Friday, December 28, 2012

Double your Mpg

As most of you probably know by now, my goal is to eventually find a good cheap motorcycle to use as my primary means of transportation. I think that when gasoline climbs to five and six bucks a gallon (and more) then having a way of getting from here to there at 70 MPG will allow me to get around without breaking the bank. A bicycle is the best way to go as far as cheap transportation is concerned but not very practical if you travel more than 10 or 15 miles a day.

And to be honest, most people will not want to use a bicycle or even a small motorcycle or scooter for their transportation needs. If you live in an area that has extended winters with lots of ice and snow, or you have a family with small children still living at home, anything but an automobile just won’t do. So how can you afford to put gas in the car when prices start to skyrocket? The answer is of course to use Hypermiling techniques to stretch every drop of fuel to its limit.

You’ve probably heard the term before but what exactly is Hypermiling? Hypermiling is the act of operating your motor vehicle in the most fuel efficient manner possible. Some of the techniques that hypermilers practice range from common sense strategies like keeping their car properly tuned, to the more eccentric strategies such as keeping the windows rolled up and never using the AC-even in middle of summer! Some of the ideas people use can be downright dangerous. Running stop signs, and tailgating the car in front of you to reduce wind resistance.

There are many different techniques people have come up with over the years to reduce their consumption of gasoline, so let’s take a look at some of them and see if there are any you can use to fight the high prices at the pump. First let’s look at the more practical ideas that just make too much sense not to implement.
   Make sure your tires are inflated to the maximum level suggested. Keep a good tire gauge in your car and check tire pressure regularly. Some people inflate tires to levels exceeding the recommended maximum to reduce rolling resistance. Be advised though that this will reduce your breaking ability and give you a more bone jarring ride, so be forewarned.

    Change the oil in your car religiously. Use one with low viscosity for best results. Most hypermilers recommend a good synthetic oil and claim that the increased cost is more than offset by the savings in fuel.

    Make sure tires are aligned and properly balanced. You will burn up much more gas if not because it takes a lot of extra energy to keep a car on the road if its tendency is to pull to the left or right.

    Empty the trunk of useless junk. If it’s not part of your emergency supplies like a spare tire and jack, jumper cables, etc. then get rid of it. The lighter your vehicle is the less fuel you need to propel your ass down the road.

    Reduce drag (and weight) by removing any unneeded, external items attached to your vehicle such as bike racks, cargo carriers, etc. Less weight and less drag equals less fuel consumed.

    Drive at slower speeds. Your vehicle uses much more fuel at 70 Mph than it does at 60. It uses even less gas at 50 or 55 Mph, so use the slow lane whenever possible. You’ll still get where you’re going, only with more money in your pocket!

Now that we’ve covered the more basic, common sense tips you should know let’s look at some of the more “advanced” techniques that will keep you rolling on past the gas pump. Remember to avoid stop and go traffic like the plague. It takes a lot of fuel to get a vehicle moving from a dead stop so always keep it moving, if at all possible, once in motion.

    Don’t drive in rush hour traffic if you don’t have to. A traffic jam is the worse place to be if you want to conserve fuel. With all of the stopping and going and all of the idle time spent you are probably getting fuel economy in the single digit range, even with a fuel efficient auto.

    If rush hour driving can’t be avoided then give the car ahead of you plenty of room and go as slow as you can when the car in front of you stops. With luck the car in front of you will start moving again before you actually have to apply the brakes. This can be a tricky technique to get the hang of because you will likely have people cutting in front of you often. Again, it’s best to avoid times of high traffic.

    Use the cruise control. If you’re like most people you have a tendency to let the speed creep up without even being conscious of it. Get in the slow lane and set the cruise control to the minimum speed that is safe. An exception to this rule is if you are traveling on a roadway with lots of hills. Going up a hill will force the cruise control to kick in and burn more gas to maintain the set speed.

