For the last year I’ve been blogging about economic struggles that I believe will only get worse for some time to come.  I to continue to encourage frugality, learning how to be self-sufficient by getting back into baking, canning, gardening.  It is important to keep our vision clear about the truth of where our economy is headed and not keep our heads in the sand – in denial – about the fragility of our situation here in the U.S.

For the last few years the alarm bells were being rung only by a few, usually considered conspiracy theorists. Today we hear the chime getting louder with mainstream media joining in.  I used to blog about this several times a month, but it has gotten so prevalent that I can’t even keep track of all the gloomy economic news.  Not a day goes by where I don’t see or hear about the fall of the Euro or the decline of the dollar.

I’m not afraid or worried though.  Our family has worked hard over the last two years to get out of debt.  We have been gardening, canning, and learning how to bake.  Those are skills that most of us have lost (or never had) since the by-gone days of our grandmothers.  I can proudly say I can make a great loaf of bread from scratch; in an oven, not a bread maker.  I can make great soup out of dried beans.  I have a  wonderful recipe for butternut squash soup that my daughter and I concocted.  It is truly a comfort food recipe. I even cut my husband’s hair now.

However, it seems we can’t get away from dismal news.  Yeah, the unemployment figures fell below 9% for a change (though I believe that it simply means people “fell” off the unemployment rolls because their benefits expired).  I was tweeted a link to an article in the Business Insider by Joe Weisenthal, 12/3/2011, just this morning about a continued decline in the housing market.  This one really hits home because we have a rental business with many houses in our portfolio.  Michelle Meyer, the well-known housing analyst for Bank of America’s mortgage lenders, says it's "far from over" and that prices still have another 7% to decline.  This is due to the huge inventory of homes in foreclosure with more to come.


So, I’ll tighten the belt more so we can be positioned for success for years to come, regardless of the markets and overall economic outlook.  I’ll make a bigger garden next spring and figure out how to make a better whole wheat loaf of bread.  I’ll work on buying only things I need and of good value that truly contribute to our home; cutting out the frivolous spending.

I needed to lose weight anyway.


Are You Kidding Me!

The big recession ended in 2009, right?  Ask anyone on the street and see if they agree.  I read a CNS News article this last week where the Democratic National Committee Chair (DNC) said that “…anyone can see the economy is improving.”

Are you kidding me?

Robert Kiyosaki, the author of “Rich Dad, Poor Dad” and other titles, is even warning of a possible economic collapse.  I heard an interview with him the other day where he said the situation is dire and  estimates about a 20% chance of collapse.  Sure we’ve handled dire economic struggles in the past and survived, but the issue is that we are so much more “global” now with technology, that even if we were doing ok, the economic downfall of other nations affects us now.  Add in that we are NOT OK, well we all are feeling it.  High unemployment, rising taxes, higher food prices, home foreclosures, and more.

1. The 2010 census shows the housing bust is the worst since the Great Depression, with home ownership falling to 65.1% last year. (AP article on 10/6/2011 by Hope Yen)

2. The Governor of the Bank of England, Mervyn King, says that the “World is facing the worst financial crisis since at least the 1930’s ‘if not ever.'” (The Telegraph article on 10/6/2011 by James Krikup)

3. Moody’s cut the rating on 12 UK financial institutions this last week.  (CNBC article on 10/7/2011 by Antonia van de Velde)

4. Credit rater Fitch downgrades Italy and Spain – again. (Reuters article, 10/8/2011)

5. Per person debt is now $44,980 up higher in the last 2 1/2 years than that from all presidents combined. ( article 10/5/2011 by Terence Jeffrey)

6. Bank managers surveyed don’t believe home prices will recover before the year 2020. (CNBC article 10/1/2011 by Karina Frayter.)

7. The Biggest quarterly drop in the stock market since the 2008 financial crisis.


Anyone still think we’re in recovery??


New York, Tomato Soup, and Berries


What do New York City, Tomatoes and berries have in common?  I can think of a few things off the top of my head like: each have a “seedier” part, and some people like them, some don’t.  But what I really had in mind was that they are all things my husband and I enjoyed this last week.

New York City

Why is New York City called “The Big Apple” anyway.  I didn’t see a single apple tree growing – anywhere.   I had to find out so I turned to my favorite source of information: Wikipedia.  It turns out that a writer for the New York Morning Telegraph, John J. Fitz Gerald, coined it in the 20’s and continued to use it repeatedly in articles.  Other writers joined in over time and, there you have it. (See the Wikipedia article on it here).

I managed to find a great airfare sale and got tickets for New York for $450 round trip for both of us. We had visited back in 1999 and James had always wanted to go back.  So, when the sale popped up, I snagged it.  I really needed a break from a busy work schedule, so the short trip was just what I needed.  We spent the first day with a car and headed south into New Jersey to visit the beaches. 

250px-Sandy_Hook_lighthouseWe picked Sandy Hook to visit and weren’t disappointed.  What an amazing place.  It has the oldest working lighthouse in the United States.  It also used to be a huge fort that protected the waters going into New York. The spit of land is very strategic as it juts into the lower New York Bay.  All boats pass it as they head into the large city.    There were quite a few bunkers, guns, and buildings all still intact.  There is still a row of  large officer homes, most in disrepair, that face the west and have lovely views of the water and beach.  Some of the homes and buildings are now museums.  We climbed up to the top of the lighthouse and even with a muggy, grey day, we had great views of Staten Island and Brooklyn which was directly north. You could faintly see Manhattan beyond that.  Sandy Hook is part of a large park system called Gateway National Recreation area that is one of the largest on the East Coast.  It covers three separate large areas of Brooklyn, Staten Island and Sandy Hook which contain a total of eleven parks. The vast bay separates all three areas.

The following day we took a shuttle into New York and found our hotel. We spent the next few days riding the “Hop on Hop Off” bus and catching the history and memorable areas of the city.  We visited Times Square the most.  We found out that advertisers are required to keep those signs lit up 24x7.  There are serious consequences if they don’t stay lit, fines and repeat offenses can result in the ads being booted off the famous square.

Tomato Soup

My garden has been producing a LOT of tomatoes.  Even with giving many away, I have way too many to eat, so I made home made tomato soup.  Now that is a comfort food.  Sautee some onions, garlic, add in a lot of chopped tomatoes, broth, basil (also from my garden), simmer, add in some cream and then blend up in the blender.  As Rachael Ray says “Yummo!”

I still have more tomatoes, so I think I’ll make some spaghetti sauce next.


I live near a walking path that is rarely used and is LOADED with blackberries (with no sprays or intervention by man).  We picked some about two weeks ago and made a home made cobbler.  It was hot out of the oven and oh so tasty!  I’ve decided that I need a lot more so I can make some jam.  That sounds like a great way to store up fresh, organic preserves that will last the winter.  I’ll probably do that today.

