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Courtesy of WikiHow. There is some very good advice in this column. I will be using a lot of their tips soon especially since the holidays are almost here and money is a hard thing to come by in Dec. and Jan. 🙂  In the article WikiHow mentions freecycle.  My wife and I belong to several of these groups and they are great!  The easiest way to find them is via Yahoo Groups, just search for freecycle and your state……

How to Buy Nothing

 

Were self-checkouts invented so nobody has to see the useless junk you buy?

 

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Were self-checkouts invented so nobody has to see the useless junk you buy?

In O. Henry’s classic Christmas story The Gift of the Magi, Della Young sells her most prized possession, her long, beautiful hair, in order to buy her husband, Jim, a Christmas present. The present she chooses is a chain for Jim’s heirloom pocket watch, the only valuable thing he owns. When she presents her gift to Jim, she discovers that he has sold his watch in order to buy a set of ornate combs for her beautiful locks.Is there a lesson in here for us? The lesson is you don’t have to buy anything to be happy. Here’s how to resist the urge to splurge.

Steps

  1. Examine your beliefs. Corporations invest billions of dollars yearly to persuade people to accept the religion of Consumerism. It’s a religion that goes against the teaching of just about every other religion, belief system, or moral code. Think about what you really believe, and see if your buying decisions are motivated by your own values or by diet soda ads.
  2. Stay home. If you don’t need to shop, don’t go shopping simply because you are bored. Don’t use shopping as a recreation or amusement.
  3. Leave the money at home. The easiest way to not buy anything is simply not to take any cash, checks, debit cards, or credit cards with you when you go out. At most, take a small amount of cash with you for emergencies.
  4. Avoid plastic. One solution is to live without credit cards. If you’re not comfortable with that — for example, if you want to be able to rent a car or reserve a motel room when traveling — cut up all but one or two of your credit cards. Leave them at home so you won’t use them unless it’s an emergency.
  5. Pay cash. Studies show the average person spends less when paying with cash and much more when paying with credit, possibly because when you use a credit card it feels as though you are not parting with “real” money.
  6. Make a budget and stick to it. Don’t treat your budget like a New Year’s resolution. While creating and sticking to a budget requires self-control, it’s a really good way to get your finances under control and avoid accumulating a pile of crippling debts and a bunch of worthless crap in the process of destroying your self-respect.
  7. Make a list and stick to it. Make purchasing decisions at home, where your needs are apparent, instead of in stores where shelves full of other products will distract and entice you. A list can also help you postpone and consider purchases and consolidate trips out.
  8. Ask yourself some questions. Will I use this every day? Will I use it enough for it to be worth buying? How many hours did I have to work to pay for this? Employ the 3-month forecast. Ask yourself if you’ll still be using the product regularly in 3 months. If you have lived this long without it, do you really need it? If you move frequently, contemplate whether this purchase is really worth hauling around each time you move. If you don’t, ask yourself if it’s worth sacrificing some of your precious living space to own it.
  9. Repair, don’t replace. If you shopped carefully and got good service out of something, don’t assume you have to replace it when it breaks. A good repair shop might be able to restore it to “near-new” condition for less than the cost of a replacement, and you won’t be adding to the landfill problem.
  10. Try to get things you need or want for free. In a surprising number of cases you can get whatever you need without spending a dime.
    • Check local “free sales”. Visit websites such as freecycle, Freesharing,Sharing is Givingor craigslist. These sites are so useful precisely because so many people buy things they don’t need or replace perfectly good things with similar but newer things. You can decide to be smarter than that.
    • Borrow. If you need a product for just a short time, why not borrow someone else’s? There’s no shame in borrowing as long as you are willing to reciprocate when someone needs to borrow something of yours.
    • Try bartering. Your past extravagances have probably left you with a lot of things you no longer need, but which other people may want. Experience some of the gains from trade that economists are always talking about.
  11.  

    Oh, my! This would look nice in the bathroom.

     

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    Oh, my! This would look nice in the bathroom.

