What's for Dinner? April 2015

Monday, April 27, 2015

Welcome to my weekly Menu party! Come and post your favorite recipes and menus for the week. 

Spaghetti (my own GF version)

Rotisserie Chicken from Costco with
Crash Hot Potatoes from The Pioneer Woman

I'm using the leftover rotisserie chicken from Costco for the soup.

284th Penny Pinching Party

Factors in Real Estate Price

Friday, April 17, 2015

This is an sponsored post.

Divergently Similar Homes: Factors in Real Estate Price

For some, the home shopping search begins and ends with the look and amenities a home can offer, but market veterans known that there are many more factors that impact the value of a house. While real estate in Sydney and other premier cities in the country may represent desirable commodities in general, these less apparent aspects of a property’s location can mean that a similar space can vary greatly in price based on its location.

Associated Land
No matter how finely appointed a home may be, the fact is that the structure itself depreciates over time due to the inevitable wear and tear on any building. In fact, it is the land on which the structure rests that holds most of the value for a property, as land is finite and always in demand. Property prices are directly intertwined with the supply and demand for land in an area, and while a house can and will deteriorate over time, land is a much more realistic appreciating asset due to its permanent nature, particularly in a developing neighborhood.

Investment Potential
Many home sellers treat their homes as assets as much as living quarters, and so the future value of a home has an effect on its current price as well. Even a smaller or less attractive home in an area targeted for significant development in the near future can cost much more than a larger house in an area perceived as relatively stagnant.

Neighborhood Positioning
Virtually everyone knows that location is the most important factor in home buying on the larger scale, but the concept applies within neighborhoods as well. Homes on enclosed and low-traffic streets are likely to command a premium over houses on more frequently traveled roadways because they are perceived as safer for children and the elderly.

Average Resident Age
The average age of a community’s residents can be surprisingly indicative of a home’s market value. Home shoppers with young children are often willing to pay more for homes in neighborhoods with plenty of other children as potential playmates, and these individuals tend to fall within a specific age range. Neighborhoods that skew older can be less popular with growing families and can offer a slightly better value to some homebuyers.
Because of the varying needs of those in the home buying market, houses that seem almost identical can have vastly different prices on the open market. Understanding the myriad factors that go into determining a home’s value can give home shoppers the tools to find the right home for the right price.

Non-Toxic Mattresses

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

One third of our lives are spent sleeping. That’s a lot of time spent on a mattress! I pride myself in being thrifty, but this is one area that I believe in investing more money.

12 years ago, we couldn’t afford a luxurious mattress, but couldn’t afford to keep killing our backs on the crappy one we had. We made the mistake of buying a $500 mattress and returned it a week later. Then we found a  Beautyrest pillow top at RCWilley that we loved, but it was $2,000. We drove down to the RCWilley Clearance Center and found the exact same mattress for $1,000. It was still very pricey for us at the time, but we enjoyed it for 12 years and never regretted the purchase.

12 years later my husband was sleeping on the edge of the bed where there was still padding and support and I was building a fortress of pillows around me, waking up with a dead arm and neck pain. In the photos it looks like a brand new bed, but upon close examination at eye level, I could see an indent in the middle. Even though the mattress was old, I posted it on Facebook Yardsale for my town and had 5 people instantly fighting for it. I was only asking $50 because that was the cost of delivery for my new mattress and I didn’t think anyone would want an old mattress. Was I ever surprised! It made me wonder if I was being too hasty to get rid of it, but the new mattress was bought, the old one sold and it was too late to go back. The couple who bought my used mattress had just invested in a new $500 mattress and hated it. They were excited to have our used pillow top BeautyRest. This is why I believe in investing in a good mattress. Anything under $1,000 is going to be a waste of money.

Buying a mattress this time was not going to be as simple. I recently discovered that I have 2 copies of the C667T MTHFR mutation (I know, holy MTHFR! Right?). The quick explanation of what this means is that my body doesn’t detox as well as someone without the mutations. It also means that I can’t process folic acid, so I shouldn’t eat any processed and fortified food (good advise for everyone, but especially important for me). It explains why I get candida so easily and will always battle it. I get migraines when I’m around someone with heavy perfume or other fragrances; Even some laundry detergents will give me a headache. I try to buy non-scented products and get as close to natural as possible with everything in my home. I recently bought an infra-red sauna to help me detox and swapped out my gas stove for electric. I have slowly started making these improvements in my house as I’ve needed things. 