    When going uphill allow your speed to steadily decrease as you ascend.  You’ll still get over the hill and then you can slowly build up your speed to its previous level.

    If not traveling too slow once over a hill shift into neutral (if you are driving a stick shift) and coast down the other side. Your engine will be at idle speed and therefore burn a lot less gas until you actually have to shift it back into gear.

1  When first taking off build speed up as slow as you reasonably can. Just because your car can go from 0 to 60 in nine or ten seconds doesn’t mean you have to. Take at least 25 or 30 seconds to get up to speed. Sometimes this just means waiting on cars to go by. Don’t jump out in front of rapidly moving traffic if you don’t need to.

1  Take the route with the least amount of traffic signals and stop signs between you and your destination. Even if you have to travel an extra mile or two you might still save gas as well as time by not having to stop and go all the time.

1  Use your brakes as little as possible. If you see a red light up ahead of you then take your foot off the gas pedal and coast up to the light. Not only does your gas consumption drop when you take your foot off of the accelerator but you buy a bit of time for the light to change. With luck it will change before you get there and you won’t even have to stop. Drive like you have no brakes at all.

1  Add a Scanguage fuel economy computer to your vehicle (1996 or newer) to track your Mpg in real time. This might well be the best thing you can do to increase overall fuel efficiency. The price is a bit high but it should pay for itself in a matter of months.

These are but a few of the many hypermile techniques you can implement to reduce your overall fuel consumption. If you only practice the ones presented here you should be able to achieve a 25 to 30 percent increase in Mpg-even in your current vehicle. If you practice and learn the many other hypermile strategies that exist you can increase that number even more.
But if you really want to double your Mpg you should not only practice these and other Hypermiling techniques you should trade in your current vehicle for the most fuel efficient auto that you can afford.  In the next article I’m going to do a roundup of some of the most fuel stingy cars on the road, and NO I’m not going to be discussing hybrids. This is Cheap- Ass-Living so I’ll only be talking about older fuel efficient autos that you can find for next to nothing.

Thanks everyone    Tex Dakota

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Beans and Rice

Can you possibly think of anything more boring to discuss than the subject of Beans and Rice? I know that many of you probably think this article is going to be a bit of a snoozer but for anyone that needs to eat at the lowest possible cost a basic “beans and rice” diet just can’t be beat. This does not mean that you have to eat nothing but these two food items day in and day out. What it does mean however is that if you keep plenty of these low cost foods on hand then you will never have to worry about where your next meal is going to come from.

Right now as I type this up you can get a twenty pound bag of Pinto beans at Wally’s Wide World of junk (Aka Wal-Mart) for about $17.00. A twenty pound bag of white rice is about $10.00. That’s forty pounds of food for less than thirty bucks. The caloric value of a pound of dry, uncooked white rice is approximately 1620, whereas a pound of dried pinto beans is about 1575 calories. If you actually go out and buy a twenty pound bag of white rice and a twenty pound bag of pinto beans you will have yourself 64,000 calories worth of food. Based on an average daily diet of 2,000 calories you will have a 32 day supply of grub. That’s less than a dollar a day per person. Pretty damn cheap!

Beans and rice together will provide you all of the essential amino acids your body requires so it is entirely possible to live off of nothing but these two foods for an extended period of time. I know that some will argue that brown rice is much more nutrient dense than white rice, and this is true but in addition to being more costly, brown rice does not have anywhere near the shelf life that white rice does. For those looking for basic emergency/survival foods that are cheap then white rice (with beans) just can’t be beat. You can store white rice for more than a year with little to no degradation in quality. If properly stored then white rice even two or three years old will still be eatable and provide the body with useful energy. Dried beans store as well if not better than white rice.

I think it’s pretty clear that anyone preparing for the hard times ahead should seriously consider adding plenty of these basic foods to their stockpile. If you only have a three month supply of storage foods on hand right now and you feel that this is inadequate then you can literally double your supply overnight for less than a hundred dollars per person. Not a bad deal.

