Author Topic: Frugality and freedom the wrong way?  (Read 30481 times)

Hamster

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Frugality and freedom the wrong way?
« on: March 01, 2013, 10:42:39 AM »
I am posting this not to mock someone, but because I think you can learn a lot from talking to people. Some good, some bad.

I was driving home from skiing and picked up a snowboarder who was hitching back to town. He was in his 20's, hoping to complete a program as a Physical Therapy Assistant as a very part-time student while working 20 hours per week at a movie theater.

I asked him how he covered the cost of boarding and supporting himself while working so little. I didn't grill him as much as it may sound. It was a 1 1/2 hour ride and he chatted pretty freely. Some of the things seem a bit unbelievable to me, but here is the gist:

Food: He said that since he is a student, he has to work 20 hours per week to qualify for food stamps. He was pretty annoyed about this requirement. He said that if he wasn't a student, he wouldn't have to work and he could still get his food stamps. Tonight he was going to cook rice, beans, and chicken. That was his "just paid rent" meal.

He spent ~$800 on his season lift ticket. He didn't have the money avaiable for the preseason discount, but eventually scraped it together.

Clothing: He says that Gore Tex (the material manufacturer not the clothing brands) offers a lifetime warranty on the waterproofing of ANY gore tex product. He says he buys used Gore Tex clothes that look worn out (but not torn) at thrift stores, then sends them back to Gore Tex to warranty them (they test the waterproofing first). For a few dollars, he got a brand new $600 retail Patagonia jacket this way, and some hiking boots worth several hundred dollars. He says all the ski/board bums know this "That's why you see unemployed boarders with the best gear on the mountain".

Boards: "Just hang around enough, and you find deals". "There was a photographer for GNU out here last week, and I bought his board off him for $100 when he left. I sold my old one and pocketed the difference. It's harder to get deals on bindings. That's why my buckles are duct-taped."

Health insurance: "I don't need it. I wear a helmet and know CPR. I'm mountain resuce certified, and white water rescue certified". I asked if his school provides health insurance since he's a student. He said "They don't give me anything". I asked him what good CPR will do if he breaks his neck or has appendicitis. He said he can't worry about that. One of my favorite qyotes: "I don't really get hurt bad because when I get too "aggro", I just smoke up. It keeps my turns calm and smooth.

Savings: None. "How can I save on 20 hours a week, and if I save too much I can't get my food stamps. The most I ever save is enough to pay for my season pass. Sometimes I work in Alaska in the summers. I get enough to pay first/last month rent, deposit, and my season pass. It doesnt' last."

Transportation: bus for now. He gave up his car (too many break downs), and moved to town so he can take the city bus to community college. To get to the mountain, he mostly hitches, or occasionally takes the $10 ski bus. He has a motorcycle but rarely rides becuase he doesn't want to pay gas and maintenance. He used to bike, but thinks drivers are too dangerous.

Why don't you work more hours? You could more than make up the difference for a few hundred in food stamps per month. "I'm a student".
But you skipped class today to go boarding 3 days in a row? "Just one class".
How much does a PTA get paid? "I don't know. More than I get paid now."

Entertainment: free movies at the theater where he works. Boarding. His friends share their pot with him, so he rarely needs to buy any himself. He got a 12 month pass to a small local gym for $120 on Black Friday (!!!)

Part of me envies his ability to just do what he wants and not worry too much since things will work themselves out, and part of me wants to facepunch him and tell him that he's living off of other's charity--food stamps, hitchhiking, smoking his friends' pot, scamming Gore Tex (in my mind) for free gear - when he actually has plenty of skills to earn better money while doing things he enjoys--white water kayak guide, snowboarding instructor, etc etc. Or just buckle down, finish his program by taking more classes, and then get his PTA job so he's not scraping by so narrowly.

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Re: Frugality and freedom the wrong way?
« Reply #1 on: March 01, 2013, 10:47:39 AM »
Sounds like the homeless I work with. They have scrapbooks of all the wonderful places they have traveled to. I dream of seeing those places.

Jimbo

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Re: Frugality and freedom the wrong way?
« Reply #2 on: March 01, 2013, 11:21:44 AM »
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Ant_and_the_Grasshopper

Of course the grasshopper has fun! That is the whole point...

tooqk4u22

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Re: Frugality and freedom the wrong way?
« Reply #3 on: March 01, 2013, 11:30:58 AM »
Sounds like a similar experience with people that I have encountered in Gunnison CO.

