10 Basic Suggestions

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iowa unemployment

Here are 10 basic suggestions for adapting to our deteriorating economic situation:

1. As an inflation hedge, try to secure work where one can more easily increase salary or income to keep pace with inflation. If you have rental income, negotiate an inflation clause (I recommend 1.5 times the annual CPI as a minimum).

2. Prepare for alternative skills that will be useful in a crisis of shortages and unrest (repairing existing technology is always a good bet--both mechanic and electronic skills are needed.)

3. Prepare for an alternative profession if yours is one that is subject to fragile financial markets (mortgage brokers found this out too late, and were suddenly without a viable market).

4. With commuting costs now rivaling monthly rental costs in some areas, consider moving closer to work if it will reduce those costs. Under some conditions it could even pay for a small apartment and leave you free to still keep your house in the suburbs or the country as a retreat.

5. Buy a fuel efficient vehicle, even if small, and use it for most of your commuting or running around. If you can't afford the new ones, good deals can still be had on older VW diesels (TDI)-1996 and newer. These engines last a lot longer than gasoline engines and can be overhauled for less than a couple of thousand. They can get between 40 and 50 mpg.

6. Consider riding a bicycle for short trips. The fuel savings will add up. It's great for your health and surprisingly comfortable with the variety of mountain bikes available.

7. Start eating more basic foods (wheat, rice, and beans) that provide lots of energy for very little money. You can cut your food bill in half by not buying prepared foods at the grocery store (nor eating out so often).

8. If you are heating with oil or propane (which have tripled in price) get a new furnace system this summer before the winter rush. Consider the new ground source heat pumps. They are more costly to install but can save money in the long term. Electricity is relatively cheap now compared to other energy sources.

9. Add a solar water heating system. They save money in most climates. I have a water jacket on my wood stove that takes over in the winter when the solar doesn't produce enough heat to preheat the water.

10. Add a high efficiency wood stove to your home. It will save on energy even if you don't run it all the time. Best of all, it will provide you emergency backup heat during a winter power outage.

Copyright 2008, Joel Skousen. Brief quotations with attribution are permitted. Cite the source as Joel Skousen's
World Affairs Brief.