Thursday, April 30, 2009

What I've been up to

First of all I'm sorry that I've been neglecting the blog. I really haven't been following the blogosphere as of late. There's plenty of doom and gloom in the news so keeping up with the blogs is kind of paranoia overload for me. Unfortunately, this has resulted in less posts here. My preps are in order so I haven't been thinking about it much. Just the other day I got my very first amazon gift card, though, so I felt obliged to do an update. $12 for over a year and a half worth of posts! woohoo! Now where to spend it?

I've been following the swine flu stuff pretty closely. At first glance it seems to be ridiculously overblown to me. Seven people die of influenza every hour in the US alone even when there isn't a pandemic alert. All of the hubub about this new strain just seems silly in comparison. People are getting sick but it doesn't seem to be serious. They're getting over it fairly quickly. Biden's comments today do worry me, though. He's privy to information that none of us will ever have access to. Maybe he knows something that we don't. Then again, maybe he's just paranoid. Tamiflu and Rolenza seem to be working so that's heartening.

Ammo supplies are as tight as ever. Just the other day I got an email about a supplier that's getting a shipment in. They'll be selling Wolf 7.62x39 at the low low price of $350 a case! I'm glad I got mine when I did. Hell, at those prices I'm tempted to sell most of what I have.....almost....OK not really. Meanwhile, Obama keeps on talking about how he has no intention of reinsituting the assault weapons ban. I'm sure that he's just biding his time waiting for the right opportunity. I think he knows that a ban wouldn't go over well right about now. The voters seem to be voting with their wallets. Despite the bad economy everyone is still buying up every round of ammo that they can get their hands on and "assault weapons" are hard to find in stock. It's pretty obvious that a ban wouldn't go over well with the majority of Americans.

The stock market is still pretty volatile. Just for fun I did some research and put together a $1000 pretend portfolio on Google finance a couple of weeks ago. If I had used real money I'd be up about $350 right now. With results like that I'm very tempted to start trading for real. I still have some stock. I sold most of it before the crash but what I have left is still treating me well with good dividends and stable value so I've left it alone.

A few months ago I was listening to Bill O'Rielly. He gave some really good advice that I decided to take to heart. Have a garage sale! I've been emptying out the closet and selling a lot of stuff on craigslist and ebay. I've been making a pretty good chunk of change doing it, too. I wouldn't have a real garage sale because, to be honest, you won't get crap for your stuff. Craigslist can be a bit of a pain. You've got to deal with a lot of scammers and lowballers. If you want to sell stuff on craigslist describe your item as accurately as possible and take pictures. Learn about the scams that people try to pull (most of them are pretty obvious). Do the negotiating before you meet the person. If someone wants to dick you around just walk away. Have a price in mind and don't sell it for less than that. You can always ask for more than you expect to get and then negotiate the price when someone shows interest. Maybe you'll get lucky and get your asking price. It happens to me all the time.

Ebay is a whole different animal. What doesn't sell on craigslist I put on ebay. You just have to be careful with ebay. You can rack up fees quickly. It's also a little easier to get scammed on ebay as a seller. Ebay really favors the buyer. Despite those problems it's usually faster than craigslist, you don't have to worry about meeting people, you'll reach a lot more potential customers and most people on ebay are honest. To be honest the fact that you practically have to use paypal annoys me more than anything. Unless you get some kind of special paypal account (that costs more) you can only receive $500 a month. That's annoying when you've got a lot of stuff to sell or you want to sell a big ticket item. Another option is to try selling things on websites that are specific to the item that you're trying to sell. I haven't had any luck with that route but if you could do it then you'd avoid a lot of fees.

I've been cutting corners in other places, too. I'm always looking for ways to save a buck. Food prices seem to be coming down which is a good thing. Produce is cheaper. Meat is cheaper. Milk is cheaper. Gas is still around $2 a gallon. Just shop sales and learn where to buy what and you can really save a lot at the grocery store. Being a beer lover I heard about a distributor that opens it's warehouse to the public for a couple of hours on Saturdays. They sell damaged and about to expire beer really cheap. That's saved me a lot on the monthly beer bill. I've been swimming in Newcastle and Sam Adams for a couple of months now. Show me another place where you can get 2 cases of the good stuff for $15.

I plan on using my whopping $12 to buy something that I can do a review on. I've been wanting to read The Five Thousand Year Leap and Atlas Shrugged for a while now. If anyone else has any suggestions I'll be more than happy to look at them. I'll just sit on it for a couple more days before I use it.


Andrew said...

Good update.

I'd say get those books from the library and use the $12 for a book that isn't available there.

Anonymous said...

If I had used real money I'd be up about $350 right now.Don't do it, brother. This uptick is entirely ephemeral. You'll only get burned.


The Urban Survivalist said...

I'm not planning to. At this point I'm waiting for the next big drop. Then I'll probably buy in.

Anonymous said...

Yep, we're taking his advice this weekend and having a massive garage sale. We're totally clearing out a ton of our stuff. Another great way to save money on your groceries is through coupons. It takes a little time and diligence but here's some tips on saving MAJOR money on your food.