GuitarStv

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Re: Frugality and freedom the wrong way?
« Reply #4 on: March 01, 2013, 12:19:40 PM »
How is the Goretex thing a scam?  He's making use of a replacement program that the company offers that others couldn't be bothered to do.  Sounds like a very mustachian thing to do.  Actually (aside from the food stamp thing . . . which seems a little dishonest) he's living a pretty mustachian life . . . reduced consumption, chasing his dreams rather than joining the rat race.

dragoncar

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Re: Frugality and freedom the wrong way?
« Reply #5 on: March 01, 2013, 12:56:16 PM »
How is the Goretex thing a scam?  He's making use of a replacement program that the company offers that others couldn't be bothered to do.  Sounds like a very mustachian thing to do.  Actually (aside from the food stamp thing . . . which seems a little dishonest) he's living a pretty mustachian life . . . reduced consumption, chasing his dreams rather than joining the rat race.

I agree but... I have never seen a gore tex product at thrift store.  Maybe this is location dependent.

RoseRelish

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Re: Frugality and freedom the wrong way?
« Reply #6 on: March 01, 2013, 02:22:47 PM »
Agreed. He knows how to get what he wants for minimal effort. The food stamp thing is the only place I'd say he's free-loading. It would be fun to have so much free time and so few worries.

the fixer

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Re: Frugality and freedom the wrong way?
« Reply #7 on: March 01, 2013, 02:50:23 PM »
Sounds like a pretty nice life to me, as long as nothing bad happens to him (but them MMM would argue that you can't live life constantly trying to mitigate unlikely disasters). I just shared the Gore Tex trick with a coworker of mine who also skis, I'll have to keep that one in mind.

It's pretty mind-blowing when I try to think about it, but I could probably live his life with some part time work and the investments I already have, and could skip the food stamps. Plus I ski, and ski bindings seem more durable than snowboard bindings to me.

KulshanGirl

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Re: Frugality and freedom the wrong way?
« Reply #8 on: March 01, 2013, 03:44:25 PM »
I don't have anything to add, just giving a nod to Hamster.  :)

The gore tex thing is interesting.

AccidentalMiser

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Re: Frugality and freedom the wrong way?
« Reply #9 on: March 01, 2013, 04:01:09 PM »
I'd like to try this but my Mrs. and five children who depend on me for support would probably take a dim view of it!!

The food stamp thing kind of pisses me off! 

frugalcalan

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Re: Frugality and freedom the wrong way?
« Reply #10 on: March 01, 2013, 04:03:17 PM »
Yes, this goretex thing seems interesting.  How does one identify a goretex product?  Is there a label?

skyrefuge

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Re: Frugality and freedom the wrong way?
« Reply #11 on: March 01, 2013, 08:00:47 PM »
Yes, this goretex thing seems interesting.  How does one identify a goretex product?  Is there a label?

Yup:
Quote from: Gore-Tex
If you are not completely satisfied with the waterproofness, windproofness, or breathability of your GORE-TEX® product, then we will repair it, replace it, or refund your purchase price. No matter which of our trusted customers makes the product, if it has the GORE-TEX® label on it, we have certified that it is durably waterproof, windproof and breathable for its intended use.

I'm now a little curious how the finances of the deal work on the inside. My guess is that Gore-Tex charges their customers a significant margin to use their fabrics (+labels!) in their products, and then when Gore-Tex gets a return from a customer, they use that money they've banked to "buy" a new item from one of their manufacturers and send it to the customer. Gore-Tex stuff in general is crazy-expensive, and surely this guarantee is part of the reason why.

I bought some Gore Windstopper fabric from an outdoor fabric store in Portland, and I got the impression that much of what they sold was some grey-market kind of stuff, where they couldn't legally say where they had acquired it from. So some weird things going on in the high-end outdoor fabric industry.

Regardless of the the morality, it seems a bit unMustachian just from a conservation-of-resources perspective.