I have been stockpiling beans and rice for a while now and have plenty of these basic survival foods on hand. If for some reason I were not able to leave the house for months and months I would have plenty of food to sustain me. Let me state right now though, I do not advocate an emergency stash of nothing but beans and rice. I know some people suggest buying wheat in large quantities for a “survival stash”, and wheat certainly does have its merits, but you also need a good dependable grinder which adds a bit of complexity to the equation. But you can walk into almost any store and grab a bag of beans and/or rice right now and have them ready to eat in no time.

Since this blog is aimed more at survival in the here and now and not in a future time when a comet strikes the earth like in the novel “Lucifers Hammer”, or a super volcano plunges us into a three year long nuclear winter I would suggest that you rotate your stock. Don’t go out and buy several hundred pounds of food and bury it in the backyard if your goal is to do some Cheap-Ass-Living now. 

Label your supplies with the date it was purchased and store in a cool dry place away from any vermin. Polyurethane buckets (food grade) are perfect containers to store these items in. You can stack em and easily move them around when needed. Most preppers suggest that you add oxygen absorbers to storage foods and gamma lids to the buckets. This is not really necessary however if you store everything in the proper manner and rotate your stock in a timely fashion. Remember, “first in first out.”

I look at a beans and rice based diet like this. When you build a house in the conventional style you first construct a frame. Once that is done you then fill in everything else such as the roof, the walls, etc. Once that is done you finish it out to your personal preferences. The same is true with what we are discussing here. Build your frame-beans and rice. Add the roof and walls-other cheap food items like wheat/flour, corn meal, pasta, sugar, etc. Then finish it out to your liking-fresh veggies, spices, meats, and so on. 

Remember, we are poor so to achieve self-sufficiency on a limited budget we build on a “pay as you go” basis. I’m starting my dietary framework as cheap as I can with plenty of beans and rice, how about you?

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Sorry I haven’t posted in a while. I wrote articles three different times only to have them lost when my computer crashed before they were edited and posted. I am using the blogger platform which is not exactly the best, but since it’s free (and since I’m a cheap bastard) it’s what I use. This has all been very discouraging to me and I started to say “screw it” but I am going to continue with this blog as often as I can because this kind of info needs to be widely available. I think a lot of people need ideas that will allow them to live on smaller incomes. From now on I will write everything in Word and then copy and paste it.

Also someone broke into camp 420 stealing all my shit! I went out to my zombie hideout the other day and found out (to my complete disappointment) someone had broken in and ransacked the place. They stole some things I had stashed back for my “declaration of independence” from the man, and trashed the place! The things they took were minor and monetary loss wasn’t that great but that’s not the point. The real issue is that they broke in to my place and violated my personal sanctuary. It’s true I wasn’t living there yet but it still pissed me off. This has also been rather discouraging. I will be giving serious thoughts to security issues in the future.

Well the “election” is now over and the commie, Kenyan, Idiot has retained power. Surprise, surprise. I was never a supporter of the Rockefeller Republican, Mitt Romney but we’ve seen what the “HNIC” has done over the last four years. I’m pretty sure Romney would have been a disaster but with the current dimwit in control it is virtually assured. I think we were (are) headed for collapse no matter who was chosen by the powers that be. But I think it will be much quicker now that “bathhouse Berry” is at the helm for another four years, so time to double up.

So now that our destruction is virtually assured it’s time to start stocking up on the basics if you haven’t already. Get out of debt soon, the sooner the better, and then stockpile/hoard as much food as you possibly can. I know your poor but you can still stash back hundreds of pounds of basic food items for next to nothing-at least for now.

This won’t always be the case so take advantage of the opportunity while it still exists. I have been stockpiling beans and rice for a while and have close to a years supply. Every week I spend a few extra dollars on my emergency supply and it has really built up. Thank goodness I didn’t have it all stored at camp 420!

