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Lighten Your Load; It’s All Up Hill From Here: - Mike Folkerth - King of Simple

Mike Folkerth - King of Simple

Western Colorado

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Lighten Your Load; It’s All Up Hill From Here:


Good Morning all of you hard working brain cells out there in the free world; your King of Simple News is on the air.

I’m probably going to step on some toes here and get myself in trouble; but who the heck invented combat shopping and mall-cruising as a national pastime?

What must be the annual cost of this non-explainable habit of shopping for non-essentials? The TV is full of “shopping channels,” the papers come loaded with 5 pounds of inserted advertisement for luring us to buy more “stuff,” and the radio now has greater commercial segments than programming time.

I should probably mention that men and women view shopping much differently. If most men were asked if they would like to go shopping for the day or have a root canal without benefit a numbing agent, they would probably have to think about it for a while and then ask, “What time is my dentist appointment?”  

That being said, note the above mention of shopping for non-essentials.  So how do I know folks are shopping for non-essentials? When I ask some members of my family (who will remain nameless to avoid unnecessary strife in my life) what they going to do with their friends for the day, the answer is often, “We’re going shopping.”

 “Oh Geez,” I think silently, after which I stupidly ask, “Shopping for what?”  

“We need some new thread for our quilt project, so we’re going to Grand Junction and just shop around,” comes the casual reply. “Do you need anything?”

“Heavens no,” I quickly reply in a noticeably panicked voice. “You mean you’re going to drive 100 miles round trip for thread?”

At this point there is no answer…only “The Look.” After which I drag myself back to my computer and complain to you.

I’m assuming that I’m not alone in this quest for determining why people go shopping without a clue of what they are shopping for;  as 75% of America’s economy is based on consumer spending, a nice term for shopping.

If a person is attempting to heed my personal goal of living simply and living well in these times of economic turmoil, non-essential shopping is probably something that deserves a litmus test.

How many other things do we spend money on that are totally frivolous? The following link is one of the best that I have read on that subject.

 http://finance.yahoo.com/family-home/article/107388/20-ways-to-waste-your-money.html?mod=banking-budgeting

I’m doing my best to change my own lifestyle. I canceled our current subscription to satellite TV yesterday and will combine a “basic package” ($19.95) with my internet and telephone service, which will save some $60.00 per month.

I also have two vehicles and a trailer that I use occasionally for work (little and big dump trucks and a large equipment trailer) that I will attempt to sell along with my backhoe that has seen little use in the past year. That means no insurance, no license plates, no SME tax, and no maintenance. What a savings for something that I may or may not use!

I also do a lot of volunteering to help others and they volunteer to help me. I’m not bartering mind you, because that’s taxable. What are you doing to lighten the load these days?

 

 
Comments
1.
On July 29th, 2009 at 8:53 am, Billyb said:

Typically, my motto is “Don’t Buck Before You’re Spurred”. However this order of business your discussing today needs a little different kind of handling it appears; as in immediate action. Guess we all get caught up in the cash throwing game; hard to avoid when every government official and every TV, radio station and newspaper is hounding us to throw more cash at every little trinket we never wanted to begin with. Thanks for the reminder. I’m all over it. -bb

2.
On July 29th, 2009 at 9:30 am, Mike Folkerth said:

Billyb,

It feels great to take action on these types of issues and realize that one is actually “doing something” positive.

As you said, “I’m all over it.”

3.
On July 29th, 2009 at 10:16 am, George45-70 said:

What are you doing to lighten the load these days? Wow Mike, after two months of being unemployed and still waiting in line to get my first unemployment insurance check from the state, it is amazing what you can get by without. Or should I say I’ve realized I just didn’t need that stuff. Below is a list of what I’ve ejected out of my aircraft to increase lift and avoid a hard landing.

1. Cut Satellite TV: Savings $41.00 per month
(There are still 3 High Def channels that I can watch at NO cost)

2. Cut Land Line Telephone: Savings $32.00 per month. I have a $30.00 a month cell phone with 400 anytime minutes and free calls after 7 pm and all weekend long.

3. Internet is my main connection to the outside world but I cut my connection back to 1.5K saving $20.00 a month.

4. I dropped my truck insurance coverage from full coverage to liability. Savings $65.00 a month.

5. I ride my bike around town and consolidate my driving to one supply run a week. Saving $90.00 in gas, oil and other ware and tear per month.

6. I’ve started a free tree removal service but I get to keep the wood. So far almost three cords of wood split and stacked for the winter.