With guys like this, I always think "it sounds pretty awesome now, but how are you going to pull it off for the last 30 years of your life?"

the fixer

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Re: Frugality and freedom the wrong way?
« Reply #12 on: March 01, 2013, 08:12:42 PM »
GoreTex doesn't sell fabrics/membranes to the garment manufacturers; they form a partnership to jointly design the product and I think manage the manufacturing process. It's kinda like what car companies sometimes do to work together to produce a vehicle (Pontiac Vibe/Toyota Matrix for example), only more one-sided. It's GoreTex's way or the highway if the manufacturer wants to put the GoreTex label on something.

This is why the garments are really expensive, but it's also why the GoreTex label has significant value; the buyer is assured of a high level of quality.

Nords

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Re: Frugality and freedom the wrong way?
« Reply #13 on: March 01, 2013, 09:14:19 PM »
I am posting this not to mock someone, but because I think you can learn a lot from talking to people. Some good, some bad.
I was driving home from skiing and picked up a snowboarder who was hitching back to town. He was in his 20's, hoping to complete a program as a Physical Therapy Assistant as a very part-time student while working 20 hours per week at a movie theater.
Sounds like a typical 20-something surfer, too.  "Surf to live, the rest is details."

I wonder how his love life is.  That lust longing for companionship typically causes a rapid behavioral change.

.22guy

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Re: Frugality and freedom the wrong way?
« Reply #14 on: March 01, 2013, 09:15:31 PM »
People still pick up hitchhikers?  I wouldn't do that in a million years.

Hamster

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Re: Frugality and freedom the wrong way?
« Reply #15 on: March 01, 2013, 10:26:24 PM »
People still pick up hitchhikers?  I wouldn't do that in a million years.
Skiing is about the only time I do it. College-age kids carrying a board or skis are pretty low risk I think... I've never seen anyone who isn't just trying to save money on getting to the mountain. And, they usually keep the trip entertaining.

As for the Gore Tex thing... Doesn't it feel a bit exploitative to get a new product by buying someone else's used stuff? If I'm the only one who thinks it seems wrong, maybe I'm the crazy one and I should loosen up and join in?

It reminds me of when Costco used to allow full returns on electronics. People would buy a computer, return it 3 years later for a full refund, then buy a better new one for less money and keep the difference. Costco has since changed their return policy... Or the guy I saw return his REI jacket that was at least 5 years old and had burn holes all over it... That's his own damn fault in my book. I can't feel comfortable with either of those. Makes me worry they'll ruin it for us all.

mustachecat

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Re: Frugality and freedom the wrong way?
« Reply #16 on: March 02, 2013, 06:09:49 AM »
I'm another person whose main takeaway from this that I need to look at GoreTex the next time I need winter wear!

Hamster, I would personally never return something that I had trashed (e.g., burn holes!) to a company to take advantage of a generous guarantee. But I absolutely never worry about a company being exploited. As you mentioned, when people were abusing the Costco return policy, they amended it, and now you have to return electronics within 90 days. No big deal for me.

I think incidences of abuse stick out in all of our minds because they're so stupid/blatant/shocking/etc., but the truth is, the vast majority of people are reasonable. And from your anecdote, it seems like a fair portion of people are also willing to forgo the benefit of the guarantee altogether; would you consider that an unfair benefit to GoreTex?

swiper

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Re: Frugality and freedom the wrong way?
« Reply #17 on: March 02, 2013, 06:51:44 AM »
And from your anecdote, it seems like a fair portion of people are also willing to forgo the benefit of the guarantee altogether; would you consider that an unfair benefit to GoreTex?

I'm one of these. Very rarely do I use/care about guarantee/warranty program. I wish new products would separate out the guarantee/warranty program from the cost of the product itself. However, i think it is in the sellers/manufactures interest to obfuscate the price by attaching these relative intangibles.

Let the ski bums correct the imbalance!





maryofdoom

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Re: Frugality and freedom the wrong way?
« Reply #18 on: March 02, 2013, 07:43:06 AM »
I know a guy who is similar to the guy you met. He's my friend's boyfriend, whom I will call John for anonymizing Internet purposes. (He's actually the person who introduced me to my husband!)

I met my friend in grad school when we were both attending the same somewhat intensive program. Every night and weekend, we'd have tons of homework to do and tons of things to read. But J played saxophone in a couple of bands and spent his days smoking pot, riding his bike, and working on random weird DIY projects. We could never decide if he was the smartest guy in the world (for designing his lifestyle in such a way to allow him to do exactly what he wanted) or the dumbest guy in the world.

(As a reseller of books found in thrift stores, I have no problem with the GoreTex thing. That is a good idea.)

