Is YOUR Economy Better Today or Worse?

Is the economy better or worse

The ‘stock market’ has been on the longest run-up in world history.

It seems like, or we’re being led to believe that, it will NEVER END.

The Good Times are here to stay, right?

Are you on that train?

The economic numbers being reported are always seemingly good or great.

Our debt doesn’t matter either. There are no apparent consequences for mega debt. The concept of “just enough government to get the job done” is a joke for most.

Nearly everyone out there must be doing great, right? Maybe that’s true, I really don’t know. All I know is my own ‘economy’. That’s my reality.

My question for you is this:

Is YOUR economy better today? Or is it worse?

I’m leaving that question ‘general’ without specific definition. Decide your own meaning for ‘your’ own personal economy.

Somebody must be making lots of money out there, given that the economy is so apparently good. Right?

The poll results are in.

78% feel that their own economy is about the same (31%) or better (47%) today (2019).

22% feel that their economy is worse today.

Continue reading: How To Prep When You’re Broke

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76 Comments

  1. I bet if you were to add ” about the same ” as a choice you would see a majority voting that .

  2. The stock market is smoke and mirrors!

    A lot of the stocks that are rising are due to stock buybacks that make them look attractive.

    Inflation is up, cost of living is up, wages are not.
    If the economy is so good, why are housing prices falling, and prices increasing?

    If it weren’t for the QE crap that Obama did, we would have been in recession years ago!

  3. Well I tell ya what.
    My work dollars are not providing my household any more than what it was.
    My 401, my inheritance stocks are doing great. But and a BIG BUTT. I cannot touch them without consequences. Fines , fees, taxes. Numbers on paper is all they are. Kinda like an origami. All happy and pretty…..a wend like a whiff of smoke….. it can and will be gone when you want/need it most.
    Someone’s making money and it ain’t us common folk.

    You can now invest 50% of your wages into your 401k!!!!
    Ok I’ll hand over my wages to you, your free money,….. I’ll go live in the swamp

    1. wend=gone

      But wend will suffice, too.

      Not bad for a poorly educated fool….huh?

      “Where did wend come into play?”🤔

    2. @Joe c
      How much you can invest in your 401k depends on the company. mine lets 75% but the government limits the amount that can be tax deferred to 17-18000.

  4. Well, as far as my situation goes, we’re doing better, but it’s not the economy! We were able to buy 15 acres in Idaho last year, but that was because we’ve been paying off bills, watching what we spend $$$ on, and not getting anymore credit cards! It took us a long time to pay off the old debts, and now that we have we are enjoying the extra disposable income that we used to use towards those bills. My DW didn’t get a raise last year, and the past 2 review cycles at my work have netted a 1.98% & a 2% raises. So much for Trump’s bragging about wages going up everywhere! I do think he’s doing a good job with the US Economy, but as a resident of the People’s Republic of California, it’s not showing up here so much!

  5. It is great for me. I paid off my house last year and got a little raise this year.

    I learned how to invest in the stock market with training and I made a good profit….in play money. It is required to learn for 3 or 4 months before I actually invest in it and how to lose which I didn’t do too well. I’ll be doing the real thing very soon. If I do half as good, I may quit my job.

  6. Well since you asked ,,,,,things are smoke and mirrors,,,,,,folks I know that are high rollers are, shall we say are ,concerned ,,,,to say the least ,,,,the debt is too high both gov and personal ,, and corporation ,,we have three major food chains joinning up ,expecting a situation to develop ,, the past two administrations ran us in to a hole that I can see no way out of ,,in my lifetime,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,and it’s true without QE we would have hit bottom in 2010 ,,,that would have been hard ,but the longer we put that off the harder we will hit when we do hit bottom ,,the rising cost of living is a symptom of a devaluation of the money we use ,and the cost of service on the debt ,to service that we have taxes ,,taxes eat your wealth ,in ATLAS SHRUGGED the speach by Francisco about money is a clue as to how things work ,, and why ,,,,if you want know and understand what’s happening I just told me how to find out,,,
    ,,,,,,,,,,,,so who is John Galt? Why does if matter ?
    Tea and cheesecake

    1. 0ldhomesteder;
      Who is John Galt?
      Those that open their eyes and see.

      More on this tomorrow.
      GREAT subject Ken

  7. I would have said maybe about the same but when I went grocery shopping last week I had sticker shock at check out.

    1. I voted worse because the prices are going up…up and each time i go to grocery half the items we require are up.. sometimes the package sizes are just smaller and the price is the same…

  8. I would say we are doing better, but I think that is simply because we left that cash-sucking state of CA. 13% raise from just that. We do make more in our paychecks and did get more in tax returns….but I also started a small business.

    With the state of the nation’s debt, and Trump not moving to make it less, I am very concerned that our SHTF event will be the financial collapse.

  9. About the same because I don’t make anything and I don’t spend anything. If the economy crashed tomorrow I probably wouldn’t notice until someone told me about it. Food prices go up but that just means we buy less. Stocks? What’s that? Oh, right, the thing they used to put people in when they couldn’t pay their taxes…

    1. Lauren, Yep I’m with you. Buy less, because money does not go as far… Smartphone, just a emergency dumbphone… TV? what is that? Movie night out…? NOT in 12 years… Investments? Meal out , every 6 weeks if we have get caught out and one of us MUST eat.Usually take ice chest drinks( ice water, lemon water, unsweet tea…, sandwich/ emergency stash if we are going to be gone more than an hour…. Never had any vests..either….only a t shirt. IRA?, have to have an amount above necessities to have ..any of these things.Stocks, investments or IRA..
      Worked hard for 20 years one profession, burned out. Gave until nothing left to give. Began hand unloading 53 ft and 48 ft containers in a whse. ONly woman doing that job when I began. And were NO women…truck drivers coming thru.To make a living , had to work faster,, longer and harder than every other loader /unloader. 6 years, away from family..Came home and found a part time job in grocery store, local…still wasone hour drive time to work 3 hours… I made enough to finish home schooling and raising my DD despite her disability. Easy? , no . Someone asked me, ” how do you unload trucks?” one time…. I told them Prayer and protein powder! Yep spend $$ in hand ,what you have- for what you must have FIrst.. then buy anything above necessary. Taught DD budgeting. Life skills.Planning. working through and around obstacles.
      Deep pantry is a blessing… has helped us and others more than once.Sales items we like goes in there. and dehydrated things…Every little bit adds up.

