Thursday, May 8, 2008

No music playing? Well it's pretty darned good, so if you want to hear it and it fails to work just go to the bottom of this blog - hit the POP-OUT PLAYER tab, and it will open into a new window - click that, and the music will start - enjoy!

Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Peat & Repeat were in a boat; Peat fell out - and Repeat decided to jump in with him....

danceIs she dancing? Is she crying? Is she performing an ancient ceremonial dance to bring rain after a long drought? Is she drying her finger-nails after painting them with 3 layers of 'glitter-gloss'?

Is she slapping her face because it's good for her
circulation? Is she trying to rip holes in the arm-pits of her sweat-shirt
so her mom will buy her a new one? Is she smacking her face every time she
hears of a new foreclosure on one of those sub-prime loans? Is she trying
to wave down a helicopter to give her a lift to the nearest shopping mall
because her mom and dad can't afford the gasoline?
If you're as old as me, you only
see that this 'newest recession' is just 'history repeating itself'...or
'smacking itself side the head'............

Anyway - read on - repetition (even of an
adorable young girl's hair flying in the wind) gets as tiring as the stories
I've been reading daily, about this nation's economy.....


Since I've been helping young people (locally), I think some of the ideas that not only I might have, but what they've come up with, will be put here - we can treat this as a 'running entry'.

Now: How resourceful is this one? One of our neighbors had
nothing more than a chest freezer that he was using for keeping foods 'on hand'
- buying on sale, etc. (we all know the routine).

He had a used boat; went down to the marina to put a 'for sale' sign on it -
it was hot; he was miserable, and he sat for hours. While he was watching
the boaters launch their boats, he was struck with an idea.

He saw people going inside to the near-by casino; coming back with crushed ice - filling their ice-chests. He went inside - saw the machine, and wondered....

Two days later, he took old plastic bags; filled them with water -sat them
inside old shoe boxes that were in his storage locker, and they acted as 'molds'
for ice. He went back to the marina and casino. He went inside to
see why there were two or three men yelling at each other at the open door near
the ice-maker.

Well, all the boaters had taken so much ice, the casino/hotel, had made it operable only to hotel guests; the room key had to be presented, and of course that meant you had to have paid for a night's stay!

Aha - now was the time to 'launch' not his boat, but his idea.

He tugged his small boat back home; he filled the boat with those blocks of
ice - he took them back, and sold them for 50 cents a block! He sold out
so fast, he couldn't believe it.

Where he RENTED, the water was paid for; back he went - cold water into the
bags...into the shoe-box 'molds', and over-night, solid blocks of marketable

On the week-ends, he gets $1.00 for each block; the tourists are in a hurry - they 'buy', and the hotel is happy because they don't have anyone stealing from the ice machines!

He now makes between $30 and $60 a day; he does this in between his
swing-shift; it's tax-free, and he can average between $900 and $1800/month on
'frozen water'.....

As my grandson would say: '...Cool...'

This is the budget I did for a young family – the before & after results!

(note: they asked that their income not be used, so we will show only how we reduced expenses)

Fixed expenses

Rental - $800/month
Water – included with rent
Trash – included with rent
Parking – included with rent
Electricity - $120/month
Fixed phone - $25/month
Cellular phone #1 - $59/month with ‘family added free’
Added phones: 3
Average costs for overage on excessive use: $50
Text messaging services @ 20 cents each: Average $15
Mobile services/photos/ring-tones, ‘extras’: $20
Cable t.v. – ‘bells & whistles’: $140
Rented movies: $40
I-net services: $30
Dial-up costs for minutes billed over plan: $40
Car insurance – 2 cars: $200
Car payments – 2 cars: $540
Plates, maintenance – repairs not put on credit card: $30
Car repairs & maintenance put on credit card: $80 (average)
Clothing: All currently on credit card due to lack of funds – minimum payment on cards are $25 (x) 4 cards = $100 (with interest, the balance isn’t dropping)
Meals out: Average – cash out-lay: $340
Meals out: - Average – added to credit cards: $120
Groceries: $700
Gasoline: 50% added to credit cards - $150; cash - $100
Household items – needed (so they say, so I go with it): $100 – all on credit card
School costs; other costs for 2 children under 18 years of age: $150
Stamps; shipping – computer supplies & miscellaneous: $125 – 50% put on credit card
Savings: nothing – to maximum of $100
Entertainment out (not including food): $160
Children’s allowances: $120
Total (not including the fact they’re adding some of their expenses to their credit cards): $3,892 (rounded off)
This is an annual total of: $46,704 – a number that is NET (after their income taxes are taken out; FICA, and they’ve recently been told they have to now pay their medical insurance costs by their employers)

Add that cost: $540 for a minimum plan per month (x) 12 = $6,480
line is: $53,184 – net income after taxes and medical expenses must be
achieved to maintain their ‘life-style’.

Now the sad truth: They don’t make enough money to meet these obligations.

What we eliminated is illustrated in RED.

What was substantially REDUCED, is illustrated in BLUE.

The total in elimination per month: $405
The total in reduction per month: $710

Combined results: $1,115 = Former monthly with medical insurance
costs: $4,432 now reduced to: $3,317/month. Essentially
a reduction of about 25% - now they will meet their obligations.

As you examine this, you can see there is more room to eliminate and/or reduce. At this point, they felt they wanted to keep that expensive monthly 'cable' bill; yet, they can cut this down by about $80/month.

They can eliminate all meals eaten out!

They can have their children go without an allowance until things 'smooth out'...

Because they didn't want an 'austere' budget or plan, since we met their
needs so they could BALANCE their income with their expenses, they are quite
happy for the moment.


Now - most importantly:

We must notice that their net income is over $50,000.

We must remember this means a gross of about $80,000.

We have to realize this is a 2-family income situation; neither have the education and opportunity to make $80,000 as a single-income household.

We have to remember their children are old enough not to require a baby-sitter.

We have to understand that millions aren't even close to this type of income or 'situation'.

There might be more to 'realize' and analyze as we must all come to have understanding for those individuals who offer up food-stamps while we could be 'cursing them' - feeling as if 'our taxes' are 'supporting them'....okay, they are!

