March 18th, 2009
The news these days is chock full of dramatized street theater as the “haves” fight about ridiculous things like super-bonuses for AIG grifters, amazing world-class ponzi money-laundering schemes, and how we on the low end of the totem pole get to pay through the nose (as usual) to bail these crooks out. At this point it’s not even a partisan fight, it’s just rich versus poor. As usual. We who have been actually harmed by these interminable games of economic Risk are just trying to survive with the basics – food, clothing and shelter.
While I hope that anyone who regularly reads this blog has already bought their seeds and planted their ‘taters, there are things we usually have to purchase – or trade for – because we don’t produce our own at home. Sure, it doesn’t take more than a quarter acre of yard to keep a fresh milk goat or half a dozen chickens who give us eggs for free, but often people will be unable to even do that much. Keeping that goat fresh requires breeding once a year, and then you’ve got to either deal with a smelly billy goat or transport to where the smelly billy goat is standing stud. And what about the kid? That’s something my family could never quite conscience (these youngsters, if not also female, are usually slaughtered for meat). And don’t let anybody fool you. Those chickens CAN fly (sorta). At least to get over the fence into your neighbor’s yard.
If you are lucky enough to still have a roof over your family’s heads, there are ways to save a great deal on foods you can’t produce in your garden but need to keep everyone healthy and satisfied. Nothing makes us feel wealthier than a truly fine and healthy diet. Plus, that alone can save us multi-thousands in chronic diseases we really don’t have to get in the first place. The first of these is to join a local CSA. With this membership, which is critical to purchase right now if you can, you get a portion of the crops and products of local farmers near your home. Even if you garden, this can help fill out the take so you’ve got more to work with. Buying local directly supports your local farmers, and helps them to purchase the seeds and equipment they need to keep on producing.Alternatives, Bulk Buying, Do It Yourself, Family Projects, Garden, Nutrition, Recipes, Staple Foods, Surviving | Comment (0)
November 10th, 2008
The election is now over, the Neocons and their operatives at Treasury and the Fed are doing their best to loot the nation completely before power changes hands, and the citizens are collectively holding their breath, wondering just how bad it will get, thousands of jobs disappearing every week. The Grinch may well have succeeded in stealing Christmas this year – looks like we won’t have Circuit City to kick around anymore.
As the economy falls (for everyone but the oil companies, who are enjoying record profits as usual), the prices of just about everything keep going up. The most primal of our needs is food, and how we will survive the depression without sacrificing our health, our weight or our taste buds is a question many families are beginning to struggle with.Alternatives, Conscious Living, Economic Depression, Garden, Grow Your Own, Nutrition, Recipes, Staple Foods, Surviving | Comments (6)
May 1st, 2008
The market news reports that consumer spending is up again this month. The problem is that this is not as a sign of possible economic recovery from the deepening recession we find ourselves in. It’s a reflection of the fact that people must spend more on basics like fuel and food – prices for both rising much faster than regular people can keep up with – thus must spend less on all that consumer junk our capitalistic system expects us to buy with our overrated “disposable income.”
If you’re reading this blog, chances are you’re like me – I have no “disposable income” because all the income we have must go to simply pay for the necessities of life, and there’s hardly enough even cutting corners. Food, clothing, shelter, transportation, utilities. I have previously posted about the clothing thing, as I haven’t actually purchased new clothing for at least a decade. Used clothing is good enough – even suits and formal clothing – though I don’t dress up much. But the mortgage is what it is. Gas prices are what they are, they cannot be bargained down. And as the price of fuel rises, so does the cost of food and electricity. Thus more of our money must be spent on necessities, even if we never had any left over for junk in the first place!Bulk Buying, Economic Recession, Farmer's Markets, Fuel, Garden, Grow Your Own, Nutrition, Staple Foods, Surviving | Comments (7)
February 28th, 2008
Part 3: Items 11-15
NYC Bread Line
Installment three of this series of 20 ways to live on little-to-nothing. In these we’ll look at some basics about food, using all of your abilities, and taking honest stock of exactly what you need to do in your life to get through the hard times. If you get hit hard by what’s happening – and cutting back on luxuries just won’t fix the problems – you’ll need to learn to rely on yourself.
11. Taking Honest Stock
If you don’t want to go all Gypsy (and have a family to support), you can still take control of your situation. Keep a careful record of where the money goes over a month. Examine your ‘necessary’ expenses (home, utilities, car, insurance, food, gas, any other fixed expenses). If the ‘necessary’ expenses are larger than net income, it’s time to get out from under the big ones and take a good look at less expensive ways to live. You can live through hard times, but first you have to acknowledge you’re in hard times.
Housing markets are bust right now, so it’s difficult to sell your house even if you were willing to take an equity loss. Same is true for cars and light trucks. It can be the best option to make a clean break and declare bankruptcy, which can allow you to start fresh with a whole different way of approaching life.Alternative economics, Alternatives, Debt, Do It Yourself, Economic Recession, Garden, Surviving | Comments (5)
January 8th, 2008
Habits of thought that won’t cost you a thing…
My last post offered some Tips for Avoiding Pressure to Shop, mostly in the context of getting out of the usual “girls’ day out” type of expensive, mall-hopping, credit card fueled frenzy that way too many people in the modern world view as entertainment. At least, until the bills come due. Sad statistics demonstrate that if medical costs from an accident or illness in the family don’t lead to bankruptcy, credit card debt will. These are the two biggest contributors to middle class bankruptcies in the U.S. at this time, and as the mortgage crisis becomes ever worse, it’s not going to get any better.
In this post I’m going to offer some ways of thinking that can become habitual without too much trouble, that will help keep you out of debt by not going into debt in the first place. Not everyone can put these to good use, but those who can will find that their shoestring budgets go a lot farther in covering necessities.Alternatives, Conscious Living, Debt, Economic Recession, Family Projects, Garden, Nutrition, Shopping | Comments (3)
November 5th, 2007
Deborah over at Simply Thrifty blog offered a great humorous post not long ago entitled 6 Uses for Your Old Bathtub, which speaks creatively for the wonderful world of recycling. Having remodeled and expanded our bathroom not too many years ago and installing a low-flow toilet, it occurs to me that some ideas for recycling your old toilet and sink are in order.
You could make a tub sofa or a nice fish and lily pond for your garden or patio, or just do what we did with our old clawfoot tub – we put it out at the edge of the back yard’s campfire, barbecue, campground and horseshoe area to serve as the 9th hole for the top-nine of our disc golf course. It does double duty for icing down kegs, sodas and juice during our annual extended family gatherings.Garden, Humor, Recycling, Yard | Comment (0)