Monday, February 20, 2012

frugal enough?

There are many different reasons why being a tight bastard is a good idea.  You free up money to buy preps for the end of the world.  You can quite working for a soul sucking corporation and take on a more casual line of work.  You can work that casual job and still have enough in the budget for the wife to quit her job and stay home and give your kids a quality education and a quality rearing. And, you can get ready for the financial tsunami that has already hit us.  The problem is that the wave has picked us up while we were at sea in a boat and all we feell is a slight rise and an increase in speed.  The real messy part is going to happen when the wave hits the beach and smashes us to bits.  Before, frugal was a life choice.  An option, to quite the Rat Race.  Before long, it is almost going to be mandatory.  So you might as well start practicing now.  As with prepping before the end is seen, because by then there will be nothing for sale at any price, so to you must start living frugal before you need to.  Once you NEED to, you have no ability to live with style and grace.  Then you are just living in horrid squalor.  If you fail to prep for the eventual full on collapse, you are weak from hunger as you attempt in vain to lift a piece of rebar with a chunk of concrete, trying to kill for your next meal.  If you fail to start ahead of time living frugally, you are living in a cardboard box selling crack for food money, rather than hunkering down in a warm hovel on your own land, munching on whole wheat bread and sprouts. 

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Look, I haven’t been perfect my whole life.  I wasted money for many a year.  I took home roughly fifteen grand in my first three years in the military.  I could have bought a nice chunk of land and started by own business with that ( at the time, the Ozark land they were selling by payments was going for about five grand ).  But instead I pissed it all away, literally ( beer ).  I’m not just preaching to you as a religious fanatic.  I sinned just as bad as all of you cell phone talking SUV driving trophy wife paying sons a bitches.  I reformed because I was forced to, but now that I’ve seen the
One True Way
, it is hard to go back to my old spendthrift habits.  Living frugally is pretty simple.  You don’t find ways to do things cheaper, you find ways to do without.  For instance, if one were to go to the library and read a book on penny pinching, inevitably one would find ways to reuse the lint from your dryer.  Look, I’m happy you went to the library, but if you buy a dryer you are not frugal.  You are just a careful spender.  Why in the name of all that is good and holy and just would you buy a friggin dryer?  My ass chaps, and Jesus weeps.  Ever hear of a damn clothes line?  It isn’t enough that you’ve learned to fix your own car, you need to get rid of your car and learn how to fix a bike.  And go fix the cars of the idiots that keep their vehicles.  It doesn’t matter if your car never breaks, the gasoline and insurance are the killers.  Get rid of the car.  Doing without is the wise choice.  It isn’t enough to buy a cheap home, you need to figure out how to get a home without a mortgage. 
Once you have gotten rid of as many expenses as possible, then you must learn how to pinch pennies ( it isn’t going to do you any good to pinch pennies while you still drive, pay rent and live middle class.  The real saving are in elimination, not substitution ).  I’ll give you an example of the mind set you need to have at all times and about all activities to be and stay frugal.  As you know, I eat microwave bread twice a day on the weekdays.  Yes, it tastes like crap.  Yes, it might be marginally toxic ( I would worry about using a nuker but since our entire environment is chock full of crap like cell phone radiation, Japanese radiation, 50’s test fallout radiation, genetically modified grains, mining wastes in the water and a thousand other examples, I should care about cooking in a microwave? ).  But even as the price has doubled for flour I’m still only paying $10 a month for two meals a day, five days a week.  And, I’m using the whole wheat ingestion as an excuse for never getting a colonoscopy.  But that is not the frugal part.  The frugal part is worrying about how much I pay for the plates I use to cook the bread.  I’ve tried using ceramic plates but have problems with the dough sticking.  So, I just use plastic plates.  I can get two or three months out of two plates ( I nuke two platters of bread, one for each meal ).  The pack of ten plates costs around two bucks.  So at worst, a package lasts a year.  But I still shop around for the cheapest plates ( sarcastic aside- it wasn’t Wal-Mart ) and I use those bad boys until they almost fall apart.  I won’t waste a day of possible use.  Do I save much money this way?  Of course not.  But when you treat every expense the same way, when you adopt the philosophy of extreme frugalness, a wonderful miracle happens.
Suddenly, you are living on almost nothing.  Now, I am talking about “normal” go-to-work living here.  I’m not even talking about hermits dumpster diving.  You can live near normal this way.  Its great fun for the whole family now, and a matter of survival later.  And really, it isn’t much work.  Mostly, you are just procrastinating on spending and brainstorming on ideas.  It is a lot of sitting around.  What’s not to like?
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1 comment:

  1. Have you tried the old baker's trick of a thin coat of butter on the plate(s) then a sprinkling of flour? Tends to keep stuff from sticking, it's what people did before Teflon. Use Pyrex pie plates, findable at any thrift store or Ebay. You'll fine the flour/butter non-stick coating to be tasty, too.

    Your heart seems to be more into this since you stopped being just another survival guy and started being plain ol James Dakin. You're making at least one very good point every day.

    I like the tidal wave analogy except, by being frugal, we're in our teeny boats *far enough out to sea* that the wave just passes underneath us, while the people on shore are the non-prepared, who get clobbered. Over in Indonesia, there were people out at sea, fishing, and scuba divers out underwater, who hardly noticed, or didn't notice, a thing.

    Another analogy is those hillbillies (and I use the term admiringly) who didn't notice the Great Depression. In fact I read a book written during the late 60s lovy-feely period when they were trying to "reach out" to everyone, about people in Appalacia. It described the awful way they had to live, how they hunted and gathered and grew their own food, their diet, their finances, etc. and I thought, Wow, they have (or had) a pretty damn good life! A good diet, good standard of living, no dependence on jobs because those were only occasional, and plenty of free time.