    Avoid shopping malls, if possible. If you need to purchase something, go to a store that sells that thing. Don’t automatically head for the mall, where you’ll likely get lured into buying things you don’t need. If you go to the mall just to hang out with your friends, consider finding new hobbies, or new friends. If you have to walk through a shopping mall to get to a restaurant or a movie theater, keep yourself engrossed in conversation (either with yourself or your companions) so that you don’t focus on your surroundings. Concentrate on where you are going, but pay no attention to the stores along the way.

  12. Use the buddy system. If you go out with friends, you may find that you enjoy yourselves so much that you don’t even feel like buying anything. You could all make a pact to prevent purchases. It’s kind of like a 12-step program to escape the consumer culture.
  13. Avoid unnecessary upgrades. Yes, that new toaster has a little chime and can toast eight slices at once, but seriously, how often do you need eight slices of toast at once? Our consumer culture pressures people to replace perfectly good products with newer products for silly reasons, like fashion. Remember, an avocado-colored oven works just as well as one that’s mango-colored.
  14. Buy for durability. If you decide to purchase something, choose something that won’t wear out, or won’t wear out quickly. Also avoid purchasing items that will go out of fashion. Think through how you will use the item and how your choice will meet your needs for as long as possible. Thinking in the long term, a more durable item costing 30% more up front will still save you money if you can use it twice as long.
  15. Use the “Rule of 7.” If something you want is over 7 dollars, wait 7 days and ask 7 trusted people whether this is a good purchase. Then buy it if you still think it is a good idea. This rule will curtail impulse buying. As you get more financially secure and have a larger disposable income, you can gradually increase the threshold upward from 7 dollars.
  16. Make gifts for people. Use your own skills (or learn a new skill) to make gifts that people will remember long after they’ve forgotten store-bought presents. Don’t forget that gifts needn’t be wrapped. You can make a gift of time or skills, too. Remember the lesson of The Gift of the Magi: it really is the thought that counts. Money can’t buy you happiness or self-respect or any friends worth having.
  17. Tax yourself. Every time you make a purchase over $10 (or $50 or whatever limit you choose), take 10% of the price and put it into your savings or your investments. This way, you discourage yourself from buying something just because the item is “marked down” or “a bargain” and boost your financial security every time you make a significant purchase. If you use a debit card or a credit card, try using one that has a savings program, American Express offers a card with a savings account and Bank of America offers their “Keep The Change” program to automatically transfer money into your savings account.

Tips

  • Read books such as Why We Buy, so you understand retailer tactics that are used to get people to buy things they do not need. Get the books at the library; no need to buy them!
  • If you have children, bring them with you when you shop. Ask them to remind you to think twice when you pick up an item. Have them say “Do we really need that?” or “Can we really afford that?” This tip helps you AND teaches your children the value of properly managing their spending.
  • Can’t think of anyplace to hang out but the mall? Try visiting a friend, taking a walk on a nature trail, going to a free concert or event, or playing at the park. Your life will be richer in more ways than one if you eschew shopping malls.
  • Instead of renting movies, check your local library. Many libraries offer a wide selection of movies for free. While you’re there, check out their other offerings, too.
  • If you’re really weak-willed, freeze your credit cards in a coffee can full of water so you will have to thaw them out before you use them.
  • “Buy Nothing Day” is November 24, 2006, in North America and November 25th elsewhere. Participate by not joining in the mad and often mindless holiday shopping rush on that day.

Warnings

  • If you use the Rule of 7, keep in mind that not everyone will enjoy giving their opinion every time you want to make a purchase. A variation is “wait 7 days OR ask 7 trusted people” which will still help you make more thoughtful expenditures.
  • At first you might feel strange telling your friends that you’d rather not buy something you don’t need or that you’d rather not hang out at the mall this weekend. Remember to give yourself time for your new choices to become comfortable.

bars.jpg  Wow is this a scary statistic.  Does anyone else think that maybe we have a few to many laws?  Perhaps we could take a lot of the “victimless” crimes off the books.  This jump is definitely due to the “war on drugs” which has caused a 49% increase in inmates 8 years…….

By KASIE HUNT, Associated Press Writer 

WASHINGTON – A record 7 million people — or one in every 32 American adults — were behind bars, on probation or on parole by the end of last year, according to the Justice Department. Of those, 2.2 million were in prison or jail, an increase of 2.7 percent over the previous year, according to a report released Wednesday.