  10. So much better than when I was picking strawberries @ 10 hours a day for a local farmer. Got 95 cents per 12 box flat plus another 15 cents per flat if I stayed all season. At age 12 I wasn’t the youngest (they were 9) nor the oldest (they were around 15). Longest day ever worked those years I picked 17 flats.

    Learned that back-breaking labor paid, but took school seriously to have other options.

    Retired after working for 50 years altogether. Blessings abound, funds are adequate.

  11. We are on a fixed income, social security and IRA .I see the prices of everything going higher and higher. Grocery items are probably the easiest for most folks to notice on a regular basis. Our health care premiums have risen, our auto insurance premium has risen and property taxes continue to creep upwards. We cut back on what we can but at some point in time there is no more wiggle room. We grow and preserve as much food as we can. This also helps us from eating as much processed/chemical foods, we rarely dine out to avoid expensive and usually crappy processed foods.We are debt free, except for property taxes so we have learned to live with our income stream, so far.
    The financial state of the country looks very shaky to me . Credit card delinquincy is rising, home prices are showing signs of dropping in several areas.The student loan debt is staggering . Rail.air,barge and truck shipping is dropping off in volume. Gasoline prices are rising. We have had 6000 retail stores close this year already.The president is rattling the sabres of war about Venezuela . We are in the longest war in our country’s history in Afghanistan . The CIA is meddling in countries all over the world. One has to wonder where this is going to end?
    We are planning for tough economical times ahead . Or are they already on our doorstep ? We are worse off because of inflation or dollar devaluation and constantly rising taxes/fees and charges.

  12. I voted better. But not because anything the .Gov has done.

    We were blessed with a gift from my step dad and mom which really helped us this year. Add that my business has picked up (again not because of .gov) and overall we are doing better. Things are just working good for us right now.

    Stocks, etc, we opted out a long time ago. We know there is a financial crisis coming soon, just amazing how they can keep kicking the can. Figure a new war will break out before the crash happens.

    A&O

  13. Years ago I had a motorcycle accident (1989) lost a job working at a nuke plant (pretty good pay) had a nice house, 2 BMW’s, a Caddy, a loving wife (at least I thought so at the time) a new baby boy and life was good till the motorcycle accident.

    Broke every limb I had, lost a good job as I could not work for 2-years. The loving wife was not so loving when the money stopped and she walked out and uses a lawyer to take anything not nailed down. I lost both BMW’s (one a rare motorcycle) she took the Caddy and I lost the house.

    I went from a good life to a life of not enough money to even pay electricity if I wanted to eat Ramen noodles. I lived in a very run-down mobile home without electricity for 6-months.

    I finally found work at entry level jobs (jobs as in 2 of them) to make some money.

    But I never really made enough to dig out of the hole I was in, there was just not enough time or money to do so.

    It was a very low time in my life. I lived a very frugal life with NO EXTRAS.

    I finally turned it around when I borrowed enough money from my family to buy a carpet cleaning machine and start my own business. I also bought a marketing program (it cost more then the carpet machine) to show me how to make ore money. The first day of my new business I made $189.00 on a single job.

    Since then I have been self-employed and I don’t think I will ever work another job for someone else.

    While the life of living frugal passed I still somewhat live this way. I have no debt, I make more then I spend and have a good amount of CASH on hand all the time. I have hundreds of ounces of silver, lots of guns, lots of Ham radios and anything else I want. It’s all paid for the moment I bought it.

    And 30-years later my life is doing quite well. I have zero debt (not a single penny) I just broke my arm a few weeks ago and the 0ne-month of no income did / does not bother me at all as I have lots of reserve cash put up.

    Being self employed is how I turned a not-so-good life into a pretty good life.

    I’m down to working 4-days a week so I can get out and do my own things. Being self-employed allows this as I set my own hours and own pay. And while I don’t do carpet cleaning any more I have since (10-years ago) moved to home repair / handyman work and keep busy with it.

    Here in Toledo Ohio there is a real shortage of people that are good at fixing things in homes and businesses. I suspect it’s this way all over the place. There is much more work then people to do it.

    There is a real income opportunity for someone so inclined.

    So the answer to the original question is that my “personal economy” is doing great. And self employment is what makes it so.

    If you don’t like your income level you are to blame for it. Go fix it yourself. No one else is going to come along and give you a wagon-load of cash.

    1. Chuck,
      You are right. A good handyman is worth his weight in gold! They are extremely hard to find. You really have a success story.

  14. I’d say better turned 66 this year and started getting my SS. Don’t really need the money now so We’ve been putting it into the safe have about 7 mortgate payments set aside. Just hope they don’t stop taking cash then i’d be screwed!

  15. An additional thought on prices going up for food and living.

    Prices are going to go up, it’s always been this way and always will be this way.

    None of us can make prices ever go down.

    The way most deal with this (and I see it in the comments above) is to complain about it and suck-up and take it. This is a most unpleasant way of dealing with it.

    But with an open mind and a bit of motivation you can lower the food prices.

    How can you do this???

    Glad you asked:

    By becoming self employed and doing work that you set the price of not someone else.

    You people on fixed income say you have only so much (and never enough) money to go around. This may be true, but you have something else even more important then money. That being TIME.

    You are retired, that means you don’t work right! Well go work for yourself and suddenly you have an extra income that if you are not careful will be more then your retirement is.

    I’m sure many of you are thinking Chuck is crazy, but I’m not. I’m also the one with a big wad of cash in my pocket all the time. While I don’t really want food prices to go up, at the same time I make sure I can buy food or anything else I want by making enough money to buy what I want.

    I’m not rich by any means, but living below my income level, paying cash for everything and being the one that sets my income and work load I do pretty well.

    The worst enemy of a secure future is not the government, not a group of brigands pillaging the country side, it’s you.

    You can change your life within a month if you decide it WILL happen. Or you can sit back and be secure knowing Chuck if full of it.

