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#133359 - 05/20/08 08:08 PM Economic Approach: Fire Yourself
MartinFocazio Offline


Registered: 01/21/03
Posts: 2177
Loc: Bucks County PA
Economic issues are a fairly mundane reason to think of LTS, but nonetheless, the most likely man-made disaster we all can face.

OK, here's a scenario.

You lose your job, tomorrow. If you're like the vast majority of Americans, you're not going to have 6 months of cash and another job lined up at the same or greater salary.

So what would you do to conserve cash? I'm sure we all have the list of things that would go, the list of things that would stay.

Back in January, I "fired myself" and we went on what we called the "Oh S(&*&T" plan of economic management, as if all I had was part-time and contract work. We did a complete and accurate assessment of our spending and not only did we discover a lot of the "regular" expenses to be cut (ALL subscriptions to ANYTHING that's not a utility, magazines, Netflix, all of that - we don't have a TV, so we didn't have to cut off Cable subscriptions) we also found a pile of ways to cut back expenses which we implemented:

- We stopped using the landline phone, and turned to Skype, which has a huge number of handsets that work well with it, so it's like using a regular phone, but much much cheaper. We keep the DSL service so we have real 911 and a real dialtone, but only for 911 calls. We also use prepaid cellular phones (I'm a big tracfone fan) at a great savings and NO MONTHLY BILL.

- We stopped going out to eat so much. We didn't cut that out entirely, but we set an absolute maximum of $100 a month for ready-to-eat food consumed out of the home. That means pizza, coffee, snacks, whatever. We loaded the van and my jeep with kid chow for when they gripe about wanting a snack.

- Similarly, I brow-bag lunch and I brought a bunch of canned food to work for those inevitable times when I forget the lunch at home.

- We instituted a NO LEFTOVERS policy. We eat what we cook, and if we cook too much, we eat that until it's gone.

- We got more chickens, so now I sell more eggs and we'll have free meat in the fall when I cull the flock before winter.

- I drive slower and we drive MUCH less. We use maps and plan trips.

- I carpool when I can, and where I can. That's not easy.

And all of this while still very much employed. The effects have been great. We have cash to save, I have a lost weight and feel great. Not only that but I'm finding even more slack in my budget and we're cleaning that up too. I don't actually NEED 6 computers running at all times, and I don't really NEED a lawn tractor (sold it) and in fact, I've ditched almost all of my gas-powered machinery in favor of electric or manual. This spring was liberating - fewer engines to prep for the season, less oil and gas to buy - we're down to a chainsaw, a small lawn mower and a pressure washer, and the backup generator and I'm thinking about getting two goats to do away with the need for the lawnmower. I'm seriously thinking about an electric chain saw for the woodpile area at least.

Anyway, we're really re-evaluating the "hafta" list and finding it shorter than we expected. The bottom line benefits have been many. Try it.

#133363 - 05/20/08 09:04 PM Re: Economic Approach: Fire Yourself [Re: MartinFocazio]
Rodion Offline

Registered: 04/29/08
Posts: 285
Loc: Israel
But... you still keep an up-to-date BOB, right? wink
Whenever you rest, someone, somewhere is training to kick your ass.


#133367 - 05/20/08 10:02 PM Re: Economic Approach: Fire Yourself [Re: Rodion]
climberslacker Offline
Youth of the Nation

Registered: 09/02/07
Posts: 603
two goats??
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
impossible is just the beginning

though i seek perfection, i wear my scars with pride

Have you seen the arrow?

#133369 - 05/20/08 10:19 PM Re: Economic Approach: Fire Yourself [Re: climberslacker]
Todd W Offline
Product Tester

Registered: 11/14/04
Posts: 1928
Loc: Mountains of CA
I just called DSL up (my back-up Internet I work online) and asked if we could lower my bill and she said sure and in under 5 minutes it went from 39.95/mo to 19.95/mo no contract smile Never hurts to ask this applies to those who have CC debts / payments too. I lowered my truck interest rate a TON too that took a little longer but well worth it.

Self Sufficient Home - Our journey to self sufficiency.

#133372 - 05/20/08 10:34 PM Re: Economic Approach: Fire Yourself [Re: Todd W]
bws48 Offline
Old Hand

Registered: 08/18/07
Posts: 831
Loc: Anne Arundel County, Maryland
We find the things that kill your budget are the monthly 'contracts' for things like cell phones, cable, etc etc etc. The marketing around here has a lot of advertising for low rates for the first 6/9/12 months, after which they go up to the 'regular' rate. People sign up, then fall into the habit of paying and "having" to have the service, whatever it is and however much it costs.

