Monthly Archives: December 2008

Shopping Around Now That Gas Prices Are Lower

the bare necessitiesFood prices may still be a bit high, but gas is much lower, making it a bargain to shop around for your foodstuff. Today, I went to three different stores to finish my grocery shopping. They’re all very close to me because I live in a convenient area.

So, the first place I went was Wal-Mart, and I was surprised to find the prices there were going up too. I bought my meat and my produce there, even eggs which are reasonably priced and in bulk. But, I noticed that for items which are almost always relatively cheap, the prices were higher, like for beans and tuna. I’m scratching my head trying to figure that out. But, that’s okay because I know of a place that sells those items CHEAP, CHEAP, CHEAP: Dollar Tree.

Next stop, at Dollar Tree, I notice that the cheese and milk are outrageous, but there is my really large bag of dry pinto beans for $2.50. I was at Wal-Mart and they were offering one for $1.49 that was at least half less, if not more by weight. Next, I go to the tuna at 79 cents a can. That’s right, you can still get tuna for under a dollar at Dollar Tree, not so anymore at Wal-Mart. Some brands were even $3.00 a tin! I bought a few more items too that I saw at deal breaking prices and then made my last stop: Krogers.

Okay, I only went to Krogers to return the milk bottle because I like the milk made in Western NC that is shipped fresh in glass bottles. It’s got no hormones in it and it tastes like I remember milk used to taste when I grew up. So, I returned the bottle, got my $2 refund for it, and headed over to the milk section, when I realized Krogers was closing out on some organic foods. I love organic foods and I love almond milk and soy milk too. I picked up 4 cartons for a grand total of $2. Net cost? Zero, since I had just returned my bottle and didn’t get the bottled milk since I substituted. On top of that I saw some organic beef jerky, which my daughter loves, regularly at $4.50 for 50 cents each. Guess what Santa’s putting in her daughter’s stocking this year?

Grand total: $34 for food for two people for two weeks. The extra cost in gas at $1.67/gallon was minimal.

When gas is relatively cheap, it really does pay to shop around.

Advertisements

Real Friends Don’t Let Frenemies In Their Friends Lists

bad peopleIn some metaphysical circles, it’s suggested that we never really see anyone’s true self, we only see a reflection of our own projections of what we believe someone else is like. That’s because the experiencer will always alter the experience, and we tend to do that quite well when it comes to other people. So, can I really suggest that some people are authentic and others are not? Is one person a good friend and another isn’t? Are some people toxic while others are not? Or are they all pieces of myself that I refuse to accept because they mirror back to me things I don’t like about myself?

It’s probably all of the above. No matter whether someone considers it judgmental or not, or unspiritual, we all have to eventually decide: Does this friendship enhance my life or detract from it? Is this a real friend or a frenemy? So, whether enemies are a part of us or not, connected through All That Is, it doesn’t mean we have to have tea with them or add them to our friends list.

Besides The Point When You’re A Single Parent

However, for a single parent who is always living life a little on edge, there sometimes comes a time when I have to demote or annul a friendship that becomes too impractical to continue supporting. At that point, it really is irrelevant to me whether I can turn the situation around just by emanating some mysterious energy of self-acceptance. At that point, I realize the situation is toxic, whether I contributed to it or not, and for the sake of my sanity, this person has to disappear from my life. If they can’t be bothered to see it my way for an instant, and change their offending behavior, I can’t be bothered to hang around for another instant either. Cold? Yes. Uncompassionate? I would argue that I am being compassionate to self first, and being kind to self too. If I can’t deal with someone and they continue to mess up my life, they eventually end up persona non grata, and I am quite quick to make sure they remain completely out of my sphere of influence. Why? Because I have my own household to take care of first, and then, if the energy is there, then I might attempt to support others. So, I have to be careful whom I choose to support so that I can continue to give, rather than be used up like a soiled nose tissue and be worthless to my child, myself, and others. If at that point, I get no support back and that person becomes a drain on my resources, I have to cut them loose, as painful as that may be for them.