So I’m prepping for winter by getting myself rested on a nice vacation, putting up my tomatoes, picking berries, and oh yes, I almost forgot – I bought two big sweaters in New York.

Fall – bring it on.IMG_0123


I Told You So

invest_timeThe news is so bad these last few weeks, I struggle with where to start.  Some have poo-pooed my warnings and urgings to prepare and store for what I believed was sure-to-come financial upheaval.  Since I started blogging about this in November of 2010, gold is now up from $1375 to now hitting $1700 an ounce.  Silver was just under $28 an ounce and is now bumping $40.

Food supplies are in danger due to drought and natural disasters, not only in the U.S., but in other parts of the world where we get some of our foods.  I was in Walmart the other day and was shocked to see multiple signs around the produce department stating that the supply was impacted due to drought conditions and prices certainly reflected that. The prices were over double what I normally see for Walmart produce.

Our country’s credit rating was dropped by Standard and Poor’s and more credit rating agencies are threatening to drop their ratings as well.  The chairman of the Chinese rating agency, that has also downgraded the U.S., says that the world is discarding the U.S. dollar.  Standard and Poor’s says it may even downgrade the dollar further!  The stock market is melting on the awful downgrade news. All the while, former Fed chairman Alan Greenspan says there isn’t a problem because we can always print more money. Guess where that will take us?  Straight to inflation, or possibly even hyperinflation.  That sounds like a good move – NOT.

So if you’ve been paying attention to the news and politics at all in the last few months, you should have shaken yourself out of any apathy that might have been resident in you and started to think about your future.  Take this as a huge wake-up knock on the head to get out of debt before interest rates rise.  Buy extra food and save up money and even some silver or gold to help you weather the probable downturn our country’s financial “machine”.  The machine isn’t working so well and it looks like it is going to break.  I personally don’t believe the “machine” is repairable with our existing Congress and their inability to cut our deficit and spending by any significant amount. 

Wake up. Smell the coffee.  Things are not same-old-same-old anymore.  The landscape is changing right in front of our eyes.

Image: scottchan /


It’s All Greek to Me

Greece’s economy has been floundering for quite some time and as the government scrambles to stay afloat, the citizens are protesting those moves in sometimes violent uprisings.  What’s scary is the impact this all has outside of Greece.  In a Reuters article (6/24/2011), “European banks and insurers are scrambling” and “stocks continued to decline and credit default swaps for Greece, Italy and Portugal widened on the renewed concerns about a potential default. The Euro also declined against the US dollar for the third straight day.”

James Neuger (6/22/2011) of Bloomberg writes that,  “…European leaders’ failure to tame a crisis that is entering its 21st month and has world leaders growing anxious over the prospect of a new financial tsunami as they shake off the effects of the last one.”  He quotes Andrew Balls, the head of Pacific Investment Management Company European portfolio management, “The 256 billion euros in aid committed to Greece, Ireland and Portugal have done little more than buy time against a looming default.”  He goes on to say, “If you quarantine Greece, Ireland, and Portugal, take these countries out of the market, have them do their adjustments, then you can buy time for Spain, buy time for banks to recapitalize.”

Greece’s Papandreou and his new government is trying hard to restructure the spending and bring in austerity measures. The people don’t like it.  Protesters line the streets and police are called out to break up the mobs with tear gas.  Neuger writes about “Reform Fatigue” that is now in the streets; support of these floundering economies is fading as well. Some see a split coming for the euro.  The split is between the wealthier northern countries and the poorer ones of the south.  It is now being reported that Italy is facing serious financial difficulties after supposedly healing up from economic wounds in 2009 and 2010.  Moody’s is threatening to downgrade Italy’s credit rating.  A USA Today article (6/24/2011)  says that this “Italy’s  financial system has come under further scrutiny on fears of contagion from the Greek crisis.” The article states that, “The move comes after Moody’s put Italy’s public debt on review for possible downgrade over concerns about low growth and high public debt, which is around 120% of GDP is one of the biggest in Europe.”

It seems that, in today’s global economy, the impacts of one country stumbling are significant.  The investments of banks all over the world which hold the debt of these governments become unstable.  Countries that are stronger and hold investments in many of these powerful banks have to throw their good money after bad. Everyone suffers. An article from (6/22/2011) noted Jean-Claude Juncker, head of Eurogroup – the eurozone’s finance minister, said, “…that the Greece crisis could affect Italy and Belgium, saying that “We’re playing with fire.”” The article went on to state that “The crisis could now be spreading beyond Europe’s most vulnerable nations.  If it continues, even France’s credit worthiness could be in danger.”

So what does this upheaval in European economies mean to us? The U.S. is not far behind.  We’ve been warned about our credit rating.  We have no money left.  We spend more than we bring in.  Our debt is unsustainable.  When (and I do hope it happens) they do initiate the necessary spending cuts needed to get our budget under control, I suspect we’ll see protesters, not unlike what is happening in Europe, hit the streets.  People like the idea of fixing our budget woes but hate it when those cuts hit them.  The alarming thing is that many cities have had to cut police and fire in order to meet their budgets.  That means the cities may have trouble keeping up with the potential issues that could arise.
What do you do?  Here are just a few things to think about:

  • Pay off your own personal debt so you don’t get caught up in any interest rate hikes that are likely to come.  Live within your means.
  • Become independent: don’t rely on government hand outs in any way shape or form – they likely will go away
  • Be prepared for higher taxes, even on your 401k’s (yes, our government has even talked of that)
  • Be prepared for angry citizens who don’t like the cuts that will be required

I know I haven’t even come close to covering everything you should do to steel yourself for the economic upheaval I believe is coming our way.  These are just a few things to think about.
Feel free to comment on other good ideas.

And They Said the Recession Was Over…

I remember hearing reports in 2010 that the recession was officially over in 2009. The National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER), an independent group of economists, reported that the recession started in December of 2007 and ended in June of 2009.  Well, I didn’t buy it.  Things still looked pretty bad to me.  My gas cost more, my food cost more, many friends and acquaintances were losing jobs and homes.  And it hasn’t seemed to get any better.  In fact, since 2009, my food bill has gone up for staples like milk, eggs, sugar, and fresh produce.

A May 25th article in Bloomberg by Alan Bjerga and Leslie Patton explain that U.S food-price inflation may top the government’s forecast because higher prices for meat, dairy and energy hit large corporations like Nestle, the largest food company in the world, McDonald'’s and Whole Foods (the world’s largest natural foods grocer).

Another Bloomberg article on June 8, 2011 by Sungwoo Park said “Gold May Gain as Rallies in Corn, Oil Fan Concern Inflation May Accelerate.”