    1. Chuck, You seem to think that everyone who has “retired” and does not have enough money, is just lazy because they will not work another job. NOT so! Just because everyone is not to your stage of “expertise..in many things” do not count them out just because they have more demands on time than they can do…and a desire to do more than they are able each day.
      Some people take on responsibilities of caring for those loved ones who need some assistance. They DO not leave their spouse or their parents in a lurch because things are not going well at the minute….They are not free to work jobs, public or private.because their time is NOT their Own.
      Caregivers get meals/ they prepare for the family and needs taken care of but extras are hard to come by and time is even harder…. There are some programs that will pay for a caregiver, but getting those programs is not always possible.

      Retirement DOES mean..in addition to care giving,… time to set goals and take care of small animals. planting and producing as many vegetables and herbals as one needs for their family… Setting up infrastructure..for building, and doing own house repairs…, waiting until DFM is able and assisting with what most every hard thing…… installing a gas hot water heater.(instead of electric) , extra insulation to attic and exterior walls,, cutting steel and putting in windows, doors, building raised garden beds.,rabbit coops, hen houses, storage building. greenhouse.. all on the agenda… In time some of these things MAY make a business… Everyone is just not to your level yet…Don’t give up on those who say their income does not match their needs.

      1. Chuck
        Glad you were/are able to prosper as you have.

        So congrats on that.

        Some/most aren’t so lucky, Try as they may. Making due with what they have.

        Fixed incomes, maybe no or little income, disabilities, loved ones that need constant care, medical conditions. Everybody has different draw backs, obstacles if you will, to go above their current state.

        I’d love to be self employed. Drawback…. medical insurance. Scripts are expensive. And with scripts, you need that annual visit to the doc. Dental insurance via employer is crap for coverage. Vision, too.

        Luckily I had a good part time job….my own boss. Loved it. Bought alot of preps with that, extra income. Well that job is gone. Hopefully I can get back into that again. I could dig into my inheritance, but I shouldn’t have to. Sure I could get rid of the horses, trailers, sell the house, land and go live in an apartment somewhere or a rental, where I don’t have to worry about anything.

        Betcha my economic outlook would change for the better, but to what expense for my mind?

        So for now I will continue to work for the man, repair the junk I have and deep down know, I do have it better than most.

        1. Joe C.
          This old dawg is not up for learning new tricks I am not interested in learning.. Life is too short to be doing something one does not like. Peace when I pillow my head is something to be valued. It’s value is just not given back in $$$. The world operates on moolah…my goals this year are to grow more of what we need, so the outgo diminishes.
          One way to do that is in controlling health care costs, both rx’d and out of pocket things..OTC’s and herbals/naturals…. find what works for you and stock enough to be secure for a while…takes the pressure off those and allows time to focus on a different set of factors You can gain control on as well.

          Having a part time endeavor-one loves is what I am trying to develop,..the things I have learned have been from school of hard knocks, and that is ok. I remember enough to be able to help someone else with same issues.

          First our needs must be met…so limited on how many things i can accomplish., as I Always do,…..in a given time. Its a one bite at a time thing…I have found a way to “get there” a little quicker than I had thought ..for sure.
          Part time job.?.. not here…came to conclusion would have to make own . When everyone is in same boat, needs things done and unable to do, or pay.. Ave income of county ..prob 750-.800 mo. Mostly elderly, sick widows/widowers…it just takes a special person to take advantage of people who are just able to get out of the recliner….Think I’ll leave that to someone smarter than I.
          So keep looking for other ways to accomplish what is important to you. get your health stable. Hang tough. Decide what you Can do, that is worth putting effort in and you enjoy. Look at what it will take to get you there…begin on that road.
          I heard a man once say,” If a person does what they love, they will never work a day in their life.”… I think Dad was repeating what his Grandpa told him.

      2. First off I knew my post would set some people off as they are not willing to change their outlook on how things have gone in their life. This has never been my problem. If something is not or no longer working I stop and fix it or move in a new direction to get where I want to be. I see this willingness to work on the fly as a very good survival trait. I adapt quickly and will go into a new direction to get where I want to be. I don’t get emotionally attached to an idea or course of action if it’s no longer good for me.

        Also it’s not received well when someone tells you that your problems are mainly a result of how you have done things.

        If you do what you have always done, You will get what you have always gotten.

        If you want some different outcome you have to do things differently.

        (Everyone who has “retired” and does not have enough money, is just lazy because they will not work another job.)

        Never called anyone lazy. What I did say is each person is more in charge of their income and future then they think. It only takes a bit of work to make extra income.

        Most of us know how to do things that can be monetized a bit if we just give it some thought or action. Start a blog, start a U-Tube Channel on what you know how to do. Teach others how to do what you know how to do.

        Maybe you fix autos great, maybe you cook a mean pot roast. Maybe you do (fill in whatever here) better then Joe or Jane Public. Teach others, build something, sell a service. But at least try to improve.

        As far as my skill set, yes I can do a lot. But then my stage of expertise didn’t just happen, I went out and actively learned almost all the important things I know how to do by looking, reading and a lot of trial-&-error. Yes I can do a lot, but so can you or anyone else reading this. You don’t need a diploma in any given study to be an expert. You need the diploma in order for a company to hire you. I advocate self employment as you are the company hiring you and you know if you have the needed skills.

        PS: you can go to places like MIT for free, all the courses they teach are free on-line videos. But you get no nice-looking piece of paper to say you spent 100K of money. Learning is free and or you can get paid to learn, Guys in the trades do this.

        At this time in history we have more info (be it written word or videos) then any human has ever had in all recorded time. All a person has to do is want to learn and put forward a bit of effort.

        (They DO not leave their spouse or their parents in a lurch because things are not going well at the minute. They are not free to work jobs, public or private.because their time is NOT their Own.)

        My Dad is 91 and I take care of him every single day, 365 days a year, there is no one else to do this job so I do it.
        Turn of the smart phone, the TV, stop reading romance books and learn a skill people will pay you to do. You can learn it in your spare time. And don’t even try to tell me you have no spare time as your post above took 30-min to type up. Multiply that by several times a week and you come up with hours you can use to learn marketable skills.

        (Retirement DOES mean..in addition to care giving,… time to set goals and take care of small animals. planting and producing as many vegetables and herbals as one needs for their family… Setting up infrastructure..for building, and doing own house repairs…, waiting until DFM is able and assisting with what most every hard thing…… installing a gas hot water heater.(instead of electric) , extra insulation to attic and exterior walls,, cutting steel and putting in windows, doors, building raised garden beds.,rabbit coops, hen houses, storage building. greenhouse.. all on the agenda.)

