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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Anybody want to share their painful lessons from this economic downturn?

1. Have 6 months+ living expenses banked.
2. Eliminate debts after building an adequate cash reserve.
3. Keep your cars well-maintained, up-to-date and registered, before getting laid off. Car maintenance will really tax you when you are living off of savings.
 

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I'm doing fine. But I have been out of work in the past and I grew up poor so I know how to stretch a dollar. I'm also very lucky in that I've never gone on welfare or U.I. in my entire life even though I've been jobless for a few months at a time. Having some back up cash is always a good idea.

I always find being out of work straightens out my priorities. I end up selling a whole bunch of stuff that I don't need. I also relax a lot and spend more time outdoors. I spent one summer biking and I lost lots of weight and got in shape. I actually have more fun when I'm not working. But we all need to pay the bills. Right?
 

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Things I learned...
Find something that interests you. During a major power outage (4-days after christmas), I discovered beeswax candles. That turned into the desire to make candles as a side business... which turned into "why pay someone for wax when I could keep bees, and make honey and wax!".

My desire to learn about beekeeping connected me with an elderly beekeeper who was ready to retire and wanted to pass along the knowledge/skills to one more person, and see his equipment get put to use.

That led to us buying his 2nd home... which had sat vacant for 20 years, since he used it solely for honey processing and storage.

Which opened up a whole new learning experience (building a lot on stuff I've watched Dad do but never done myself)...
It makes a lot more sense to buy a fixer-upper instead of an overpriced house (that needs work anyways!).

Teach yourself some new skills... I've learned:
-soldering plumbing (watched Dad lots... but now I've done 2/3rds of this entire house!)
-working with ABS piping (drain lines)
-how to replace a deep-well submersible pump
-more roofing skills (patching + repairing holes... like when you remove an old chimney)
-air sealing methods (expanding foam and acoustic caulking)
-installing exhaust vents (dryer vent, range hood, bathroom vent)
-installing hardwood flooring
-installing ceramic flooring
-drywall+plaster work
-electrical work
-small engine repair (house came with lawnmower, gas weedeater, snowblower... if I can get them running properly... which I did. Except for the weedeater, it's being very finicky)
....

And there is a difference between managable debt, and unmanagable debt. We have no credit card debt, except for a HomeDepot credit card (because of the 6-months no-payments). We have a bit of personal debt to family which is going to be moved to a line of credit... money we borrowed during the renovations. Our mortgage payments are 1/3 of what our rent payment used to be.


And now we have a house on an acre outside of town... beehives which produce honey that we can sell, bees to pollinate the vegetable garden we'll be planting next spring, nice neighbours who are willing to help us out, a bigger house to grow our family in...

Lots more to learn though...
-need to build a solar air heater to offset heating costs this winter
-need to build a shed next spring to store stuff in
-need to build a chicken coop
 

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I enjoy talking to older people they know so much. When I see 2 or 3 together, I wonder what they could teach me.:2thumb: One of my passions is scuba diving, a gentleman in my home town now in his 80's has the oldest dive shop in Ohio. He taught me how to dive in 1976, I am thinking about asking him if he would sell me his shop. My only concern is that the person who owns the dive shop does the least ammount of diving.:)
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
I definitely think developing hobbies and sideline passions into income streams is a good idea. A single employer is simply not reliable enough to entrust with your entire livelihood.

How to Make Extra Money from Hobbies - Associated Content

The beekeeping and scuba shop ideas sound like a fun way to generate income.

As for talking to old people, they can be surprising. I sat by a little old lady on a plane this week and she turned out to be a marketing professor who read the Wall Street journal everyday. She was down with corporate web communities and twittering to promote brands. I was like criminy I can barely send a text message and even the oldsters are twittering now... :cry:
 

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Talking about that, the old people ... my grandfather is still alive - and kickin' death in the butt and walkin' away laughing! He is ~94, has his digital camera, uploads the pictures to Walmart and then drives over later to pickup his pictures. While there, he gets his CD updated with his pictures so that he can clear his memory-card in his camera. He just recently sold his Jeep for an "economical" car - and is wishing that he still had his Jeep. He misses his 4x4.

He is still working in the garden, planting his vegies and harvesting, canning, freezing, drying ... etc. His wife (not my grandmother, god-rest-her-soul) is a little younger than him (10 years) and she says that she has a hard time keeping up with him - especially if he gets in his afternoon nap during the hottest part of the day :2thumb:
 

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... my grandfather is still alive -He is still working in the garden, planting his vegies and harvesting, canning, freezing, drying ... etc.
You are sooooo lucky. My grandparents were all gone before I started the major food producing venture I'm on. When I was a kid, they the had chickens a massive garden. They canned everything that wasn't used fresh. I always looked at canning as something "old people" did. Now I'm the "old people".
In 98 my grandmother died and my grandfather moved in with his oldest son. Their 5 children cleaned out their house and threw away all the canning stuff they had accumulated over the years :cry: because nobody wanted it and they didn't feel like trying to sell it. So not only did I lose all that equipment, which I have since bought, but also a lifetime of knowledge that can never be retrieved. Like sailaway said " they know so much". They lived through tough economic times and brought us all into this world. Don't ever take it for granted because one day they will be gone. :(
 
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