TwoWheels

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Re: Frugality and freedom the wrong way?
« Reply #19 on: March 05, 2013, 05:34:31 PM »
Savings: None. "How can I save on 20 hours a week, and if I save too much I can't get my food stamps."

What a perfect example of how public welfare can enable the very problems it attempts to combat. It's so tempting to keep receiving benefits when you're far removed from the people who are actually paying for them and there is no external incentive to stop.

Jill the Pill

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Re: Frugality and freedom the wrong way?
« Reply #20 on: March 05, 2013, 06:48:07 PM »
Quote
Of course the grasshopper has fun! That is the whole point...
Hey!  I think about that fable all the time when reading this site.  When we tell the story around here, the ant always relents and takes in the grasshopper, and the Little Red Hen shares her bread.  :)

paddedhat

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Re: Frugality and freedom the wrong way?
« Reply #21 on: March 06, 2013, 03:39:21 PM »
I am posting this not to mock someone, but because I think you can learn a lot from talking to people. Some good, some bad.
I was driving home from skiing and picked up a snowboarder who was hitching back to town. He was in his 20's, hoping to complete a program as a Physical Therapy Assistant as a very part-time student while working 20 hours per week at a movie theater.
Sounds like a typical 20-something surfer, too.  "Surf to live, the rest is details."

I wonder how his love life is. that lust longing for companionship typically causes a rapid behavioral change.
I will alway have a deep chuckle with this logic.

 My kid was in his second year at a state university, enjoying the living shit out of the scene. He found the easiest major they offered, (hospitality management) and spent his days chillin' out, smoking the bud, and hanging with the dudes. He calls me at the start of his second semester and announces that he is totally failing, has a GPA in the two-ish range and doesn't know what to do?
  I break the not so good news....... "Well junior, it sucks to be you, the gravy train is over, you are not a trust-funder, and your parents won't be funding your new career as a stoner".  What we didn't know is that, at the same time, his sweet little pre-law student girlfriend, with the 4.0 and the dead serious attitude, gave him the same speech. She told him to lose the "Dudes", quite the dope smoking, get serious about being a student, or she was history.  Three years later he is finishing his internship for his engineering degree with a 3.7 GPA.  Funny how that works?

secondcor521

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Re: Frugality and freedom the wrong way?
« Reply #22 on: March 06, 2013, 07:25:07 PM »
What we didn't know is that, at the same time, his sweet little pre-law student girlfriend, with the 4.0 and the dead serious attitude, gave him the same speech. She told him to lose the "Dudes", quite the dope smoking, get serious about being a student, or she was history.  Three years later he is finishing his internship for his engineering degree with a 3.7 GPA.  Funny how that works?

Did he manage to keep the girl?

2Cor521

Nords

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Re: Frugality and freedom the wrong way?
« Reply #23 on: March 06, 2013, 09:38:51 PM »
Funny how that works?
Gosh, I'm sure glad I was never like that!

SwordGuy

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Re: Frugality and freedom the wrong way?
« Reply #24 on: March 06, 2013, 10:05:07 PM »
I am posting this not to mock someone, but because I think you can learn a lot from talking to people. Some good, some bad.
I was driving home from skiing and picked up a snowboarder who was hitching back to town. He was in his 20's, hoping to complete a program as a Physical Therapy Assistant as a very part-time student while working 20 hours per week at a movie theater.
Sounds like a typical 20-something surfer, too.  "Surf to live, the rest is details."

I wonder how his love life is. that lust longing for companionship typically causes a rapid behavioral change.
I will alway have a deep chuckle with this logic.

 My kid was in his second year at a state university, enjoying the living shit out of the scene. He found the easiest major they offered, (hospitality management) and spent his days chillin' out, smoking the bud, and hanging with the dudes. He calls me at the start of his second semester and announces that he is totally failing, has a GPA in the two-ish range and doesn't know what to do?
  I break the not so good news....... "Well junior, it sucks to be you, the gravy train is over, you are not a trust-funder, and your parents won't be funding your new career as a stoner".  What we didn't know is that, at the same time, his sweet little pre-law student girlfriend, with the 4.0 and the dead serious attitude, gave him the same speech. She told him to lose the "Dudes", quite the dope smoking, get serious about being a student, or she was history.  Three years later he is finishing his internship for his engineering degree with a 3.7 GPA.  Funny how that works?