        Things need worked on and fixed, 1,000 other things always need to be done. SO WHAT!!!

        These things happen to and go wrong for all of us. How do you explain others dealing with the exact same problems you have and still manage to get all this stuff done?

        Quit telling yourself why you are failing and start doing things to make a better life. Everyone has obstacles in front of them, I deal with them by figuring out how to go around them to get farther down the road of life.
        And I know you are going to come back and say you are not failing. But something is wrong or you would not be on a survival web site.

        My life is not perfect, but I am actively doing things to fix it. I make list of objective e I feel would help me. Then I number them in importance and then go make them happen. It’s a good method that gives very good results.

        No Pitty-Party for Chuck, I’m too busy making things happen.

        1. Chuck
          Glad you’re on this site with us all, sharing your knowledge and experience

          ,…….”something is wrong or you would not be on a survival web site.”

          Just saying

          1. OH

            SERIOUSLY???

            How about you tell carguy, poorman, and Lauren to pick up the slack.

            They’re all failures, right?

            Because they don’t have the sense to better themselves?

            Throw a little 36 hrs in a 24 hour day?

            Diversity shows it’s ugly head, here, too.

            The well offs telling the not so well to do, how they should have chosen the better option.

          2. JOE C ,,,,,,,,,the life you have is the life you have made for your self ,,,,,,,,,strikes me as you have a burr under your saddle ,,that makes for a hard ride ,,,as for LAURAN ,she would be welcome in our camp from what I know of her,,and she would do well,,
            As for you ,your attitude will hold you back,,,,and keep you from your potential,,take time to reflect ,about life.
            I will burn some sage for you at sweatlodge,,,,

          3. Joe c: I don’t know anyone’s specific situation. A person can be in bad enough health to greatly limit their abilities. But like I said start a blog or U-Tube channel, not a lot of back-breaking work with it. It’s work, but work anyone can do.

            A person is a failure when they give up. And I truly think most people give up too easily.

            Is it easy? Well yes and no. No if you tell yourself it can’t be done. But I know for me it gets easier the more I think about something and how to do it.

            I always have a notepad on me (actually an old Palm Pilot) to jot down ideas that pop into my mind on how to do something or a new direction to go or things that need more research.

            I think of things all the time that slip away a few hours later if I don’t jot them down.

            Then I act on the ideas, they may not always work as planned. but they work better then the ideas I never plan on.

            I’m not really sure to explain how to get the motivation to preserver, but it’s an important trait to have and I have it and act on it. And I actually like the work I do, I’m very good at fixing all kinds of things and have been able to really enjoy the work.

            (SERIOUSLY???
            How about you tell carguy, poorman, and Lauren to pick up the slack.
            They’re all failures, right?
            Because they don’t have the sense to better themselves?
            Throw a little 36 hrs in a 24 hour day?)

            It’s not about sense to better themselves, it’s all motivation. Get motivation and everything else (time, money skills) will all fall into place.

            As far as being a failure, that comes from within, not something I or anyone else says.

            But I do know that if you tell yourself you can’t do it, you will be 100% right

          4. Joe c

            Just to quantify Joe I work 50-60 hours a week and do quite well money wise. Home paid off and just bought a brand new Jeep. Gonna retire in about 5 years. Chuck is a grab your boot straps type of guy and does come off high handed at times but a lot of what he is saying is true. SOME people retire and DO sit around complaining they don’t have enough money when they could be doing something about it and yes some have more obligations than they can handle so can’t do extra work. I think both sides are right in this one

          5. OH
            So I responded to a post, in which, I felt some might take it as demeaning or degrading. And because I took a defensive stance on the subject, I have a burr under my saddle? Or because I disagreed with you?
            Hope you burned a little more than just sage in the steam house. Thanks

            Pi$$ and vinegar
            Back to work I go

          6. JOE C ,,,,,,,NO OFFENSE TAKEN ON MY PART ,,,i make it a point to try and improve the quality of life of folks I inerface with ,but I do call it as I see it ,,,,,,,,
            Tea and chocolate

          7. OH
            Same here.

            Poorman
            Sorry
            I meant Peanut gallery when I typed. I knew the call name started with a P. I had a 50/50 chance.

        2. Chuck,
          You implied others who did not have funds were lazy.

          No one said thy were having a pity party BUT YOU. You did not say others were lazy but gave whole list of things you do, or have done. which require a commodity , TIME.
          For over 2 years I took care of 3 disabled family members.. My health took a huge hit. There are others who visit this site and are caregivers to very ill family members and you tell them on top of that THEY have time to do _xyz in addition.___ Not knowing the burden they already carry. Shame, SHame.!

          You tube and blogging to raise money are not for everyone.If it was NO ONe would make money at those endeavors… You tube…You gotta be freakin’ kidding me.! You work you tube and put your whole life on video!
          See how that works out for YOU. We know that our host has gotten rich off of a blog….. NOT! Just more time consuming chores with little to show for it… Most blogs take what 2 years to show any profit/ expenses paid …..?

          I am working a plan, it is slower than I want. , but it is a plan .I am NOT failing, just not making any $$$$ . It is NOT on society’s/ nor YOur time line… Any endeavor one begins has to begin somewhere. I began 20 stories down… will be to first floor soon.. much is started and little is finished but nothing has been written off as too hard, too expensive. All tasks must be done in 30min blocks. .

          There are plenty of us who are pressed and staying our course… Note OUR COURSE…, not YOURs. This is supposed to be on the economy…and is ours better or not.. WELL MINE is not better YET. MY money I am responsible for managing..does not go as far -as easily. Sacrifices must be made continually to stay within that amount..
          I do not see it getting better without some of the things I have begun getting close to finis. when” the 101 ways to stretch your dollars further, “is something that one is doing on every level possible …then that person has done their best. We find ways to make those $$’s stretch , and get our necessary things done… We will be around and plugging when the give -me-dats have gone the way of the unicorn.

          I’ll keep working on my plan.., overcoming my roadblocks and detours…to do what I enjoy , eat clean food and take care of family and friends.
          someone as knowledgeable as you to be able to tell others how they should order their life…should write a book…

          1. Just Sayin’ give a bit of self-employment a try. You don’t have to do it full time.

            Self employment gives you almost an instant income boost.

