Archive for June, 2009

Manuals and Instructions, Can Save You Cash!

Manuals and Instructions can be a valuable tool in the defense of things getting old and wearing out. I know, we didn’t use the instructions to put the thing together or set it up, so whats the big deal now?

Well depending on the item, those overlooked pages can be a goldmine of valuable information that not only can help you when you run into a problem, but they can also help you to keep the item going and in tip top shape as well. We all know the cost of big ticket items now days and the longer you can keep these things doing what they are supposed to do, the more our investment gives us in returned savings.

Keep that rider mower going a couple more years by giving it all the necessary repair and maintenance it needs and you have gotten more of your moneys worth out of your purchase and put off having to spend big bucks for a new one right now.

Now if you can afford the new one or want some new options that a new one would offer than by all means treat yourself to it. But in the real world we most of the time have to repair and maintain things to save money to live. That’s where the instructions play a key role in getting the expected life out of the thing you bought.

Most manuals or instructions will have a small section all about the care and use of the item you purchased. They will tell you about all the important things that you need to do to get the longest amount of use from the item as you can. They will at least give you the details of what you have to do to get through the warranty period, in order for them to honor that warranty if something should go wrong early.

This information will not only help keep the thing working but will help to eliminate many common problems that you could run into by not doing the necessary maintenance. Most of the stuff is easy and can be done by someone who is not afraid to follow instructions and knows how to use a few common hand tools.

But if that isn’t your cup of tea, then find a reputable repair shop in your area and set up a yearly maintenance price with them, before you let them have the item, and show them that you want them to do what’s listed in your manual. (Don’t let them keep the manual!) Now set it up to be a regular yearly or every other year thing and even though you will be paying someone to do the upkeep, you should get the full life expectancy from your item. Which saves you money because you are now getting more use for the money you paid.

I had an old push mower that I bought new for $129.00. I used that mower for almost 14 years by doing regular maintenance on it, before getting a new one with all the goodies. That old mower cost me a about $9.00 a year to mow the lawn each season (plus gas). A lawn crew wanted $40.00 a week to mow the same lawn. You can add that up yourself, for 20 cuttings a year for the 14 years and see the difference.  ($800.00 a year, $11,200.00 for 14 years).

A friend only got seven years of use from his $400.00 mower because he never took care of the thing. So divide his years of use (7) into the price he paid and see what it cost him per year ($57.00 a year).  That was compared to my $9.00 per year and my lawn looked the same as his.

Point is, by doing the maintenance you should, you can keep your costs of doing things to a very reasonable amount. The money you save with every use, had you put it into the bank, would add up to a lot.  Probably enough to buy a replacement when the old one wears out.

It also makes it very easy to figure out your budget for all those weird items because you can closely figure out your operating costs per month. Now try that for the last car you purchased and see how much a year it cost you to drive it.



You asked, What’s the best optical illusion I have seen all year.

The best optical illusion I have seen all year, is the one a friend sent to me that was supposedly from David Copperfield.

I will try try to find out if it is publicly released, so I can post it, but here is how it went.

You stared for a minute at a string of 5 cards across an email page, concentrating on only one. Then you simply scrolled down to the next line of 5 cards and you could still see all the cards except your own. Your card was gone. Over and over no matter what card you picked, it would vanish to you. It never failed.

Now imagine the amazement when we found out, that when two people picked a card at the same time and then scrolled down, each players card was gone as before, but both people could still see the card the other one picked.

One was able to see it and the other couldn’t and on the same screen and at the exact same time . You talk about a mind blower, we tried this hundreds of times and it never ever failed. Not even once. You talk about an illusion, Wow is all I could say.

How about you? What’s the best optical illusion that you have seen all year?

Mortgage Companies, still Greedy with Their Customers.

Even though the economy is as bad as it is, there is still a majority of lenders that are unwilling to work with their borrowers.

For many people out there, some of the help that they would need is as simple as moving one missed payment to the end of the loan period. Still yet with all the bailout help and pressure from the government, many mortgage lenders still are not willing to help in any manner, except offering to remortgage at a lower rate.

That doesn’t help anyone who missed a few pay checks or is temporarily between jobs. To that group who are just a payment or two behind and caught between jobs, they have the attitude of so what. We can’t do a thing for you and they are hoping they will foreclose. That will give them a chance to make more money off the same home by selling the home again.

They would rather gamble on making more from the combined sales of the home, than give just a little help to those of their long time faithful customers who are struggling.

It is very sad that American Mortgage companies are willing to dump many long term customers, in hopes of making a profit. This amounts to nothing more than greed. They are not showing any loyalty to their customers or that they care. They are not practicing good American business relations with their customers at all.

To the companies who are not showing an ounce of flexibility or kindness, to the people who are loosing everything; You have forgotten that in the future, those customers will probably be getting another mortgage, once they are all cleared up with their financial problems that happened because their jobs were cut. These people will once again be in the market for a home mortgage and they will not return to any company with that kind of blatant dis concern for their customers, especially during a financial crisis.

