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Staying out of the 47% dependency class.

I don’t know what the fuss is over Romneys comment he made to some potential donors. When I heard what he said, I did not take offense to it. I agreed with what he said. In the days to follow, I was impressed with his follow up remarks as well.
I earned $11 K last year and this year it will be less. I was earning upwards of $55 K annually prior to the 0bama economy. Yet I am still not receiving any form of govt assistance and wil continue to refuse to do so with my last dying breath.

For those of you who have, like me, been in financial decline in the past 4 years, and also like me are STUBBORN, and refuse to accept defeat, here are some things I have done to save and earn extra money.

I disconnected my landline which costed $33/mo and hooked up my computer with a MajicJack which costs $20/yr. (all calls are free), no monthly charges.

My house is approaching 85 yrs old and although I have taken good care of the place in the last 33 years, I am literally holding it up with jacks and posts in many spots. Keep an eye on your window glazing and if it is loose or cracked, remove the glazing with a screwdriver and apply new Dap33 glazing compound to seal the glass in the frames. Its very in-expensive if you DIY. Also, seal up the inside of your old drafty windows with a 3M cellophane kit, also very inexpensive. Setting the thermostat as high as you can take it in summer and as low as you can (without allowing pipes to freeze) in winter helps a lot on reducing energy costs. I also found that by using one of those 1500watt electric utility heaters greatly reduces utility cost if your furnace uses natural gas. Adjust the amount you use the electric heater so that you equalize the electric cost and natural gas cost. Thats going to be the lowest you will be able to get it. I turn the thermostat off when I am gone, set it at 90 degrees in summer and around 68 in winter. If the humidity is real high in summer, I will set it a little lower but never lower than 85. Those settings might not work out well for people with respiratory ailments. In a given summer, where the humidity doesn’t get too high while the ambient temp doesn’t exceed 90 degrees or even a little higher, I might never run the A/C, but I do run an old box fan on the floor and blow it on me while I sleep.

I un-plug small appliances when not in use (unless it is a very old appliance with a fabric/varnish coated electric cord/plugset). There is a very small amount of current that is consumed by the appliance while the switch is turned off. Additionally, I disconnect the power to the entire garage when it is not in use (via a disconnect switch). If you dont have a disconnect switch, you can disconnect power at your fusebox. If you live in a modern home, you have a circuit breaker box instead of a fusebox. Doing these things will not amount to a substantial annual savings but it will save some money.

Of course the obvious utility savings methods like turning off the lights when you leave the room applies. At my house, I rarely turn on a medium-base incandescent bulb. Small 17watt strip flourescent fixtures in the kitchen and laundry room are adequate for ambient light without the need for the high wattage ceiling fixture. I often use miniature-base 7-watt lamps that plug into a wall socket at night during hours of low activity until I go to bed. I always un-plug the lamps before going to bed.

Keep a vegetable garden during the growing season and a compost pile all year long. I am fortunate to have an old roto-tiller, but my neighbor just uses a shovel to break the ground in his garden. Buy packs of seeds instead of the plants. The seeds are way cheaper than the potted plants. I do not use fertilizers nor pesticides as they are too expensive and you dont need fertilizer anyway if you are mixing your compost in the garden. Grow all your favorite veggies and reduce your grocery bill. It is hard work and time consuming to have a successful garden, but it is worth it when you look at produce prices at the grocery store. It need only cost a few bucks to have a garden if you can put in the labor. Some folks also can their vegetables in re-usable mason jars and they save money all year long on groceries. My Grandma was a wizard at canning vegetables. Having grown up around folks who went thru the great depression in the ’30’s, I am familiar with the canning process, but don’t have the mason jars and lids at this time. If you are interested in canning, there should be a lot of good info on the internet. It’s pretty simple, but labor consuming.

I love fish, but it is getting more and more expensive at the grocer. Here, the cost of fish has nearly doubled in the last 2 years. If you have more time than money, going fishing can be a great way to relax and unwind while at the same time putting food on the table. Depending upon where you live and how far it is to available lakes and the annual cost of the fishing license may help you determine if it’s going to be worth it. I’ve had great success digging up worms out of the garden and compost pile rather than spending money for bait.

I have relatives that spend precious little at the grocer for meat because they are hunters for deer, rabbit and squirrel. However there is a cost involved. Many privately owned areas near us charge a fee for hunting on their land and you need to add in the cost of the hunting license, ammunition and the cost of the trip to go there. In my case, I have deemed in recent years that it is not worth the expense, so my .50 calibur Hawkin black powder rifle hangs on the wall collecting dust and cobwebs.

I cancelled my trash pickup and my recycling pickup. Combined those are a savings of about $55/mo. I drop off my recyclables at a recycling dumpster which is on my way to work, so it does not cost me any extra money to make a special trip. You can’t burn trash in my municipality, so I take trash with me when I go to the lake and burn it there. I accumulate 13 gallons of trash = one small trashbag per 3 week interval. This may not work out well for you if you accumulate a lot more trash. I am single and alone, so I don’t accumulate much.

