Thursday, September 30, 2010

Early Retirement Extreme - The Book

Link to Publisher
I have often mentioned Early Retirement Extreme as I have enjoyed Jacob's mind bending approach to finances so much.  I first heard of ERE about three months ago. We share some of the same ideas for how to achieve financial independence but whereas my book is especially geared toward those going through financial hardship or downturn Jacob shows how you can take things even further and achieve early retirement!  I've anxiously awaited the publication of this book and look forward to reading what he has chosen to write about.  We'll just have to do the reviews together.  Carol
10/3/10 The book is now on Amazon.  Please don't forget to do a review to let people know what you think of the book. 

Wednesday, September 29, 2010


You probably think that I'm going to be talking about kids here and if you have none at home that this will not apply.  Not today.

I remember almost thirty years ago my aunt sitting at the table working on the books.  My uncle came in the room and she handed him a $20 and said "Here's your allowance".  I was quite amazed as he already was fairly gray at the time.  When I asked her about it she said that was how much he got a week to cover his gas, snacks, and whatever else he might want or need.  At the time I didn't know that they were millionaires.

JPMorgan (NYSE: JPM) to Increase Staff in Asia by 40%. : American Banking News

JPMorgan (NYSE: JPM) to Increase Staff in Asia by 40%. : American Banking News

For some reason this article really puts me on alert. Yes, I know that banks do overseas investments. But isn't it American money that built this bank? Aren't we trying to rebuild our economy? And, don't Americans have money invested in this bank? Is that really okay with everybody? Is that how you want your money used right now?

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Room for Rent

Open-door policy
The word itself brings up ideas on times long past and encounters with mysterious strangers. Movies have played into the mystic of the evil stranger out to manipulate and control a family or other unfortunate outcome. With this impression it is no wonder that the idea of being a boarder or taking in boarders has gone out of vogue. At one time in this country it was a popular way for people to save money or for a home owner to bring in a little extra. The current economic situation has brought the option back into the realm of consideration especially for single people. Why spend all the money to rent your own place when for a fraction of the cost a room can be rented to help accelerate other financial goals such as debt repayment, building a savings, or having more disposable income. After all, most people are on the go all day long and grab meals at restaurants so why spend all the extra to maintain a place when you are rarely at home?

Monday, September 27, 2010


Starting your own food production can be somewhat daunting for those who have not considered it.  Between the dirt, worms, and digging many may not sense the immediate appeal of the task.  That's why it may be good to start small and easy.  Something to stick your toe in the water without diving in head first.  Garlic might be a good place to start. 

Why I often buy used. Impact on the Balance Sheet.

When we think of the balance sheet we often think only of major purchases such as a home, cash, investment portfolio, or vehicles. All of these things clearly are important but applying the same principles to all purchases can assist to insure that we are getting the best deal for our money and achieving frugal objectives.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Book Review - Business for Beginners - Frances McGuckin

"More than 100,000 entrepreneurs
have used Business for Beginners to successfully
launch their business!

Part time job?

Joe from Personal Finance by The Book has an excellent article posted titled "Four Ways a Part Time Job Will Change Your Life Forever".     It is very persuasive and I hope you will hop over and check it out.

It reminded me of a time when I had the opportunity to work two jobs.  It started when I could not find a job so I took a part time evening job for some income until I could find a full time day job with benefits.  When I found the day job and went to turn in my resignation for the evening job my boss asked if I could stay on even if only for 5 or 6 hours a night. 

Monday, September 20, 2010

Frugal comes in all flavors.

In the world of frugal blogs there is a rich variety:
  • Investments 
  • Coupons
  • Political
  • Christian
  • Survivalist 
  • Self-Sufficiency
  • Green
  • Early Retirement Extreme  Jacob has a book coming out soon.
Although some of the topics may spill over from one to the other they all have their own unique emphasis,prespective, and approach.

PennilessParenting is written by Penny and she too has her own niche.  She covers topics including:
  • Kitchen Skills
  • Bath and Body
  • Needs vs Wants
  • Don't throw that out yet
  • Money Tips for Busy People
  • Babies Can be Cheap
  • Life without a car

She is doing a series on a frugal homeschool approach and I had the opportunity to do a guest post on the site titled A Sample Frugal Homeschool Curriculum  .  If you have ever been curious about homeschooling and why many people are so excited about it you may really enjoy walking with Penny on this new experience.  Even if you don't have children in this age category the tips and discussion may be useful in working with children in any capacity.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Book Review - 10,001 Ways To Live Large On A Small Budget

Amazon link
 When I first heard of this book one of our readers encouraged me to do a book review of it for the blog.  I was happy to find a copy of it at our local library.  When I went to pick it up I have to admit I was a little disappointed because it seemed so big and I thought "I'm so busy, I'll never get this all read".  In a quick flip through I noticed it was very well organized so reference book immediately came to mind.  But guess what?
I love this book!
It is well organized, lots of ideas, and very funny!  Before the end of the first evening we were passing the book around and pointing out sections and nodding our heads.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Hear The Sleigh Bells Ringing?