Good for her!

I wish my grand daughter, who was supposed to start college last fall and instead moved to a trailer park to live with her new boyfriend, had a boyfriend like that.   I don't expect to be that lucky, she has a real attraction to losers.   At the moment, I'll be happy if she doesn't need to make a "I'm in jail, knocked up or beaten up" phone call.

paddedhat

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Re: Frugality and freedom the wrong way?
« Reply #25 on: March 07, 2013, 05:36:11 PM »
What we didn't know is that, at the same time, his sweet little pre-law student girlfriend, with the 4.0 and the dead serious attitude, gave him the same speech. She told him to lose the "Dudes", quite the dope smoking, get serious about being a student, or she was history.  Three years later he is finishing his internship for his engineering degree with a 3.7 GPA.  Funny how that works?

Did he manage to keep the girl?   

2Cor521
   Why yes he did. AND.......yesterday,  he was offered a job as the safety engineer for an oil field service outfit.  Fully bennies, new truck and a nice salary to start.  I'm not sure who is more thrilled? He earned it, and desperately wants to be fully independent. On the other hand, his mom and I will really appreciate lightening the load on our wallet. Sweet.

secondcor521

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Re: Frugality and freedom the wrong way?
« Reply #26 on: March 07, 2013, 06:10:53 PM »
What we didn't know is that, at the same time, his sweet little pre-law student girlfriend, with the 4.0 and the dead serious attitude, gave him the same speech. She told him to lose the "Dudes", quite the dope smoking, get serious about being a student, or she was history.  Three years later he is finishing his internship for his engineering degree with a 3.7 GPA.  Funny how that works?

Did he manage to keep the girl?   

2Cor521
   Why yes he did. AND.......yesterday,  he was offered a job as the safety engineer for an oil field service outfit.  Fully bennies, new truck and a nice salary to start.  I'm not sure who is more thrilled? He earned it, and desperately wants to be fully independent. On the other hand, his mom and I will really appreciate lightening the load on our wallet. Sweet.

Congratulations to the four of you!!

2Cor521

Bearblastbeats

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Re: Frugality and freedom the wrong way?
« Reply #27 on: March 08, 2013, 07:43:36 AM »
Part of me feels the same about the facepunch aspect. Mainly for the government assistance. I always worked for my money and never received any charity from the government. I did take advantage though of the Obama's HOPE credit for going to college and being able to collect $1000 for each year spent. Other than that, I never collected welfare or food stamps because I've worked every year since I was 15, and made to much money to even bother. My roommate on the other hand collects unemployment and spends it all on booze and doesn't bother to get a job, but complains when they cut his return in half... And then talks crap about lazy people without jobs who collect government assistance and welfare... like, wtf?

Back to my point.. I too have an expensive hobby of being a musician, I am a drummer and sometimes stuff breaks. I have this deal with my local shop where, When I break a cymbal (has to be Zildjian) they write up a slip and send the cymbal back, I pay the $14 dollar shipping and get a brand new ($300) cymbal. I do this about once a year and can't remember the last time I paid full price for any gear.

Also, my band gets a free place to practice instead of paying rent to practice at a storage room simply because we play in my living room. (which is also rent free).

EMP

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Re: Frugality and freedom the wrong way?
« Reply #28 on: March 08, 2013, 06:52:17 PM »
Back to my point.. I too have an expensive hobby of being a musician, I am a drummer and sometimes stuff breaks. I have this deal with my local shop where, When I break a cymbal (has to be Zildjian) they write up a slip and send the cymbal back, I pay the $14 dollar shipping and get a brand new ($300) cymbal. I do this about once a year and can't remember the last time I paid full price for any gear.

How does that work?  I've bought two full sets of cymbals, plus some extras over the last year.  All used, but still.

Nords

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Re: Frugality and freedom the wrong way?
« Reply #29 on: March 08, 2013, 10:57:54 PM »
Part of me feels the same about the facepunch aspect. Mainly for the government assistance. I always worked for my money and never received any charity from the government.
Whenever a safety net kicks in for a fellow citizen, it makes life that much safer for you.  The government assistance may not be going directly to you, but your tax dollars are still reducing the need for you to live in a fortress with personal security and high-caliber defensive firepower.

