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Thursday, January 8, 2015

frugal living 1


LIVING FRUGAL 1

INTRODUCTION

There are quite a few books out there on living frugal.  The one I devoured time and again thirty years ago was “Living Without A Salary” by Long.  There have been others, one I like to now recommend since it went from Internet file back into print, “Possum Living”.  But “Salary” was the one I read half a dozen times or so and the one which kept my dream of avoiding a life of wage slavery alive.  I did go the normal route of semi-professional middle class.  My early dream of law enforcement met the reality of the career ( I am too analytical and have death embracing reaction times ), so through no planning but by default I went into retail management.  Sure, it was bottom of the barrel middle class, and it required a working spouse, but it was still the typical path.  Then, I’ll spare new readers the horrors and the old readers a repeat, the same partner who insisted on middle class left me and took the kids and I spent the next twenty years in hock to the ex-wife, every payment carefully monitored for timeliness under pain of state penalty ( one encourages weeping for your author by pointing out I was the one who supported her through school to become a pilot, then she left me for a fellow student and took the kids to ensure ex-wife payments ).  Needless to say, whether I wanted to live a conventional middle class life or not, the choice was taken from me when, at times, up to 70% of my wages were confiscated in one form or another ( okay, a LITTLE bit of detail I’ll share.  Trust me, I could go on for days about this particular subject ).

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The thing was, while long on cheerleading and philosophy, those frugal living books were a smidge short on practical advice I could use.  “Possum” was from a Hippie gal, yet was written back at a time where property taxes were far more reasonable.  Today, some locations a regular house in suburbia, not McMansions but a run of the mill home, costs the equivalent of a minimum wage thirty hour a week job every month just in property taxes.  That is the worse, but even in the desert here in Nevada, in just an older mobile home on two acres, I know people paying $200 a month in property taxes.  Perhaps compared to a quarter million dollar mortgage, two cars and four cell phone type of lifestyle you think that mobile home living is cheap, but not to me.  To me, the county offers roads and another layer of intrusive law enforcement and not much else.  They aren’t worth a quarter of my income.  Not even with fire protection thrown in.  To me, truly frugal living is a lot lower than what you need for a house or a mobile home.  And you should be able to do it with little or no money down.  Otherwise, you stay paying rent forever while you merely dream of escape.  I had to pretty much figure out on my own how to live really cheap, VERY frugal.  I made a lot of false moves and wasted a lot of money.  But I’m there today.  If you want to live a convention middle class lifestyle, but cheaper, this book is not for you.  This is for the truly poor, or those wishing to escape the worst of the rat race enough to live like they are poor.  But a genteel poverty, not an abject one.  There is a huge difference.  I can’t teach you how to live with no money.  You will still be part of the workaday world.  But you will be free of debt and able to live below your limited means.  There is no free lunch.  Sacrifices will need to be made.  But I can almost guarantee they are less severe than losing sleep over indebtedness, working jobs you despise,  sweating over a future when your company goes bankrupt or moves overseas or other health stripping stresses of a typical middle class lifestyle.  Tired of working for other peoples benefit?  Frugal living is hard work, but has its own rewards.

END

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10 comments:

  1. Good article James. I also have and read that how to live without a salary book, and picked up a few good tips from it. One was to always keep in mind when purchase something, how many hours at your crappy job it took to pay for it.

    $200.00 taxes a month for a mobile in the Nevada desert huh? I would have never guessed it? Recently the question was posed at another site that asked if people in Alaska had to pay property taxes? I was pretty sure that everyone, everywhere in the U.S. had to, but I researched it anyways. I confirmed that there are still places on this globe where true property ownership exists, but not in the U.S.

    "Sure, you could go from one bankrupt state to the next, but that’s no better than catching a falling knife. When North Dakota – allegedly one of the most free states in the USSA – voted overwhelmingly NOT to do away with the state’s property tax two years ago, you learned everything you need to know about Americans’ opinions on property taxes."

    http://nomadcapitalist.com/2014/05/27/countries-with-no-property-taxes-really-home/

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    1. I'm sure the property tax fraud is largely accepted with several generations of "it's for the children" propigaanda BS "investing" in schools. Now, add in "first responders, heros waving red, white and blue, support your heros with generous retirement pensions". I think I hate everybody, nowadays. Except minions. If we were a small tribe, even the Jews would vastly outnumber us. Even the Jews with the weird sideburns and outfits.

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  2. Dolly Freed. (The author of possum living) ended up working for NASA and probably has her on mcmansion with two cars in the driveway and a butt ton of debt. At least you remain true to your principles.

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    1. Or, instead of being principled, I'm just a lazy sod. Pick which one :)

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    2. You can't be too lazy, riding a bike in Elko during the winter.

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    3. Differant kind of lazy, like I lack motivation to advance. I only work hard if it interests me.

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  3. $200 a month property tax, for a trailer? Im sitting om 22 acres with a 7 year old mobile and 300' shed, and pay a whopping $265 a year. That includes trash pick up. If I had a small house I doubt it would be that much.The rate on the mobile goes down as it gets older. By having over 20 acres I get the agriculture exemption so only pay about $2 per acre and the rest is the trailer. I will build small if I ever get the chance to build a home.

    Remember the book "Your money or your life"? Good frugal book basically on paying off debt saving a chunk of money and living on the interest. That was when bonds and CDs were paying 6% or 7%. That wont work now but it did have some frugal tips. The authors names escape me.

    Pretty hard to live with no income. May be able to get by on seasonal work or odd jobs in some areas. I hope I still get my pensions. Yeah right, but it is possible I may see something albeit hyper inflated away. Once the child support goes down and eventually ends I wont need much to live on. Not that things will hold together that long.


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    1. Nevada has high property taxes because they have so few other taxes ( relitively ). My folks are paying something like $500 a month tax on a $150k mortgage. That is higher than the allowed 3%, but their county plays fast and loose and adds "fees". The county idiots WAY overbuilt past water and sewer capacity and now tax everything nailed down trying to survive keeping basic infrastructure going. Elko county is a lot more mellow, and less greedy by far ( as far as a politician can contain sticky fingers ).

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  4. i'm confused. do you already have a new frugal book out? or maybe this post is the beginning of a new book? either way, i want to strongly encourage you. as you say, there are a few other such books, but not many. there is definitely room for another voice on the subject. frugality seems to be growing in popularity.

    also, do you really want to write about your savings and where you've hidden it (as in your previous post)? seems like a dangerous thing to me. if a bad guy knows it is there, he can easily force you to reveal it.


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    1. That was the start of a new book, yes. I suspect it will be as popular as all the rest and earn me a dollar or two a year. As for savings, come on! $2k is a nice chunk to steal, but it ain't like its enough to encourage home invasion and torture. And once we get to the point that it is, two grand will be worth a lot less due to hyperinflation and so, again, not worth the trouble/risk.

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