Ourfriendben at Poor Richard's Almanac has a list of frugal tips for our grocery shopping trips. Most of these are pretty good and we have already implemented those that make sense for us. This morning, as we listened to the news over coffee, Suze Orman was on and noted that the credit card companies are starting to cancel credit cards/lines even for those who pay their entire bills monthly. We have been aware of these stories for a while because Mom uses her Discover Card and pays it off when the bill comes each month. (I had heard that the industry refers to such customers as 'dead beats.') We already have a plan to cover this contingency. We will visit the in-store branch and get cash. And only spend that amount--or less. At that point we will take a calculator with us. We rarely buy anything on impulse. We already have inventoried our shelves and freezer, rotate the stocks, and only buy when the stock gets low. We don't have to worry about anything spoiling because we don't have the room to store a lot of anything. We stopped buying cold cereal when the cost reached about $4/box for the brands we like and they rarely went on sale or had coupons. We don't collect coupons because they either don't apply to the foods we want to buy or we have to purchase more than we need or can reasonably use. Take a look at Ben's list and see what applies to you.
Congress.org has some interesting items this morning. If you would like to bid President Bush and Vice-President Dick Cheney a fond farewell they provide the links. I thought about it but decided it is a case of not saying anything if I can't say something nice. The site also provides the House votes on two pieces of legislation that address that travesty of a Supreme Court decision last year which threw out a woman's lawsuit on gender based pay discrimination because she did not file when the discrimination first happened even though she did not find out about it until long after (and after the statute of limitations ran out). One bill removes the statute of limitations. The other bill requires employers to prove that differences in pay reflect the job requirement, prohibit retaliation against employees who share salary information, and allows employees to sue for both compensatory and punitive damages. On the last bill, I looked up the voting record for our state. Wouldn't you know it, it broke down along party lines: all Republicans against, all Democrats for.
Chris In Paris at Americablog wonders if sales taxes for on line purchases is coming soon. Evidently, Amazon is suing New York state over its effort to collect sales taxes on merchandise shipped to New York residents. Interesting but I think the war on that is probably over--or nearly so. Yesterday, Mom and I placed an order for two DVDs at Best Buy's on-line shop. (We did what we normally do first--went to the local store. But the more expensive item had already sold out. Rather than wait and--maybe--get it there we decided to go on line.) Best Buy collected sales tax. I expect that state and local governments will be more aggressive since the sales taxes collected at the local level have gone the way sales at the local stores have--off a cliff.
Entitled To Know hits on something that has increasingly angered and frightened me since Bush failed to privatize Social Security. Almost every correspondent who interviews President-Elect asks what of his campaign promises he intends to trim because of the economic crisis and mentions at the top Social Security. Entitled To Know links to a story that indicates that those self-described 'fiscal hawks' (read Republicans and Conservative Democrats) want to make a trade with Obama: support for the stimulus for cuts in Social Security and Medicare. In my entire adult life (40+ years now) every time I got a pay check Social Security and Medicare payments were taken out. Every time I got a pay check, my employer had to kick in an additional amount for these programs. I have never earned enough to put much money aside and I was severely handicapped for a little over twenty years by being married to a man who never saw a penny he didn't want to spend and spent whatever he got his hands on. In two years I will be 62 and frankly I don't have the where-with-all to delay collecting Social Security. I want it to be there and I have EARNED it. I want those 'fiscal-hawk' ass-holes to keep their greedy little mitts off of it.
On that note I will close this for the day. I just looked outside and saw that the snow is still falling and we do have a steady wind. It isn't a blizzard but....