We will have to resist all urges to be critical about others until we sit down with a friend or neighbor, and openly discuss their 'plight'....

I'm able to handle my needs - we are on fixed income; we do know how to 'manage', and because of that, my 'retired' situation shows me I must spend more time 'helping others' handle the difficult times ahead...


A reader sent this link; said he'd had success making extra money this way.

While I haven't reviewed it in depth (just about a 10-minute glance), you might want to see if this could work for you.....


We installed 'Magic Jack' - works with our computer; $19.95 a year, and a one-time cost of $49 for the system.

Our base charge on 'fixed phone', was costing us $240/year - and we had only LOCAL service (no long-distance).

Now we have unlimited dialing for long-distance; no long distance charges, and we don't have to worry about having our cellular phones 'charged up', since we do maintain those for travel.

Our cellular phone has been a 'God-send'; after being stranded and needing road service - being in car accidents that required also calling for help (and reporting the accidents), we now make sure one of the 2 phones stays in the car at all times; this way, we never are without a phone in the car.

Also: Remember phone cards have their place - low users love them (we're not low-users).

My mother is almost 84 years old - she won't use a cellular phone, and still struggled with 'coins' in the pay-phones (which she says she's seeing less and less of).

Still, when she needs to make a call, we now make sure that for Mom's Day, we include a pre-paid phone card that gives her 6 months of 'emergency calling' (or just calling to say hello without ruining her tiny budget).

I also had pictures of her old home-stead put onto postage stamps. No, this is not a thing you do to SAVE money - it costs a lot to have those 'custom stamps' made, but since we paid the bill, mom no longer has to pay postage on her first-class mailings, and she's just so proud and happy to use those stamps because it reminds her of her youth and happy times.

If you're going to give a gift, try avoiding the 'gift-card' routine; all the cards we get as gifts, always have a 'fee' attached - some are not easy to 'negotiate' either....

Instead: Give the phone card - it saves the recipient money; could generate a lovely 'hello' from someone you love.

Give the gift of stamps - if you can afford it. Put the grand-child on the stamp; the new home - a family photo; something that is's a usable gift; a thoughtful gift, and each time the user places it on a mailing, they will think of you.

In our household, we think 'cash only' as we shop each week. We budget our groceries and our personal allowances; the sum total is carried in our pockets - CASH.

We make an allowance for GASOLINE - it goes on a credit card so we can 'track' the date and the cost. We pay that amount off each and every month.

We do NOT use debit cards except in extreme emergencies. It's way too easy to lose track of 'what you spent' - and the balance.

One member of our family learned the 'hard way', about being charged $35 as an 'over-draft' fee - and was only over by $1.24!

One person is shopping - carrying the family debit
card; makes purchases. Another person of that same family is doing the

No one is telling the 'other one', that they're
'spending money'. Aha, and of course with no 'clue' as to what's going on,
the bank hits them with an over-draft fee.

Learn to carry your credit cards as 'hard cash' that is more safe than 'cold cash' - then pay off the balance each month (as we do), and no interest charges. We do NOT carry one card that requires an annual fee - to us, that's nonsense.

Oh yes, and about those HOLIDAY COSTS?

Further down on this 'blog', I've listed what we
do about those 'holiday gifts' and celebrations; how we've cut out 100%, the
'commercialism', and the joy we've all had by giving to charity instead of each

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

More than anything, do NOT let the MEDIA scream; yell, and frighten you...

The television; it has to make money, right? Everyone wants one of those high-paying jobs - and of course the market researchers tell those people 'what the hot topic is right now'...
Let's see, if I try to find a channel of 'balanced
news', I'm hard-pressed. If I want to predict what will be the leading
stories - it' easy. "The Primary" - "The Economy" - "The Rising Food
Prices" - "The Rising Gas Prices" - and each face that pops in front of me, will
surely be glossed with plenty of make-up that won't melt under the studio
Each commentator will have the latest hair-do;
hair-cut - and the most up-to-date clothes - precisely; this is a 'staged
event'. We need to think of television (in today's world) as nothing more
than a bunch of 'actors' playing as if they are telling us the 'news' - they are
'experts', and they care about the millions of people who aren't making 1/30th
of what these actors are being paid to get us 'all shook up'...
I'm not deaf; I'm not dumb, I'm not blind - I'm just 'old' - I've been
through enough recessions and 'down-turns', to know that a good percentage of
what caused it to 'really happen', was the FEAR of the people; this FEAR - this
REACTION, was more often than not, related to NEGATIVE NEWS
Isn't it amazing that the REAL NEWS - that we all NEED, is usually reported 'way after the time' it would have truly helped us? You get a hand-ful of individuals who'll start with the 'truth' - they are aired at 2:00 a.m. when everyone is asleep - on the public television channels that too many ignore to start with....
Then, when we do start to 'hear' something viable, there's that 'commercial interruption' that breaks up your train of thought. Also - have you really heard anyone ever talk (as in a lecture format) in a way you could actually 'take notes'? Think about the last time you found a program that allowed you to take valuable 'notes' - for 60 minutes - (non-stop); essentially, did you get true help from that t.v. program - the one you pay $50 to $150/month to 'watch'???
You might try a Dr. Phil show - an Oprah show - try
to concentrate with the studio audience that is 'reacting'.....
You might try to watch either of those shows -
comfortably; for a full hour, and 'relax' knowing that 6 of their sponsors won't
take up 3 minutes (each) of your valuable time....
If you head to the computer; search the web, you'll
find thousands of 'links' - have you got the time to do all this? Well,
maybe it is time you DID all of this - each individual's own financial
situation, will 'spur them on', in their quest for answers.
There are bloggers with some feasible ideas - helpful
methods - I've tried to find a few that I truly think have given their 'all', in
trying to lay out a financial play; or a budget suggestion, that helps the
'normal people', like most of us are.
Most of all - do not let the 'fearful news media'
incite you; rile you up to the point you lose focus, and control. Do not
be thrown off-balance; think for yourself.
Of late, I've noticed the words 'rock' - 'bricks' - 'grid'....
Aha - reminds me of that old saying:
"Sticks and stones can break your bones, but names can never hurt me..."
Well, sticks and stones will break
your bones
so will rocks and
and names will never 'hurt
when the advertising
sticks their name on your jockey
plunks their name on your
charges you 10 times what that pair
of slippers should have cost
and it keeps getting steadily
by 'me' - May 5, 2008
The way I handle this? I ignore the labels and names except my own. I don't buy glossy 'hype' magazines. I shut the television
off, and at most - grab a 'how-to' book; or visit some of the links I've placed
This Life

Then after you do all this reading, WATCH THIS VIDEO - it's about how we are coerced to BUY STUFF...the IMPACT OF TELEVISIONS ADVERTISING - of PUBLICATIONS THAT PROMOTE 'BUYING STUFF'...and why!