            Example:

            Years ago I bought a new set of tool to do this new kind of plumbing I never did before. It was called PEX, today PEX is well known, but not so much back then.

            I bought the tools, cost me a few hundred dollars and a few hundred in fittings.

            3-days later I booked a job that paid for the tools and in the years since have been using the PEX tools at least once a week.

            If I learned a new skill on a job (working for the Man) how long if ever would I get paid for my new skills? Not very soon if ever. But being self employed I got rewarded $$.$$ 3-days later. and have an ongoing weekly income from the skills and tools.

            I know everyone gets tired of me saying that they are mostly the limiting factor in their life. But I know this to be true. And I know NO ONE else is going to drop off a bag of cash to fix your life. You have to go earn it.

            The problem is it’s very hard to earn much extra money when you work for someone else. But not so hard when you work for yourself.

            Many here seem to be in an auto that is stuck in the mud going nowhere.

            Well get out of the car and walk to where you want to go. No it’s not as fast as driving, but then the auto is stuck in the mud not moving at all. And walking is at least going forward.

            Another story: I enjoy working on and repairing electronic items. I had little skill in old tube-era things (1970 and back) I found a small shop that worked on the things I wanted to learn and I hanged around and helped him (now for the hard part that most will not do) I worked for FREE to learn. I spent a few hours a week there. Fast forward I now am one of the more knowledgeable tube repair guys around.

            I also did the same thing working for a lumber yard learning how to install doors & windows in homes.

            There is always a way, always a bit of time if a person really wants to do something.

            I take care of my 91-year old Dad alone, no one else helps. So don’t any of you tell me I don’t understand family commitments.

            Work one day a week learning something new, and hire a sitter for family members that need help. Even if you break even on it you learn new skills that will pay dividends down the road.

          2. Chuck, I was not considering YOUR family commitments, but the one Who left U in a lurch..
            I am working on something. In time it will make money, but..NOW it doesn’t. Time is required… Not optional. something I have natural aptitude for. It is in a learning And Application phase… I have limited strength, stamina…yet days are often too short.Just not to that point. has been for more than 18 months… . I am attempting to set up so I can do what I desire until I push up flowers. “ANY” job, is not my desire and most not in my ability , local, and available. I am home. expenses lower. Thankfully i no longer need sitter. .DH slowly recovering. could get job doing that – sitting/assisting..easily , bu t i am already married, don’t need to be wed to that commitment for near future Whole area VERy poor,80% have worked until can no longer. I am not stuck, just don’t have excess to plunge into infrastructure that will make things happen quicker. no debt. going to stay that way. so will cut more corners to get what we want…and I will need for revenue in coming 30 yrs..

          3. Just Sayin’– you mention “you’re working on something in time to make money”—I hope you soon can share details, as many of us could possibly use the strategy. thks

  16. Probably overall better… but only because I shut down all non-essential spending 5 years ago, strictly to eliminate debt. The house is 60 years old and needed a lot of work. Years ago I had a dead-end, nothing job… but I got to work from home, so I deliberately went into debt, so I could provide the labor and get a lot more done.

    Now both kids are gone and I’m down to my last $1,000 of CC debt, down from…. Good God… A lot! My sweet wife packs a lunch for me every day and I recently invested in a big chest freezer to help amortize my grocery bill. Many grocery stores are now adopting the Costco model. You can purchase 1 item for $4.99, but if you purchase 5 at a time, it’s $1.99 each. Now I can stock up on say 6 items*$5, 30 extra items and actually store them properly.

    Yeah, food costs are out of control. Eating out simply doesn’t happen anymore.

    Just paid my taxes a few weeks ago…. I sent the thieving bastards more money in one keystroke, than I used to make in a year. And no, the difference in gross pay is not proportionate; it is punitive and oppressive. The new tax code did NOT help me at all.

    Does it sound like I’m doing the right thing? Being responsible, etc.? I thought so. But American Express seems to disagree. I’ve been with them well over 30 years. AMEX sent me a letter a couple days ago. They think I’m not spending enough, so they cut my credit line. Really?

    I phoned their call center yesterday morning and spent 20 minutes working my way through the ‘bakka, bakka, bakka’ Tagalog script reader in the PI. Apparently she didn’t have a box to tick for “punitive action” and “no, actually, eff YOU”, which were two critical messages I wanted passed on to AMEX. Anyway, both accounts were canceled.

    Homey don’t play dat!

    1. Good for you! I think they probably got the message, if only to their bottom line.

      I’m glad you’re back, by the way. Missed you.

    2. Just curious but if you don’t use your Amex why do you care that they cut your limit. There a a lot of much better cards out there than them. Having a Amex card years ago was a status symbol but I rarely use mine ever. Unlike some I am a fan of credit cards just not credit card debt. I use an Amazon card most of the time and get about 600.00 a year in rebates and points to buy what I want but don’t spend a penny on interest.

  17. Do you remember about 10 years ago, people were losing their jobs, their houses, there were a thousand people all applying for the same job? Some people had to take pay cuts to keep their jobs.
    Today I have no worries about losing my job, but if I did, I would have a much easier time finding a new one. So even if I wasn’t making more money now than I was before, these other facts are enough for me to say that I am better off now than before.

  18. Actually seeing new houses under construction in our area again. Home Depot and Lowe’s are crowded with customers too.

  19. I like this article; it’s NOT about the global/US/local/ economy or anything to do with Big-Brother.
    Rather it’s asking about “YOUR Economy”
    So here is my 2¢ worth of My Economy.

    Mine is doing GREAT!!!! And here is why; (remember it’s about “my” so there is going to be a LOT of “I’s” in here).

    I have a very deep pantry that was not so hard to set up, Why you ask, because I now ONLY buy when food/stuff is no sale, I refuse to pay full price for any foods, period. I also only buy foods in Bulk, and never NEVER buy pre-made crapo. PS; along with that Deep Pantry is the Skills to “make due”.

    I do not go “out for dinner” ever, Why you ask, because I’m a heck of a better cook than 90% of ALL restaurants, also I eat healthier that that crapo McDonalds sells.

    I have and will continue to grow a HUGE portion of my own foods, I’m yet expanding my Garden again, and I’m in the process of setting up both Rabbit and Chicken operations for 90% of the meat I will eat. Again knowing what is feed to my animals/food is a GREAT thing.