It ain't cheap, and it's not very cost effective, but it's better than having to fend for your own safety.

paddedhat

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Re: Frugality and freedom the wrong way?
« Reply #30 on: March 10, 2013, 06:46:34 AM »
Part of me feels the same about the facepunch aspect. Mainly for the government assistance. I always worked for my money and never received any charity from the government.
Whenever a safety net kicks in for a fellow citizen, it makes life that much safer for you.  The government assistance may not be going directly to you, but your tax dollars are still reducing the need for you to live in a fortress with personal security and high-caliber defensive firepower.

It ain't cheap, and it's not very cost effective, but it's better than having to fend for your own safety.

At some point, here in the USA, the far right will prevail and the delusional concept of, "Everybody can, and will, pull themselves up by their own bootstraps and suceed. If you fail, you have nobody to blame but the person in the mirror, and you deserve your lot in life", will be how we treat our fellow citizens. We do this to a much greater extent that other first world nations at this point, and the trend will only continue. You are gifted with the knowledge and experience to see the end game in the self centered delusion that so many believe. I was lucky enough to work with an NGO that had folks in dozens of countries around the world. It's hard to imagine how dangerous and stressful it is to raise a family, as an Ex-pat, in places like Jamaica or South Africa when your family lives behind bars at home, cannot even go to the local store without protection, and you need to be on high alert 24/7 just to keep everybody alive and well.  If we continue to continue to slash and burn our way through every budget from basic education to health care for the poor, we will end up in a pretty ugly place.

Jamesqf

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Re: Frugality and freedom the wrong way?
« Reply #31 on: March 10, 2013, 01:01:58 PM »
Whenever a safety net kicks in for a fellow citizen, it makes life that much safer for you. 

But is it justifiable to call it a "safety net" when it's a way of life for millions?


unplugged

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Re: Frugality and freedom the wrong way?
« Reply #32 on: March 10, 2013, 02:02:50 PM »
Doesn't everyone want a safety net? I certainly do! I give money, more than I can even afford at times, to help others. I really enjoy that. It's much more fulfilling than a day at the mall and everyone wins. The problem I'm seeing in the last few years is that some former "workers", if you will, got upset and frustrated and threw in the towel. They now are taking advantage of the system. I can tell it took them a while to figure out the game. They weren't quite sure how government benefits worked. I did not take them long to learn the ropes. All it took was one lay off and they took the chance and ran with it. These are people who are blessed and quite capable of working. Their plan is to bleed the system out quicker. They even encourage others to do this. I have seen situations where inheritances had to be finagled so that these former workers could continue to bleed the system. Sadly outsiders will praise these "newly disadvantaged" as "making do with less"....... There are thousands of new people who are applying for disability that worked fine until they got laid off.

It's the abuse that's the problem, not the needy. This newly "needy" likely won't be storming any castles. They barely figured out how to abuse the system.
« Last Edit: March 10, 2013, 02:04:31 PM by unplugged »

William

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Re: Frugality and freedom the wrong way?
« Reply #33 on: March 10, 2013, 02:18:09 PM »
Yes, that is "frugality and free the wrong way".  Living off food stamps is not freedom and bumming off your friends is not being frugal.  You should have kicked his butt to the curb.

paddedhat

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Re: Frugality and freedom the wrong way?
« Reply #34 on: March 10, 2013, 02:22:30 PM »
Whenever a safety net kicks in for a fellow citizen, it makes life that much safer for you. 

But is it justifiable to call it a "safety net" when it's a way of life for millions?
Have you really dug deep and separated the bullshit falling out of the mouths of idiots like Hannity and O'reilly, from the real numbers?  A local paper just did a piece on this. The majority of the most recent applicants for aide that we generally think of as "welfare" are older widows. They were cared for by their husbands, husband dies first, pension is gone, and SS drops like a rock. The county agency reported that many of their new clients are unable to survive in this situation once they try to cover their basic needs, and frequently it takes a lot of coaching from thier churches and others until they will even agree to ask for help. Basically it's little old ladies who are freezing and starving, and too damn proud to accept a handout.  It's real easy to picture those using aide as "baby's momma tooling around in the Escalade" but reality is a lot different. I live in what was, until recently, a thriving middle class area. Our school system counted 150 homeless families last year, and the food banks are doing several times the business they were before the collapse. Sorry, but I would rather see my neighbor get a handout then see our government piss away a few hundred billion more on F35 fighters, welfare to corporate farms, military aide to dozens of other countries, etc........

