Thursday, August 14, 2008
We are all suffering from the current downturn in the Economy and most people are trying to tighten their belts by economizing on the two things they should not economize on and those are health and food. Many of us boomers are also approaching our retirement where we have got to get used to live of fixed incomes and try and cut costs.
The following is a sampling of all my suggestions I wrote about in my various blogs where we can economize without resorting to scrimping on health or food.
- Telephone; Landlines
Do you have a traditional landline costing you $60 per month at least, including Long Distance?
Did you know you can get a landline for $25 per month with Voice over IP (VOIP)? If you have a DSL or Cable internet connection you can get VOIP. T-Mobile can even offer this service for your mobile phone from home for only $10 per month if you do not need international. That is a savings of between $35 and $50 per month!
- Telephone; Mobile Phones
Are you on a post pay plan that costs you at least $60 per month with tons of free minutes that you never use and where you are constantly cut off? Did you know that you can get pre pay or pay as you go plans for as little as $10 per month? If you use your mobile phone for texting or SMS only, this money can last you for longer than a month and your message always arrives! You can also fill it up with higher amounts if you need to but my average spend is less than $25 per month. So here is another saving of between $35 and $50 per month; the messages can be as long as you want to make them!
- High Speed Internet connection
Have you refreshed your Internet service contract lately? Are you paying nearly $ 65 per month for DSL or Cable service? Check out all the offers and threaten your service provider with changing to another provider, and watch how quickly your charges will be reduced to $25. Another savings of $40 per month.
- Cable TV
Do you really need 100 to 200 channels? Do you really benefit from your $90 per month? How often do you use your DVR? Do you not have a VCR or a DVD recorder which can perform almost the same functions? Also, is it not true that most of the programs (sport, series, funnies) us boomers watch are on the national channels for free?
Buy some rabbit ears for $20 from Radio Shack, put them on your roof , tune them correctly and attach them to your cable wiring. You now have all the TV you need in picture perfect HD for free! Saving your self another $90 per month.
So by simply going through your everyday communications needs and paring them down to what you need, without sacrificing anything, we have just saved ourselves the grand total of between $200 and $230 per month.
Just imagine what that can buy you in quality food and health care in a month. And you aint seen nothing yet!
The next episode I will discuss, savings on ELECTRICITY, use of your CAR and CAR PAYMENTS, your HOUSE and MORTGAGE PAYMENTS and so on
Sunday, August 3, 2008
As Anthony Ingram wrote in a letter to the editor of The Dallas Morning Post on July 30th.
"The Resident benefits from lower or zero Electric bills. The Electricity Company benefits from having small inexpensive power generating sites with minor maintenance. The community benefits by additional generation without major power plants. Everybody wins, except wind generation producers."
This clearly is an alternative way to add clean capacity to our power generating capability without adding new power stations. Imagine thousands of green mini-power stations that feed power to the grid and make your energy needs virtually free of charge.
This method of generating power, helps our country, saves the environment and helps the consumer with reduced or zero energy prices. No need for expensive wind farms, no need for new or enhanced grids to transport the energy from the farms to the existing grid costing billions of dollars. Believe me the grid between our homes and the utility company exists TODAY. The Technology exists and works TODAY!
As it is too expensive for most ordinary households to install, even with a 50% subsidy and a $7,000 tax credit, why not have the utility company install the panels and pay for it? They are going to spend money on new and additional green energy generation capacity anyway!
As a payback on their investment the utility company will not have to pay the resident for any electricity the panels on their homes return back to the grid, (believe it or not the meters on your residence will start spinning backwards and put electricity back into the grid when your home generates more electricity than it requires) until the cost of the panels and the installation is paid off.
If all this sounds implausible, it is not. “A proposal for $6.4bn of new power lines linking new wind farms with Texas’ public electricity grid, whose cost will be borne mainly by consumers”. Not my words, see article in my links.
See how many houses could be equipped with solar panels with this money. The gross cost for an average but complete solar panel installation is roughly $35,000. So for $6.4 billion roughly 200,000 houses could be provided with solar panels that will feed the grid.
I have not even discussed the amount of money a Texas utility is about to spend to increase its capacity with green power sources! How many more homes could be equipped with these huge amounts of money.
I invite you all in joining me to call for a energy solution that is a win win for all. And vote for power to the people.
When you surf the Internet for retirement options, the possibility of retiring on a cruise ship seems to be popping up more and more often the closer we get to the time that boomers are going to retire.
The benefits of retiring on a cruise ship are eloquently described everywhere and generally well known. It is also clear that retirement for the rich retirees is generally well catered for through expensive world cruises and floating apartment complexes. As ever if one has the money most things are possible.
The subject of this article is about how to make retiring on a cruise ship of a regular cruise line affordable, flexible and convenient for the person of average means.
The focus here is on retiring on a commercial cruise line because dedicated floating retirement homes will most probably be too expensive. Not only that, but it will take the charm of meeting different people of various ages on a day to day basis and the constant change in entertainment and itineraries out of the success formula, both of which are clearly part of the secrets to staying young and energetic.
That given, let me list some of the things that could make retiring on a cruise ship a costly, inflexible and at times an inconvenient experience for those of us who are not wealthy.