    Next, I have very little need for more “stuff” meaning I’m not going to buy a new truck or more furniture anytime in the foreseeable future. Yes stuff breaks down, and if needed I beat the poor sales-person ½ crazy for a better deal.

    I do 99% of my own maintenance on everything I own, my water heater goes poof, guess who is going to fix it?

    I spent better than 2 hours at my Insurance Agency a few weeks ago, odd how I walked out of their office with the exact same coverage and almost 28% less cost.

    I have cut my home expenses by an extreme by doing a few little things, I totally heat my home with Firewood, I have replaced 80% of my light bulbs with LEDS, I take a quicker shower (still getting clean hehehe) I stopped using the dishwasher, I now hang dry my clothes (stopped using the Dryer). All in all I’m looking at a 40-50% savings on Home Expenses in just fuel, water, electricity.

    I now do a lot more purchases “online”, now everyone is going to scream and yell at me for not supporting local, but here I go anyways, I happen to buy a LOT from Amazon and others (yes when I remember I link through MSB), why do I buy through Amazon, simple TAXES!!!! The local sales tax here is 8.25%, that’s $8.25 per ever $100 I spend; the average I pay through Amazon is 3.25% or less. If the local Tax-Man wakes up YES I will again buy local…… Also my time is worth something, why fight that Wally World Scum to buy a bar of soap? BTW, do you know that if you order that bar-o-soap from Wally World and have it shipped free, you still only pay the lower tax? Meaning anywhere from 3-5% tax savings. One would think the local merchants would wake up and start screaming at the .gov…..

    I have zero CC interest, yes I use CC’s and pay them off every month, AND usually get “cash bonuses” back, so why not?

    Property Tax, I fight with the Tax-Man every time I get a new “evaluation” and always win. I actually heard a “moan” last time I walked in… HAHAHA

    I actually live a very simple life, I do NOT have that Cable or Satellite TV stuff, it’s 99% brainless anyways, so why pay $100s on commercials, propaganda, brainwashing and Hollywood’s BS. Live youe own life, not some fake actors lies.

    I hate going to “the movies” or just brainless entertainment. Would much rather go fishing or for a nice hike, why spend $20 for a movie to sit on my butt with 50 other wacko people, and have that POS next to you cough all over ya? When is it you sat on a porch and watched the Stars and Moon rise?

    I have a fairly good income, SS and working, so the availability of $$$ is not a problem, I’m just a cheap SOB I guess, and I do love having those 30cal ammo cans full of dead presidents and PMs JIC. Ohhhh BTW, do NOT go whining if the Banks go on a “Holliday” and your 401’s are literally taken. Or you can’t get to your safety deposit box locked behind the .gov doors.

    Lastly, I do not have a crystal ball, I cannot see what’s going to happen in a year or 10 years, all I know is I find it better to live a frugal lifestyle now and have the knowledge and ability to do “Without” than to live flamboyantly and foolishly until the Piper needs to be paid. And yes, the Piper will be paid.

    1. NRP
      You have just defined sustainability, equilibrium, practicality, …. as much as any rational prepper can expect to achieve (well except for not having a bunker) :)

      I have known people that have felt insulated against disruptions in their lives, only to have a fire, flood, health problems, doubling of property taxes, … ruin their future plans. So, your belief in living for the day and not for the future is wise.

      The truth is that people as well as all living creatures face what I call Darwinism. Total faith in the status quo can be disastrous, mentally, financially, … just look at the viewership at CNN since the Mueller report, the last housing bubble, the stock market fluctuations, and even participation on MSB since the 2016 election.

      My point is that adaptability and flexibility are very important requirements in prepping. I have put this at the top of my “what if” list.

      1. Awesome post NRP, yes agree! Sending you a virtual high five :)
        Also hooray for rabbit and chicken raising, best to you as you embark on it
        Yes, our carnivore pets eat what we produce too, so Blue will be a happy pup as well as you! If you ever have any rabbit, q’s, let me know, I’m all ears ;)

  20. Still not saving the name and email and when you go back the comment is gone, Don’t really have the time to re-type it. For me it is about the same and Me is not me but I’m glad it is going well for him (or her).

  21. It’s easy to notice that your money doesn’t go as far as it once did when you live on a fixed income. Grocery prices constantly go up so we have to cut back elsewhere. So we have stopped all purchasing with the exception of food and gas.

    We are no longer replacing appliances, electronics, and other electrical items as they break. Of course part of that is that the quality of what is out there is crap.

    This past winter our 45+ year old heating pad stopped working, so we needed to replace it. Purchased what I thought was a solid heating pad. It only had a 30 day warranty. It stopped working on the 33rd day. So I purchased another brand with a longer warranty, 90 days. Roughly about 10 days after the warranty expired it also expired.

    It was at that point we decided no more. Both purchases came from what I thought were good companies, however both items were made in China. So we have come to that point in our lives where we will do without.

    1. My wife and I have this conversation almost daily. Prices keep ratcheting up higher and higher while simultaneously quality keeps getting worse and worse, or the amount of the product one gets for their money is reduced.

      When I was a kid, there were certain brands that the adults used to joke about lasting only as long as the payments or the warranty. Now it seems most things don’t even make it that far.

      When I was a kid, ice cream was sold in half gallon or gallon sizes. Not anymore.

      Honestly, at times I think it is done on purpose. Economies rely heavily upon consumption. If a product is built to last, then future consumption via having to purchase its replacement is curtailed. Then there is the profit issue- build it cheap brings more profit. On and on it goes, and we’re the ones that get stuck holding the bill.

      I do know that wages have most definitely NOT kept up with the rising costs of everything. It seems like a decent raise is a relic of the past. Nowadays your raise is just being able to keep your job!

      1. I remember reading about a light bulb company that advertised that it was the last light bulb that you would ever need to buy. Yes the company made them so well they put themselves out of business. They showed a picture of the companies light bulb, one of which was still in operation going on 75 years.

    2. Rice or rice hulls can be placed in a doubled sock/small pillowcase.. to heat in microwave or slow oven….even on top of wood heater if careful…in dry pan , …Hot water bottles also will do the same job as heating pad. but i love me a heating pad. Hubby is much warmer. natured than i and it keeps me able to get up in the morning to have one so am not hurtin g from Dan to Bersheba.