The Daily Caller posted an article by Neil Munro (June 8, 2011) with the headline, “Federal Data Shows Troubling Unemployment, Underemployment Trends.”  That article states that, “Less than half of African-American men now have full-time jobs, and less than half of all white men will have full-time jobs in 2018…”

A recent CNN poll was written about in the left-wing site Huffington Post (June 6, 2011) by James Sunshine, stating that nearly half of all Americans believe we are nearing a great depression.

Time Magazine’s June 8th cover story: “What Recovery? The Five Myths About the U.S. Economy.” 

  • Myth 1: This is a temporary blip, and then it’s full steam ahead
  • Myth 2: WE can buy our way out of all this (Kat’s note: QE/stimulus packages don’t work)
  • Myth 3: The private sector will make it all better
  • Myth 4: We’ll pack up and move for new jobs
  • Myth 5: Entrepreneurs are the foundation of the economy (Kat’s note: our current Administration’s policies have made entrepreneurship a complicated and difficult.  This suppresses that inherent entrepreneurial spirit that has long been the back-bone of the U.S. economy.)

So are you better off now than you were 2 years ago in 2009 when the recession ended?

Missing in Action

canned foodsTo my five faithful followers, I want to extend an apology for not blogging for weeks.  I’ve succumbed to job stress, illness, and then took a vacation; all of which contributed to the lack of time and/or energy to post anything.

That said, I have not stopped scouring articles and commentaries for important information about the state of our great country.  The news has not gotten better.  However, I am pleased that the price of gas has gone down a few cents.  I’m not optimistic about the long-term likelihood of that continuing though in that we are just now heading into summer when prices typically shoot up as requirements for special mixes for gasoline come into play.  I’ve had to adjust my budget for our road trip coming up in October (we’re driving down to the famous national parks in Utah).

Our family has been working hard to set ourselves up for success in this economy with the weakening dollar.  We’re stocking up our pantry so it won’t bite the budget quite so hard as these prices start shooting up.  We’ve all heard and seen the news; I’ve even blogged many of the articles about skyrocketing prices on sugar, coffee, corn, grains, and more.  I’ve already noticed a huge increase in my typical grocery bill for staples like eggs, milk, cheese, and produce.  I imagine fresh foods will go up dramatically just because of crop failures due to these massive storm systems that have wiped out the mid-west.  I know many crops in Mexico and the southern states got hit with uncharacteristic freezes and cold weather which means fruit is impacted as well.

So, when there’s a sale on anything, stock-up.  Instead of buying one or two cans, buy four or five.  Consider starting a small garden this summer and plant vegetables like lettuce, spinach, tomatoes and beans.  I’m looking forward to having my own organic garden this year, even with my tiny yard.

I also suggest checking out the Grocery Outlet and Summit Grocery (see their website here where you can get great deals on canned goods, but be sure to check the expiration dates.  I always look for dates that are over a year out; two or more years is even better.  Remember that highly acidic foods do expire much faster, so don’t expect to find a lot of expirations out more than a year. 

One thing you have to do and is very important - rotate your foods so you don’t end up with expired foods.  A cupboard full of expired foods is just a waste of money.  However, there are some foods that I don’t worry about expiration quite so much; things like boxed macaroni and cheese, popcorn, or pasta noodles.  If they’re a couple of weeks or even a few months past, I don’t worry about it.  We’ve eaten them anyway and are still alive and well.  Our family has adopted a “hot shelf” where we place items that are either recently expired or soon to expire.  That is our go-to shelf first when planning meals.

One other thing you may want to consider is getting a freezer.  You can find them cheaply on Craigslist if you want to go the used route.  I was able to get a great deal on fresh chicken breasts, ground turkey and more and because we had the freezer I could stock up.  We’ve also invested in a vacuum packaging machine which adds extra life to our frozen foods.  Instead of chicken lasting only a couple of months in the freezer in their original packaging material, the vacuum packaging machine means I can safely keep my foods for up to a year.

Stocking up means some peace of mind for my budget.  It also means that I am not making very many trips to the store just to prepare a meal.  We now have plenty of food to choose from on any given day.

Stock up and save!

Image: xedos4 /


The End of America?

dollarmapThe Wall Street Journal’ Market Watch site posted an article by Brent Arends (April 25, 2011) that stated the International Monetary Fund (IMF) has set a date for when China will overtake the U.S. as the most powerful economy in the world.  They give us 5 years.

The article says, “According to the IMF forecast, whoever is elected U.S. president next year — Obama? Mitt Romney? Donald Trump? — will be the last to preside over the world’s largest economy. “

Their analysis looks at the “purchasing power parities” which compares what we, the people, actually earn and what is spent in our respective economies.

Ten years ago our economy was three times larger than China’s.  No more. The Journal quotes an unnamed European strategist as saying, “We are witnessing the end of America’s economic hegemony” [dominance].

The article is a real eye opener and I hope you read it: “IMF bombshell: Age of America nears end.”

Another brain shattering commentary, which is worth the hour long investment, is the “End of America” which was created by Porter Stansberry who has correctly predicted the collapse of other companies and banks.  Read the Market Watch’s summary of this video and a link to the video here. Get your beverage and your popcorn ready, it is a long video and it is pretty much just a listening event since there are no pictures; it’s like a very long PowerPoint slideshow, but compelling all the same.

Big question: what do we do?  Will our lives be affected?  What will this change for us?

Image: jscreationzs /

Thieves Make off with….Produce?

A new kind of thievery is making headlines this last week – large scale produce heists.  Bad weather has contributed sharply to rising costs in produce all around the globe and the unsavory element have added produce to their list of things to steal.  With tomatoes anywhere from $2.50 to $4.00 a pound now, apparently the highly prized veggie (or is it a fruit?) caught the eyes of thieves in Florida. 

A highly sophisticated group watched produce distribution and showed up with refrigerated tractors at the pick-up point.  They also made off with over $48,000 worth of meat.  In all the heist was worth over $300,000! 

Read the full New York Times article by William Neuman (April 14, 2011).


Going Back to the Gold Standard?

goldUtah is the first state to now accept something other than the U.S. Dollar as legal tender according to writer Huma Khan (April 14, 2011). Huma states that “More than a dozen other states are considering similar measures, and are expected to follow Utah's example. The move, proponents say, is caused by declining faith in the U.S. monetary system and concern about rising inflation.”

Back in January I posted a blog article (see here) about other states that were studying the options of using gold and silver instead of the U.S. Dollar.  It looks like  the dollar has certainly lost its luster.  However, Utah isn’t saying that people would literally purchase items with gold or silver, rather that the Federal Reserve would have to make the dollar redeemable in gold. 

The ABC news article quotes Lawrence H. White, a professor from George Mason University: “State lawmakers are "concerned about the future of the dollar, worried that [worse] inflation is coming," White said. "People need to have an alternative if the dollar melts down."