Nords

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Re: Frugality and freedom the wrong way?
« Reply #35 on: March 10, 2013, 03:23:29 PM »
But is it justifiable to call it a "safety net" when it's a way of life for millions?
I'm skeptical that the same millions are using the safety net as a way of life.  However, if it's cheaper & easier for them to live like that than to be tempted to help themselves to our property and our way of life, then we don't need to care what it's called.

Maybe instead of "safety net" we should refer to them as "early retirees".  Whether or not they're technically "financially independent", their lifestyle seems semantically similar to mine.

I don't watch enough TV or read the appropriate websites to be familiar with the political media.

Jamesqf

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Re: Frugality and freedom the wrong way?
« Reply #36 on: March 10, 2013, 09:51:28 PM »
Have you really dug deep and separated the bullshit falling out of the mouths of idiots like Hannity and O'reilly, from the real numbers?

Sorry, but I have no idea of who those people are, or whether they supply bullshit or truth.  My ideas come from having been there, and keeping my eyes open along the way.

dragoncar

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Re: Frugality and freedom the wrong way?
« Reply #37 on: March 11, 2013, 12:17:16 AM »
Back to my point.. I too have an expensive hobby of being a musician, I am a drummer and sometimes stuff breaks. I have this deal with my local shop where, When I break a cymbal (has to be Zildjian) they write up a slip and send the cymbal back, I pay the $14 dollar shipping and get a brand new ($300) cymbal. I do this about once a year and can't remember the last time I paid full price for any gear.

How does that work?  I've bought two full sets of cymbals, plus some extras over the last year.  All used, but still.

Today I learned you can break a cymbal.  Honestly, those things should have a lifetime guarantee... don't you just hit them with small pieces of wood?

GuitarStv

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Re: Frugality and freedom the wrong way?
« Reply #38 on: March 11, 2013, 06:47:25 AM »
If you're a heavy handed rock or metal drummer, cracking a cymbal is pretty common.  The jazz guys tend to be able to keep theirs for ages though . . .

Bearblastbeats

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Re: Frugality and freedom the wrong way?
« Reply #39 on: March 11, 2013, 07:16:03 AM »
If you're a heavy handed rock or metal drummer, cracking a cymbal is pretty common.  The jazz guys tend to be able to keep theirs for ages though . . .

Yea, I'm a little heavy handed. But I've been playing a little lighter now with my more intricate new band instead of just slamming things.

i use to thrash through cymbals a lot but now I seem to keep em longer since I'm not competing with a marshal full stack on each side of me anymore.

unplugged

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Re: Frugality and freedom the wrong way?
« Reply #40 on: March 11, 2013, 09:12:51 AM »
A gym owner just called into a radio station saying that last July a new rule kicked in where EBT (plus some other benefit?) users get free gym memberships. Somehow they gym get $3.50 each time the person visits.

Hamster

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Re: Frugality and freedom the wrong way?
« Reply #41 on: March 12, 2013, 01:21:47 AM »
I'd kind of forgotten about this until the flurry of new postings. But the Gore Tex returns loophole reminded me of a great episode of This American Life from last year.

It was about a guy who found a loophole in insurance policies allowing investors to take out insurance policies on unrelated people who were likely to die, and then collect the payouts. He basically recruited old dying people and paid them some money to sign on as the insured individuals. Once the insurance companies caught on, they went thermonuclear on him. Until a few twists near the end, I didn't actually find his exploitation of this loophole offensive, as long as everyone understood what part they were playing. In the case of the insurance companies, I saw them as getting a taste of their own fine-print medicine... Click on player to listen to the whole show, or read the transcripts.
http://www.thisamericanlife.org/radio-archives/episode/473/loopholes

Not to beat a dead--albeit waterproof, breathable--horse, but I forgot to mention that the snowboarder said since the jacket he bought at the thrift store was discontinued (and not a particularly expensive one), Gore Tex gave him his choice of current jackets from any clothing brand which is how he got the $600 one. YMMV.

meadow lark

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Re: Frugality and freedom the wrong way?
« Reply #42 on: March 16, 2013, 09:45:37 PM »
I find a pot smokin food stamp collectin ski bum a lot less dangerous to the good of the country than the upper management at quite a few corporations.  This isn't a rant about Monsanto, Enron, Nestlé, BP, etc, but come on!  Besides, that kid will probably end up paying plenty of taxes when he grows up in 10 years.  People love to obsess about the little selfish things people do, but there are big evils in this world, and that kid isn't one of them.