Start with the cost; Most of us will retire with probably $2,000 to $5,000 per month in retirement money. We will focus at the lower end of the bracket $2,000 and see if we can make this work.
Some of the cruise lines will offer an interior/inside stateroom/cabin for roughly $60 per day per person if you book last minute. Also if you book last minute one could potentially get this for one single person. If you are a repeat customer they might even upgrade you or give you a further discount. This translates to $1,860 per month. So on a $2,000 per month budget you would only have $140 per month left. Not very much, but doable. In addition If you only have $2000 per month you can only afford itineraries that are 30 days or less, doable but tricky.
The important thing here is you need to find a way to constantly book last minute in order to keep you rate affordable and find itineraries of 30 days or less to remain within your budget.
There are other things to consider.
First; you have to get to the ship, which can be cheap if you live in Miami, FT Lauderdale, Tampa, Port Everglades, Vancouver, Los Angeles, San Francisco or any of the other ports that cruise lines use as their embarkation points. Most of us though do not live by these ports and will have to fly. So that needs to be added to at least the initial cost.
Second; you need to be able to remain on the same ship as long as possible to make it convenient and avoid further transportation costs to another port to continue your journey. The way the airfares are moving this is inconvenient and not a very cheap proposition that would put this lifestyle out of your reach with a limited budget. An alternative is that you switch to another ship at the same port on the same day, sometimes unavoidable but still inconvenient.
The takeaway here is that you need to pick your itineraries and cruise lines with precision and good timing in order to avoid the inconvenience of moving ship and/or incurring unwanted transportation costs.
Now would it not be nice if there was some sort of body with members, a Union, which took care of all these details for you. A Union that you could join free of charge and that had such a strength in numbers it could get affordable pricing, convenient itineraries and flexibility to help your dream come true?
I am attempting to put together precisely such a group that will negotiate such pricing for you, have strength in numbers to make it flexible reliable for you to live aboard cruise liners without worrying about the details and so on.
The Union of members will negotiate:
• Affordable pricing,
• Flexible payment terms, so that you could go on longer itineraries without having to pay for the entire itinerary up front,
• Coordinated and contiguous itineraries, that will maximize your live aboard on the same ship and make swaps as convenient as possible and keep transportation cost to a minimum,
• Provide on shore facilities at major departure ports
• Provide umbrella health insurance for members
Please come and join us at http://cruisingthruretirement.blogspot.com free of charge so that we can build one of the most powerful unions of retirees’ and soon to be retirees’ in order to make retiring on a cruise ship a reality for all.
Can you see the regularity by which some of the major departure ports turn up again and again for different itineraries?
Vancouver, FT Lauderdale, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Rome, London, Sidney and so on.
This is important as these ports are the key to our convenience strategy to be able to LiveAboard cruise-liners long term and keep transfers between ships to a minimum, perferably none.
On my website Xpdatravel I have put together cruise iteneraries from two months to one year where the LiveAboard does not have to leave their ship at all.
To achieve this the LiveAboard sometimes has to put up with some repetitive itineraries. Although seeing Athens or Rome four times/days over a two month period is not a high price to pay for the convenience of the LiveAboard to be able stay on the ship and not to have to incur travel expenses to go to another port or change ship.
Come and join us so we can work dillegently to make the LiveAboard dream come true and vist us at CRUISINGTHRURETIREMENT to and make us stronger or send me an e-mail Bou@xpdatravel.com expressing your interest.
Many, many people in Rockwall, Texas have golf carts. They ride around in them in their gated communities . Why not drive around in them in their small towns? Would that not be the perfect solution to some of our energy and environmental needs? Besides the bicicle and just plain walking golf carts are probably the most environmentally friendly and energy efficient way of going about ones local business.
Before long, the canvas-covered, open-sided carts may be less of a surprise on the streets, such as those of Pine Lawn, Missouri, a working-class suburb of St Louis.
Under pressure from rising fuel prices, towns across the United States are passing bylaws to permit the use of golf carts on their streets as an alternative to cars for ordinary citizens.
"You can definitely save on gas - my cart's electric, but even the ones that run on gas hardly use any of it," said Paul Heideman, mayor of Ashkum, a town in rural Illinois.
Numerous other towns in Illinois, Indiana and North Carolina have implemented similar regulations or are considering them. And in several places where the carts are an increasingly common sight, another benefit is becoming clear: with no windows or doors to separate drivers from each other, or from pedestrians, the texture of daily life is changing. "It leads to a friendlier atmosphere," Heideman said.
Why does'nt a small town like Rocwall in Texas make golf-carts lawful street vehicles? Paul the owner of East Texas Colf Cars who runs a golf-cart business should be lobbying hard to get this done.
Golf carts have a serious image problem, however: many people associate them with old age and pensioners . But with the help of East Texas Golf Cars in Rockwall carts can be kitted out with chrome wheels, leather seats and high-end gadgetry - an effect slightly marred by the legal requirement to display a sign declaring that the cart is a slow-moving vehicle.
The potential for savings on fuel is huge and the carts are an ideal solution for those worst hit by the current economic downturn: a basic vehicle costs around $2,000. You have to be careful though as the risk of injury is higher than in a regular car.
Despite its limitations, though, Jones said they had transformed the job of policing Pine Lawn. "Now people can talk to them [officers] more easily," he said.
When will Rockwall in Texas follow?