Raley’s, Safeway… NEVER AGAIN!

As money tightens Julia and I are changing our habits. Shopping at our familiar grocery stores (Raley’s and Safeway) is now a thing of the past. We decided to try shopping at Save Mart today and walked out with our jaws dragging on the floor, figuratively speaking.

We were able to pretty much buy all the normal name brands we usually get for what seemed like half the price. HALF THE PRICE!!! Right now that is going to really come in handy and I’m kicking myself for shopping at the price gougers for so many years. I’m not going to dwell on figuring out how many tens of thousands of dollars have I wasted shopping at those places. Instead eyeballs are focused ahead on savings and simplicity.

I guess this is one of the many silver linings of this Great Recession, learning the benefits of frugal choices and not simply continuing old bad habits. I’m also a pretty good bagger :-)

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(Photo snapped on the way out the door with cell phone.)

Don’t wait to hear the D-word

I saw this CBS video the other day that focused on Obama and the economy. One of the things he said strait-out was that he’s working to avoid total economic collapse and a depression. This is not news of course but to hear him dance around the d-word was a bit of an eye opener. It’s one thing to hear our media talk about it and another to hear him say it.

I hope the work he’s are doing today will actually help us avoid more trouble. But I’d argue that we the people shouldn’t wait for the official announcement of a full-blown depression or our own personal financial demise. We should change our lifestyles today, live frugally, and prepare ourselves for the possibility of harder times. Here are some things you can do right now to prepare:

  • Always work to improve your personal health.
  • Buy bulk dry food (beans, rice, grains) and always have a reserve.
  • Learn to cook creatively with beans and rice.
  • Learn to bake from scratch.
  • Switch from coffee to tea, it’s so much cheaper.
  • Plant a victory garden.
  • Raise chickens, if your community permits them.
  • Downsize everything you can.
  • Sell possession you don’t use or need via craigslist, garage sales, and ebay.
  • Create additional revenue streams by monetizing hobbies, blogging, etc.
  • Prepare a worse case scenario plan (job loss, homelessness, etc).
  • Build a tiny house on wheels.

For optimism’s sake lets say we’re not headed for the second great depression. In any event this advice is good advice. By preparing for the possibility of a depression today the worst result is that you’ll be better positioned for the future.

“It is not the strongest of the species that survives, nor the most intelligent that survives. It is the one that is the most adaptable to change that survives.” – Charles Darwin

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Don’t Dwell On It… Just Have A Plan

I was just reading the news this morning on Google and ran across another sad story about our collapsing world economy. This time it’s Nissan announcing major cutbacks. 20,000 jobs will be lost. But that’s not the part of the story I wanted to point out. Take a look at what the CEO of Nissan said:

“In every planning scenario we built, our worst assumptions on the state of the global economy have been met or exceeded, with the continuing grip on credit and declining consumer confidence being the most damaging factors.”

Get it? Even the people running the most successful corporations are getting blind-sided by the collapse. Their worst case scenario planning is being surpassed. Has your worst case scenario planning been surpassed yet? Do you have a worst case scenario plan? No matter what your plan is, or your prediction for the future, you might want to spend a few minutes thinking about what you’d do if you lost your income.

I know that’s a dark topic, so don’t dwell on it, just ask yourself what you’d do differently today if you knew that you might loose your job or house in the near future. It’s not paranoid anymore; it’s prudent.

4 Simple Changes Double AdSense Revenue

I recently did a little redesign of my most popular blog TinyHouseDesign.com. My hope was to give it more than a more professional appearance. My primary goals were actually to increase site stickiness and improve ad revenue. Both these goals were accomplished by making the site easier to navigate and easier for users to discover older content. Here’s what I did:

  • Added category links at the top of the page.
  • Created a long column of 150×150 thumbnail images.
  • Included related posts after each post.
  • Increased the number of posts per page from 3 to 10.

All of these changes help people stick around a little longer since there is more to see. I could have done these navigation changes with the same old theme but I really like this new one and you should see the simple code. I love simplicity.

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Perception is Reality – if you don’t choose wisely

Just a quick ramble on an unavoidable truth… what we perceive to be real becomes reality. The news media seems to have a corner on this market and the stock market exists based on this simple truth. The imploding world economy and the devaluing of our assets (cars, homes, jobs?, time?) also seem to prove the fact that no matter how big and strong a balloon looks it is still filled with air.

The most important life lesson for the rest of us is to try an remember to take everything with a grain of salt and try to stay focused on what is really important like family, friends, shelter, water, food, and of course our freedom, which is often taken for granted.

I guess I’m thinking about this more today because the ill-conceived perception bombs are too close for comfort. Instead of getting caught up in the blindness I’m going to refocus on the positive and know that the real truth and know that the storm will pass and truth will eventually prevail.