in slow motion, consider upgrading its component parts rather than buying a whole new one. If you have 8gb of RAM, and your computer has a 16GB RAM capacity, just buy more RAM. Upgrades will not always be the better value, but they often are. Make sure to do a price comparison.

Related Article: Augmented Reality Blows My Mind Twice

Wait for the price to come down. Within as little as a few months after a product’s release the price will inevitably decrease. The truth is that technology companies have already developed the technology years before it is released, meaning that nothing is really state of the art. Everything you see on the market is technologically inferior to what actually exists. Simply put, you will never truly have ‘the best.’ So, is it really a big deal to just deal with your perfectly capable piece of tech for a few more months, or even years, in order to eventually buy a product at a fraction of its original price?

Watch out for gadget overlap. If you have a laptop that can do practically everything you don’t need a tablet for the sole fact that it has a touch screen. People have survived without touch screens since, well, forever, and you will too. If you have a $20 pair of headphones that work, unless you are Mark Zuckerberg and have a couple billion dollars to throw away, you do not need a $1200 pair of headphones. No, you don’t.

Related Article: TVs, Brains, and Zombies, Oh My

Be rational and reasonable. If you’re a man and you find a computer that is 10% of its normal price but only sold in pink, just be the guy that has a pink computer! You just saved 90% and are now able to eat food without charging your nutritional intake to a credit card.

Heil Kitler! First it was the house that looks like Adolf, now we bring you the cats of the furred Reich  1

You’ve already stared at Kitler’s moustache 14 times this week!

Be satisfied with the incredible god-like gadgets you already own. Compared to a single generation ago, the capabilities of even our most basic gadgets make people living in the 21st century seem like Gods to the rest of former humanity. Keep this in mind the next time you find yourself perusing Amazon for something better. Buying new gadgets, like any type of shopping, is a drug and a status symbol, and you are wasting your cash trying to keep up with the Joneses for the sake of a slightly better screen resolution and larger harddrive space to look at even more high quality pictures of cats with Hitler moustaches.

Related Article: Cute Baby Animal Pictures Increase Productivity

What’s the rush anyway? Due to exponentially accelerated change, in the very near future we won’t be able to tell the difference between biology and technology.Cherish the time when you actually have the choice to be separate from your precious gadgets. The singularity is near.

Related Article: The Singularity is Nigh Upon Us



18) Eating/Drinking Out


Eat up, this meal is going to cost you!

There’s nothing like a nice dinner out with a glass of wine to demolish your bank account. Society romanticises the notion of eating and drinking out, making us believe that going out for a meal or a drink should be the norm. Check your perceptions and you’ll come to see that there is nothing romantic about paying outlandishly high prices for something you can obtain at the market for a fraction of the price right down the street from the restaurant.

Sure, going out to wine and dine affords us a pleasant, stress free night, but in the same vein as gadgets, the problem comes in when we start wining and dining too often.

Related Article: Food Myth: Don’t Eat After a Certain Time

While America as a whole doesn’t spend the most on food and alcohol compared to other nations, food and alcohol still does some serious damage to our collective paycheck. The worst part is that more often than not, we choose to pay for outlandishly overpriced food and drinks at restaurants and bars.

In the last 30 years, from 1982 to 2011, alcohol at stores has decreased in price by 39%, while alcohol from bars and restaurants has increased by a whopping 79%.

Despite these statistics, over the same 30 year period, Americans have increased the amount of alcohol they buy from restaurants and bars by 14%, and have decreased the amount they buy from stores by 16%.

This means that as Americans, we have consciously chosen to spend drastically more money on booze than we have to. Why would we choose to spend nearly double the amount for a product, despite having the clear option of a cheaper deal on the same product right down the street. Must be the booze.

Related Article: The Life Changing and Life Lengthening World of Fasting

What about restaurants? Are we more rational with our restaurant spending? Surely there’s some financial rationality left in the human race.

The good news is that in 2012, a survey from Gallup reported that 77% of Americans were eating at home the day before the survey, which is a fantastic number compared to the 10% who reported they had eaten at a restaurant. The bad news is that when it comes to money, percentages can’t hide the fact that we are throwing it all away on eating out.

61% of Americans say that they want to cut back on their restaurant habit. Clearly we are feeling guilty for the amount of time spent hassling waiters and gorging ourselves in public.

Related Article: Burning Fat App on Your Phone

How much a person dines out is dependant on numerous factors, including gender, age, income, and region. Writers at Mother Jones used information acquired by, a company that analyzes credit card data from Citigroup, to create a food spending chart of major cities around the United States. They found drastically different spending behaviors across the country. For example, the average person in Austin, Texas spends $420 a month on dining out, whereas the average person living in Detroit, Michigan only spends $69 dollars each month on dining out. People living in Austin spend nearly 6 times as much on dining out compared to people in Detroit. According to Mother Jones:

Austin, Texas, spends almost twice the national average for dining out; five Detroit households could eat for a year on an average Austinite’s food budget.