If you’ve ever met a single parent, you will find that most of us just do not have the patience, the resources, or the willingness to dwaddle over situations that are bringing us down. They get immediately taken care of and the offending element is immediately removed. That’s what we do to survive for the sake of our children. So, some people think that’s callous, never having been single parents. That the world deserves a bleeding heart, regardless of other people’s actions. In a dream world, that would work, but when someone else’s needs take the food out of your own children’s mouths because they wear you down with their constant demands, that’s when the parent will almost always pick the child’s needs above some outside friend. And, out they go!

Virtual Friendships

I’ve noticed something really nice about Facebook. I’ve noticed I can remove friends and it won’t notify them. One day they’re my friend, and the next they’re off my list and I don’t have to hear another peep out of them. Or, if I just want to demote them because they want to spam my newsfeed with marketing gimmicks, I can go down to the newsfeed options and choose to “hear less” about this so called friend. They’re never advised that you are simply ignoring them. Because it’s so virtual, they can continue to send out whatever they want and you never have to actually contact them again. So, recently I terminated an obvious marketer on my friends list. He was beginning to send more so called friends to me, other marketers! That’s what I think anyways. I wondered whether I should reject a person based on that alone, but you know, one bad apple spoils the barrel, as cliche as that is. Pretty soon, they’ll be harvesting my friends list and sending out invitations for friendships to them who will see me listed as a mutual friend and will accept it on that basis. So, I feel I have an obligation to make sure I don’t pass along these bad apples to other people.

Can I Get One Of These Gizmos In Real Life?

Now, if someone would just create the a real “virtual” me for daily life so that when the old boyfriend calls even after you’ve dumped him, or the friend who just needs one more favor bumps into you, or the professional people (who insist they’re really your friends when they just want another sale) phone, my virtual me can give them everything they want without me really being there and I can be metaphysically in the right too! They have their universe where I get used up like an old hankie and I have mine, where I support myself by valuing my own self-worth and leaving. After all, it’s not really me they’re interested in. It’s some response or reaction that I’m too stupid to realize that I don’t want to engage in. That’s what they’re looking for.

All I know is that I really don’t think your wealth has anything to do with the number of friends you have, but the quality of friends that you have. I know people with many friends who are quite poor, in my estimation, because they are people I would never bother to associate with because they only hang around to bring you down or take something from you. They are so common now that there is even a term for them now in modern lexicon: frenemies. Please, please, please, if you have one on your friends list, get rid of them. The frenemy of your friend is our next frenemy too. How do you think I hooked up with that marketer in the first place?

How Many Jobs Are There In The Auto Industry?

Dealership IIWe keep hearing that if one of the Big Three goes bankrupt that it will have a devastating effect on the economy, due to job losses. I have a tough time believing that the auto industry itself has that many jobs in our economy. I can see that there might be associated jobs like car dealerships, but I doubt it will affect auto repair shops as just because cars aren’t made here does not mean they aren’t being repaired here. So, what are the real numbers?

What Are The Real Numbers?

I had this discussion with a very brilliant man who is a millionaire. While I don’t know how much he actually is involved with the auto industry, he claimed that people who get a job in one of the Big Three have jobs that can start at $40/hr because they are unionized. They get health benefits, they get overtime pay too! Many can make over $100,000/year having no skills other than assembly skills because of the union contracts. So, what are the real numbers? Is it because of the bad economy or the juicy labor contracts that they could go bankrupt? Why are they working overtime when no one is buying cars? A lot of this makes no sense…

What are the real numbers? In a time when everyone is belt tightening are the labor unions willing to give a little? Doesn’t it seem odd that someone with no college education can make over $100,000 working for someone else? I thought the whole point of the American dream was to become your own boss so you could make a lot of money and live a full life? Wouldn’t that help to create jobs by creating more businesses? What’s the incentive for the U.S. economy to keep paying people large amounts of money when 1) It creates no new jobs, 2) It rewards people for not improving themselves.