The article goes on to share that in February, J.P. Morgan Chase said it would allow people to use gold as collateral for their home mortgages. 

I would suggest that if inflation continues as it has been (look at your gas and food bills of late), it will be cheaper to pay off your mortgages in the devalued dollar rather than purchase gold to pay off your house.  That’s not to say you might not want to invest in some, possibly picking up some excellent returns on that investment along the way; or use it as a hedge, or insurance to protect your hard earned wages in something other than the falling dollar.

Oh where, oh where has my nest egg gone?  Oh where, oh where can it be?

Image: Salvatore Vuono /

Deposits on Luxury Bomb Shelter Soars


The Japan earthquake has rattled enough people that deposits on a Nebraska luxury bomb shelter has skyrocketed.  A reporter wrote an article about these high-end shelters Going underground? Sales of spaces in U.S. doomsday bunker soar 1000% after Japan quake reawakens nuclear fallout fears. The article has an April 1 date, so I felt I had to do a little bit more checking to make sure this wasn’t some elaborate joke which I was anticipating.  Much to my surprise, these bunkers do exist – in Nebraska.  What a fun bunch of reading I’ve had this morning!  Here’s what I found out.

Robert Vicino heads a company which is selling space in these bunkers to provide safety for the end of the world 2012 scenario.  Vivos’s website “The Underground Shelter Network for Long-Term Survival of Future Catastrophes” allows interested parties to sign up to be a member (free).  Only co-owners can use the shelters when the pending catastrophe arrives.  They even have a countdown clock on one of their pages that shows, as of my writing this on April 1, only 629 Days, 15 Hours, 38 Minutes left for civilization as we know it. They have several videos and eerie music that starts up on several of their pages.

How do you get to be a co-owner?  Their website states, “Vivos then selects the best candidates for co-ownership of each shelter from the current pool of active members.  We first look for those individuals who may best contribute to each Vivos shelter community, providing the greatest chance of long-term survival of the entire group.  Each co-ownership candidate is reviewed based on a number of criteria.

As final candidates are selected, they are extended an invitation to purchase an interest in a specific Vivos shelter closest to their home area.  Those selected candidates are then provided a reservation agreement to reserve their space in a specific Vivos shelter.” 

Photos of the shelter show a very modern-looking facility, complete with medical facilities, common rooms and even a jail.  The shelter is designed to withstand a 50 megaton blast and hold enough provisions to last 950 people for 1 year.  The layout allows for approximately 100 square feet per person. Let’s hope you like the other 949 people you are holed up with!  It is unclear to me if these shelters are actually completed or if they’re still selling space to raise the money to build these.  By their own countdown clock, if they’re not done, they are clearly running out of time.

Take a peek at some of the pictures from the article here.  Enjoy Smile(I’d put them on the blog but then I’d be violating copyright laws.)

Stock Up!

RiceBy now, most of you should have been hearing about price increases that I’ve warned about for nearly six months on this blog.  Every day the news on inflation and price increases gets louder and more dire.  Please don’t sit back and do nothing.  Stock up your pantry when there are sales and use coupons to keep costs down.

Even the CEO of Walmart came out and warned of "inflation this week. Jane O’Donnel from USAToday (March 31, 2011) wrote: “U.S. consumers face "serious" inflation in the months ahead for clothing, food and other products, the head of Wal-Mart's U.S. operations warned Wednesday.”  “…inflation is "going to be serious," Wal-Mart U.S. CEO Bill Simon said during a meeting with USA TODAY's editorial board. "We're seeing cost increases starting to come through at a pretty rapid rate."

Bloomberg’s (March 31, 2011) Nicholas Larkin wrote an article Food Commodities Rise Seen Swamping Consumers with Inflation. In it he says, “Coffee, sugar and cocoa prices will rise five- to 10-fold by 2014 because of shortages that will mean consumers getting “swamped” by food-price inflation…”  He quotes Aaron Smith of Superfund Financial who said ““There’s a tremendous shortage of food, there’s a tremendous shortage of arable land,” Smith said in interview in London. “Any kind of food products are going to increase.”

Note that the article states five to ten fold.  That’s not 5 % – 10%, that’s 500% to 1,000%!  So if coffee or sugar costs $10, and it raises five fold, it is now $50.

Hershey has announced a 10% raise in their candy prices, according to CNBC’s Patti Domm (March 31, 2011).  In her article Inflation Getting Stringer than a “Whiff” she states, “The threat of inflation is even more worrisome now that oil has crossed above $105 per barrel and looks set to stay high due to unrest in the Middle East. Some commodities have also seen shortages for other reasons and that has combined to drive prices. For instance, cocoa, trading lower Thursday, has been driven higher by civil war in Ivory Coast.”

Not only are prices rising due to our weak dollar (our dollar buys less), but global food shortages due to a variety of factors (drought, natural disasters, etc) add a sizable amount of pressure on prices.  We are caught between a rock and a hard place when it comes to inflation.

So fill up your pantry and don’t forget to donate to your local food banks.  There are a lot of people that are going to be needing the help more than ever.

Image: winnond /


Japan Earthquake to shake the U.S. Economy

The devastation to Japan is unimaginable.  Most of us have been riveted to our news sources, seeing horrendous photos of damage and destruction.  But one angle some economists are beginning to ascertain are the ramifications of that disaster to us here in the U.S.

I’m not talking about radioactive fallout from the nuclear plants, I’m talking about the economic shake-up it is sure to deliver to our already weak and struggling economy.

John Talton of the Seattle Times (March 21, 2011) wrote an article titled A devastated Japan overwhelms conventional economic expectations where he states, “Exports will slow. Japan will not be the big buyer of U.S. Treasurys it has been in the past, and may indeed be forced to sell some of its holdings to pay for reconstruction.”  He goes on to say that “This could have a destabilizing effect on the continuing trade and debt imbalances between America and Asia, and complicate the Federal Reserve's delicate effort to stimulate the economy without seeding dangerous inflation.”

USA Today (March 15, 2011) article Devastation in Japan could affect economies worldwide by By Gary Strauss, Mike Snider, Paul Davidson and Matt Krantz, states that “Already, the turmoil in Japan is affecting U.S. companies, investors and consumers, threatening disruptions in the flow of products and parts used to manufacture everything from Apple iPads to Sony televisions.”  The article states that the Toyota plant in Kentucky has begun cutting overtime shifts over concern of supplies from Japan.

We truly are linked to nearly every nation on earth, some more than others.  When disaster strikes, in whatever form it takes (terrorism, political/civil unrest, natural disasters, etc) it affects us.  We can no longer sit back and watch, but there will certainly be some damage to ourselves.

The world is smaller now than it used to be.