How is it that we are spending so much on food? Don’t these amounts seem drastic? A large part of the reason, as we all know, is that restaurants overcharge us. The only reason restaurants exist in the first place, like any business, is to fill a niche and ultimately make a profit. The only way to make a profit is to charge you more than they paid for the food and drinks. Much, much more, especially since they buy everything in bulk.

Related Article: Why Don’t We Eat Insects?

Barring very special occasions, your best option is to just not eat out all. Even in instances where your family or friends invite you out, invite them to your place and let them know why you would rather make a meal at home. What are some reasons it is better to make food at home?

      • It’s cheaper. This is probably obvious to you, but what might not be so obvious is just how much you can save by not eating or drinking out. For example, Crystal Brothers from saved her family over $50 per week, or $2600 each year by simply not eating out. Think of all the iPhones you could buy with those savings! Also, if you have some self control, make sure to buy your alcohol in bulk. For example, buy cases of wine instead of a single bottle at a time. You could save 40% or more using this method.
      • It’s more fun. Cooking is an art form that combines all 5 of your senses. The texture of the foods involved, the smell and taste, the colors and presentation, as well as the sounds of preparation all play pivotal roles in the experience of cooking. It is also a great chance to experiment. Buy foods at a foreign supermarket you’ve never even heard of and look up a recipe for them. You might find a new favorite. Take a traditional recipe and spice it up or down. Cooking at home can be a journey of culinary self discovery. You can even get the kids involved or, throw on some tunes, pour a glass of wine and make it into a healthy and delectable date night.
      • It’s healthy. Cooking at home is mentally, emotionally, financially, and physically satisfying. Choosing ingredients and preparing a meal provides mental stimulation. Cooking with a partner gives you more time together to develop a stronger emotional bond. Being in control of the sodium content, fat, cholesterol, etc. in your meal makes it a healthier alternative to eating out. Lastly, your budget will love you for choosing the economical path.
      • You’re in control. You are in control of the ingredients so it can be healthier. You can also control the portion sizes, which is one of the major reasons we in the West take up so much space. Drinking at home can also be more fun as it provides a more intimate scene. Instead of shouting across a noisy bar you will actually be able to hear and engage in proper conversation. Most importantly, being in control can lessen the chance that you will drink industrial amounts and/or drive drunk.
      • Better for the environment. Eating at home is better for the environment for various reasons. Each year America wastes about 40% of all the food it produces. This frightening percentage means that a family of four loses nearly $2,275 per year solely due to food waste. Studies have shown that one of the major reasons for such extreme levels of food waste in America is due to portion sizes, especially those served in restaurants and bars. And, if portion sizes are too big, what do you do? You take your meal home in a plastic container, inside of a plastic bag. Waste upon waste upon waste.

Related Article: The Obese Shall Inherit the Earth

If you’re going to cook at home and aren’t the experimental type, you’ll need some solid recipe sites to inspire you with cooking ideas. Below is a list of some of my favorite recipe sites:

Really though, the internet is full of great ideas for at-home cooking. Take a look in your refrigerator and do a Google search of the ingredients. A delicious recipe is bound to pop up. Or, you can use Recipe Key to find recipes based on what’s in your refrigerator and pantry. You can even make your own baby food. The possibilities are endless.

Related Article: The Power of Hemp Seeds

You know why you shouldn’t eat out, and why it is so much better to eat at home, but what about those uncontrollable urges? How can they be avoided? Here are some tips for avoiding the urge to eat out:

**Note about tipping: Do not go out to eat or drink unless you are also willing to tip. Not tipping is not a way to save money. Waiters, waitresses, bartenders, busboys, and other members of the hospitality service are paid well below minimum wage all across America, (usually between $2.13 and $4.95 per hour) nearly all of which goes to paying taxes. By not tipping a server, you are effectively telling them that you don’t care whether they are alive or not. Even worse, if you don’t tip a server, they are literally PAYING FOR YOU to eat at the restaurant. A percentage of what a server is tipped is given to bartenders, busboys, and other restaurant workers whether a server is tipped or not. If you tip a server 18%, 14% goes to the server, and 4% goes to other employees. This tip-share is different for each restaurant, but the large majority of restaurants have a tip-share.

Related Article: Volunteering is Good for Your Health

If you don’t know how to tip or how much you should tip, read this tipping guide carefully.



19) Luxury Hotels

How cool would it be to stay in a hotel with a private pool, a grand piano, 12 rooms, and ivory furniture? Even if you had the money, it would still be an utter waste.


Who cares about a mortgage payment, look at all the lanterns we have in our luxurious abode!!

