The news is depressing. The US Dollar is slumping. Canada’s dollar is of equal value. I hear that according to the Big Mac Index that a burger would cost over $7 in some European countries. Perhaps all of my future travels will be to developing nations where the dollar still has a relatively high value. Or we could switch to LEGO® bricks for currency. Here are my reasons.
- Then our currency could never be “worthless” – if nothing else we could play with it when we can no longer buy things with the money. I suppose some people are already doing this with penny stacking.
- Some of our money is made out of metal. That may have been fine during the iron age but today’s economies revolve around petroleum products. Let our currency show that!
- Every child would instinctively be raised only knowing how to save (even horde) money. How many times have you seen a penny on the street? How full is that “need a penny” tray? If those were even 1×1 LEGO® bricks they would have been picked up before you ever saw them. Nobody gives them away unless they are doing it for a gift. And if they didn’t give you Lego then they would have given you money — see? Cash is a secondary gift to LEGO® kits.
- If you ever stepped on a LEGO® piece you know that you’d never just leave it lying around. You would always keep it stored in a safe place where you are not going to step on one with your heel while barefoot.
- It wouldn’t be prone to slipping out of your pocket and in between the couch cushions. Those characteristic bumps would make that almost impossible.
- I have more LEGO® pieces than i have money. I bet quite a few people are like that. If my net worth were measured in LEGO® pieces then i would owe nobody and would have a significant stash in the spare bedroom closet.
- Counterfeits would be easy to spot. “Hey, wait — this is a Megablock! What are you trying to pull here?”
In our quest toward financial freedom we’re doing a number of practical exercises to reducing expenses. But in brainstorming ways to save money we’ve also thought of some methods we’ll be skipping. Here’s my list of ridiculously frugal ways to save money.
- Dumpster dive. For food. There are quite a few people that do this because we know that perfectly good food is thrown away. And i’m not above pulling perfectly good things out of the trash. But there’s something that makes me a little squeamish about eating meat, vegetables or baked goods from the trash. Potential savings – hundreds to over a thousand.
- Cancel all your unnecessary bills. All of them. No internet or Netflix (use the library). No cable or satellite TV. No cell phone or land line. Just get down to electricity and water bills. If you have things in storage sell them all – you are not using them if they are in storage. Cancel the gym membership (if you can without penalty) or sell it to someone else. If mass transit is available or you can walk or ride your bike, cancel your insurance and park your car. Do all this and your potential annual savings will easily be thousands of dollars.
- Get all of your toiletries from free sources. Prowl the freebies websites for sample products. Gather all the soap, shampoo, and other stuff from hotels during work trips (or friend’s work trips). Many hotels offer complimentary toothbrushes, toothpaste, razors, and the like for travelers that “forgot” theirs. Perhaps watch the front desk for a shift change and ask again. You could save up to a hundred dollars by being this cheap.
- Eat rice and a multivitamin when #1 fails you. Don’t complain. There are starving people in Sudan that wish they could have that multi-vitamin. If you can pull this off you’ll save thousands a year.
- Go to the bathroom at work or in public restrooms. Then you don’t have to pay for the water, sewer (sewer fees tend to be tied to water consumption because there is no such thing as a sewer meter) or toilet paper. If you must, pee in the tub and just give a quick shot of water from the shower to rinse it down. A toilet flush uses 1-5 gallons depending on how old your toilet is. A 2.5 GPM shower head run for 10 seconds uses less than a half gallon. If your body can manage this then you might save over a hundred dollars depending on your taste in toilet paper.
- Shower as infrequently as possible. Even just dropping to every other day will halve your bathing water consumption. Your hot water heater will not need to make as much hot water (hopefully you have an on-demand unit for the maximum savings). When you do shower, adjust the water flow so that it isn’t using the full flow of water. These might save a hundred dollars or more annually.
- Just drink water. You don’t need anything else. Coffee and colas are not good for you anyway. If you go to one of those trendy coffee shops for a drink twice a day you’re spending more than $2,000 fueling your addiction. People that smoke a pack a day are spending about that much. You could save as little as a few hundred dollars annually to tens of thousands of dollars on future dental bills for cleanings and cavities.
- Unplug appliances that are not used. Definitely unplug any wall warts (the black boxes that make it difficult to plug anything next to them on a power strip). Also unplug anything with a LED on it, or a clock (microwave, VCR, etc.), and any computer equipment or televisions. These draw electricity even when turned “off.” For convenience you can plug a set of equipment into a power strip and then just unplug it. Wait, if you cancel your internet service and shut off your TV provider then you shouldn’t need this stuff often anyway. Just unplug it all until you come home from the library with a foreign film that isn’t available as a book. If you’re doing the rice, vitamins, and water meal then you can unplug your refrigerator too. Easily hundreds of dollars in savings available here.
my travel, thoughts, projects…