More than 4.1 million people were on probation and 784,208 were on parole at the end of 2005. Prison releases are increasing, but admissions are increasing more.

Men still far outnumber women in prisons and jails, but the female population is growing faster. Over the past year, the female population in state or federal prison increased 2.6 percent while the number of male inmates rose 1.9 percent. By year’s end, 7 percent of all inmates were women. The gender figures do not include inmates in local jails.

“Today’s figures fail to capture incarceration’s impact on the thousands of children left behind by mothers in prison,” Marc Mauer, the executive director of the Sentencing Project, a Washington-based group supporting criminal justice reform, said in a statement. “Misguided policies that create harsher sentences for nonviolent drug offenses are disproportionately responsible for the increasing rates of women in prisons and jails.”

From 1995 to 2003, inmates in federal prison for drug offenses have accounted for 49 percent of total prison population growth.

The numbers are from the annual report from the Justice Department’s Bureau of Justice Statistics. The report breaks down inmate populations for state and federal prisons and local jails.

barker.jpg This could be very interesting. The premise sounds pretty good. I am a huge fan of Barker in both his books and movies. I’ll be watching for this one!

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By Nicole Sperling 1 hour, 48 minutes ago

LOS ANGELES (Hollywood Reporter) – Horror master Clive Barker

is developing a young-adult thriller centered on the ghost of Edgar Allan Poe. The film will revolve around a group of teenagers who attempt to uncover what happened during the last two weeks of Poe’s life. They inadvertently trigger a curse that unlocks Poe’s nightmares from which they must escape.

Barker has partnered on the project with Walden Media, the family-oriented firm behind the “Narnia” franchise.

“By focusing on mood and atmosphere rather than blood and guts, Clive Barker brings a smart, literate take on the horror genre that will expose young audiences to its great literary underpinnings,” said Alex Schwartz, executive VP of production at Walden Media.

Barker ventured into the children’s world with the book “The Thief of Always,” published in 1992 and in development at 20th Century Fox. Most recently, he published the first two of four novels from his children’s fantasy series “The Books of Abarat.”

“I think we might have a chance with this project to bring the character of Poe alive for a new audience and weave his shadowy existence into the dark enchantments of his stories so that for our protagonist, and for our audience, it will be difficult to be sure where one finishes and the other takes flight,” Barker said.

Barker will be writing and producing a remake of his film “Hellraiser” for Dimension Films. He and his Midnight Picture Show horror label are developing and packaging several of his short stories from his horror collection “The Books of Blood.”

Reuters/Hollywood Reporter

money.jpg I’m not sure how to feel about this. On one hand, I hate to see anyone have a hard time and potentially get ripped off. But if we have to change all of the money in circulation, it will cost the taxpayers billions of dollars. It’s just a bad spot to be in 😦

WASHINGTON — American paper money represents an unfair impediment to the blind, and the Treasury Department must come up with new U.S. currency to help the visually impaired use cash, a federal judge ruled Tuesday.

U.S. District Judge James Robertson said keeping all U.S. currency the same size and texture violates the Rehabilitation Act, which prohibits discrimination on the basis of disability in government programs.

“Of the more than 180 countries that issue paper currency, only the United States prints bills that are identical in size and color in all their denominations,” Robertson wrote in his ruling. “More than 100 of the other issuers vary their bills in size according to denomination, and every other issuer includes at least some features that help the visually impaired.”


You Are 88% Nerdy


You are a total fracking nerd!

In fact, you’re probably disappointed if you’re not 100% Nerdy!

How Nerdy Are You?

Hhuummmm 88%.  I think this quiz is rigged and yes I AM disappointed that I’m not 100%  😀

Breaking news from busymom.net  I hope Greg is OK!  All of the Wiggles have been a huge part of my kids lives over the last 4 years plus.

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greg.jpg

Sad news from the Wiggles and Wiggles Central.