  22. I cannot click on a choice to vote but I will say that over all our personal situation has not improved. We keep hearing that the economy is doing great, unemployment is lower than ever, etc. but I guess it hasn’t trickled down here yet.

    1. restoringBrad think unemployment is lower, but I also thing the jobs are lower paying then in the past.

      Thus my stating self-employment as a option.

      1. I started a call center job in 2002 at $10 per hour. I applied for a call center job in 2014…at $10 per hour. Unemployment is certainly lower, but wages have stagnated since the early part of the century. Wages should have gone up more than a third just to make up the difference of inflation. They haven’t. So essentially people are making 30% less than 17 years ago (after inflation).

        1. Wait, what?! Call center gig? Lauren, your lightning-quick wit and obvious gift for writing is sorely underutilized, I think. Ad-copy, scripts, stories; geez, even tech pubs if you had to. All of this pays well and you can do it from home. Companies are starving for brain power. You should see some of the crap I reject after someone decided to run 100k copies. Spelling errors in title blocks?! Are you kidding me? You could make a fortune.

          1. I will admit that at times I’ve been sorely tempted to correct something sent to me by some company or other, red ink everywhere, then send it back with a note that says “Need an editor? Call me.”

            I’ve tried for those jobs before, but somehow I never got an interview. Probably just don’t know the right people.

            A funny story, though. In one of my first jobs (secretarial) the boss (multiple PhD) handed me a letter to transcribe and return for his signature. I corrected his grammar, spelling, punctuation, and returned it for his signature. He “corrected” everything back and told me to do it again. I took my initials off the bottom and did as I was told. : )

  23. Our personal economy has improved greatly over the last 5 years or so. House is paid off, credit cards are paid monthly, PMs in the safe, etc…….I recently went back to work part time out of boredom! My hobby farm is as developed as it needs to be; I actually cut back on how much I planted this spring because my deep pantry is so extensive. I only planted Roma and San Marzano tomatoes, jalapeño peppers, and green beans. Long story short, I’m just gonna pile up the extra cash from my new job for just in case purposes. At 60 years old, I thought it would be tough to get back into the work force, BUT I had multiple offers! I was told that younger people don’t have the same work ethic as we “seasoned” employees! LOL

  24. Our personal economy has got worse mainly because of health issues. DW lost her job and has difficulty getting around to the point she can not get another job but has been denied disability. I have had a second back surgery and am not able to keep up in the shop any more. I now work in the parts department and my pay is a little over half of what I used to make. The good news is that we have no debt other than taxes and a golf cart payment that is $100/mo. There have been times that our deep pantry is all that got us thru. I don’t mean to complain. I am grateful for all that we have.

    1. car guy,
      Ah yes, the deep pantry , helped us get through a year of unplanned income reduction last year. The deep pantry is like having your own grocery store . We try to buy in larger quantities and when it is on sale. As NRP said “it is my economy”, so that is what we focus on while still watching the national/regional economy.

      1. Bluesman
        We do have a grocery store in our spare bedroom. We shop for sales and have had some good ones lately and the money to spend as well. I tell people that I’m not a doomsday prepper. I am an every day prepper. It is much more likely to loose a job or have to go to the hospital than to have a nuclear b o m b go off.

  25. I came late to the party so the about the same button was there and I used it. Our personal situation is good and we are very blessed. I realize part of that is because we live a more frugal and back to the earth lifestyle than most of our contemporaries (not including anyone on MSB cause y’all are about the same as us on lifestyle). Prices of EVERYTHING continue to climb and I notice it constantly. Taxes continue to rise because he gov does not want to control their spending and they don’t believe they should be required to do so.

    That being said, we are fortunate to have the funding to pay for what is needed through self employment, retirement, and savings. We also believe it is our responsibility to help family and friends when they are in true need. This week it was delivering meals I prepared to a friend, offering a friend a part time job (that will eat into our savings), and increasing our charitable giving. Sometimes it is simply praying for a good outcome for that person or family. The sad truth is, while we may be doing better, most of those around us are not. Jobs are not there unless they are willing and capable of doing handyman type work (huge demand for that). And it is a falsify that healthcare is there if you need it and doesn’t cost much. So I am grateful that a Trump removed the “fee” people had to pay if they didn’t have healthcare.

    Our local food pantry is in high demand. Second hand stores are thriving. And Walmart is overrun because those who have EBT cards are spending on what they want – not necessarily what is needed. Not all cases because I have still seen a couple people using theirs responsibly, but it is a small minority. The workers at our store are being laid off or not replaced when they don’t show up for work and robots will be doing more stocking. The salespeople at the counters are being let go and more shopping is being called in – people now have someone else pick out their items and then just show up to have it placed in their car! Good luck with that! Might as well order online but you cannot get fresh goods online and you can at Walmart and they gather it for you.

    My world includes those around me and they are not doing well and it is truly sad. I fear for these next generations who don’t truly understand what they have lost.

    The rain has let up, time to get to work.

  26. Today (Saturday 5/4/19) I am off work. But I’m still doing things that will make me several hundred dollars in a month or so.

    I’m sitting on the carpet watching U-Tube, talking to a few friends on the Ham radio and cutting copper pipes into Ham radio antennas. it’s pretty easy work that anyone could do.

    I could do it sitting in a wheel chair.

    I will have 40 of them ready for the June Hamfest / Flea Market. Antennas are only one thing I make, repair to sell. I just bought a Kenwood HF radio for $200.00 and all it needs is the cigarette residue removed from it and it is going to sell for $550.00.

    I also buy older electronic items (radios, CB’s, Marine radios, GPS units and such and clean it up and sell them.

    On an ongoing bases I sell $900.00 to $1,900.00 in things at a Hamfest. This money more then keeps me in new radio toys. The antennas cost $11.00 to make and I sell them for $27.00, the other items have an up-seen amount of profit, but the antennas are a solid sales item I have depended on for 25-years.

    While not everyone can make antennas and or repair radios, we all have skills someone will pay for.

    This is how you greatly improve your personal economy, by finding something you can do that others will pay for. And like my making antennas in my spare time you can fit it in with your time allowances.

    I’m lucky in that I enjoy doing this kind of work.