The Big One–Are You Ready?

crackThe earthquake in Japan is a disaster of epic proportions.  One cannot even grasp the magnitude of wreckage that this 8.9 monster is leaving behind.  Not only did the earthquake shake and destroy, it brought a friend: Tsunami which did its best to annihilate everything the earthquake did not, in many northern coastal areas.

Of course the news is full of the details of the catastrophe and the ubiquitous follow-on question they all ask, “could it happen here?”  Most Pacific Northwest residents are aware of the potential for “The Big One” that has been prophesied by scientists for years, but seeing it unfold before our eyes paints an eerie and dreadful picture that should make us think hard about our comfortable way of life. Our lives can change in an instant.

AP reporter, Jay Alabaster wrote in an article Scenes of Devestation at Heart of Japan Disaster, that “Hundreds of people lined up outside the few still-operating supermarkets in Sendai, stocking up on drinks and instant noodles, knowing it would be a long time before life returns to anything like normal.”  He goes on to share, “At an electronics story in the city, workers gave away batteries, flashlights and cell phone chargers. Several dozen people waited patiently outside.”

In watching the devastating file footage for the last two days, one thought came to mind: be prepared.  What would I do if a similar event struck our region?  How can I plan for the multitude of risks that would face our family? Do we have food and water to last for weeks in case there are food shortages, fuel, and electricity disruptions? Clearly the recommended three day supply will not suffice for the Japanese. I sure don’t want to be waiting in a long line at a grocery store to grab the last loaf of bread and having to make-do with a bag of stale Cheetos. 

However, even the most prepared of families can’t mitigate all the possibilities.  If your home is totally destroyed and in heap, it would be very difficult to access your water and food supply if it were buried under the rubble.  If a Tsunami or lahar swept the entire neighborhood away, then clearly all of the preparation supplies in your home would be gone. So, do you prepare anyway hoping that the worst-case-scenario isn’t what you’ll face?  Or, do you assume the worst-case-scenario and give up and not prepare at all?

Please think of this as a wake-up call and prepare your family and prepare FOR your family.  Be smart. Be vigilant.  Be wise.

Image: Salvatore Vuono /

FEMA Stores up on Food?

canned foodsWe have been puzzled as to the availability of freeze dried foods of late, but we finally might have gotten our answer.  Sara Reardon (Feb 1, 2011) wrote for Science Insider and shared what she uncovered.  FEMA is buying up food storage for 420 million meals!  She writes, “.. the Federal Emergency Management Agency issued a request for information (RFI) to vendors last week for 140 million meals ready to eat (MREs) for a projected 7 million survivors in the event of an NMSZ earthquake. Then they pulled the request, saying it was a bureaucratic error.” You can still view it at the link, but it does say “cancelled.”

So, at about $10 per meal, we’re looking at a total of around 1 1/2 billion dollars.  That’s a lot of food and a lot of tax payer money.

It looks like this food is in preparation of a possible earthquake in the greater Mississippi area called the New Madrid Seismic Zone (NMSZ).  However, later in her article she mentions talking to USGS officials and puts the purchase for this purpose in question.  They said “their 2008 hazard map is still current. The risk, he said, is "small, not negligible, but certainly not what you'd be buying meals for."

So are they, or are they not buying up meals?

Another article in a more obscure site called the Beaufort Observer (a Tea Party publication stated that a major provider of these dehydrated meals has cut off 99% of their dealers and distributors in order to meet the FEMA demand. Now where they got that information, I don’t know, they didn’t cite their resource.

That said, if the above request by the government is still active, though hidden, and if the manufacturers really are scrambling to provide the huge order, then the supply of dehydrated foods to us regular folks would most definitely be impacted.

Kinda makes you go hmm….

Image: xedos4 /


Let Them Eat Cake!

This famous quote attributed to Marie Antoinette during the French Revolution showed her ignorance of the plight of the poor and hungry citizenry of France. That astounding obliviousness is looking more like a prevalent reality in our world these days. 

The riots in Algiers in January were over food prices and rising unemployment (officially around 14%).  An Associated Press (AP) article in Yahoo News on January 6, 2010 stated, “Riots over rising food prices and chronic unemployment spiraled out from Algeria's capital on Thursday, with youths torching government buildings and shouting "Bring us Sugar!”  It goes on to say, “It came after price hikes for milk, sugar and flour in recent days, and amid simmering frustration that Algeria's abundant gas-and-oil resources have not translated into broader prosperity.”

The Wall Street Journal reports that inflation is on the rise in Latin America with food prices being the main culprit.  Miriam Marcus Reimer writes (2/1/110) in  an article in The Street that food prices have helped fuel the unrest in Egypt. She says that “…but food inflation -- a major catalyst to the region's instability and call for change -- is unlikely to go away anytime soon.”

A Miami Herald article by Hannah Allam and Nancy Youssef (3/1/2011) says that Gadhafi is now blocking food and medicine shipments. It states, "Residents reached by phone said pro-Gadhafi forces had set up checkpoints on the city's east and west sides, halting the flow of food and medicine. 

"A Zawiya resident who gave only his first name, Tarek, for his own protection, told McClatchy Newspapers by telephone that baby formula and other vital items were in short supply. "

"They're trying to starve us to death," he said.

"Aid workers also reported dismal conditions at Libya's borders, especially among migrant workers stuck at the western border with Tunisia. TV footage from the Libyan-Tunisian border Tuesday showed hundreds of weakened refugees clamoring for handouts of high-energy biscuits from the U.N.'s World Food Program."

Christiane Amanpour reports for ABC This Week (2/28/11), that Gadhafi, in an effort to quell dissension in Libya, is dolling out money to citizens. She reports that “The leader was giving each family 500 dinars, the equivalent of about $450. For most people here, that covers salary for a month or two.”  Maybe that’s why Gadhafi swears that his people love him and there isn’t any problem.  Christiane interviewed Gadhafi on February 28, 2011 for ABC News, where she captured his words "They love me. All my people with me, they love me," he said. "They will die to protect me, my people." 
Oh, really?


Give Me Oil for my Lamp, Keep Me Burning, Burning, Burning…

Destination Earth cartoon by John Sutherland - 1956

The famous words from a Sunday School song come to mind with an alternative meaning for me these days.  With oil prices surging, the impacts to my daily life are high on my list of things to ponder, and it’s not just about gas for my car.

Our lifestyles revolve around oil and there are a lot more consumer items to be considered beyond fuel for our automobiles.  The Ranken Energy  Corporation website states, “Americans consume petroleum products at a rate of three-and-a-half gallons of oil and more than 250 cubic feet of natural gas per day each!” But, as many of us know, petroleum is not just used for fuel.”  Ranken’s website says that “Petroleum and petroleum by-products are a vital part of our transportation system and our daily lives. Even those who might argue we use bicycles for our personal transportation fail to recognize that parts of the modern bicycle are made from petroleum by-products and fossil fuel energy was likely used to create the frame, wheels, and chain. Click to see a few products made from hydrocarbons. Our modern lives cannot be lived without using products that have been manufactured with fossil fuels (even a toothbrush) and/or were created with energy provided by fossil fuels.”

