The benefit, as I see it to advancing age, and parenthood is that you have achieved a certain level of maturity at which point you can offer up, on whim unsolicited advice.
So here goes.
Given the events I witnessed last night (see previous blog) and the comment's left by our wonderful Mrs. Chili (I know her real name) it got me ah thinkin'. Now mind you, not knowing the true reasons the ladies from last night were in their predicament I am not putting blame on them, in no way, shape or form. But it did give pause for thought, and reflect on the current state of economic decline in this country. As I have said before we all have to share in the responsibility of this mess. May it be our over obsession with material possessions, addiction to petrol and automotive transportation, dependency on expectant wealth (credit, and credit cards) getting sucked into the whole mentality that we HAD to OWN a home regardless of how ridiculously over inflated the prices were. I sadly and ashamedly profited in that whole debacle as a home remodler for 10 years. All these thoughts were unconsciously rattling around in our brain, though when we started our enterprise and REALLY shaped how we do business. Low, reasonable prices, standing behind our product so as to not create ANOTHER disposable commodity, helping out folks when needed, establishing our business in our community, NOT excepting anything but cash, trade or barter for payment (we don't want you to pay a penny more for one of our bikes, and some multi-zillion dollar bank shouldn't get 18%+ of your money, nor profit one iota on our work)
What's this all have to do with the price of tea in China?
Well here's my unsolicited common sense approach to making it.
shop for what you need. Thrift stores, yard sales. Keep away from unnecessary chotzskies. These places offer a great selection of good clothes, shoes, household equipment, bedding etc. for a fraction of retail. if you need new, try online. KNOW what you'd pay retail and see how much of a savings (don't forget to add shipping)
cut up credit cards. Sometimes you need them for online stuff, or reservations, but you can pick up a prepaid credit card almost anywhere. There's no interest to use them, and your spending only what you can afford to put on 'em.
forget about credit score. having a good one only lets you spend more money you don't have, or you hope you will have. And if your score is bad, rebuilding takes to long and to much cash.
park the car at home take off the tags, cancel the insurance, and turn it into a play place for the kids! (all right, maybe for some that's a little TOO radical) At least consider that if you are within 10 miles of where you have to go, take a bus ($4.50 for a full day pass on PSTA, beats the cost of gas, hands down!) ride a bike, or walk.
When you buy, consider what you NEED first. Don't get sucked into advertisements, or unnecessary coupons. Coupons are good, but do the math. If a 32oz jar of Prego Tomato sauce is $3.37, and you have a coupon for 50cents off (wow, remember when keyboards had a cent key?) BUT a can of the 32 oz house brand is $1.99? Which one is the bargain? You'd be surprised how many people miss that. OH, and by the buy, something some supermarkets are doing now, to make more money? Check this out! They will put a 32 oz can on SALE for $1.99, BUT 2 16 oz cans are .89 cents! Do the math! That's $1.78 for 32 oz, split up! I gotta credit them for creative marketing!
look for free stuff to do with the family. Yes, splurging for Chuck E' Cheese's for the day, make you Super Dad! But they'll be just as happy hitting a local park, with sandwiches and a climbing crib. Bring along a Frisbee.
I'm sure I could go on, but you get the general gist.
Now I leave you with a recent E-mail from our buddy Chip. He chimed in about my recent post regarding the Gas price question a customer inquired about recently. This mans an expert, and paraphrasing his comment would not do them justice.
It's a sad state of affairs when $3.29/9 a gallon is seen as "cheap" gas, but yeah, gas prices are down a little- But not a lot. Traditionally, gas prices climb for the summer, for the traditional North American Driving Season ("NADS", hehehehehe...) that lasts from Memorial Day to Labor Day. Demand, and therefore price, drops after that as the kids all go back to school and everyone hunkers down for the winter. If you look at a map of the world, most of the seriously motorized countries are above the equator, so we're all out driving at the same time. And then we aren't.
As gas prices drop, and we transition into winter, the price of heating oil and natural gas become more important as we drive less and stay home more. Above I-10 (North Florida), heating the home in the winter becomes a major expense as the price of heating oil and natural gas go up with the increased demand. In the long run, the expense and then the scarcity of these commodities is expected to fuel (no pun intended) a mass migration of northerners to warmer climes as they will no longer be able to heat homes and businesses in the Great White North. (Eh?)
So for now, yes, gasoline prices are "down". Well, down-ish. Barring the Saudis and Iran going at it (which is very much NOT out of the question this week), look for gas prices to stay low and mostly stable through the winter, only to rise, as always, with the warmer temperatures next spring.