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Now what good can a cartoon strip do anyway....I've re-typed the 'conversation' in case your eyes can't see easily...

Ever notice how many conversations revolve around TV
shows and movies?

Our common
references are events that never happened and people we'll never

We know more about
celebrities and fictional characters than we know about our

That must be
because new houses aren't built with front porches any more...

I can't believe dad won't let me have a t.v. in my own

Ah, the wisdom of Calvin and Hobbs - long ago,
a cartoon strip that gave us advice in a humorous way.

Read those words - I'm betting 4 out of the 5,
should be revitalized and revived; one of those should be done away with - which
one will you select as you cut back on costs??? Which four will you think
about, and what of those 4, will you focus on in the coming months as you 'make
friends' again???

I call this photo 'BRIDGING THE GAP' - at least there is one thing we all have in common in a recession...

New Bern’s strong African-American Heritage is rich in culture as well as historical fact. It chronicles the rise of a proud race from slavery to independence and prominence.
In the 1700s, New Bern became known as a popular town
for both slaves and free blacks in Colonial America. Over the course of many
years, a large black population created institutions and had a political,
economic, and cultural influence in the area. As far back as 1800, New Bern’s
slaves outnumbered the whites.

I read this information; it seems appropriate to put it here - fortunately, 'recession' knows no 'race' - it doesn't discriminate based on creed or religion - at least we get all get to share in this experience...
Oh yes, some of us are also 'sharing the experience' of getting an IRS 'stimulus' refund check!
What stimulates me about this? Well for us, it means I definitely can insure the fact my mom will get her cataract surgery done; get that new set of tires for her car...
Here's a link to the IRS information on your stimulus check...

Stimulus Payments are being issued on a schedule according to the last 2 digits of the primary social security number (SSN) shown on your 2007 tax return.
You should check the
Payment Schedule prior to using this application since your payment information will not be available on this tool until the time that your payment is scheduled.

To get to your Stimulus Payment information, be ready to enter your:
Social Security Number
Filing status (Single, Married Filing Joint Return, Married Filing Separate Return, Head of Household, or Qualifying Widow
Number of Exemptions shown on your 2007 tax return
Okay now, you've checked the schedule and you're ready to find out
Where's My Stimulus Payment?
Our other popular online tool, Where's My Refund?, is also available if you want to check the status of your most recent Tax Refund.
Don't fall for any email scams about your Economic Stimulus Payment! IRS never initiates emails!
Click here for more info about email and Phishing scams.
Now, my husband cringes a bit, as I share 'our status' - well, why not...I'm not a fearful or distrusting person! Still, I don't recommend doing this - just in case. In fact, as I re-think this, I'll eliminate the more critical information, but here (at least) is the 'schedule' that was shown to us as of May 4, 2008:
Filing Status:
Married-Filing Joint Return
Number of Exemptions:
We are sorry. Specific information about your Stimulus payment is not available.
Possible reasons include:
* Your payment may still be coming, but has not yet been scheduled. Information will be available here as payments are issued based on the last two digits of the primary SSN shown on your 2007 tax return. Specific information about your Stimulus Payment will not be available until about one week before your payment is scheduled to be issued. See the complete Payment Schedule below for more information.
* You did not file a tax return for 2007 or your return is still being processed. Additional information about
filing requirements is available.
* The information entered did not match our records. Be sure to check the information you entered. You may
Re-Enter your information as necessary.
Remember, to qualify for the Stimulus Payment, you must meet the eligibility requirements. Please allow 6 weeks after filing your tax return before checking on the status of your Stimulus Payment.
Payment Schedule
Please allow 2 weeks from the date shown on the schedule to receive your payment.
Last two SSN digits:
Payments will be transmitted no later than:
00 through 20
May 2
21 through 75
May 9
76 through 99
May 16

Paper checks will also go out based on Social Security number. For Social Security numbers ending in 00 through 09, the paper checks will be mailed starting May 9 and will continue through May 16. A similar process will be repeated in the following weeks.
Last two SSN digits:
Payments will be mailed no later than:
00 through 09
May 16
10 through 18
May 23
19 through 25
May 30
26 through 38
June 6
39 through 51
June 13
52 through 63
June 20
64 through 75
June 27
76 through 87
July 4
88 through 99
July 11

My children - and did you notice something special other than how beautiful they are?

Notice the simplicity in their clothing. Notice the simple wedding dress. Notice the beautiful back-drop; it's in my daughter-in-law's mother and father's back yard!
Yes, there was money for a 'fancy church wedding'. There was money for expensive invitations and foods. Lots of money would have been spent, but I guarantee you this - there's no prettier wedding photo around as I see it.
It's beautiful because of the people in the photo - no matter if you're their mom, or not - it is beautiful.
It's more beautiful because
sensible new daughter-in-law was in her first year of medical school.
Sensible new daughter-in-law knew that the 'wasted money' her mother and father
would spend, would deprive her parents from the needed items they'd gone without
for years - she wanted them to update their 'kitchen appliances'; finish the
kitchen so her mom could work in it more easily. She wanted to relieve the
burden from her hard-working father.
My son agreed - as did we all; no
money should be wasted for a single event - this picture will always remind me
of not only that wonderful day, but the loving and generous hearts of those who
planned this ceremony.
Oh yes, and on May 17, 2008, this daughter-in-law of mine, will receive her doctorate degree...another beautiful day indeed!
On January 1 of this year, my daughter sent this to
me - how about I give you something to 'think about' - it was a healthy reminder
to me!

Subject: George Carlin's words offer such insight for the coming year.

