October 29th, 2007
People trying to make do on less and less money in the modern world already know that food is a greater expense for a family than most economists like to admit. Most of us have scanned various ‘official’ guess-timates of how much of a family’s income goes toward groceries – not eating out in restaurants or fast food joints – and have smirked at the discrepancies between what government thinks we can live on and the constantly rising prices at the grocery store.
Fortunately for those who live near a copse of woods or a real forest, nature does provide a bounty of foods that can be had for no more than the price of a healthy hike, some prep time and effort, and the energy it takes to process the harvest.
The production of acorns by oak trees every fall is called the “mast crop” here in the southern Appalachians. Some trees will produce bushels of acorns one year, practically nothing the next. We know that squirrels, bears, deer and other wildlife depend on the mast crop to put on weight for the coming winter, but did you know that the nuts of wild hickory, walnut, chestnut and oak trees were a large part of the staple diet of Native Americans long before white guys came?Alternatives, Nutrition, Recipes, Staple Foods, Wild Harvest | Comment (1)
October 22nd, 2007
The Real Estate Bubble Bursts
Living through hard economic times can be more than an adventure in benefitting directly from the excesses of conspicuous consumption, it can also be a learning experience full of valuable life-lessons that fall under the heading of “Wisdom.” Gaining the knowledge and skills to survive and reconnect with the great adventure we call life is good for people.
I posted an outline of how to save a bundle on home appliances, transportation, health maintenance, clothing and incidentals, and exploiting alternative means of trade for the things you need and have to offer. It should be clear that it CAN be done. Less clear to the average person is why it may need to be done.Alternative economics, Alternatives, Economic Recession, Housing | Comment (1)
October 15th, 2007
October 15 has been designated “Blog Action Day”, when bloggers are encouraged to write about our environment and things regular people can do to reduce their environmental footprint on the planet and help steward the environment we all depend upon to sustain our lives.
This is pretty easy to do if you’re living on a shoestring budget, as our previous excursions into bargain-hunting, recycling, thrifting and doing for yourself have demonstrated amply. Yet at a time when the Nobel Peace Prize can go to Al Gore for his crusade to educate the nations of the world about the threat of global warming and how our poor choices of lifestyle are contributing to it, this is a great time to do some thinking about how we live. Maybe earn a new appreciation not just for our cleverness in being able to get by on less, but for our wisdom in doing so. Even if we didn’t have to.
October 9th, 2007
We’ve covered the subject of thrifting, or purchasing second hand, but there are times when you’ve just got to have new. Shoes, socks and underwear, new clothes, winter coats, household items, art and craft supplies, whatever. If your budget is tight, before you go shopping you might wish to find out where the factory outlet stores and discount outlets in your area are.
These are retail outlets that carry factory-direct items, seconds, and clothing, shoes, coats, bedding or household items in discontinued styles or colors. The prices are significantly lower than can be found at most stores, and the products are usually made in America.
Living on a shoestring budget requires a person to be resourceful, and it doesn’t hurt to remember some of the things you were taught in Home Ec classes, like how to sew. Many community colleges offer evening classes where you can learn the basics for a small fee. Schools, churches and businesses often offer evening classes in crafting, where you may find that you’ve a real flair for making things yourself.Clothing, Discount Outlets, Fashion, Sewing | Comment (0)
October 2nd, 2007
Owning a car is an expensive proposition these days, even if you aren’t making monthly car payments. Insurance is expensive enough to equal an average person’s car payment, and gas certainly isn’t getting cheaper. Yet for people who choose not to live in a city where there is ready access to public transportation, a way to get to and from work, stores and chores is a necessity rather than a luxury.
Now, if you live in a town – even if it doesn’t have public transportation – or near enough to town, you might decide that having a nice bicycle or motor scooter will serve your needs. And it might, so long as it’s not raining or snowing and you don’t have to transport a month’s worth of groceries, any bulky items for sale or trade, or any of your children, your spouse, or your Mother-in-Law. They just don’t make any cool farings or sidecars for bicycles or mopeds.Alternative economics, Alternatives, Brand New Used, Mechanics, Transportation | Comments (6)