Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Ten Easy Ways to Survive this Recession

Businesses survive by passing on the cost of doing business to you the consumer. This surcharge causes the price of goods and services to creep higher and higher causing the consummate consumer to pay a kingly ransom aka(the *Little Debbie Effect, explanation below). Remember our paychecks don't offset for the added fuel surcharge. So here are ten easy ways to survive this recession.

1. Eat before you go

If you are paying 3.20-plus per gallon of gas and head to the market you are paying a fuel surcharge on your food also. Something has to be cut, let’s see…McDonald's, Burger King, and Starbucks. Even though these foods are simple, fast and easy they are budget killers. Eat breakfast and take a lunch with you.

2. Plan your trips

Knowing the round-trip distance will allow you to calculate fuel usage. Set aside a fuel budget and when the price of fuel exceeds your budget. Call co-workers and offer to drive them to work for a fee. Extra riders mean spreading the fuel cost around and quiet possibly a profit in your pocket.

3. Cheap Entertainment

Going out to watch a movie is so passé, especially when you can have a Netflix membership for less than 10 dollars a month. A family can save hundreds of dollars just by renting movies this way. Remember no gas to the rental store, no late fees, and you can have DVD parties charging 1 dollar to watch a movie with free popcorn. The membership will pay for itself. Oh, you can have someone bring the beer and liquor if that suits your fancy. Ah hem, you can also find the latest movies online free. But I didn’t tell you that.

4. Cut communication expenses

In this day of the electronic leash it is not if you have a leash but how many. If you have a cell phone, a home phone, and internet then some decisions need to be made. Traditional reasoning states, “You should have a home phone.” Non-traditional reasoning states, “You already own a cell phone.” Cutting one should be an easy task. Ok…kill the home phone you really don’t need it and besides if you have a calling circle or a fave five then you will save even more money. Or just say Magic Jack.

5. Ignore the Judas Goats

Judas Goats are goats used to lead sheep to the slaughter without being slaughtered themselves. If you watch enough television you will see market analyst balk at the idea of a recession but just think there aren’t any poor market analyst on television. Meanwhile back at the ranch you are struggling to eat, pay your mortgage and drive your car. Protect yourself at all times. Ignore these idiots and come up with a solid solution to solve your own financial problems.

6. Basic Cable

Who needs 150 channels? A cheaper package means lesser quality channels, however you can always upgrade if your economic status changes or football season starts. This means a whole new setup. If the cable company is charging for a DVR then send it back. Pssst…you can find most episodes of any television show online. Just know you read that here first.

7. Kill EFT's

Deep in the recesses of your bank account there are probably a few monthly electronic withdrawals you have forgotten about. Check and eliminate the ones you do not use. This means scrutinizing your bank account with the blood lust of a divorce attorney. Nothing is sacred, any EFT that is not necessary need to be removed like a malignant tumor.

8. Use pencil and paper

Keeping tract of your purchases will recession proof your life. Too many times we are caught up in the electronic doo-dads that are supposed to do it for us. However handwritten notes do not crash, have corrupted files, or become infected with the latest virus. Write down your purchases on a daily basis and track your spending. Believe me you will be startled to learn you have been sipping on that 5 dollar latte, or eating out at 12 dollars per meal every day.

9. Shop around

Brand loyalty is great, but cheapest is better. Think about it. There is no difference between the job of a Lamborghini and a Ford Festiva. They both carry people and people’s stuff around. That’s it. Surprised? Oh, you can go faster in one, you can look like a billion bucks in one. But simply put. They are both forms of t-r-a-n-s-p-o-r-t-a-t-i-o-n. So supplement 30-50 percent of your purchases with off brand items and save.

10. Take Care of Yourself

Being sick or injured is costly as hell. You loose time at work and the cost of a doctor’s visit can break your pockets…even with health insurance. And if you are thinking those 4 dollar prescriptions a Wally-world will save you…think again. Exercise, relax and limit your intake of alcohol and tobacco. Get plenty of rest and laugh as much a possible. There is nothing worse that being sick and broke at the same time.

*Little Debbie Effect

Little Debbie is a snack cake that is popular down south. They have been the cheapest source of a sugar rush on the market but when the gas crunch started Little Debbie became a way, for me, to tell gas prices were throwing things out of whack. First sign was that the snacks no longer fit the packages but were the same price. Then the snacks went up in price while occupying the larger package. Now the cakes are too expensive to be a just a sugar rush.


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