Ready for some fun? Christmas is not that far away!  And, if you want to have time to make your list and check it twice (and stay out of debt this year) it's time to get started.  So, here you go with some articles to get you in the mood.  The first one is a guest post I wrote for Christian Common Cents and the other two are from Simple Dollar and Christian PF. 
 And, have a Merry Christmas...Ho, Ho, Ho.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Making Money From A Home-based Beginning

When we think of earning extra money or a small business often our ideas start big and we think we need a building, office, staff, and a big loan to finance it all. Then when we hear that 80% of small businesses fail we wonder if the risk is really worth it. Recently I posted a small business roundup with some good tips on how to start small and build. Starting small minimizes the risk and allows you to learn by trial and error without risking a major investment. There are many excellent books and on-line articles about small business ideas to stimulate the creativity to find one that is right for you.

Here's a list of ideas that I have come up with that can be started from home. Once you come up with something you would like to try be sure and check with your local business offices to make sure you are able to comply with their regulations.

Monday, September 13, 2010

US poverty on track to post record gain in 2009 - Yahoo! News

I'm finding this a difficult post to write.  The words don't come easy and are not flowing in a well ordered pattern so I hope I will be able to make the point I am aiming for. 

I am an American.  My grandfather served in WWI, my uncle in Vietnam, my son in Iraq.  I read lots of history and am astounded by the courage and determination that Americans have faced in all challenges.  Grit and determination are within the fiber of our beings.  When I go to a small town parade and the flag goes by tears fill my eyes.   I have been through the 60's and the Beatles and did the twist at age 5, the 70's and Motown, the 80's and disco, the 90's, and now check out Lady Gaga's newest outfits.  I have been rich and poor and lived in the city and a rural community of 500.  I am an American. 

Currently America is facing the worst economic crisis since the Great Depression.  My experience with the first depression has been through the eyes of my grandmother, my mother, wonderful friends, and photos and books.  During the first depression my mother really did walk 5 miles in two feet of snow to get to school.  I know because I have driven the road she walked.  As a child she had scarlet fever, rheumatic fever, and almost died multiple times.  She once was playing in the barn and jumped from the top level into the hay and ran a pitch fork completely through her leg.  There was no money for the doctor so the family treated it at home the best they could.  She always had the scar.  I was told that on one of her near death times my grandfather begged the medical people for care  and since they did not have the money my grandfather became an indentured servant for a a time until the debt could be paid off.  As an adult, mom became a nurse and served the sick and diseased for the rest of her life.  It is was from her adversity that she gained the position of strength and caring that so many people remember. 

Recent headlines show that things may be worse before they get better.  As disappointing as this may be to some it should not come as a surprise.  A financial downturn of this magnitude cannot be resolved overnight.  In the first couple years it was all we could do to figure out what happened and how it happened let alone know where to go from there.  And people are still arguing about that.    The numbers are up.  Unemployment is at 15 million, 40 million are receiving food stamps, and  US poverty on track to post record gain in 2009 - Yahoo! News

Politicians continue to point fingers rather than find good workable solutions.  Every idea and plan on the table gets watered down, opposed, and beat up.  This will even be more evident as mid term elections are coming up so expect a lot more propaganda while politicians tailor the presentation of facts to fit their agenda.  As my old mentor used to say "Figures don't lie, but liars can figure."

Myths about the Economy:

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Men are the best Ironers

I love to see men in crisp starched shirts.  Almost any man can looked like a million bucks once his shirt is pressed with heavy starch.  It just adds the air of competence and professionalism that says "Hey, I'm ready to take on the world". With so many looking for jobs and even

Friday, September 10, 2010

Famers Markets

I was raised in the Seattle area and one of the historic tourist attractions was the Pike Place Market on the waterfront. The sights, sounds, and smells of the market were amazing and a person could wander for hours and look at all the fruits, vegetables, fish, and hand crafted items. As teenagers we could ride the bus to town and spend the day. All of a sudden a peach was important. Not something among all the items in the sterile grocery store but now it was a real piece of fruit that smelled and tasted delicious. There were always people of all ethnic groups so many languages could be heard speaking at once and suddenly you might see a fish being thrown through the air. The facility had many small eating and coffee places to sit when your feet needed a rest. Even if a person just bought a couple of items the joy was in the selection and adventure of the moment.

Skin Care Recipes from Molly on Money

Skin Care Recipes for a Prettier Molly Molly On Money

When you are In The Trenches every dollar spent comes under scrutiny. Many of the niceties get left behind at least on a temporary basis.