The Bottom Line Is Jobs, Isn’t It?

So, are we really going to suffer a large number of job losses if one of the Big Three goes under? More than the financial industry fall-out? More than the mortgage industry collapse? More than the dot com burst? I want to see some hard numbers, not in comparison to the auto industry, but to all the other industries that want a piece of the bail-out pie. I find it hard to believe that the auto industry has that big an impact on our economy. Somebody please tell me what the real numbers are, because right now, it just looks to me like they are plain old greedy, both the management AND the workers.

Should we reward the type of behavior that is basically bankrupting our country in the first place? Why not set up some incentives for other small businesses that want to compete with the Big Three? They can hire all the people who get laid off by the Big Three and start their own factories, at a lower pay rate. Or, we may find they can go into other industries that will create more economic security for the U.S. in the future. Or one of the Big Three can turn over their holdings to the workers as a co-operative that limits wages, just like they did in Argentina. They can get tax incentives for 1) educating their workforce, and 2) Creating more jobs. I would think $100,000/year would hire at least three people at $30,000/year and that is a livable wage. Even if they decided to only pay them $50,000/year it would double the workforce. More jobs, and I don’t know anyone who will turn down a $50,000/year job in this economy.

So, yes, I know nothing about the auto industry. Someone please educate me, because right now, it sounds to me like they just want something they don’t at all deserve. If they really deserve to be “bailed out” then I think the American public, which is footing the bill, needs to see the actual numbers forecasted for future job losses in comparison to present employment (no I don’t want any pie-in-the-sky fantasies of how many jobs they think they are creating for the future!), comparisons to other industries, other business plan options, etc. You name it. I want to see the business plan, for the economic growth of the United States, if they really do have as much impact as they say they do. Please, convince me, because right now, I am entirely unconvinced.

Oh, And Maybe They Don’t Really Need It

I just love this reasoning. We’re told they may not actually need the money, but they want to earmark it for themselves (pretty much freeze that money’s liquidity in the marketplace) in case they need it! I thought the whole point of the bail-out was to give it to unfreeze the market’s credit problems NOW. If they don’t really need it until maybe a year from now, come back in a year! I think there are other industries that have more impact on the economy and who make a better case for getting taxpayer’s monies right this instant.

We Got To Learn The Business Waltz

Los novios abriendo el baileI just had an epiphany after listening to this broadcast:Planning In An Economic Downturn with Sabrina Parsons. I realized that I know many of the basic steps for business development, but to really do well in this economy, I am going to have to learn the business waltz.

The Link Between Expenses And Income

Sabrina makes a good point that when business owners decide that they need to cut expenses to survive a downturn in the economy, they often don’t pick the right things to cut back on. They may choose advertising, for instance, because they perceive that is going to be less effective as there are fewer customers in a downturn. Then, the next month comes around and voila! Fewer customers! But, did they get fewer customers because of the downturn, or did they create a self-fulfilling prophecy by reducing their advertising exposure when it counted most?

Associations

Metaphysically, to magnetize sales to your business, you have to project energy that creates prosperity. What you do is really an expression of that energy, not the actual cause of some business effect, like more customers or sales. That’s why you can work your tail off and get no where, because you are exerting an energy of distrust in the marketplace, and that leads to lack of security. The energy is in association with the action and with the final result. But, on the other hand, you can work your tail off because you think there is a ton of demand headed your way and you want to be prepared for the overflow, and voila! You can create that too with EXACTLY the same action as before, where the identical action can create lack or prosperity, depending on the energy behind it.

The Business Waltz

In this broadcast, it brought to my attention that we have to not only pay attention to what we are doing, but what energy we are projecting with that action. We don’t want to create self-fulfilling scenarios in this economy that are going to bite us in the butt. So, while it’s important to know the steps to the dance, the waltz is something that one does not do with steps alone, but with a fluidity and understanding of how all the steps and energy combine to create a magnificent dance.