Ranken Energy Corporation’s list includes things like: aspirin shampoo, wax, toothpaste, crayons, shaving cream, soft contact lenses, fertilizers, anything polyester and nylon, and so much more. Another good list is offered by PBS via a pdf file showing a plethora of products one doesn’t normally think of when contemplating our oil consumption.

So, not only are we seeing prices in corn, cotton, sugar, soy beans, and other food products going up (see many of my earlier posts for details on that), but now many of our other household products.

A February 24th, 2011 New York post article by Paul Tharp titled Crude Crisis Sparks Rapid-fire Price Hikes states, “Consumers should brace for other hikes as they purchase the more than 6,000 daily products derived from petroleum, ranging from gym gear and iPhone cases to fertilizers and lipsticks.”  He goes on to say that “Atlas Corp. has raised the price of roofing and exterior building products by 10 percent until June, when they will raise them another 12 percent. Building products are also squeezed by slow sales due to the housing recession.” So that adds up to a total 22% in rate hikes by summer for those building products!

“Analysts believe gas pumps here are in store for at least a 25-cent-a-gallon jump by the weekend. That's due to the sharp 30-cent-a-gallon spike in the past three weeks in wholesale gasoline, which settled here yesterday at $2.7167 a gallon, the first flat day in more than a week.”

An MSNBC article by John Schoen points out that the turmoil in the East will wreak havoc in our wallet.  He writes, “Every extra dollar consumers and businesses have to spend on oil takes another little bite out of economic growth.”  The article goes on to say, “Oil price hikes also depress economic growth by raising the cost of raw materials made from petroleum — everything from asphalt to plastics. Higher jet fuel prices put pressure on airlines to raise ticket prices. Higher diesel fuel prices drive up the cost of shipping and construction.”

He quotes the Agriculture Department warning: “… that U.S. consumers should brace for rising food costs this year as higher commodity and energy prices make their way to store shelves. Food prices are forecast to rise a sharp 3.5 percent this year — nearly double the overall inflation rate — with most of those increases coming in the second half of the year.”

Well, I’ve seen prices going up already.

And, think about this.  The MSNBC article says “That puts the Fed in a difficult position if the U.S. economic recovery begins to stumble under the weight of higher food and energy prices.”

Brace yourselves.


Read more:

Image: Michelle Meiklejohn /

Rising Prices–Common News These Days


grocerycartMany of my past posts have shared articles on the likelihood of rising prices. I am alarmed at the rapid increase in similar articles and many in our mainstream media sources like our local Seattle Times.

It is perplexing that not only is the economy struggling, but our world has been rocked with major natural disasters that are impacting many commodities that are key to our consumption: sugar, corn, cotton, soy beans, to name just a few. These disasters add to the rising prices and world-wide food shortages.  While I believe we will be able to find our food in ample supply, the costs will go up.  Where it will hurt most are those who live in third world countries where citizens already spend a huge portion of their meager incomes on food.  Rising prices affect them a lot more than they will here in America.

Seattle Times reporter, Amy Martinez writes in an article titled “Rising Prices Coming Back in Fashion”: The cost of a new wardrobe is expected to rise as much as 10 to 20 percent in the coming months as manufacturers and retailers pass along escalating prices of cotton, rubber and other commodities to customers.”  She goes on to say, “Higher prices are expected to be most noticeable in inexpensive clothes and shoes. That's because labor and raw materials account for a big chunk of the price tag — unlike expensive name-brand merchandise in which production costs are a smaller fraction of the final value.”

Another article in Seattle Times reports on rising commodity prices.

And yet another titled “Rising Wholesale Prices spur Inflation Concerns.”

Check out some of my earlier posts to see other articles:

Image: Suat Eman /


IMF Calls for End of Dollar as the World Currency

There have been rumblings for quite some time about shoving the U.S. Dollar out of the way as the world currency.  Having that unique position has meant that the U.S. economy can continue to operate, even with its massive debt load, when other countries economies have faltered and crashed with less severe debt issues.

A , article by Ben Rooney, outlined the International Monetary Fund’s (IMF) proposal in their article “IMF Calls for Dollar Alternative” and state that this new plan “could help stabilize the global financial system.” Ben goes on to say that “The goal is to have a reserve asset for central banks that better reflects the global economy since the dollar is vulnerable to swings in the domestic economy and changes in U.S. policy.”

In an effort to show what the U.S. is trying to do to stabilize the dollar, the article quotes the Fed Chairman “Bernanke also urged lawmakers to come up with a "credible plan" to bring down "unsustainable" federal budget deficits.

"We expect that the outlook for the U.S. fiscal position will weigh heavily on the U.S. dollar in the quarters ahead," said Sutton. In the near-term, however, she said "a strengthening growth profile" could help provide "a temporary period of dollar strength."

In February 9th article in Bloomberg, Carolyn Salas and Scott Lanman quote Mark Gertler, aaprofessor of economics at New York University ““There is this tremendous fiscal problem looming, and Congress has to do something about it.”

I’d like to remind everyone to think back just a few short months at the various countries in the European Union.  When faced with their huge debt crisis and were forced to cut services, the people took to the streets protesting those cuts.  So what is a country to do?  It is a stand off; cuts are required to maintain fiscal health, but the masses riot when they don’t get their handouts.

Other countries went a step further (Hungary and Argentina to name only two) have absconded with its citizens retirement accounts in order to tap into a huge source of funds to right their sinking economic ships.  The people had no choice.  Their retirement money was gone.

It is time to wake-up America.  Our way of life as we know it will not remain the same.  Are you as prepared for that as you can be?

Is There Really an Economic Crisis?



This is an excellent article by Porter Stansberry (click for bio).  I personally believe we have an economic crisis that is about to get worse over the next few years – and not just in the U.S.

Read on:

An Answer to the Most Popular "End of America" Question

By Porter Stansberry with Braden Copeland

Saturday, February 5, 2011

I've been on the radio a few times in the last month.
Producers are contacting us with interview requests because of our new promotional video, "The End of America."

I imagine most DailyWealth readers have seen this video already. You know the core components of our argument: The debts assumed by the Western democracies will overwhelm their economies and lead to the end of our current dollar-denominated, global currency regime. This has profound implications for Americans' standard of living and our empire's role in the world.
Doing these interviews and taking call-in questions from people around the country reminds me of why we made the video: People suffer from a shocking lack of knowledge about the serious financial problems facing our country. For example, the most popular question is: "When will the crisis begin?"