Blindsquirrel

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Re: Frugality and freedom the wrong way?
« Reply #43 on: March 17, 2013, 03:38:12 PM »
   Spot on, Meadow Lark. Dude, has it made for the time being.

Gerard

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Re: Frugality and freedom the wrong way?
« Reply #44 on: March 18, 2013, 12:48:24 PM »
It's hard to imagine how dangerous and stressful it is to raise a family, as an Ex-pat, in places like Jamaica or South Africa when your family lives behind bars at home, cannot even go to the local store without protection, and you need to be on high alert 24/7 just to keep everybody alive and well.  If we continue to continue to slash and burn our way through every budget from basic education to health care for the poor, we will end up in a pretty ugly place.

This is kinda what I mean when I tell Americans that Canadians are starting to perceive America the way Americans perceive Mexico.

Reepekg

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Re: Frugality and freedom the wrong way?
« Reply #45 on: April 12, 2013, 08:38:22 PM »
It's hard to imagine how dangerous and stressful it is to raise a family, as an Ex-pat, in places like Jamaica or South Africa when your family lives behind bars at home, cannot even go to the local store without protection, and you need to be on high alert 24/7 just to keep everybody alive and well.  If we continue to continue to slash and burn our way through every budget from basic education to health care for the poor, we will end up in a pretty ugly place.

This is kinda what I mean when I tell Americans that Canadians are starting to perceive America the way Americans perceive Mexico.
And the way Danes perceive Canada. :-P
Seriously, in Copenhagen you can let your 13 year old wander anywhere in the city at 2 in the morning or leave your baby parked in a stroller outside a cafe while you have a coffee inside without worrying anything bad will happen. Americans are astonished you'd even consider "taking the bus"! Investing in social safety net programs is literally buying yourself a low crime rate, but here in the states we'll never learn because of our love of individual responsibility and blaming people for not working hard enough.

Jamesqf

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Re: Frugality and freedom the wrong way?
« Reply #46 on: April 12, 2013, 09:17:39 PM »
And the way Danes perceive Canada. :-P
Seriously, in Copenhagen you can let your 13 year old wander anywhere in the city at 2 in the morning or leave your baby parked in a stroller outside a cafe while you have a coffee inside without worrying anything bad will happen.

Plenty of places in the US where you could do that - or at least it'd be a coyote or mountain lion that takes the baby, not a human.

Quote
Investing in social safety net programs is literally buying yourself a low crime rate...

Wrong.  Increases in social programs/safety nets have correlated with increasing crime.  Consider for instance Britain, where property crime rates are far higher than in many places in the US.  Most people don't steal (or vandalize property, etc) because they're poor, they steal because a) they can; and b) it lets them feel that they're putting one over on the rest of the world.

Jill the Pill

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Re: Frugality and freedom the wrong way?
« Reply #47 on: April 13, 2013, 07:35:39 PM »
Quote
Increases in social programs/safety nets have correlated with increasing crime.
Care to cite that study?  Also consider the causation might run the other way: that social programs are put in place as a response to increased crime.

Jamesqf

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Re: Frugality and freedom the wrong way?
« Reply #48 on: April 13, 2013, 09:35:45 PM »
What study?  It's called living in the world, and observing what goes on around us.

As for causation, that would work if crime increased before the social programs were instituted.  I doubt you'll find many places where this is the case.

In fact, I'll give you a little exercise for the reader.  Find a graph of spending on social programs over say the last 50 years or so.  Then find a graph of crime rates for the same period.  You'll find that as spending on social programs went up, so did the crime rate.  In the last decade or two, there have been attempts to rein in welfare spending, and the crime rate leveled off.  (This is for the US, you're welcome to substitute others countries, or individual states, etc.)

Jill the Pill

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Re: Frugality and freedom the wrong way?
« Reply #49 on: April 14, 2013, 07:53:26 AM »
Quote
In fact, I'll give you a little exercise for the reader.
This is the data for my home state.  All numbers are totals, not per capita (population is slowly rising over the years).  All crimes included, all social spending included. 

edit: green line is crime, blue is spending