A Message by George Carlin:

The paradox of our time in history is that we have taller buildings but
shorter tempers, wider freeways , but narrower viewpoints.
We spend more, but have less; we buy more, but enjoy less. We have bigger houses
and smaller families, more conveniences, but less time. We have more
degrees, but less sense; more knowledge, but less judgment.
We have more experts, yet more problems; more medicine, but less wellness.
We drink too much, smoke too much, Spend too recklessly, laugh too
little, drive too fast, get too angryStay up too late, get up too tired
Read too little, watch TV too much, and pray too seldom.
We have multiplied our possessions, but reduced our values. We talk too
much, love too seldom, and hate too often.
We've learned how to make a living, but not a life. We've added years to
life, not life to years. We've been all the way to the moon and back,
but have trouble crossing the street to meet a new neighbor. We
conquered outer space, but not inner space. We've done larger things,
but not better things.
We've cleaned up the air, but polluted the soul. We've conquered the
atom, but not our prejudice. We write more, but learn less. We plan
more, but accomplish less. We've learned to rush, but not to wait. We
build more computers to hold more information, to produce more copies
than ever, but we communicate less and less.
These are the times of fast foods and slow digestion, big men and small
character, steep profits and shallow relationships.
These are the days of two incomes, but more divorce. We have fancier houses,
But broken homes.
These are days of quick trips, disposable diapers, throwaway morality,
one night stands, overweight bodies, and pills that do everything from
Remember; spend some time with your loved ones, because they are not
going to be around forever.
Remember, say a kind word to someone who looks up to you in awe, because
that little person soon will grow up and leave your side.
Remember, to give a warm hug to the one next to you, because that is
the only treasure you can give with your heart and it doesn't cost a
Remember, to say, "I love you" to your partner and your loved ones, but
most of all mean it. A kiss and an embrace will mend hurt when it comes
from deep inside of you.
Remember to hold hands and cherish the moment, for someday that person
will not be there again.
Give time to love, give time to speak! And give time to share the
precious thoughts in your mind.

Life is not measured by the number of breaths we take,
but by the
moments that take our breath away.

* * * * *

This was my grandfather's great uncle; my mom's great great uncle - that means '3-G's' for me.

You can read scores of text written by this man - I don't even have to mention his name; the world knows about him .. SELF RELIANT - read that book; be proud to be just that....
One of my favorite sites I discovered on May 1, 2008 - a woman who is definitely 'self reliant' - full of love; a beautiful and very helpful web-site awaits you here.....

These are my parents who helped me through their 'recession' - their years of poverty; but with love & ingenuity...

Like all good mothers, my mom was a WHIZ at 'saving'. In fact, I think this young mother is doing a darned good job too - take a look!

Okay, I'm not 'nuts' - this does belong on the topic of RECESSION - and learning how to 'roll'...

First things first! This painting was done by Robin Uron - This 42-year old lady has had to be ever so resourceful with her money so she can continue to live 100% off the small income she receives.
Robin receives a large sum for her works; but few can buy beautiful art in times of tight money, right?
Robin has rented a large home; she sub-lets rooms to ARTISTS. They pay
what they can; if they have little, they pay little - if they have more, they
'catch up'...they are loving people helping each other.
Robin adheres to the Buddha thinking - she sent me piles of information on 'what she believes', and frankly, my old eyes are just too tired to read through all of it.
However, what she did send - and what caught my tired old eyes is this:
The Precepts
All who attend a Vipassana course must conscientiously undertake the following five precepts for the duration of the course:
to abstain from killing any being;
to abstain from stealing;
to abstain from all sexual activity;
to abstain from telling lies;
to abstain from all intoxicants.
There are three additional precepts which old students (that is, those who have completed a course with S.N. Goenka or one of his assistant teachers) are expected to follow during the course:
to abstain from eating after midday;
to abstain from sensual entertainment and bodily decorations
to abstain from using high or luxurious beds.
Of course this looks a bit 'antiquated' to most of us, right?
Still, most 'monks' rarely want for anything - and while I'm not advocating living 100% like a monk, if you look closely, you can see some things that might appeal to you.
As a nation in the USA - we can see the high cost of war; a myriad of questions are now being asked about the problems its causing for our citizens.
You can think of 'stealing' - money or goods, but how about the time you 'steal' when you fail to use it wisely; lovingly, and with your thinking cap on as you plan out your cost-reduction/reduction-of-expenses program?
Are you telling yourself lies? Are you trying to console yourself that you're 'okay' at this time when things might be tougher than you want to admit?
Aside from 'intoxication' for alcohol (and that costs money too), are you intoxicated with your own 'self' - your 'ego' out, don't be too proud to read the rest of this 'blog' - or the many others, that are reaching out to give you an idea or too....we care - all of us, that's why we're taking the time to create this information for the betterment of all.
The eating habits suggested will save you money on the food bill.
Not clamoring for expensive bedding and all the frills that go on your bed, will save you money.
The sensual activity is clear; I know of at least 4 stores in our area, that charge a lot of money for this 'pass-time'. Also, it can lead to 'sexual' activity - that can lead to an unwanted child.
Please don't add a 'new babe' to this world, if you're not able to care of that child properly.
See, as you think through all of this, it's pretty good stuff I think!

Sour Strawberries and Recession 'taste' about the same!

Here's what my great grand-daughter seems to be 'thinking' as she tastes her first strawberry. Well, wait until she tastes her first recession!
Google finally got things fixed so we can now upload our photos again - hooray!
On the side-bar you'll find some links I like - the
one on MONEY THOUGHTS is terrific. This guy lives in Cincinnati - he's
written me, and said while he might not always have the answer to a question, he
just might have some valuable links! Now - how nice is
I think I'll have to ask my daughter to take him some SWEET strawberries; they don't live that far from each other.....

The 'blogger's' irritation when you can't upload a picture; then you can - and you're just so old & tired by then...

Hey, gotta stick with the effort - even when you keep getting 'error' messages from Google.

In fact, maybe that's a clue too.....gotta stick with it!

When Google has things fixed, I'll come back and put a photo here (I like pictures - they seem to enhance the text on web-sites and blogs).