    1. Man I wish I could pick your brain and talk to you bout these antenna your making.
      I don’t know a lot bout this field but don’t trust the radio club folks round here. All they wanna do is snitch on each other to FCC. It’s like some weird badge of honor they get off on.

      1. Matt the antennas I make are made out of a 10 foot copper pipe and a chassis mount SO-239 connector.

        I make 144 MHz, (2-meter) 440-mHz., 220-MHz. and 6-Meter Slim-Jim antennas.

        All you need to make them is a piece of pipe, 4 90 deg connectors, 2 end caps some solder, a blow torch a sharpie and a tape measure. You also need a radio for the band you are making the radio for and an SWR bridge.

        None of these are expensive assuming you already have a radio

        There are some other things that help a lot that cost more. One that is mighty handy is an antenna analyzer, it makes tuning an antenna very easy. But they cost $500.00. If you play with antennas at all this is a must-have tool.

        One thing I do to keep cost down is to buy in bulk. SO-239 connectors are $5.00 but I buy 100 count bags from a guy at a Hamfest for $2.00 each. A big savings I did buy only a few of them at a time in the past as I did not have a few hundred dollars to tie-up in them.

        I also calk the end of the connector with a good outdoor waterproof calk so no water gets into the coax wire.

        I then spray them with a can of black spray paint.

        If you are interested in making them do a search for Copper Pipe Slim-Jim Antenna.

        I have been making and selling these antennas since 1990. I have sold hundreds of them over the years and NEVER had a single complaint. In fact local Ham’s sell them for my every time they are on the air talking about their radios and antennas. And Ham’s love to talk about antennas.

        I did it originally as a way to help me live, but today I make them so my Ham radio hobby pays for itself.

        If you make these to sell, paint them as it makes them look much better. 15-years ago I was selling them at a Hamfest and a few rows over was another guy selling them. His were just the bare copper pipe. My antennas were painted, had the connector sealed, and had a tag with the SWR marked on it for each band.

        I sold out (almost always do) I counted and he sold 1 antenna.

        The extra mile is the road less traveled but it pays to travel it.

        I worked a bit harder on my antennas and took home pictures of dead presidents, he took home unsold antennas.

        PS: a 2-Meter J-Pole or Slim-Jim antenna works OK on 440 MHz. So you can make one antenna for the 2 most popular band and sell them.

        But I also sell a lot of just 440 Slim-Jim antennas so it’s good to have both.

        As far as clubs we have several clubs in our area but one club (TMRA) Toledo Amateur Radio Association is way ahead of all the rest. The welcome new hams, they put on 2 classes every year to get people licensed, They have radio related presentations at every club meeting. They do a few antenna builds classes every year. They have special meetings to help new hams get started in Ham radio.

        They have numerous repeaters on all bands from 10-Meter to 900 MHz. They do all the digital-modes (D-Star, DMR & Fusion) and have repeaters for just the digital modes. Their tech base is pretty good, lots of experts that keep it all going, they know so many things.

        You can’t find a more helpful and friendly group of people.

        PPS: I know it’s a lot of work, but who says you can’t start a club to help other hams in your area.

        I do this with a few friends for a very specific thing. Can’t say what as it would be a dead give away who I am and I’m NOT going to DOX myself.

        No we don’t have repeaters (at least not a public one, we have one for some emergency work. By the way it uses a copper Slim-Jim antenna.) We even help out a few local police agencies once in a while.

        Starting your own club group is a LOT of work only do it if you really want to do a specific thing. In our case it was something no one else did (or does) and it fills a need even local government finds useful.

        1. (All they wanna do is snitch on each other to FCC. It’s like some weird badge of honor they get off on.)

          None of that going on in Toledo Ohio , I won’t say how I know this, but of this, I’m sure of it.

          Most times there is a guy that will talk to the person causing a problem and try to solve it without The FCC involvement. Ham Radio is designed to be self-policing so the FCC takes a hands-off mentality with problems unless it’s a really big problem.

          With self-policing there needs to be someone to correct the action it may make this person seem the bad guy, but not really the intention to do so.

          Hams had to learn a bit to get on the air, they don’t want a CB mentality and actions on Ham frequencies. For the most part self-policing works very well. Ham frequencies are a far cry from the things going on CB (the Chicken Band) and it’s a much nicer place and defiantly more family friendly
          .
          An offender is talked to and then it’s dropped and not held against him if his actions are changed. We for the most part don’t hold grudges, we just want to enjoy our hobby and keep it clean.

          It may be the guy talked to has a grudge for a while, but over time he will find we are not mad at or dislike him at all.

          1. We can move this over to the open forum if needed:

            I understand the whys on policing and certainly the CB junk chatter, recording playovers and filth of prostitution and
            Dopeheads. I’ve used CB since the late 70s as a teen even before I could drive. I quit in the 90s as it became impossible to have a conversation.

            One guy told his story to me “to keep me outta trouble”. He bought some equipment, from a club member, that was higher power or different channel than he was licensed for, I’m a little fuzzy, hooked it up and made the proper call to call his buddy to make sure it worked and it cost him $90. They told him that they had turned him in. I heard no less than 3 conversations about turning in people there by them.

            I asked about making my own repeater. You’d of thought I was a super criminal. This was after I stated I’ve zero interest in talking during normal times. I’ve got nothing to say. During an emergency like tornado I’m usually boots on the ground not sitting around talking.

            They sat and talked bout too much government but then it’s all bout licensing and FCC ….

            I want nothing to do with them or .Gov for my purposes. I just want to talk to a team member in a 5-6 mile radius by pushing a button saying nothing more than what I have to and then going dark again.

          1. (I want nothing to do with them or .Gov for my purposes. I just want to talk to a team member in a 5-6 mile radius by pushing a button saying nothing more than what I have to and then going dark again.)

            Go with CB SSB. No FCC, with outside home and auto antennas you can easily do 6-miles.

  27. Jane Foxe, It involves plants and growing what is in demand…so goes with the interests i have and am building new to me skills that I am interested in… in time will be a benefit to others. Kinda like the seed… must plant it and allow it to grow… but meinwhile nurture it…

    1. Just Sayin’ — sounds good. Good luck with it all. I have a bit of a brown thumb, sigh, but for those that don’t, I think it is the sort of thing that folks like me would buy.

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