Monday, May 9, 2011

Life and Stuff

Spring appears to finally be here, as such, yours truly has been a very busy unit at work and at home.  Twelve hundred miles on the road last week; I'll actually be able to rototill the garden this week with the goal of getting it planted this coming weekend; and due to the exceptionally cold and wet spring, I have about two months of yard/garden/tree work to catch up the writing is going slowly just because there aren't enough hours in the day.   It being May 9th, it looks like a really pleasant second week of March outside.  (It's actually a little too close to the weather in 'Deep Winter' for my comfort). 

A couple of comments in response to questions from readers of the series and the blog: 

1) Yes, the 'bundle' deal is still 'good', that being the first three books for $80, including autograph and shipping anywhere in the lower 48 or to any APO (International rates vary on shipping). 

2) Distance will be available on Kindle, probably before I look at hardcopy publishing. I will probably not put Distance out in pieces on Kindle...just one chunk. 

3) A reader asked me what I thought of price increases we're seeing hit us all.  In addition to keeping up with the basics that are discussed heavily elsewhere (food, water, shelter, heat, ad nauseum), I'm seeing a significant lead time in getting stuff that used to be a trip to the parts store.  So, equipment spares are taking longer to get AND are of course more expensive. I'm adding to my stores for spares for the vehicles, power equipment, tractor, etc. 

I'm also seeing significant price advantages buying on line and not from my local chain retailer.  While I like to support the local businesses when I can, it makes zero economic sense to pay 200% or more for the time savings in ordering something from a store 15 minutes from my house and having to wait three days for the item to arrive,  versus an order placed ahead of time for some mechanical need, and having to wait maybe a week for it to be delivered to my door. Your mileage may vary....  

Where at all possible, analyze the savings potential in buying in bulk, especially with shelf lives that are very, very long.  While this is discussed for food, it's seldom discussed for other items, except in perhaps, 'The Alpha Strategy'. 

Other stuff that I'm buying and stocking (mostly) due to price increases and (partly) due to increasing time to obtain locally: 

Tractor parts: spark plugs, belts, oil, grease, filters, tune up kits, switches, etc. (My tractor is ancient, and therefore predictable in terms of maintenance and parts that will wear out).

Power equipment parts: (all of the above) plus spare blades, tines, etc. 

Vehicle stuff: Serpentine belts, fluids, spare lamps, spare filters. Sometimes, where you're running the same types of oil filters across a series of vehicles or similar engines, you can save significant money purchasing in bulk.  Where you have similar or identical vehicles, it makes sense to lay in some other spares that might not be easy or cheap to obtain new, even if the parts are used (spare headlight assemblies, spare alternator, etc. I buy stuff like this at a pull-it-yourself wrecking yard for cents on the hundred dollar new cost.). Parts like this are usually returnable if they are defective.....

Household stuff: Light bulbs, spare locks, caulking, all kinds of cleansers. 

Shop stuff: Nuts, bolts, washers, deck and drywall screws, sheet goods (plywood, OSB), lumber, chain, fencing repair materials, barbed wire, electrical wiring and supplies. 

Yard stuff: pesticides, if you use them, have **really** increased with the oil increases.  I use them sparingly, and haven't bought them in years. I have however, picked them up at the local Waste Management site where they are turned in as household hazardous waste, and put out for recycling to the public. Free. (I've also managed to get about ten gallons of Coleman fuel this way, and enough stain to coat my barn and outbuildings three times....again, free). 

Obviously, this applies differently to everyone.  Not everyone needs to stock up on all this stuff, or is able to complete the kinds of repairs that I take on (sometimes when I shouldn't). Food for thought though....

4) Commodities markets: Highly manipulated, and as we saw last week, the uninformed can get clobbered in getting into the market way too late, especially if they're buying on margin. Most of those who were thrashed last week were late-coming margin-operators, and paid for it with everything and then some.  If you're going to buy silver or gold, do not do so before you've researched it thoroughly, and do not do so until you're squared away in other areas. There are many good sources out there to assist you in research, unfortunately I'm not one of them.  

Some basics that I was taught as a young man: 
•Debt is always bad, and can be forever bad as well ('forever' meaning you may never get it paid off). 
•Cash is what you carry. 
•Savings are what you live on should everything else collapse, including your job or career.  •Investments are things you can afford to lose. 

Other things that I've learned, sometimes the hard way: 
•Successful investments are converted to savings on a regular basis. (take your profits and put  them into savings).  
•Never chase a poorly performing investment and expect it to do anything but lose more money. (time your exits properly and cut your losses) 
•A 'broker' makes money on both sides of the transaction involving your money. (so be your own broker)
•No one has any business investing in anything until they understand what they are investing in in every aspect, having done their own research and not depending on another to lead them to it. (This takes time. It's your time, it's your money.  Will someone you're paying have a greater commitment to you than you? No, they won't, ever.) 


What's next?  I like a cliffhanger as much as the next guy....Should have a new chapter up later this week, life allowing. 

Take care, gang.  Off to bed now! 

Tom S. 
1 Th. 4 11:12


  1. Thank you Tom. Good, sound advice! Be safe and be well. We will all be here when you have time for another chapter.

  2. Any ETA on the Distance release Kindle vs Hardcopy? Don't make me buy one of those newfangled e-reader things, I love my paper.

  3. As always lots of great info. Hopefully more and more people will be become aware.


Comments are welcome!