Yes - gotta stick with it - when there's a tight cash supply; things are on the down-turn, that's when you find out what you're made of!

And also - talking about 'photos' and their enhancements; possibly the 'wrong photo' can give the wrong impression - be careful what you 'see', as you turn on that nightly news. Be careful when you start to over-react, and it might be the 'photograph' that fired up your thoughts just a bit more.

let photos of terrific-looking foods in an advertisement,
motivate you to
head over to a high-priced restaurant; often that food isn't
as good as
it looks
in the picture.

The next time you're tempted to buy that beautiful 'new
home' - you see the picture in the newspaper or real estate magazine, go outside
- TAKE A PHOTO OF YOUR OWN look at it! Aha - looks darned good
you say? Then keep your equity and your sanity as well as your budget in
See that photo of the cruise ship? The cruise is over; your welcoming-home
committee is your credit card 'new balance'! ...are you a little seasick now?

See the photo of the new boat? Too bad they don't show you the photo of the payment schedule; the interest rates - the cost to haul your new boat; the cost to launch your new boat - the gasoline to run your new boat; the gasoline to drive your new boat to where you'll try to find a place to park the trailer after you've put the boat in the water..... yes, etc. etc. etc.

Oh yes - the photos of the models wearing beautiful new clothes; the clothes that look great 'brand new' - then after a couple washings, shrink just as your bank account did when you simply had to be 'in fashion' (and in debt as well).

The photo of the NEW CAR - if you buy it in red, your
bank account might also be IN RED AS WELL.

In case you missed that link above - you really need to take 20 minutes to watch this video about how PHOTOS - ADVERTISMENT - TELEVISION cause us to 'buy stuff' - why we feel 'intimidated' if we don't have the 'latest and greatest'...all planned into the economy shortly after WWII!

Here's that link again!

Dare I even mention this here? I dare!

The year is 1966 - hmmm, 42 years ago! I decide never to have another car payment in my life! I sell my 'newer car' to the dealer who wanted it because it was 'just like new'...

Then: I go down the street; get a used car - $2,000 is still in my pocket after I have this latest 'new car'.

I start the 'car payment fund' with $2,000. Each and every month I 'make payments' to my 'car fund'...and earn interest, rather than pay interest.

Just like Peat & Repeat in the boat, I do this over and over....

Each and every 'new car', has been a car that has at least 2 years 'on it' - I let someone else pay for the depreciation and interest; I find a car that's in very good condition, and I pay CASH from my 'car savings account'. Many times, there's been quite a bit of money LEFT in that account!

..and you ask: "What about the 2nd car?" Aha, for some time there was NO second car - I walked; biked, or took a bus.

Then - the '2nd car'...nope, a nice r.v. - one I could call a 'second home'. I sold my home; was divorced, and lived in my r.v. for FOUR YEARS. I traveled all over the United States as 'money allowed'...I did this BEFORE I retired - age 55 to 59, and what a great time I had.

All my furniture was 'in storage' - when my traveling was done, a retirement home was bought with 40% down-payment; out came those stored furnishings, and the r.v. is now the 'second home and second vehicle' - paid in full.

Learn to love the colors GREEN and BLACK. Green is your cash in your pocket; black is where you stay...there is no deficit to deal with!

Yes, you can do it IF YOU IGNORE THOSE PICTURES OF NEW CARS AND THOSE MOTORING DOWN THE ROAD....learn to ignore what you can't either afford, or will cost you three times what the sticker price reads!

Photos of jewelry; photos of new electronic gadgets - photos SELL - you

...hey, now that's a photo to take - frame, and put by your

Oh yes - and my irritation when I saw that over 13,000 'bloggers' had posted the fact they weren't able to upload photos; weren't getting technical assistance - weren't getting results, reminded me that CUSTOMER SERVICE SEEMS TO BE DEAD in the USA.... In fact, read this 'customer service' nightmare - this sounds like something that I've gone through at least 3 times these past 8 years!

So, before you buy anything - LOOK FOR SERVICE - and
don't be bamboozled into paying for a SERVICE CONTRACT, when you should be
getting that for 'free'....this 'built-in' obsolesence that 90% of the
manufacturers have now adopted as a 'concept', is running rampant!

Now, we'll try to post this one - pictures can wait; words that help you 'think', can't.

After 4 hours of trying to 'post' - or place a photo, this is the Google message. Okay, another time when things are fixed...

We're sorry, but we were unable to complete your request.
When reporting this error to Blogger Support or on the Blogger Help Group, please:
Describe what you were doing when you got this error.
Provide the following error code and additional information.
Additional information
blogID: 2066748482494917610host: www.blogger.comuri: /upload-image.g
This information will help us to track down your specific problem and fix it! We apologize for the inconvenience.
UPDATE ON APRIL 30, 2008 - Well what are the odds on this one? I was trying to 'post' - couldn't get the picture to upload; spent 4 hours trying.
All is well 10 days later; and guess what - what is more suited, than posting with 'Post' - C. W. Post; founder of the cereal company in Battle Creek, Michigan!
More than that; how about what C. W. had to say......
My, how our thinking seems to have been 'skewed' these past 80 years or so..........

Sunday, April 20, 2008

A poster I keep up in the computer room; a daily reminder - helps me when times are great, or not so great...

I think over all my adventures; my fears
The little ones that seemed so big
for all the vital things I had to get and reach
there is only one great thing
the only thing
to live to see the great day that dawns
and the light that fills
the world!
Old Inuit Poem

Do your electricity, gas, and water bills 'fluctuate' ; does your usage chart look like this?

We live in the desert; we have very high power bills in the summer-time as our air-conditioner whizzes along keeping us cool.

About eight years ago, I was tired of the 'up and down'
monthly billing, so I decided to estimate the annual over-all usage, and divide by
12. I sent that amount each month so my budget would 'stay
balanced'. At the end of that first year, I now had 12 bills with 'actual history', to recalculate about what the annual costs were for each utility. The next year, I worked with that amount plus 10% (to allow for rate increases), and I still 'beat the heat', and saved the budget.

When you 'bill yourself' - and you stick to that amount, it's a
wonderful relief to know that you're building up a credit reserve on your
various utility accounts.