Sure, you could stay in some of the most expensive hotels in the world and talk to your personal, hotel provided butler all day, but what’s the point of paying top dollar for a luxurious nights sleep. Why bother traveling in the first place?

Related Article: Breathe Deep to Relieve Stress

The most meaningful and memorable vacations are those in which you can truly step outside of your normal day to day life and experience something new and exciting. Sleeping on a super comfy bed in an air conditioned room after ordering room service does not fall into that category.

When my partner and I were traveling through Laos we had the option of staying at a $26 per night hotel, or a $3 per night hostel. While both of these options are incredibly cheap by Western standards, we opted for the $3 hostel. We met another couple who opted for the $26 per night hotel. After exchanging descriptions of our respective accommodation we realized that both places had the exact same amenities. The only difference was that the hotel room had a slightly better view and a larger room. Too bad the only time they went back to the room was to go to sleep, at which point the expensive view they had been enjoying all day outside of the hotel was too dark to see.

Related Article: Money: Designed to Fail


Classic example of a kitchen in a cheap hostel.

Keep in mind also that hostels almost always have a public kitchen where you can cook your own meals. This saves even more on food, and gives you the opportunity to shop at a supermarket and live like a local.

Instead of spending so much money on the hotel room, spend the money on a dish you’ve never tried, an unforgettable experience, or something else you come across unexpectedly. Traveling, if done right, will provide you with a truly enriching cultural experience, a cultural education, endless fun, a chance to meet new people, and most of all, an opportunity to get out of your shell and grow into an even more broad minded, well rounded you.

Experience the world, not a hotel room.

Related Article: Fun Fact: You’re the Cause of Boredom

Some great sites to use for finding reviewed hotels, hostels, and guest houses for very cheap can be found below:





For those of you looking for a truly unique experience along with FREE accommodation, even in your own country, check out the following sites:

Help Exchange (HelpX)

World Wide Opportunities on Organic Farms (WWOOF)

Couch Surfing



20) Gyms


“Why bother buddy, you’ll never be this big!”

Gyms; the place most of us go to force ourselves to do exercises we hate, exercises that we could be doing for free. What a waste of time and money. Unless you are a professional body builder you have no business giving a gym a single penny.

Related Article: 7 Minute Workout to Burn Fat

Any given gym, like most places we waste our money at, is part of a multi-billion dollar industry worth nearly $20 billion as of 2008. The average gym membership costs $55 per month, and yet, on average, people only go to the gym 2 times per week. Steven Levitt, the author of Freakonomics, stated in the New York Times that

people who buy annual gym memberships often overestimate how much they’ll actually use the facilities by 70%.

In fact, 67% of people with gym memberships never even use them.

Who are we kidding? That’s right, ourselves.

Related Article: Awareness and Dealing with Rejection

Before gyms, did exercise simply not exist? Of course not. Why are you running on a treadmill when it is free to run outside? Or, if you want to run inside, go to your local park district and run around the track for free. Why are you lifting finely sculpted pieces of heavy metal? Just go lift any heavy object that exists on planet Earth, the results will be the same. Oh, you enjoy swimming as a form of exercise? Well, is the $40 gym really the only place with a body of water?

Going to the gym has become a status symbol and social soiree. The gym has more to do with conversation than it does with fitness. Why are you spending any money at all, no matter how little, to stand around talking? And if you are actually exercising, you need to start thinking outside the box gyms have trapped you in.

Related Article: Obesity Has More to Do With Diet Than Exercise

Instead of wasting your money at a gym try doing exercises you can do at home, in a park, or in other places that are free. Try out yoga, callisthenics, a jog around the block, the full body 7 minute workout, maxalding, or even just going for a walk.

You can even incorporate your workout into everyday life. While at the supermarket do a few more laps around the store once your cart is fully loaded. Sprint to the bus stop instead of walking. Do jumping jacks during a commercial break. You can even make a game out of it; for every 30 minutes of GTA V that you play, do 10 push-ups. Or, every time you catch yourself logging into Facebook, do 15 lunges.

Related Article: Salamba Sirsasana: It’s Time to Do a Headstand!

If you’re still not convinced and want to continue pretending you go to the gym far more than you actually do, at least take advantage of tried and true techniques for slashing the cost of gym memberships.

      • Pay month to month
      • Check with your health insurance to see if they will give you a discount for having a gym membership
      • Look for sales and promotions, especially on sites like Groupon
      • Try out a free trial memberships at multiple gyms before committing

The fact remains… unless you are a professional or a highly disciplined individual, a gym is almost always an unnecessary, utterly wasteful expenditure.

Just so you are fully aware, this is the only form of human that can claim his or her money is well spent at the gym:




…………………………………………………………………………………….. how common is fast food in America?,5753,-23288,00.html



A Cheaper Alternative To Pollution

The world is getting crowded, or so we think, and with it there is the looming threat of traffic, angry people, excessive food waste, and of course pollution.

