Thursday, June 3, 2021

Is it cheaper to buy or rent?

    I saw an article this morning that said, "Where it's cheaper to buy than to rent". And I often hear people say, "It's cheaper to buy than to rent". Buying and renting are both good things (we all hope to have a place to live), and they both have drawbacks. I just want to share a couple thoughts about both modes of living from my own experience and the vicarious experience of others.
    First of all, we have to remember that the mortgage payment is a base. In addition, there are also the property taxes and the homeowners' insurance (which is required if you have a mortgage), and with many homes, there is also an HOA (homeowners association), which is another monthly cost. When we moved, I was absolutely not going to get a house with an HOA. But never say never. It was the house we wanted, after a long search, so I shrugged it off. Fortunately, it has remained low so far at $40 a month. HOA's for condos, on the other hand, were much higher.
    Then, if you rent, presumably you can call and get things fixed. Of course, the reality is that not every property management company or landlord is always good about fixing things which you think are important. If you buy, you get to decide what's important to fix; but you also need to do the work or hire it out. And while you might ignore some minor things, some things are better not to ignore. A roof, for example, is very important and can be a major expense. If you still have good credit when you need that work done, you can get a loan (the company that installed our new roof offered an interest-free loan). But if you figure that's part of your housing, then now your monthly housing cost has gone up.
    But rents often go up every year, and sometimes they can go up exponentially, as I heard about in Portland, Oregon some years back.
    If you're confused by now about what I'm trying to say, I'm not trying to say that either renting or buying is cheaper but that it's not as simple as comparing the monthly rent to the monthly mortgage. If you want to know if buying is cheaper than renting, you have to look at many different factors. If you can afford to buy (or hope to be able to in the future), then definitely, there are advantages. As I said, you get to decide what gets fixed and when and by whom. If you don't like how something was fixed, you can hire someone else to do it better or to do it right. That was the thing that finally pushed me to go ahead and agree to buy a house again, as my husband wanted us to do. The security door on our apartment building got jammed shut so I couldn't open it from the inside...twice (and we lived on a third floor so going out the back door was not an option. They came quickly but I felt it should not be an issue at all). And I love our home, so it's a decision I am glad we were able to make.
    Another advantage to buying a home is that, as far as I know, I can have whomever I want live with us for as long as I want. When renting (at least in my experience with renting apartments), you are often "required" to list all those who live in your home, and in some cases even add any adults to the lease, even if they are one's own adult children, even only 18 years old. Technically, someone wasn't supposed to stay with us for more than two weeks if they were not on the lease. Of course, people don't always follow that, but the rule is there, hanging over one's head.
    Basically, just be aware that any article that compares rent to mortgage, or any other single factor, might not be taking in the whole picture. Consider all the factors. Do the math. And if you want to buy a house, it's a worthy goal! Save up for the down payment. Work on having excellent credit. If possible, save up, also, for some of the repairs that might come up. And if possible, buy less house than you think you can afford; then, if the property tax goes up or the homeowners' insurance goes up, you'll still be okay.
    All this might sound daunting, but after moving to Baltimore, we spent about a dozen years in apartments before we were ready to buy a house again. Some goals and dreams take long term preparation and are worth the wait.

Friday, March 12, 2021

Yummy Lentil Loaf

That's all that was left after the three of us ate this lentil loaf. It looks a lot like meat loaf, doesn't it? But it doesn't taste like meat loaf; however, it does taste good! 

To cook the lentils, this time I used my new Instant Pot, but I had previously made this loaf by cooking the lentils in a pot of water on the stove. 

To use the Instant Pot to cook the lentils I used this recipe by Platings and Pairings. I cooked them just as the recipes says, except that I needed to cook it a little longer, as my lentils were a little old. (I had to let the pot cool down a little bit before I could put the lid back on.)

Previously, to cook the lentils on the stove, first I rinsed them in a fine colander and picked through for any stones (this is the same with either method). Then I brought 2 cups of water to a boil, and cooked 1 cup of lentils, without added salt, until tender but not mushy. 

In both cases, while the lentils cooked, I sautéed 1 small, diced onion (or ½ medium to large onion), in a bit of cooking oil on the stove. 

Whichever way I cooked the lentils, I then put the cooked lentils in a bowl, added the following, and stirred it all together:

1 cup quick cooking oats
¾ cup grated cheese
1 egg, beaten with a fork
the diced onion which was sautéed and set aside
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 tablespoon dried parsley
½ teaspoon paprika or smoked paprika
¼ teaspoon ground thyme
1-1½ teaspoons salt 
¼ teaspoon pepper

I prepared a loaf pan with non-stick spray (or you could use a bit of  vegetable oil).

I put the mixture in the loaf pan, smoothed the top, and spread 4 ounces of tomato sauce on top. 

I baked it at 350° F. for 40-45 minutes. It's best to let it cool for a few minutes before cutting. 

Note: When I cooked the lentils on the stove, I used 1 cup lentils, but when I cooked it in the Instant Pot, I used the 1½ cups lentils that the Instant Pot recipe I shared, above, called for. It didn't seem to make much difference in the final result. 

For your reference, and to give credit where credit is due, I adapted the lentil loaf recipe from a recipe called Really Good Vegetarian Meatloaf. I did make a few changes; for example, I have always liked my tomato sauce on top of a loaf, rather than mixed in, which is just my own personal preference. I think it gives it a nice finished look. 

Wednesday, December 16, 2020

Visible Mending...and what do the words Boro and Boho have in common and how do they differ?

"Boro" and" Boho" are both words which are often used to denote a type of mending or preservation of clothing. They look and sound similar but have different origins. 

"Boro" usually refers to a way of life which comes from Japan, where women traditionally used stitching to mend clothing again and again to make an item last until it almost had a new life of its own. Creating a simple beauty, it is characterized by neat, even stitches. The method of stitching is called Sashiko.

The word "Boho" comes from the word "Bohemian" and often refers to a style of clothing – and sometimes home furnishings - which uses rich and varied colors. In the recycling or up-cycling of clothing, people sometimes use colorful patches or combine parts from two different clothing items, one or both of which is often colorful.

In the history of my own country (the USA), we have "piecing" or "quilting".  Quilts were traditionally made from stitching together pieces of clothing that someone had outgrown or from the good parts that remained after an original item of clothing had worn out. Sometimes these were made into patchwork squares and sometimes they were made into varying shapes.

All of these methods of sewing have come to be viewed as forms of art. Some people today create, using these methods, but using all new materials. But there also seems to be a resurgence of using them for their original purpose, the preservation of fabric.

Here is a good video which explains "What is the difference of Boro and Sashiko?"

Mending Matters is a book which gives an interesting and useful look at using Sashiko for textile sustainability.

Do you use any of these methods? Have you come across other ways in which people preserve clothing? Do you ever combine more than one method?


I am neither enough of a perfectionist for Sashiko at this time, nor did I want this patch to be colorful; but I used "visible mending" to repair these jeans for one of my sons, using both a patch and visible hand stitching. I turned the leg inside out to sew on the patch. Then I turned it right-side out and stitched over the patch. The first picture shows the rip and the second picture shows the repair.