The question assumes we ought to ignore the collapse of the automakers, the complete destruction of America's investment banks, and the receivership of the world's largest mortgage firms (Fannie and Freddie), and the world's biggest insurance company (AIG)…

The question implies nothing unusual has taken place with housing prices… or in the markets for strategic commodities like lithium, copper, oil, coal, and corn – all of which are soaring in the face of the moribund U.S. economy. The question assumes nothing is going on with the value of our dollar, despite silver trading near $30 and gold trading close to $1,500 – up 100% in only two years.
We respond to the popular question with a question of our own: What will have to happen before you'll say we're in a crisis right now?

How high will gas prices have to get before your neighbors notice something is wrong? How high will gold have to get? Or silver? How many banks will have to go under? How high will unemployment have to rise? How many cities will have to go bankrupt? Where's your threshold? How bad will things have to be before you begin to see what's really happening?

In addition to raising these questions, I've compiled a list of seven key facts that might spring people into taking action to protect themselves. They are the factors I believe MUST lead to the end of the global U.S. dollar standard – what we call "The End of America."

1) The price of gold has gone up 10 years in a row. We can't think of another market that's ever risen for 10 consecutive years. This is a historical anomaly, and it means something has gone badly wrong with the world's reserve currency (the U.S. dollar). Markets, if left to find their own equilibrium, will naturally fluctuate. Gold isn't fluctuating. Its steady move up proves something strange is happening to our money.

2) Our government's deficits are out of control. The government's annual deficits now routinely surpass $1 trillion. The first $1 trillion deficit came in 2008 – and the government explained it away as the consequence of the financial crisis. But we racked up another $1 trillion deficit in 2009 and yet another in 2010.
We'll have another in 2011 and so on. Our national debt has doubled since 2005. We've borrowed more money in the last five years than we had in the entire history of our government until then. This isn't sustainable.

3) The government cannot increase tax revenues enough to cover our spending or repay our debts – ever. Our annual deficits have become completely unlinked to taxes. Total federal income taxes and corporate taxes generate $1.1 trillion a year in revenue, and we still ran a $1.3 trillion federal deficit last year. So even if we increased tax revenues by 100%, we would still have fallen $200 million short. This is totally unsustainable.

4) Special-interest groups – particularly government unions – are looting our Treasury. Self-serving special-interest groups have completely hijacked government spending. We now spend $200 billion a year on federal pensions. We're spending another $450 billion on welfare. This spending, combined with our defense spending ($700 billion), exceeds total federal tax revenue and leaves nothing to pay the $200 billion in interest on our debt, nothing to pay for actual government services (like roads), and nothing to pay towards the inevitable Social Security/Medicare shortfall.

Remember… most voters do not pay taxes. It's politically impossible to reform this interest group-based spending. These people are robbing the Treasury. They will cause our currency and eventually our government itself to collapse.

5) We're printing money just like the banana republics we used to mock. To support the government's runaway spending, the Federal Reserve is now continuously buying government debt. This process was commonly called "monetizing the debt" or, more simply, "printing money."
In addition to the inevitable economic consequences of monetizing debt (massive inflation), there's another, even more serious problem: a lack of confidence in the leadership of the Fed. We would support an audit of the Fed. We would support replacing Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke. After all, Bernanke has alternately defended his decision to print massive quantities of new money and denied ever doing it. However, we are certainly aware that as people (rightly) lose confidence in the Fed and in the dollar, there will be serious consequences for our economy.

6) We can't repay our debts. Total debt outstanding in the U.S. currently exceeds $55 trillion. That's $681,165 in debt per U.S. family. There is simply no way to repay (or even maintain) debt of this magnitude using the income of the average American family, which is slightly less than $50,000 per family per year. Interest alone on these debts (based on a 5% rate) would total $34,000 per family every year. Total debt in the U.S. economy is unsustainable and can't be financed without printing vast new sums of money.

7) Shockingly, new debt issuance in the U.S. is soaring, with the lowest-quality debtors borrowing record amounts. Despite all the evidence that the U.S. economy carries far too much debt, both public and private debt issuance soared to new record levels in 2010. Overall, more than $3 trillion in new corporate debt was issued last year – the second record year in a row.
And junk-bond issuance set a new, vastly higher record. In 2010, 509 speculative-grade corporate borrowers sold $287 billion worth of new debt. That compares to the previous record (2009) of $167 billion. Our economy has become so warped by its debt load, it cannot function without ever-larger amounts of debt.

In summary, anyone who carefully looks at these numbers must realize this is not safe and will not last long. That's why I'm telling everyone: Don't ask, "When will the crisis begin?" Instead, ask, "Where can I get the best deal on gold and silver bullion to protect my family's finances?"

Good investing,
Porter Stansberry

P.S. Please carefully think about the facts I list above. Like it or not, these issues are going to affect you and your family in the months and years ahead. Ignoring this problem will not protect you from it.


Image: scottchan /


The Story of Bottled Water

Let’s re-examine the bottled water trend and consider using our good ‘ole tap water again.  I was raised on tap water and I think I turned out OK.

The Story of Bottled Water


Grocery Stores Trying to Manage Inflation


I ran across an interesting article in the Seattle Times today where the CEO of SuperValu, the company which operates Albertsons, Jewel-Osco, Acme and other chains, says, “"This is going to be a challenging year going forward to manage inflation," Supervalu CEO Craig Herkert told analysts Tuesday. "It's just a fact and we believe these inflationary measures are going to impact consumers."

I’m glad I’ve started to stock up when there are sales.  My sister and I are also getting into clipping coupons.  There are a lot of savings to be had out there if you carefully watch for sales and then add in coupons.  I was amazed that at her last trip to the store, she came home with Health Choice Steamers that she got for only $1 each.  She also ended up getting jars of roasted almonds for free!  Now, that’s shopping smart!

Image: Suat Eman /


Virginia to Study Using Gold Instead of $$?

I couldn’t believe my eyes when I read an article from from 1/12/2011 that said that the Commonwealth of Virginia introduced a House Resolution (#557) to establish a subcommittee to: “"to study whether the Commonwealth should adopt a currency to serve as an alternative to the currency distributed by the Federal Reserve System in the event of a major  breakdown of the Federal Reserve System."

See the full article here.

My shock became greater when I saw that Utah was also examining the use of gold.  An article from The Salt Lake Tribune stated, "…requiring government agencies to accept gold for transactions, and creating a parallel monetary policy for intrastate commerce tied to the price of gold.”

It went on to say that, “Under the legislation that has been drafted, Utah residents could mint their own gold or silver coins, a storehouse would be created to stockpile the precious metal and the Utah Defense Force, an arcane state militia that may be called and armed by the governor, would be responsible for securing the inventories.”  Wow!

Other similar articles:

  • South Carolina lawmaker introduces a bill to replace federal currency
  • Idaho – silver medallions, minted by the state, may be used to jump start their economy, and used instead of the U.S. dollar.