I see this hitting some of my young co-workers especially hard, with them having trouble making car payments, getting calls from bill collectors, but looking at me like I'm an idiot when I suggest they drop the $100+ month cable tv service. Their reason: "but be get all the movies free" Can't convince them TANSTAAFL, or even free movies...

A yearly budget review and scrub is a good idea. How hard is it to get a new job that will pay 10% more? Probably hard. But it is probably easy to cut 10% off your spending - plus, the new $$ you have are tax free.
"Better is the enemy of good enough."

#133376 - 05/20/08 11:30 PM Re: Economic Approach: Fire Yourself [Re: bws48]
BobS Offline
Old Hand

Registered: 02/08/08
Posts: 924
Loc: Toledo Ohio
I have a Remington electric chainsaw, had it for going on 25-years. Itís the best chainsaw I ever had, I got rid of the gas one years ago.

Another way to save on electricity is to put all your appliances on power strips. When turned off they are still consuming power as are all the small wall chargers we all use to charge our cell phones and other battery powered junk we tell ourselves we must have. Put it all on power strips and kill the power to it when not in use.

You can run, but you'll only die tired.

#133378 - 05/20/08 11:58 PM Re: Economic Approach: Fire Yourself [Re: BobS]
jshannon Offline

Registered: 02/02/03
Posts: 587
Loc: North Texas
It's called simple living (www.simpleliving.net) and people have been doing it for decades.

Magic Jack may be better than skype.

#133380 - 05/21/08 12:11 AM Re: Economic Approach: Fire Yourself [Re: jshannon]
MartinFocazio Offline


Registered: 01/21/03
Posts: 2177
Loc: Bucks County PA
Originally Posted By: jshannon
Magic Jack may be better than skype.

Maybe, but their web site sure makes it look like a big time scam.

#133395 - 05/21/08 03:25 AM Re: Economic Approach: Fire Yourself [Re: MartinFocazio]
z96Cobra Offline

Registered: 01/11/08
Posts: 17
Originally Posted By: martinfocazio

(ALL subscriptions to ANYTHING that's not a utility, magazines, Netflix, all of that - we don't have a TV, so we didn't have to cut off Cable subscriptions)

Well, if ya don't have a TV, why would ya have Netflix anyway!?!? grin I'm just being funny!!!!

Originally Posted By: martinfocazio

- We instituted a NO LEFTOVERS policy. We eat what we cook, and if we cook too much, we eat that until it's gone.

If you cook too much and have leftovers, why not save 'em for the next day? Forcing yourself to eat food you aren't hungry for is just wasting food/money and if it happens often enough you may start gaining weight!

Originally Posted By: martinfocazio

I'm seriously thinking about an electric chain saw for the woodpile area at least.

IMO, I'd keep a gas chainsaw just in case. If a storm blows a tree down and you need to move it, you may not have any power for the electric chainsaw. I realize you have a generator, but you'll be using gas for it to power an electric chainsaw! You may also need the generator for powering stuff in the house at the same time you may need to drag it somewhere to use the chainsaw.

I'm just offering up my opinion, and only you know what you need for your family and your situation. I applaud your efforts/gusto and now you have me thinking about trying some of the things you are doing!


#133404 - 05/21/08 12:24 PM Re: Economic Approach: Fire Yourself [Re: z96Cobra]
unimogbert Offline
Old Hand

Registered: 08/10/06
Posts: 876
Loc: Colorado
Great exercise and good daily practice anyway.

One thing that seemed to be true of others who got laid off with me some years back was that job-loss seemed only to happen to the worker. Never to the family of the worker. It seemed that the family members pretty much just continued as before, as if the event hadn't involved them at all and that the money was there and would always be there.

If one could get their family involved in the pretend job-loss exercise you'd be miles and miles ahead of the usual reaction.

Another benefit of practicing frugality is that some of us get great satisfaction in fixing stuff that others call the repairman to do. Or which can be fixed for a dollar which others would discard and buy new for tens if not hundreds of dollars.
I figure in the worst event that my repair skills could be bartered for services. For instance, I could fix the lawyer's leaky faucet. In return he can mow my lawn for the summer(I can't think of anything else a lawyer would be good for in survival conditions ....... :-)

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