Greg Page (the yellow one) is leaving the group due to a “serious illness”. He’s been absent from the tours for quite a while, and, the message boards have been put on hold until further notice. What is actually wrong with him has been a closely guarded secret, but, it doesn’t sound good.

knives.JPG  So a friend sends me this eBay link and says “check out this bullsh@#”  And indeed it is.  Here is the link……… http://cgi.ebay.com/10-Pounds-NTSA-Airport-Confiscated.  Oh yes you see it right.  It seems there a slew of TSA employees selling confiscated goods on eBay.  Just do a search it’s very easy to find lots of examples.  They are selling by the pound even!  So all that stuff that was taken away the last time you flew out of an airport has wound up on eBay.

You would think this is illegal, but apparently it’s OK.  For shame!  Well, karma comes around buddy, enjoy your ill gotten gains while you can…….

karma.jpg

ihop.jpg So what would you do? Seems this guy went into his local IHOP for some pancakes, normal so far. To get put on the waiting list they wanted his id. Being a past victim of identity theft he did only logical thing and said no. They refused to seat him.

“‘You want my license? I’m going for pancakes, I’m not buying the Hope diamond,’ and they refused to seat us,” Russo said, recounting his experience this week at the Quincy IHOP.   “Identity theft is rampant. I wouldn’t want to give my license, with my address or Social Security number to anyone that I’m not familiar with,” Russo said. “I’m going just for breakfast.”

Ummm so what are they looking for terrorists at the local egg joint? This is asinine. Never provide id to a place that doesn’t need it… i.e. your bank, your lawyer, things like that. IHOP I got your terror right here…..

terrorsoap.jpg

full article is here

hobbit.jpg Oh yeah, oh yeah, oh yeah… doin’ the happy dance!!!!

Written by: Buck Wolf for ABC News

Source – Slice of Sci-Fi – Link

Producer Tells German Web Site Director He Will ‘Definitely’ Shoot ‘LOTR’ Prequels

It may take another quest to the Crack of Doom, but there’s new hope that Peter Jackson will return to direct “The Hobbit” and another “Lord of the Rings” prequel.

“Lord of the Rings” fans were in a frenzy last week, following the announcement from Jackson that New Line Cinema had sent a letter informing him that the film studio “would no longer be requiring our services on the ‘Hobbit’ and the ‘LOTR’ prequel.”

Now, the producer who owns the screen rights to “Rings” writer J.R.R. Tolkien is telling German Web site Elbenwald.de that Jackson will be back, once New Line’s contract expires.

“It will definitely be shot by Peter Jackson,” said Saul Zaentz, whose company owns Tolkien Enterprises.

“Next year, ‘The Hobbit’ rights will fall back to my company. I suppose that Peter will wait because he knows that he will make the best deal with us. And he is fed up with the studios. To get his profit share on the ‘Rings’ trilogy, he had to sue New Line.”

The wildly successful trilogy has grossed more than $3 billion worldwide. Jackson and the studio are at odds over accounting practices. In a lawsuit, the director has asked a third party to intervene.

“With us,” Zaentz told the Web site, “he knows that he will be paid fairly and artistically supported without reservation.”

wizards-of-odd.jpeg I just finished the short story collection The Wizards of Odd: Comic Tales of Fantasy and really enjoyed it. I picked it up while browsing around PaperbackSwap.com not because it had a good write up, but because three of my favorite authors (Douglas Adams, Ray Bradbury & Terry Pratchett) are featured in the collection. The copyright is 1996 so these aren’t new stories, but they were new to me 🙂 In fact the book is out of print, sadly, but used copies are up on Amazon.

The collection is 24 stories broken down into the three categories of Wizards and Wotsits, Swords and Sorcery and Astronauts and Aliens. As you can tell by the third category these are not all fantasy stories, 8 of them fall into the realm of comic sci-fi. Each story is different and they cross a very broad time scale from the 18th – 20th century. I enjoyed all but two of the stories. One was The Odd Old Bird by Avram Davidson and the other was The Wild Asses of the Devil by H. G. Wells. The second one surprised since I have enjoyed everything I have read by Wells to this date. Oh well ya can’t win them all 🙂

Overall I give the book an B+. It was enjoyable and worth reading for the selections and the variety of writing styles. Heck, I even discovered a few new authors to look for next time I am shopping.


The Wizards of Odd: Comic Tales of Fantasy