I know that furniture is saturated in flame retardant chemicals and figured the same is probably true with mattresses. After some research, I learned that the fire retardant regulations for mattresses became much more strict in 2007, creating even more toxic mattresses with a lot of off-gassing. All mattresses are now required to contain enough fire retardant to withstand a two foot wide blowtorch open flame for seventy seconds. Over 90% of mattress companies use a highly controversial fire retardant due to it's low cost. Even the glue and materials used can cause off-gassing. The solution is to either get a doctor’s prescription and ask that your mattress not get sprayed at the factory, or buy from a company that makes organic mattresses and uses a non-toxic fire retardant.

Here are the non-toxic mattresses that I found within our price range, which happened to be our tax refund. I know that most or all of these are too expensive for many of you, but there are other options. You can always buy an all-natural latex topper for your current mattress until you save up and can afford the mattress of your dreams. A good mattress is worth the cost.

There are a ton of bloggers singing praises to IntelliBed and offering a 10% coupon code. They are affiliates and have something to gain by getting you to use their code so I was skeptical, until I went to the IntelliBed site and was impressed and intrigued. IntelliBed is also based in Utah, so I could go to an actual store and try one. 
Warranty: 30 year limited warranty. I was pretty excited about the idea of not having to buy another mattress for 30 years. I hate mattress shopping.
Price: They were at the top of my price range with their cheapest King size mattress starting at $2,000.

Savvy Rest
I asked my Facebook MTHFR group about non-toxic mattress options and I had several people tell me they love their Savvy Rest. All of their mattresses are made of natural latex rubber, certified organic wool or cotton, and are nontoxic. I was tempted to buy a Savvy, but there were no stores near me and I was afraid to buy a mattress without testing it out. We are talking about a 10+ year investment and a lot of money.
Warranty: 20 year limited warranty
Price: The cheapest King size mattress I could find was $3,149 which was a little above my price range, especially after shipping.

Saatva uses a "natural thistle barrier" flame retardant with an organic cotton cover and Euro pillow top. The pillow top mattress was very tempting to me since I loved my last pillow top so much and they are very affordable.
Warranty: 15 year
Price: $1,299 for a King

European Sleep Works
A woman in my MTHFR Facebook group directed me to European Sleep Works and said that she has been very happy with hers. They use natural, non-toxic, high-performance materials like cotton, Merino wool and natural latex. I like that they offer a full refund if you are not happy.
Warranty: 10 years
Price: The starting price for a King mattress is $2,000.

They claim to sale eco-freindlty, all-natural and/or recyclable latex mattresses. If you live near SanFrancisco, Berkeley, Los Angeles, or New York, you are lucky to live near a showroom and can test one out. Unfortunately, I do not live near any of their showrooms.
Warranty: 12 year limited warranty.
Price: They are reasonably priced at $440-$2,200

Spindle Natural Latex Mattresses
They use all natural materials like organic cotton, wool, pure latex and horsehair. No harmful chemicals, polyester, polyurethane foam, or other toxic products.
Again, no store near me to try before I buy.
Warranty: ? They do not show one on their site.
Price: A King mattress is $1,699.99

A lot of the people in my MTHFR Facebook group said that they love their organic latex and wool mattress toppers, which are a much cheaper alternative if you don’t need a new mattress, but want the surface you are sleeping on to be non-toxic and more comfortable. A few people also told me of bad experiences with memory foam and migraines from the chemicals in memory foam. I tried a memory foam topper a long time ago and hated it and got headaches from sleeping on it. I also like to be able to move around in my bed and memory foam does not allow that.

I bought one of these mattresses and will be reviewing it soon. I did not ask for any blogging discounts, so that I could give a truly honest review. I am annoyed at all of the fake blog reviews and Amazon reviews by people who have been given free products in exchange for good reviews. I will be writing a very honest review.

I was not paid for this post. If I have gotten any facts wrong, please comment or email me (thethriftyhome(at)gmail(dot)com. If you have a non-toxic mattress that you love, write a comment or email me a review and I will add it here. If you work for a non-toxic mattress company and would like to be included in this list of non-toxic mattress options, email me. I won't charge to link up your company as long as it is truly non-toxic and affordable. I had a hard time finding non-toxic mattresses and hope this list will be helpful.