7. Volunteering 4 hours a week at a local farm and I get all kinds of good fruit and vegetables for my efforts. Savings about $120.00 a month off my grocery bills.

8. Stocking up on foods with a long shelf life. Saving 50% or more when on a good sale. Having that 6 month food supply allows plenty of time to wait for a great sale to resupply.

9. Taking 5 mile hikes each day and a 2 hour nap in the afternoon. Healthy living and reduced stress. Who needs a government health plan???

10. Fully embracing “Live Simple, Live Well”

There’s my top 10 list.

4.
On July 29th, 2009 at 12:52 pm, Mike Folkerth said:

Wow George, I’m impressed!! Good moves all and a wonderful example for all of us.

You are also gaining quality of life each and every day that you don’t run on the treadmill of Corporate America.

5.
On July 29th, 2009 at 4:12 pm, Greg said:

Much like George I am cutting expenses. Our house and car are paid off. We have no intention of buying another car, or house - ever.

My wife and I have cut back substantially on eating out. We don’t buy a “name” brands and use coupons. Currently, we don’t have cable or satellite; however, I may need to make a concession to my wife on that one. My cell phone is old and we have cut back on entertainment.

I do spend on things that will reduce my overhead, or things that may disappear, or become too expensive to purchase in the near future. Attic insulation and high quality hand tools are on my list. Also, I am buying books on gardening, baking, canning and other low tech skills that have value as our current production and distribution systems break down.

We do treat ourselves sometimes; however, each time we do, I remind myself that it may be the last time.

I think it is fair to say most everyone is cutting back, some more so than others. Since consumer spending is about 60-75% of the total economy, that should finish what’s left of the conspicuous consumption economy.

It is now clear that both engines are sputtering and we are loosing altitude fast. Check your survival kit. As you can see, I am an optimist, I’m assuming we will survive the crash.

6.
On July 29th, 2009 at 4:49 pm, Mike Folkerth said:

Good optimism Greg! Heaven only knows that we need it!

I forgot about the eating out effort here in the Folkerth household. We have nearly quit doing so and instead invite friends and family over with some carry in and they all reciprocate.

Being a past restaurant owner, I can cook better Prime Rib for four people, at about the same price as one restaurant portion.

I’m also a gourmet hot dog and polish sausage guy with a commercial dog and bun steamer. We provide every topping known to mankind and our friends love it!

Speaking of tools, I bought a neat little 1958 3HP Johnson outboard at an auction for $65 a couple of weeks ago. I broke out my tools, went through the carb, put in new plugs, serviced the lower unit and the thing runs like a watch…okay, an old watch with real gears in it.

7.
On July 29th, 2009 at 6:18 pm, thecarrotfund said:

Hello to all of you in Mike World. I’m a new reader and have LOTS to learn. Love to read about what you all think. Lightened the load today by finalizing the sale of our sailboat. Depreciating asset + cost us to store it. Listed our small farm back east for sale. (Kinda worried about this one as it is full of natural resources that may come in handy if the s**t hits the fan.) Taking pics for Ebay and Craigslist of items that are either going down in value, costing extra, or not being used or a combo of both. The dogs are safe for now:)

8.
On July 29th, 2009 at 8:05 pm, Mike Folkerth said:

Carrot Fund,

Thanks for joining the conversation. We will all have lots to learn before this is over!

Ebay and Craig’s list are great outlets for unused items and open the broadest audience of buyers. I’ve sold some weird things on e-bay including used operating room lights and battery powered surgical bone saws from a hospital liquidation!

My wife and I have always been somewhat careful with our spending and realized the benefit of being debt free at the earliest possible opportunity of being so. It opens up incredible options and provides a good nights sleep.

Have you read my Show-Stopper series? If not they can be found in the recent achieves on the side bar and I suggest going back and reading that collection as it puts most of what is happening (and will happen) in perspective.

9.
On August 5th, 2009 at 1:25 pm, Swiss Camper said:

I had this feeling already in 1999, when i sold part of my company and moved to Thailand. Since 2001 when i am in Switzerland i live in a camp trailer and ever since, i am asking myself: Will this fit in the trailer and what else will i have to throw out? Nice lifestyle that forces you to only carry the necessary with you. My wifes cupboard is full of $5 clothing items. We eat out about 5 times a year. I am ready for the new lifestyle.

10.
On August 6th, 2009 at 7:48 am, Mike Folkerth said:

Swiss Camper,

Good to hear from you again. There is something VERY rewarding about this new lifestyles once a person can wrap their mind around the concept and jettison the old paradigms.

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