Now when the heat soars, our monthly bill already has a credit
balance, so I continue to pay the same amount, and never feel the

Also, for easy calculation in your check-book, just round up the amount 'due' - if it's $236.23, make it $240 that you deduct. Slowly, but surely, you'll be getting a 'silent savings' each and every month - at the end of the year, you'll be surprised at what you've accumulated; maybe time for a treat to yourself - or enough for a contribution to a vital charity in your neighborhood.
Oh yes: Something I probably won't write again, but
I noticed the date on this post...
4/20/79 - A wonderful day - I met L. V. Tomasetti -
V.P - General Electric; we had a marvelous time entertaining some great people
at the Cincinnati plant.
4/20/80 - My husband and I were awarded a sizeable
contract with Boeing; a contract we fulfilled, and it brought great opportunity
for us because of our hard work.
4/20/81 - I received notice my 2 younger sons were finally
going to rejoin me in my home - a 6-year difficulty - something that with
persistance, and fair-play = success.
I remember this always - fair-play; respect for the other
person's viewpoint, and if there is conflict, 'time and understanding', will
ultimately bring about the best and most peaceful result.
As I see the 4/20/79 date, I realize that is 29 years ago
- I realize a lot of time has passed since then; how much I've learned and
accomplished, and it makes it even more important to me that I try to add
information to this 'blog', that can help others not ony get through a difficult
time, but be able to 'look back' after nearly 30 years have passed in their
lives, and remember the things they did to optimize their life-style.
For me, I've had more than one chance
to 'roll' - and when I do, I keep the music going in my life. I play my piano; I
play up-beat music that inspires and motivates me. I strive to keep a positive
out-look, because I know I'll become what I believe.
Be what you are; act on and
out, what you truly think. Radiate confidence to
others...when you do this, you're like the sun on a summer's afternoon - your kindness is like the gentle breeze, and your understanding is like a spring rain that brings the flowers back to life. Attitude in good times; or rough times - this more than anything, will get you to the next chapter in your life, with a minimum of disappointment.

Saturday, April 19, 2008


Quit being 'eaten alive', by thinking you have to have the very latest and greatest electronic 'gadget' or toy...if you finance it, then add the interest charges to your purchase price!

Getting back to basic good living; good food
- quality time with your family that does not include something that 'plugs into
the wall', or operates on a 'wireless system' - or batteries.

If you think I'm being 'brutal', nope - go watch a 20-minute video that shows us where our crazy thinking has gotten many of us - this might make you think twice if by this time, my remarks haven't.....

The other day,
my neighbor said he was 'into 'WiFi' (or something
like that), and I
say "Why Fi?" He said 'Cuz it's the latest thing'...' Oh yes,
and the latest thing, is he got an eviction notice for being late on his rent
for the 3rd straight month.

I thought to my self - again ... Why? Fi...aha, Fi - the first 2 letters in the word
'finished' - and that's what you might be.....

Post Script: Hey, did you see that mess of big
words? Well, the 'lay-out' shows the dialog 100% readable, but when it
goes to 'public', what a pile of jumbled words - magic!

So: let's try again: What it reads it the very
individual who was bragging about all his stuff 'going Wi Fi', has now been
served an eviction notice because he's been delinquent in his rent for 3
straight months.

Priorities - appears he didn't keep them straight; must be that
Wi-Fi stuff....there's probably a glitch in the product.....

Do you feel like this if you are trying to lay out a budget?

Just as 'frugality' is not a dirty word, neither is the word 'budget'.
How many times have you told your subordinates to
'budget' their time? Have you ever told your children they have to live
within their 'allowance money'? Is that 'budgeting'???
It's pretty easy to do - put down the word 'NEED' on the left-hand side of a sheet of paper; then 'WANT' on the right side; put in the item, and the cost of that item.
Put down your FIXED OBLIGATIONS - get that done first;
you can't even start to make a change in your 'budget', until you know what's
FIXED OBLIGATIONS are those items that you 'owe' - have to pay; regardless, each and every month.
Don't forget those periodic costs
such as taxes; insurance, tags for the car - other items that 'pop in' just when
you don't need it.
A secret we've used for 30 years: We deposit $1,000 (or did 30 years ago) into the checking account; then we do NOT add it into the balance. We've never had a bounced check; this is a great way to 'hide' a few dollars, and avoid ever getting charged $35 for a returned check fee.
Once you've added your monthly OBLIGATIONS to those pro-rated PERIODIC
OBLIGATIONS, start examining your insurance programs - see if a bigger
'deductible' on your car insurance, might yield a better rate. Do you need that
road service? If your car is less than 5 years old, you might consider
eliminating 'road service' - older than that, hang on to it.
Is your liability coverage enormous? You can
think about reducing that liability for bodily injury and property damage just a
As you examine those 'fixed expenses', how many of them can be modified or reduced to something less - look at your cost for the many phones you're paying for. Reduce if you can; we get a 15% discount with our carrier because my husband is retired - and retired military as well.
Do you need a land-line service? Think about
that 911 feature; how critical is it to you to have a 'fixed' house
Do you really need every single channel on television? We cut out everything - went back to 'basic cable' - that saved us $70 each month (we now send $50 of that to one of our chosen charities).

Do you need those magazine subscriptions? I cut all of mine since
90% of them were 'on the web' anyway. I also go to my local library (I can walk to it and save gasoline costs) where they have plenty of magazines I can read through. They let me copy an article for 10 cents; can't beat that price.

Also, they have book sales 4 times a year; you can buy used books for 50 cents - it takes a little digging through the bins, but it's worth it.

Remember, the WEB is your 'machine gun' in the time of 'war' - the war to find information, and you need it quick! I use it all the time; I don't call an accountant or an attorney - I simply 'Google' my topic or needed information - rarely do I ever come up 'short', in finding what is essential for me to know.