Run as many errands as you can on the way to or from work and map out your route prior to the trip so that you don’t backtrack. This saves gas and time. And with all the extra work you are doing now, those extra minutes saved by combining errand trips is really essential.

I do use online billpay to pay for some utility bills. I bought a huge stack of liberty stamps years ago (at the time they costed 41 cents per stamp). Liberty stamps can be used no matter how much postage costs increase. It has been a minor savings, but I still have enough Liberty stamps that I may never need to pay for postage again, due to the reduced usage of stamps, thanks to online bill pay.

Shop around for home and car insurance at an agency that sells all brands and checks for the lowest rates for you. You might be surprized how much money you can save.

Not everyone can do this, but I always keep above the minimum balance in my checking account so that I don’t have to pay the bank a monthly service fee. I have saved a substantial sum of money prior to the great recession, and I can tell you that I haven’t paid a bank service fee for several decades. I have an interest bearing checking account, but as it is now, the bank only gives a poultry 1 % interest.

I shop at a discount grocer. Their prices are so cheap, they don’t even accept coupons. But I don’t buy meat at the discount store. I buy my meat at a chain grocery store and get the best at sale prices and bring coupons with me to get a better value on other items I might otherwise have gotten at the discount grocer. Now, this is just me, but there is nothing more I hate than to set with a bunch of mailbox flyers to get coupons and look for sale items I want. But the values and the savings are substantial enough, that I can’t pass it up.

My late father said “there’s no prestige in owning an old car”. I have a 2007 model F150 pickup that sets at the curb day after day. The only time it ever moves is when someone comes to borrow it. I drive my old ’55 Ford Fairlane sedan everyday. It is more comfortable, rides nicer, cheaper on gas and has a powerful V8 engine (original), while the truck has a 6-cylinder engine (EFI). The truck is no match for the car in accelleration. Yes, I am patching holes in the bottom of the car 2 or 3 times a year, but any and all maintenance and repairs the car needs are fast and easy here at home. That might not be the case if the truck had a problem. I realize not everyone keeps the same car for 40 years, but at the very least, I would suggest doing your own oil changes at home rather than those chain oil change shops. Those guys are NOT cheap and they cut corners to make a bigger profit. You can save a HUGE amount of money on car maintenance and repairs by doing it yourself (if you know what you’re doing). If you are not particularly mechanically inclined, this might be best left to the professionals.

I have never owned a credit card nor a cellphone. I really need a cellphone for my jobs. My work hours are reduced to an as-need basis, so I also work “odd-jobs”. That can lead to a conflict in scheduling particularly without being able to communicate with boss #1 while working for boss #2 where there is no telephone. Pay phones are essentially extinct now, since so many cellphones are in use. But for the money I can earn with boss #2, I wouldn’t be able to pay the monthly bill for the cellphone, so, I ain’t going for it. Just have to make due the way it is. Besides, I ain’t stupid enough to bust my ass with a second job just to pay for a cellphone. Forget both and break even.

Some folks might like bundling their internet, phone and TV to save money. I went a different direction. I kept only my internet service and hooked up MajicJack to the computer. For television reception, I had to buy a digital converter and rabbit ears to pick up local stations over the free air-waves. You get all the mainstream media which ain’t worth listening to, so I get most of my news from conservative blogs on the internet. This probably wouldn’t go over big if you have a family, but I am alone, so I can get away with this stuff.

Don’t laugh at this. To reduce my water bill, I stop the washing machine at the end of the wash cycle and bail out the soapy water into a large pail and use that to clean windows, sinks and the floors. I also bail out the rinse water before the spin cycle into a second pail so I can use that water to rinse all those things and often use it to clean kitchen utensils and dishes.
I keep a 2 quart pitcher of the soapy water separate for washing the car, (not recommended if you have a nice car, but mine is old anyway).

Liberals who know that I do these things say that I am living in the stone age, but they know nothing. In 1968 we moved my Grandma and Grandpa into a house where they had for the first time in their lives; running water, indoor plumbing, telephone and television. For many years prior to this when we visited them at the old house, I thought nothing of fetching water from the open well for drinking, cooking and bathing. I thought nothing of having to go to the outhouse at 3 AM in the freezing cold. Back in those days, when you were a kid, it was nothing to not have a phone. Now, they are like toys. And being a kid, we never sat in front of the TV anyway. We were always outside provoking the bulls, runnin through the creek, gathering un-broken clay pidgeons and cashing them in for coins, or helpin grandma with household chores. Never gave any of it a second thought. Liberals think that Republicans want to send us all back there (to the so-called “stone-age”). In realality, I enjoyed the highest economic growth, freedom and least amount of economic worry during the Reagan-Bush era in the ’80’s.

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