Freedom from Fallacy is no more, sorry

To any of you who enjoyed or followed my youtube freedom from fallacy series, I’m sorry  but it is now dead.  Actually, it was dead a little while ago since I wasn’t really putting them out anymore.  Here’s my final video relating to the topic that explains why I stopped.  Enjoy!

Free Money Minute: Amazon Subscribe & Save

UP FRONT DISCLAIMER:  Amazon did not pay me to write this article, and I don’t ultimately care if you use Subscribe & Save or not, using Subscribe & Save has just worked out well for me personally and it may help you to produce your freedom as well.

I’m going to assume that a large number of readers at this point are Amazon Prime members.  If you are, that means from time to time you probably make some fairly small dollar purchases when you’re shopping for other stuff, and if not you may want to make a habit of at least thinking about these little things you need before you complete your order.  Amazon isn’t always the cheapest place to get this stuff, although they may be depending on the timing and item.  The primary advantage here is that doing this saves valuable time in your life.  You will also likely save on gas, and you will be free to do more productive things like work on a side business or spend time with your family instead of running errands. That being said, you don’t save any time if you spend 20 minutes looking for the best deal on a toothbrush.  Just buy something decent that’s reasonably priced on move on with life.

Subscribe & Save takes your time savings to the next level, and can also save you some money.  If you’re not familiar with this service, don’t worry it is easy to use.  Basically, you find a product that has the Subscribe & Save option, and you buy it using that option rather than making a regular purchase.  The price will be 5% lower than the regular price (or 15% lower if you subscribe to 5 items) as of this writing.  Amazon will then send you that product at the frequency you set, and will bill the credit card on file that you choose.  They will send you a reminder before the item is billed/shipped, which allows you to review the price before anything is charged.  If you do nothing, the order ships and is billed as scheduled.  The 15% savings is very easy to reach even if you just use it for toiletries which are pretty much always consumed in very predictable amounts.  Here are a few things on my list:  Deodorant, mouthwash, bar soap, shampoo, toothpaste.  There are some reasons NOT to do use this so I will address those after an interruption for a brief disclaimer.

DISCLAIMER #2:  You will hurt your financial freedom if you carry a credit card balance from month to month.  If you use a credit card, you should have one that you use for necessary purchases only, and is never used for discretionary spending.  You should also pay it off in full every month.  Subscribe & Save orders should be on THAT credit card but you should only be subscribing to items you need.  Please don’t tell yourself that since you’re saving money you can buy a higher end product than you normally would.  If we can, we want to save time and money here.

Here are a few of the arguments that I have heard/read against this service:

Objection #1:  The prices aren’t always the same from one order to the next, so this isn’t a true subscription and you could end up paying more than you should for things.

Response:

  1. From what I have seen the prices are still reasonable even when they change.  Remember, the prices are based on the prices that Amazon is regularly charging anyways.  Since they are typically charging reasonable prices in order to be competitive with other retailers, I don’t see this as much of an issue.
  2. If you’re saving 15% and the price was reasonable when you started, you are no worse off until the price increases by the 15% savings.  At that point, you may still be ahead because other retailers are likely charging more for the product as well.
  3. Amazon tells you that the prices can change.  Also, they email you before billing you, and this email shows the price of your previous order which makes it easy to see if something is out of line.  If you have added or removed items you’ll have to look at your order history to figure out the prices, or you could just check if it’s reasonable and move on.
  4. You may end up paying slightly more than you could have elsewhere, but having this automation has worked out well for me.

Objection #2:  If the delivery options are not often enough I won’t have what I need, and if they occur too often I’ll have a pile of stuff that I’ll never use up.

Well, the delivery frequency is set up to work well for most people, so the timing probably isn’t too far off. But here is how we fix these two issues:

  1. If you find it’s not often enough, just buy one or two extras through a brick and mortar store while you are out shopping.  Another option would be to order an extra as a one time purchase on Amazon when you’re shopping there.  Either way you’re ahead of the game because you probably saved time and money all of the times you didn’t have to do either of these things.
  2. If you find it’s too often and you have lots of extras that you don’t want, this is a good problem to have, and you have a couple of choices.  You could stop subscribing and add a different item to keep your subscription at the right amount of savings.  Then when your surplus runs low you could add the item back to your subscription.  OR, you could put the extras in a box, label it, and throw it in a closet.  Now if money gets tight, your savings will stretch further since you won’t need to buy this stuff.  If you build a surplus of all your subscription items, you could turn off Subscribe & Save completely and give yourself a bump in income during those hard times.  If you end up with a lifetime supply, congratulations!  In some ways that stuff is better than cash since your money is probably losing value to inflation and the goods in your closet are not.

DISCLAIMER #3:  Don’t take that last statement to mean that you should have no cash and a pile of stuff.  Cash is important for your financial freedom, since it allows you to do things like invest, retire, and pay for emergency items that arise.  You would have a tough time trying to sell a closet full of toiletries to try to pay for a medical procedure.  Having a reasonable amount of extras doesn’t hurt though, and taking this approach in other areas of your life can make things like a job loss more manageable.  Since you can partially live off of the stuff you accumulated, your savings will last longer, and you won’t be stressing over how to afford the basics, or depressed that you now can’t even afford mouthwash.  Instead you can think more clearly in those challenging times and make sound financial decisions.

I hope you enjoyed the article, and I hope to put out more like this soon.  If you can think of any other objections to this service, please post them below, and I will do my best to respond.