We paid off our credit cards a year ago; now we pay
them off each month - we don't want to pay interest. When you have to use that
interest, make sure it's only for something that is imperative, and of course an
'emergency' is never something you can predict, so don't groan too loudly when
you do have to use that credit card.
Use the credit card for purchases that are on a 40% or more 'discounted price'. Figure that what you pay in interest, is paying full price for that item you needed - feel lucky you bought it on sale, and again - don't groan too loudly.
Buy out of season items - this is
something I've done for years. Set up a closet just for 'gifts' and
'things' that you got on sale, and check your inventory when a sudden 'gift' is
needed, and you don't have ready cash.
Shop the many dollar stores that are out there; never pay for brand names when it's just a dish-drainer that sits in your sink; labels don't count here, and saving money does.
Buy 'house brands' at the store; name brands are
elevated to cover their advertising costs - rarely are they truly
Patronize your Good-Will store (they need the revenue); go to Salvation Army - find those things that you need - the key word is NEED always when times are tight.
Ask your grand-parents for ideas; they usually have
had experience with tough times, and can give you guidance...they'll be happy to
share, I'm sure.
Create a local buying club with your neighbors; buy large quantities at discount - break out the items, and realize probably 10% to 25% in savings for all.
Rather than 'partying' at the local pub - have a 'pub
night' at each other's homes...share the costs, and think of it as a 'private
club' - sounds better now doesn't it!
A recession can mean a chance to cultivate friendships; create a bond that will end up bringing you closer to your community, and finding a joy you never knew you had!

Friday, April 18, 2008

"No, frugality is not a dirty word..."

I remember a person telling me that he had 'FUM'
money (like fee, fie, foe, fum) - when I asked him what that was, he said: F#*($
U Money....

For some reason, he felt he had to have lots of
MONEY in order to 'win' - to be 'somebody'. Now if money would buy
everything, Donald Trump would have decent hair, and Bill Gates would look like
George Clooney!

There's nothing wrong with being frugal; nothing wrong with announcing to your friends and family that you've adopted that life-style. There's every thing right with treating your hard-earned income, with the greatest of respect; not frittering it away to the delight of your friends.

If you have to 'buy' your respect; your
friends, and even love, then you're hanging out with the wrong

As we all come to know the meaning of being
less wasteful not only with money, but with our natural resources, we can truly
take pride as we tackle the 'art of recession' as an opportunity to challenge
our own independence to think and spend for ourselves; not follow the line of
least resistance, and brag about how many pairs of shoes we have in our closet -
or how much we wasted on a vacation that we could have enjoyed right at

There are some fun and low-cost ideas for your children (and some are for you), that you can check out - Put a smile on your face, and some money in the bank at the same time.

Let’s talk a few minutes about things that impact us over which we have no control – I’ll call them ‘Outside Forces’….

First: I spent nearly an hour writing up a myriad of solutions to those ‘outside forces’ that affect us financially, then without warning – my computer ‘crashed’…all that data was lost – OUTSIDE FORCES…

Now: I decided since the I-net is unreliable, I’ll draft this into Microsoft Word – once completed, I’ll save; then ‘cut and paste’ – overcoming ‘outside forces’….

Outside forces: Gasoline prices! We car-pool. We drive
less. We don’t take that long-distance vacation. We think – we get
creative, but we often ‘resent’….

We think of that Ethanol – we realize what’s being ‘forced on us’; we realize
that what was a food product, now will be a fuel for transportation – we realize
people will be hungry; possibly ‘starving’ because of the OUTSIDE

We can not control the government; the laws – state, city;
we feel such a loss of independence; control, and personal freedom. This
makes us angry – this means we have to get INVOLVED with others, to try to
over-turn, or even BOYCOTT and boy have I boycotted and gotten results in my
many years!

We can REFUSE to buy something that we see has been deliberately increased in price – when we know we’re being taken advantage of, we can STOP BY STOPPING…and asking others to join us. Boycotts only work when you get a strong enough following….

I boycotted red meat in 1969; our local market had to drop the price because everyone joined in, and the meat was ‘rotting’ in the show-case.

I boycotted coffee; tea became my drink of choice – in our area, prices dropped 50% because everyone else joined in.

Make sure you boycott ‘peacefully’ – hostility and anger only create negative results; negative news, and violence can not be part of our reaction to ‘tough times’.

OUTSIDE FORCES: All the replacement
televisions; my mother will get hit on 2/09 – she lives on $1,000/month – she’ll
have a new t.v. because I’m saving right now; $100/month (x) 9 months = $900 for
mom’s new television. I vow that my mother will not ‘suffer’ from outside
forces any more than I can personally do to prevent it.

DVD’s – all those we no longer watch; shipped them to mother – now she has ‘new
movies’….she loves them.

CD’s – same; trade with friends – give to
your parents or people who have lesser income than you do; the gift of

Books: Of course – trade; scan those chapters you
liked ‘the best’ – put in a note-book; now give that book to another…

Garage sales: A community sale; then before you ‘go public’, TRADE – no charge – one to another; after that, announce your ‘sale’…don’t expect to make a huge sum of money, but expect to meet your neighbors; those that stop by might be a ‘contact’ for the future – a friend – a resource.

Community Service: I use my business and legal back-ground (now that I’m retired) to offer (at no charge) to help others; lots of hours – lots of accomplishment – lots of smiles; I love ‘lots’….

Location, location, location: When we bought our retirement ‘spot’, we made sure we could walk to the library; park, grocery, and post office. We have a bus stop right outside our front gate – we know we can ‘park the car’ if necessary.

We use our ‘legs’ to walk; keeps the weight down – the circulation up, and maintains our health and vitality (2 assets during tough times).

Mass transporting: We tell our neighbors when we’ll be taking things to Good-Will. We have to spend $10 round-trip for gas, to take our items; we realize others do the same. So, we have our neighbors bring their items; all goes into our motor-home (lots of space inside of course); they give us $2 for gas – they save time and money; we have the time and the gas money now that each has contributed just a little bit….

We avoid buying ‘disposable items’ such as costly bags; containers, and the like
for ‘storing foods’ – all of this is ‘trashed’, and we don’t need that for our
environment or our pocket-book.

We cut up old clothes that aren’t
suited for giving to Good-Will; they become polishing cloths; cleaning cloths –
cloths to wrap delicate items that we ship across the miles.

We ‘recycle’, by cleaning many of the containers, and ‘recycling’ them right in our own home – using them again and again…we’ve got the time as retired; we make our time ‘pay’ in a different way now.