You should actually be doing business in a less compassionate, dictated country instead of America.

So from all of your dedicated customers that lost their homes because of your Scroogeish ways, We will be seeing you around and we still believe in a little word of mouth advertising (good or bad) even though you apparently don’t and are not worried about your future sales either.

Look for the next story;  Why those in foreclosure are taking everything and the kitchen sink when they leave!!!!


Happy Fourth of July!

Wow, It’s the Fourth 0f July already. This is the holiday that usually signals the middle of the summer vacation season. The proper name is Independence Day. It is the day that America declared their Independence from England and the Queen of England. We were now on our own to live as we like.

We celebrate the fourth with pick nicks, family gatherings and fireworks. With the economy the way it is, the firework celebrations may be a little smaller or canceled in a few spots all together, due to budget restraints. If that is the case just remember this.

The short display, reflects the hardships that millions of your fellow Americans are experiencing in trying to keep up with the bills that they owe.

Not having a display at all, is reflecting all of the people who have lost their homes. They do not have a home to go to at the end of their day any more.

So if you feel slighted by these two fireworks shortcomings, just remember as you are driving home that you not only could afford the gas to drive there, but you also have a home to return to when you get back.

It’s time for people to start putting themselves in other peoples shoes, just for a minute. This way we can look at the overall situation many fellow Americans are in and realize that missing some fireworks just doesn’t amount up to anything the unfortunate are going through.

Loosing a few fireworks for a holiday, doesn’t compare to what some people have lost in their own lives.

Loose your job or house or have trouble paying your bills and I bet you wouldn’t complain about anything missing this fourth of July either.

I hope that sometime in the near future, all the military will be home and the unemployment and foreclosure rates will be near zero, so we can all celebrate that Independence Day, together.


Shrinking and Changing Products, for Profit. So Shop Smart.

Just a quick word of wisdom. Be more alert when you shop these days.

Manufacturers of many products are starting to cut the size of their products or the quantities in their packages and you are still paying the same price or more, but now getting less than you used to before.

They can make more money by taking one ounce away from a 10 ounce package and selling 9 ounce packages instead. This way they are saving an ounce per package. After filling 9 packages and saving an ounce from each one, they have enough left over to fill another complete 9 ounce package.

Now they can make an extra box for every 9 boxes they produce, and it didn’t cost them any more. The extra box becomes pure profit for them, when it is sold.

But we all still end up paying the same price or more, and even if it is on sale, you don’t get as much as you used to.

Another way manufacturers are cutting cost to make more money, is by removing some of the more expensive ingredients and replacing them with the cheaper ingredients or by cutting the quality of the ingredients in their products.

Lets say you are finding your favorite soup now has less noodles and more liquid, or your stew has less meat and more gravy and the meat is a lot tougher. They are switching the higher priced ingredients for cheaper ones, which increases their profit. They will reduce their quality and change the ingredients, almost to the point of being noticeable.

Start shopping by size, price and comparing different brands and quality, because you might find that some of the deals that your favorite brands usually offer, are not as good as they used to be. You may find that other brands are offering a better deal. This way you will be making sure you are getting more bang for your buck, like before.

So pay attention to the things you buy and if your favorite brands are changing their products enough to matter to you, then write them a letter, send them an email and change brands for a while to see if they get the message.

One way you can cheat them back instead of changing brands completely is this: If your usual brand is giving less or cutting quality and changing their mix, only buy half of your favorite and then buy half of the next best brand. Now when you are cooking, mix together half of each brand and most of the time if they are the same type of product, the family will not notice the difference.

Happy Shopping!



Definite proof of mankinds inability to think ahead. Because they aren’t straight.

Jar, nut and bolt holders.

June 22, 2009 1 comment

Does anyone remember either their dad or their grandpa’s workshop. It may have been in the basement or in the garage, but it was cool to be in as a kid. We dreamed for the day, when we would have our own shop with all of that neat stuff in it.

Parts of things here and there, but no matter what there system was, they always knew just where to find a screw, or a nut and bolt if anyone needed one. So how did they do it?

You remember, they used to take used jars with lids (usually peanut butter size) and screw the lids under the shelves above or next to their work bench. The jars were full of good assorted stuff. They would screw the jars onto the lids and they would hang there in rows like soldiers waiting for a battle.

Does anyone still do this? If so, then try the newer version I once saw my dad do. Mount four jar lids to each of the wooden discs. Now mount the discs under the shelf’s, with a screw and a big washer through a hole on the middle of the discs. You now can attach the filled jars to the lids and you have just made lazy Suzann’s that hold four jars each, so they can be spun around, to make it easier to reach and see whats in the jars in the rear.

Man them old guys were always thinking, weren’t they! Hey you wouldn’t happen to have a  1/4 -20 x 2 in. hex head I could get from ya, would you?