 

 

 

 

Homemade coffee vodka = yummm! (I hope)

Hello everybody, I know this is turning into a place where I usually just post my youtube stuff, but I’m okay with that.  I think this is also a great platform to maintain for when I have specific instructions on things or some thoughts on a topic that I want to explain very clearly and methodically rather than talking in a disorganized way on camera. (I’m still working on my video presentation skills).

Anyhow, I was thinking of how to continue my alcohol making adventures, and I wanted to make a few tastey flavored liquors (not liquers).  My first attempt is this coffee flavored vodka.  I started with the good stuff, but if this works out I’m going to see how far down in price I can go while still having the product be something that I enjoy.

This is a simple one, but through a little experimentation I bet you could make some really tastey unique gifts.  Not only will you probably save a few bucks, but you would be giving something special rather another yankee candle or similar thing.  Enjoy! and remember, produce your freedom, or life will produce your chains.

Very bubbly hard cider

Thanks for stopping in! I make a bubbly hard cider, and I wanted to give you a run-down of what I add after the fermentation appears to be done to make that happen.  Check out the video above, which is another installment in my hard cider series.  For those of you who are looking for the recipe of the mixture I add, here we go:

  • 1/2 cup of brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup of water (warm enough to dissolve sugar and honey)
  • 1 oz of honey
  • A dusting of cinnamon
  • A smaller dusting of nutmeg

That’s it people, enjoy! And remember to stop by again soon

Can a Cutting Board Give You Freedom?

Now presenting… the cutting board video I promised!  The video below explains briefly how I made this cutting board, but I also wanted to take some space below to talk about why I think woodworking can produce your freedom.  I’ll also get into the specific of how I made this particular project for those of you who are interested in the project itself.

The benefits of woodworking are almost endless.  It’s a great hoby that lets you work creatively with your hands, and it also keeps your mind sharp due to the geometry and planning involved.  Although intricate projects involve some fairly complex planning most basic projects do not.  It truly is an art, and is one that can save you TONS of money over buying high-end wood products at fancy stores.  It also lets you design that piece exactly how YOU want it.   If you develop your skills enough, you can do projects just for fun and sell the end product for a decent sum.  Most importantly woodworking teaches patience and problem solving (yes you will make mistakes), and gives you a positive sense of accomplishment.  Best of all, you get a reminder on a regular basis of the great things you are capable of.

So how did I design and make this particular project?  I won’t go into every specific dimension and tool used, but here are the steps in a nutshell:

  1. Look at images of end-grain cutting boards on the internet to get some ideas
  2. Choose the pattern and the wood.  For a cutting board, you want to use hard woods with a fairly dense grain to hold up to the curring you will be doing.  For this project I chose walnut and rock maple.
  3. Determine the approximate dimensions of the cutting board and size of the checkers that you want.  Larger checkers = less work since you have to square up fewer pieces of wood.
  4. Add a margin to your planned dimension for each checker to allow for some loss of material when you are making each strip square.
  5. Calculate how many checkers you need to reach your desired length, and determine how long each piece squared piece of wood has to be by the following formula:  Length = (Desired length of the board / Length of each checker)  * Desired thickness of cutting board including margin to account for the depth of the saw blade.  Again add some to the lenght to give yourself room for error.
  6. Cut each piece of wood to the length from step 5, then cut them over-sized to the size you will need for your checkers.
  7. Plane one piece completely square, still somewhat over-sized and measure both dimensions with calipers.
  8. Plane each additional piece square, getting close to the dimension of the first piece.
  9. Plane several pieces together if using a powered planer with a level deck to bring them all to same dimension.
  10. Glue all pieces together, alternating type of wood. Be sure the ends line up precisely and clamp together.  Note you want to work fairly quickly here, so have everything you need laid out in advance.  Also, you will want some plastic wrap down on your bench so that any excess glue that seeps out will not glue your project to the bench.
  11. Make sure this block is square in all directions when glue is dry
  12. Cut strips from this block corresponding to the depth of the cutting board, accounting for the width of the saw blade when doing so.
  13. Place each strip end-grain up, and flip every other piece end-over-end to create checkerboard pattern.
  14. Glue each piece to the next, ensuring that the ends (and hopefully the edges of the checkers) align correctly. Clamp them together.  See step 10 regarding laying out your materials and using plastic wrap.
  15. Plane as needed to make square.  I recommend using hand planes at this point.
  16. Sand using fairly smooth grits, working to finer and finer grits as you go.
  17. Sand all 90 degree edges off at a 45 degree angle or similar to prevent chipping.  Then go back and sand all 8 corners.  You want to do this very lightly and quickly so you don’t eat away too much material.
  18. Oil with a food safe oil such as vegetable oil.  Do not use stain, it will mask the grain of the wood and hide its natural beauty.  Let oil absorb over night.
  19. Repeat 18 above until the color has changed how you would like and you have applied several coats.

There you have it, the directions above assume some level of woodworking knowledge and experience.   I don’t recommend this as a starter project for someone who is not comfortable with tools and woodworking.  You could certainly do it, however you will probably get frustrated and not enjoy yourself.  With patienbout and the right tools this can be done by just about anyone.

Thanks for stopping by and remember, “Produce your freedom, or life will produce your chains.” – Me

 

 

Couch Potato Holsters

Hello everyone!  Thanks for stopping by again, I just wanted to share with you a video I made on “couch potato holsters.”  This mainly applies to those of you who rely on a handgun for self defentse.  I’m not sure if i coined this term or not, but if you want to know what they are click the video!

Also, stay tuned to the blog if you want to know how I made this endgrain cutting board, and why you should look into woodworking to further your freedom!

End-grain cutting board
End-grain cutting board

Thanks for reading, and remember to…  “Produce your freedom, or life will produce your chains.”  -Me