Empty food boxes (or any sturdy, sizeable box) become ‘file boxes’ for old magazines; photos – receipts; anything that we want to store ‘upright’, and put on the shelves of our spare closet. I cover them with either remnants of fabric (on sale) or plastic self-stick laminating material. They’re labeled with a bold-tip felt-marker; up they go…no more $3.99 each for those magazine holders…..

An old brick from an 1879 building is my paper-weight; it is my burger press after it’s wrapped with foil, and after we eat the burger it is that paper-weight again (or a door stop when I want a wee bit o’ fresh air coming through home, and I need to keep the wind from slapping the door against the wall). I love my old brick – it’s a reminder that being the ‘strong, silent type’ isn’t all bad when you have to quietly go about resolving your own financial situation in life – or making a decision that is personal to you, and is absolutely no one’s business….

I use 4x6 photos that simply didn’t come out ‘perfect’, as post cards…they mail beautifully, and I save on spending 50 cents per card; postage is less than first class, and with a post card I’m about as ‘brief’ as I’ll ever be when it comes to writing….

OUTSIDE FORCES: Holidays – get rid of that ‘commercialism’! This is what I did last year:

Turkey Day: Bring your favorite dish to share – I provide the ‘turkey only’.

Christmas: We donate to charity – in the name of those we love.

Gifts under the tree? We bring our own gift. Yup
– no one complains about the color of the shirt. No one has to exchange
for a different ‘size… No one says: “Hey, I spent twice as much on
you, as you did on me!” No one is disappointed. No one has to wrap a
gift; it’s in the original container – no one even has to remove a price

Christmas foods? Just like Turkey-Day!
Years: No booze; no hang-overs; gatherings are like Turkey and Christmas

Halloween: You make your own costume; we all gather –
pizza and fun, and a $20 prize goes to the winner (that means about $3 to $4
from each family to create that prize money, is the sum-total of that

Halloween: Trick or Treat? We ‘treat’ – we
all pool money; we visit a family we know needs a few dollars, and we ‘treat’
them….that’s it!

Mom’s Day: Hugs and phone calls; visits – cards must be home-made; no gifts.

Dad’s Day: - Repeat Mom’s Day.

Valentine’s Day: Cards only – home-made or e-cards.

Easter: Coloring ‘real eggs’; dip a few in strong coffee (old coffee –
save it)…pretty brown. Grape-juice – drink some; dunk eggs in the rest –
great purple. Leave some eggs ‘white’. Balance of the eggs are
colored with felt markers…cute faces; polka-dots – fun! Going green?
Soft-boil those eggs with your spinach – a light ‘khaki’ .

designs? Just spread a little Vaseline in random spots of the egg; put
into the color, and the Vaseline ‘repels’ the color; wipe, dry –

Do you want to eat the eggs? Do you want to peel the
eggs first? If so, you can do all this – use the coffee; grape-juice…it
only takes a small amount of each to saturate the peeled egg, to give it a
pastel color. Play with this – have fun; we’re not saving tons of money
here, but we sure are learning how to be creative now aren’t we….

Wear ‘house clothes’: We buy those big over-sized t-shirts; always on sale, and much more comfortable. We reduced the wash-loads from 1 a day to 2 a week; that saves money and we don’t need to ‘dress fancy’ when we’re at home banging on our computers, or reading a good book.

Two pairs of old socks: Ah, warm feet – padding around the house; we don’t track in dirt with our shoes (those stay at the door in the closet). We don’t stain the rug; we don’t care if the bottoms of the socks get a bit ‘dirty’ – it helps us to remember to keep the the carpet clean and prevents streaks and smudges on that nice tiled kitchen floor.

HAIR CARE: Wash once a week; saves on shampoo costs. In
between: Brush some baking soda through your hair; put an old sock over
the brush first – picks up oil; keeps the hair

COSMETICS: I’ve never (as a woman) worn liquid or
pancake make-up in my life; never worn powder – one color of eye-shadow (brown
only since shadows don’t come in purple). Vaseline on my eye-lashes; keeps
them soft – mascara only for ‘dress-up’. I mix Vaseline with my lipstick –
that’s my ‘blush’ if I’m not already blushing from the sun or
embarrassment…. Lipgloss is 99 cent Chapstick – not something that’s
$3.99 with a ‘brand name’.

PERFUMES: A few good ones for
‘special times’; the rest of the time, both my husband and I share a
fresh-smelling after-shave – splash it on; smell fresh, not like a spice

HAIR-SPRAYS: I use men’s hair-spray lightly; it’s
half the cost of the women’s brands….

45 years I’ve cut my own children’s hair – I’ve been to the hair-dressers once
in my life; after I paid their prices, I took care of my own….

roll my hair up in ‘rollers’. I start with the low row of rollers; unwind
that row – cut until it’s all even. Then comes the next row up; down comes
the hair – it’s cut even and on and on, until it’s all done, and I’m delighted
because it’s just so easy and never fails.

nail polish for me; we weren’t born with red nails, I don’t want them. I
rub Vaseline into the nails 3 times a day; it leaves a tiny ‘gloss’ – makes them
plenty pretty to suit me.

– but, because I bought only ‘good pieces’, I’m still wearing the same beautiful
jewelry I was wearing when I started working at age 19. I only used
jewelry as part of my ‘business get-up’; or my ‘party outfit’…cared for each
piece by putting it safely away; keeping it clean, and none is brought out of
the box except for those special times.

‘figure’; maintain your weight, and you’ll still be climbing into those clothes
30 years later as I am……

‘show’ – let nature take its course; stay healthy, and enjoy the ‘change’ in
your face and body as you start to look like that grandmother you always thought
had such twinkley eyes and beautiful white hair.

PLEASE: Nothing looks worse than trying to ‘change your appearance and
age’…you were born with that hair color; enjoy what you were given – pay nothing
to change it.

LET THE AGE SPOTS SHOW: Badges of honor and
confirmation that you are the age you say you are; and say the age you are….be
proud of it!

No, not really – there are ‘dollar savings’ by adopting an attitude; a
belief – an awareness of who you are, and why you don’t need to change the hair
on your head; the color of your hair, and only need to possibly change the way
your spend your hard-earned money!