Fun with Food Storage

I’ve written a lot lately about various events that should get us all interested in in preparing for events out of our control.  I personally believe that our economy is likely the biggest critical issue we face that will hit us all in our bank accounts, and soon.

To that end, I believe stocking up our pantries to help us get through a crisis is a good insurance policy to have.  I’ve heard several stories of late how people who had stocked up on foods were so very glad they did when faced with a layoff or pay cuts.  Add in that there could be natural disasters or even high levels of inflation that would make having extra food around helpful.  Now that fuel prices are beginning to rise again, having extra food on hand means it will be easier to shift funds to that expenditure without impacting our budgets too much.

I have been looking into tools, websites, videos, and blogs that deal with the food preparation and found one video from KSL (October 2009) I’d like to share with you to help get us in the mood. 

Whether you choose to stock up several weeks or several months, these ladies have a great system set up.  You can visit their Food Storage Made Easy website and get lots of ideas. I particularly like their 10 baby steps list.


Anyone Still Need Convincing?

If anyone out there still isn’t convinced that there is a world-wide currency crisis that will eventually hit us personally in our wallets and possibly move our country towards the solution  of a new world currency, must have their heads in the sand.
Here’s just articles since the first of the year:

  1. Reuters, 1/7 – Euro Crisis
  2. Google News, 1/7 – Portugal’s Debt Worsens
  3. Bloomberg, 1/5 - World Food Prices to Soar
  4. Yahoo Finance, 1/5 – Rising Asset Prices Cannibalize U.S. Growth
  5., 1/3 – Gold and silver crushed paper currency
  6. Los Angeles Times, 1/7 – Rising gas prices, remember 2008?
So what do we do?  Do what your grandparents did years ago.  Start a large food pantry so you can stock up on items at lower prices today.  Buy two tubes of toothpaste instead of 1, buy two bags of sugar instead of just one.  Use coupons and get two of some things in order to stock up.
If gasoline prices surge and the budget becomes tight, it will really help if you’ve stocked up on foods and can keep your food budget in line even with rising prices sure to come this next year.
Stock up!


10 Things Your Grandparents Know About Money

My dad sent me an email with the above title that was from an article over two years ago on  Even though it is old in terms of internet news, the message still fits. 

10 Things Your Grandparents Know About Money (That You Don't)

By Jeffrey Strain  05/08/08 - 11:22 AM EDT

The U.S. may not technically be in a recession. After all, the U.S. Commerce Department says the economy grew at a 0.6% pace in the first quarter.

But most people look at things more like legendary investor Warren Buffett, who defined a recession as when "people are doing less well than they were three months, six months or eight months earlier."

For most economists it is no longer whether there is going to be a recession, but what type of recession it is going to be: short recessions like the one from 1990 to 1991 and the one from March to November 2001, or something like the Great Depression.

No matter which it ends up being, one of the best places to look for sound advice is from those people who have survived the worst of economic times - namely your grandparents.

Here are 10 ideas you may want to take from them:

10. Frugality Is Not a Bad Word

There was a time when a person who was frugal was looked upon with esteem rather than someone without the means to buy more. Many people seem to equate frugality with "cheapness," but that couldn't be further from the truth. Being frugal is simply getting the most out of what you have and purchase, and not purchasing things that you really don't need.

While your grandparents learned frugality during the hard times, many of them continued to practice it even when times got better, which helped them build wealth. Learning to be frugal could help a lot of people who haven't learned to live within their means.

9. Use What You Have

In a consumer society, whatever problem you may have can always be solved by buying something else. If something breaks, go out and buy a new one. If something isn't exactly right, go buy something that is. In your grandparents' time, when something broke, they first took a look to see if it could be fixed.

If it couldn't be fixed, before it ended up in the trash can, they would consider whether it could still be useful for something else. There is no reason to go out and spend money on something new if you can get the same thing accomplished with the things that you already have.

8. Doing It Yourself Is the Way to Go

When it comes to fixing things, the first people that your grandparents looked at were themselves. Instead of calling someone to fix something that broke, they fixed it on their own most of the time.

In a society where we now hire people to do most basic repair and maintenance, it's important to remember that most repairs aren't nearly as difficult as they may appear and that you can do much of it on your own with a how-to book and patience.

7. Things Have More Than One Use

People tend to buy stuff with a specific purpose in mind and use it exclusively for that intended purpose. What your grandparents knew is that most things can have multiple uses throughout their useful life. That T-shirt can become a night shirt when the collar gets worn and can't be worn outside, and then a painting shirt when it starts to get holes and eventually rags when the holes get too big.

6. Debt Is to Be Avoided

In the age of credit cards, where spending what you don't have now is encouraged left and right, it's hard to believe there was a time when people actually believed that debt was to be avoided, but those are the words that your grandparents lived by. If they didn't have the money, then they would simply need to figure out a different plan on how to get what they needed. It might be borrowing it from a friend, saving up money or finding something that could be used instead. Going into debt to get it accomplished was not an option.

5. Save for Rainy Days

As many people are finding out, rainy days eventually come. Your grandparents were well aware of this and specifically put aside money for these rainy days. It's now what is commonly referred to as an emergency fund and something that comes in quite handy when your financial plans don't go exactly as you imagined they would.

4. Used Can Be Just as Good as New

This concept isn't completely foreign even to today's generation. The notion that buying a quality two- to three-year-old car has become basic mainstream financial advice when it comes to car ownership. Your grandparents knew that just because something happened to be pre-owned doesn't make it something to be dismissed as unworthy. They also know that this concept doesn't stop with cars and can be expanded to almost any other area where a second-hand market is available.

3. Functional Trumps Fashion:

When it comes to making purchases, your grandparents knew that it wasn't what the device looked like, but what it could do that mattered. It was much more important to buy something that did what needed to be done regardless of what it actually looked like. That Rolex may look great, but it doesn't tell time any better than a standard watch bought at the local discount store. Learning to buy for function rather than looks is a great way to save money.

2. Bargains Are to Be Sought-After

When it was time to purchase something, your grandparents didn't just go out an get it that day. They took the time to look for a bargain. That meant doing research and waiting until the price was right rather than pulling out a credit card and buying it even when they didn't have the money. Bargains take planning and time to find, but when they are found, you know you have gotten a great deal.

1. Homemade Cookies Are Delicious

In a society where everything is pre-made and sold for convenience, it may be hard to remember the last time you had a meal made from scratch. What your grandparents knew was that not only is it less expensive to cook this way, the resulting meal is also a lot more delicious. Think of it this way; would you ever consider trading in a plate of your grandmother's homemade cookies for any store bought brand?

While the way that your grandparents handled money may seem unsophisticated with all the financial tools that are available today, the basics of living below their means, saving for a rainy day, getting an education and investing in their future are values that a lot of people could financially benefit from today.