Pollution is very unhealthy, unpleasant, and unprofitable. The pollution we are causing from our transportation and daily lifestyles is in essence costing us a pretty penny. In the midst of all the spending on pollution, we have critics that argue for a new, pollution-less world. But wouldn’t that just be a costly upgrade and exuberant amount of money spent on something that will likely cost exorbitant amounts to maintain? According to a new study, not really. In fact, the constant use of coal as a power source yields a great deal of carbon based pollution, which turns out to be costly in itself.

Related Article: The Ugly Face of Overpopulation

Many would argue that with the cheap labor costs and manufacturing costs that accompany it, there really isn’t a cheaper alternative to “coal power.” However, based on this study, coal power is in fact not only an outdated method, but it is at least more costly than onshore wind power and the use of new natural gases. Laurie Johnson, an avid advocate and proprietor of the study, gets to the nitty-gritty point:

The study results show that our electricity system, which generates fully 40 percent of the nation’s carbon dioxide pollution, is costly. Transitioning to cleaner energy won’t just help protect us and our children and grandchildren from climate change, it’s also good economics

More importantly she discusses not only the cost of production, but also the cost of damage caused by the pollution. It is no secret that global warming is causing more severe storms and climate changes, and it is also no secret that we pay a pretty penny for the destruction of our tyrant mother nature.

Related ArticleCostly Climate Changes

The study estimates that by 2018, coal will be so costly that it will cost at least .5 cents per kWh more than renewable clean energy. Although that sounds like a very little number, take into consideration that the average American uses over 11,000 kWh per year. Now multiply that by the roughly 300 million Americans in the USA and again multiply it by the .5 cents that coal costs to operate/clean/maintain. That’s-a-big a-pizza pie! The study itself concludes that:

Our estimates have important policy implications. For new electricity generation, they justify a much stronger standard than proposed last year by the Environmental Protection Agency, which was based upon natural gas emission rates. For existing source standards, which the EPA is also required to issue, they justify replacing a significant portion of the current coal fleet with new cleaner generation.

Related Article: Germany Sets Example for Global Climate Battle

Maybe it is time to give up the farce of maintaining fossil power plants and time to step up into a world of clean and renewable sources of energy. We continually progress to higher gas mileages and less pollution based cars, so why not apply this idea of clean usable energy more as a solution to our constant need for energy?

Cheers to clean energy!




Social Cost of Carbon

Laurie Johnson

 EIA.Gov American Electricity

Wondergressive: The Ugly Face of Overpopulation

Wondergressive: Costly Climate Changes

Wondergressive: Germany Sets Example for Global Climate Battle

The Issus Bug’s “Mechanical” Gears


Well Wonderguests, Nature has done it again! Humans with microscopes have recently discovered the use of organic moving gears on a life form. This find proves that, while humans are a resourceful bunch, the natural process of evolution has accomplished a great deal more than we previously thought. In this instance a clock-like mechanism was first created by a creature other than humans.

Related article: Butterflies Drink Turtle Tears

To find these mechanical gears we have to take a close – very close- look at the Issus insect. This little bugger is most common in Europe and the surrounding area. It spends a lot of time living off of the precious phloem sap from plants like the European climbing Ivy. Generally speaking, the Issus are considered to be nondescript and rather uninteresting but, if you look closely, you’ll find a whole lot more than you expected. Specifically the use of mechanical gears. If you expect to find these gears on just any of the Issus insects you’ll be sorely disappointed.

The Issus nymphs, or insect “children,” use the gears in a similar sort of way that people use training wheels to ride bikes. At a certain point they no longer need them for balance. From the published abstract in Science magazine:

The nymphs, but not adults, have a row of cuticular gear (cog) teeth around the curved medial surfaces of their two hindleg trochantera. The gear teeth on one trochanter engaged with and sequentially moved past those on the other trochanter during the preparatory cocking and the propulsive phases of jumping. Close registration between the gears ensured that both hindlegs moved at the same angular velocities to propel the body without yaw rotation. At the final molt to adulthood, this synchronization mechanism is jettisoned.

These gears encourage proper jumping from the adolescent Issus bug. Without the organic apparatus, the nymphs would rotate uncontrollably along their y-axis (see Yaw Rotation). This would cause the Issus younglings to land facing a different direction.

The strangest part is how effective the gears are! From the University of Cambridge website:

The gears in the Issus hind-leg bear remarkable engineering resemblance to those found on every bicycle and inside every car gear-box.  Each gear tooth has a rounded corner at the point it connects to the gear strip; a feature identical to man-made gears such as bike gears – essentially a shock-absorbing mechanism to stop teeth from shearing off.

Related Article: Surprises of the Amazon

To get a better idea of exactly how these gears work, check out this video! It truly is amazing that such a mechanism can exist in an organic setting.