Monday, October 15, 2007


Maybe they just meant to keep us on our toes, but it seems like we worried a lot last summer over things that didn't happen.

The first was that terrorist "chatter" seemed to indicate a major attack on the US during the summer Either Homeland Security really is doing a good job, or it was all a political ploy - or the chatter was misread. Maybe they meant someone else's summer?

The second prediction to worry us was that the hurricane season would be worse than usual for the US. It hasn't happened. Granted, we're not at the end of the season yet, but it won't be long. Let's hope and pray we can continue treading water until it's all over this year.

Here's one you do need to worry about. Well, not worry, but prepare: If you remember my column at, I predicted that the cost of groceries would continue to rise due to weather and natural disasters. If you've been in a grocery store lately, you know that one has come true.

The economy is on a crash course. It may not happen this year or even next, but it will happen. Since food costs aren't included in much factoring of the economy, it looks like we're doing all right. We can look like anything we please if we use a political mirror to behold ourselves in.

I'm still giving the same old advice: Get out of debt, tighten your budget, diversify everywhere you can, and by "everywhere," I mean everywhere from food storage to investments.

Don't just keep "getting by." If everything blows over and nothing happens? The worst will be that you're in better financial shape than ever.


  1. Awesome Words of Wisdom! That is why I enjoy reading your blog so much! I have been a big fan of your work since About I still have many of the articles you wrote for them saved.

  2. It's funny but DH and I are feeling the same way about the Canadian economy, it's like when you feel the weather is going to change and there's a storm coming. We recently paid off our car, now we're putting as much as we can into savings "before the snow flys" and you're right, it's going to be a big one.

  3. Thank you, "Simple Living." It looks like you're getting a good start to your own blog!

    Shelley, that's a very good description of the feeling. I'm glad you're getting ready for the "storm." I hope everyone takes this to heart.

  4. Wise, wise advice Pat! There are so many things I feel like I will see major changes to in my lifetime and especially my 2-year-old's: college tuition prices, health insurance, retirement saving practices, people's personal debt, even the demise of superstores like Wal-mart...? It seems like "something's gotta give" - and it will be interesting to see what gives first and how it affects everything else. For our part, we are paying our debts down as we can (darn those college loans, but they did get us through school)and striving to be frugal in small ways like using flourescent lightbulbs, turning the a/c up and heat down, walking around town do to errands, making some food from scratch, etc. Sometimes saving a few bucks is as simple as borrowing DVD out of the library instead of renting it. Or better yet, getting BOOKS out of the library! lol.

  5. You're right, Sarah. Saving a few bucks can be very simple. Keep adding to those little things. There is never an end to the things we can learn and do to save another few pennies or dollars.

    If - I should say "when" - things begin to hurt, those who haven't prepared are going to be the first ones out of the game.

  6. Pat,

    DW showed me your "Predictions" this AM. I would like to make a couple of comments.

    First, regarding the "chatter" about a possible terrorist attack: The "chatter" had its effect of getting more of us to look over our shoulders, which caused a disruption in the "normal flow" of our society. An attack wasn't needed ... this time. Next time, when we respond with a "yeah, right, 'the sky is falling' again" attitude, and we ignore the warnings, the attacks will be successful, and they will have been staged right under our noses!

    Ditto the hurricane season warnings.

    As for your third warning, I believe you are spot on. But, let's say that you and I are both wrong, and nothing changes, except that those who believe us actually take control of their own financial health, and let's look about 20 years down the road (for the sake of Sarah's 2-year-olds). What do they have to look forward to? Well, for one thing, they will have a college education to look forward to, because their parents didn't spend it all and then some! Another thing they will have to look forward to is being able to graduate from college on time and without debt, themselves. (I dare say that the Sarah-s will be bringing home the fact that their lives would've been more enjoyable without bills, and that they should have done some paying them off at a quicker rate!) This is where the next generation of wealth-builders will come from.

    And, one last thing for those who just don't know where they could possibly come up with the cash flow to pay off their debts: Consider doing something towards creating an extra source of money. An ancient king (who was the "federal crop insurance" for his people) told his farmers that they should all come up with some trade they could do in the after hours--that is, after "can't see" comes at the end of the day. These days, we have more options than ever. Some can become crafters (e.g. leatherwork, crocheting, canning jams, whatever people are willing to pay for); others can learn to do bookkeeping and taxes for the crafters; still others might like to try something like Mary Kay or Amway, where the business model and products are both already planned out for them, and all they have to do is put in the time and NOT worry about the people who insist on Covergirl or Tide, because that's what mommy always used.

    Of course, I don't recommend that the farmer just plant more crops, because that's just more feed for the locusts; likewise the construction worker shouldn't expect side-jobs to really do it, because people won't do add-ons when they can't get loans for them, either ... at the same time that real estate collapses.

    Well, that's my tuppence on the topic.

    Jas. Kermott

  7. Mr. Kermott, I agree with everything you said and have said the same thing myself in various ways.

    I would add that most of the time, people can find the funds to pay off bills when it becomes important - say, more important than eating out or buying the newest music cd.

    Making extra money is great way to go about it, but only if you are disciplined enough to not spend it elsewhere first.

    You're right, too, that we need to diversify income producing activities.

  8. Hi Pat,
    Your dead on again, but I've come to expect that from you. Here ( another Canadian) House prices have more than doubled in the past 5 years since we bought out retirement home. I don't know how young first time buyers can hope to buy. Also I have been looking at rentals in the paper, in our area there is 1 listing! I have never seen it so low.
    Your frugal ways of living will be a necesity for most people I know. Each time we manage to learn and use a new skill we are expanding our means of wealth. Not just dollars wealth, but personal wealth as well. What good is money when you need a wheel barrow's worth to buy a loaf of bread? Far better to have bought the flour, yeast, and other supplies ahead, and make your own bread, and trade it for, what you need as well as for eating.
    Keep up your lovely blog, it is one of the things I look for when I log on to the puter.
    T'other Pat, in Kitchener

  9. Hi, "t'other Pat," - it looks like the housing in Canada is where we were a few short years ago. New housing commanded a high price because there was a shortage. When investors got on the trail, they overbuilt (and are still building in some areas!), so that there's a glut on the market, which has driven prices down. All this is tied in with interest rates, which were very low, enticing people to buy who really couldn't afford to. Now they're losing their homes as rates go back up... well, that's not a very good nutshell, but the housing market is a mess and that affects everything else. Gas prices and bad weather have added to the economic storm we're facing.