Molly on Money has put together some very simple recipes for taking care of your skin so that you will feel pampered and taken care of. I've tried the olive oil myself and have not used any lotion or moisturizer that works better. And, it's only pennies to use.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Diapers, Diapers, Diapers

One of the chapters of In The Trenches is titled "What are cloth diapers?".  I recently told someone that if I ever held a seminar my introduction might be something to the effect of  "If I could tell you how to save more than $1,000 would you be interested?"  Then, I would hold out a box of disposable diapers and a package of cloth diapers and ask which product they would pick.  The person I was talking to started laughing and told me that everyone would walk out of the room. 

When I bring up the subject of cloth diapers people give a look or make a verbal sound like ick or something to that effect.   In The Trenches is not about telling people what to do but rather about encouraging them to consider ideas, research, and then come to the best temporary or permanent solutions for their families.   Personally, I believe cloth diapers are the healthy, cost effective, and green choice.    Yes, I expect that other will disagree.  A multi-billion dollar industry has been built on the convience of disposable diapers.  I have included many links in the post for those who would like to do further reseach before coming to a decision.

The disposible diaper industry is huge.  They have a lot at stake to insure that people continue to use their products.
"With an investment of $1.7 billion in year (2000), P&G is the 21st largest US-based and 52nd largest global investor in research and development (“Investing in R&D”, 2000). Kimberly-Clark has annual sales of more than $13 billion, with manufacturing facilities in forty countries and sales in more than 150. It is also the second largest household and personal care products company in the United States. Procter & Gamble diapers are now sold in more than 80 countries worldwide and have become a multi-billion dollar business (“Improving Health and Dryness for Babies”, 2000). After P&G marketed the original Pampers in 1961, Kimberly-Clark introduced Huggies diapers seventeen years later in 1978, soon after P&G’s patent rights on disposable diapers expired. Today Kimberly Clark is the second largest producer of disposable baby diapers in the world. "
Quoted from  The article also gives a very interesting history of diapering and current developments such as bio-degradable diapers.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

In The Trenches - Sewing

I decided recently that I wanted a new hobby.  Blogging used to be my primary hobby.  And, reading.  After a long day at work both were a nice diversion from the daily routine.

Things have changed a lot for me in recent months.  One of those changes is that I work on the blog, blog related things, and reading about the U.S. Economy many hours a week.  I put enough time and energy into it that I now need an occasional break from my hobby.  I know that other bloggers reading this know exactly what I'm talking about.

In considering a new hobby I wanted to achieve a few things:
  • Fun.  Of course, it's not a hobby if it's not fun.
  • At home.  
  • Within my spending money limits.
  • No computers or books involved.
  • A finished product.  So much of what I do is ongoing or daily that I wanted to see and touch something I made.

Monday, September 6, 2010

Want cheapskates to spend? Hawk gizmos that save - Yahoo! News

Want cheapskates to spend? Hawk gizmos that save - Yahoo! News

Do you need "Caps that keep the fizz in opened soda cans."?

This is a very interesting article and one that makes me scratch my head a little. Would it be a good idea to buy a gizmo that helps you squeeze the last drop out of a toothpaste tube?

And, using panty hose to help you use the last of a soap bar? Hmm.... I had never heard of that one.

The ideas for helping you save money by spending a little more money are indeed imaginative and creative. Do we need them???? What do you think?

Friday, September 3, 2010

Small Business Roundup #2

I've been keeping my eye out for posts on small business that might provide beneficial information and those listed below are excellent.  Remember, the first part is the blog name that published the article and then the title of the article. 

I have been working on a business plan of my own and it's much harder than I would have expected but I can see that it is forcing me to ask all the right questions, think things through, and think like a business instead of a hobbiest.  Therefore, it is well worth the time and effort as I research and ponder all the questions along the way. 

Whether you are interested in having a little extra spending money or having a full fledge enterprise these articles will help turn your ideas into cash.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Residential Real Estate Inventing - Part 3

This home was purchased with the idea that it was going to be our first flip.  The home had originally been used as a small home church so the living room was exceptionally large with beautiful hardwood floors.  When the owner moved she took what she wanted and left the rest.  The inside was filled with stuff accumulated for years.  There was no telling what was underneath but also no indication that the owner had abused the home in any way.

From the time the offer had been made on the home the market was showing noticeable signs of slowing.  We decided that we would benefit from having a renter in the home in case it took longer than expected to sell.  It turned out to be an excellent decision as the home was not sold for almost two years.  

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Support your local businesses

It's wonderful to talk about starting a small business but the other side of the coin is that we need to support them by shopping there.  It has become so easy to shop the import businesses like Walmart where we can find everything we need under one roof at low prices.  As we try to save money it's a logical choice.  So the dilemma begins.  Shop the small businesses that support our economy or choose immediate convenience at the cost of long term decline.  After all, Walmart is a very large employer. Sigh.  Nothing seems easy does it?