Are you still going to be able to pay the rent/mortgage when the economy collapses? If you are not sure that you can then what will be your backup plan? Do you have friends and relatives who will take you in when times are tuff? Will they still have a place to live when times are hard? These are questions you need to start asking yourself NOW. Don’t wait until it’s too late. Also remember good warm clothing and blankets, or a good sleeping bag. Basic lighting needs like candles and L.E.D, lighting is essential so build up your supply and don’t forget a couple of good flashlights.

I need guest articles. This blog is about living (and survival) on the cheap. I am certainly no expert on the subject but I think I know a couple of things that would be of use to others. Unfortunately I don’t know everything so I am asking your help in making this blog into a true resource for those who need to live on a small amount of money.

I have learned that I can’t do it alone so I am going to start accepting guest articles.  If you have anything to write about on the subject then please consider contributing to this blog. I think that if we pull our collective knowledge and experience then we can create a treasure trove of cheap living info for anyone who is on the lowest rungs of the economic ladder. I am especially interested in people who are able to live comfortably on as little money as possible. Anyone who wants to share their experience here with others will be a big help.

For those who are interested in submitting an article, please go to the contact page where you will find my email address. Send it to me and more than likely I will post it. All that I ask is that it is an original unpublished article that you have written. I will give you credit for it, or if you choose, I will post it anonymously. Thank you to everyone.

Thursday, October 11, 2012

To all who visit here

Sorry for not posting in a while. I have been rather busy working for "the man" and all that. Been doing other work on the side to earn a few bucks as well. I'm trying to pay off a small debt I foolishly took on about six months ago. It will be paid off soon thankfully so I can ease back on the slave labor and start working more for "me". I can start working once again towards my goal of leaving the rat race behind. Hopefully leaving it behind for good.

As most of you know this blog is primarily meant to be a chronicle of my journey in doing just that. A journey to free myself from the Matrix and from being just another cog in the wheel. Not a whole lot has been happening in that regard right now as most funds have been going toward personal debt elimination  

In fact I have not even been out to camp 420 in nearly two months.That is until the other day. Man let me tell you, mother nature sure has a way of reclaiming what is hers! When I pulled my $200 junk trailer out to my land it was so overgrown that I had to spend several days beforehand with a chainsaw a machete hacking out enough space to get it in. I continued to remove brush whenever I was there and even though there was still plenty more to do it actually started to look rather nice. 

Upon visiting the other day I hardly recognized the place. Vines were growing up everywhere-even on the trailer. Grass and thorns were so thick I could barely walk through them. Dead tree branches were scattered all over the place. Still it was really nice to be out there on my own "paid for" piece of land. I highly recommend it to anyone. 

With the summer heat now gone (and hopefully the west Nile mosquitoes along with it) I plan to start really working on the ole Zombie hideout in a serious way. I just purchased a good sleeping bag for the cool nights ahead and will be visiting the place on a regular basis once again. 

Thank you to everyone and stay tuned because this blog has only just begun!

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Did the terrorist win or what?

Today is the eleventh anniversary of the tragic events that changed our nation forever. I think it’s time to ask some hard questions. The rubble was still smoldering at ground zero when everyone in the “mainstream” media began telling us not to hate the people responsible for this carnage. If we hate the rag-heads, they told us, the terrorist will have won! Really?

The truth of the matter is that the terrorist will have won when we let the powers that be turn this country into a virtual police state. A country with video surveillance cameras at nearly every intersection. A country that allows warrantless wiretaps of suspected “terrorist”. A country where any citizen can be detained indefinitely without due process of law.

The terrorist will have won when we have a government that uses aerial drones to spy on its own citizens. If we have TSA agents molesting travelers at every turn then the terrorist will have won. If we allow the government to track the emails, text messages, and internet usage of every single person in this country then the terrorist will have won. So I ask the question again. Did the terrorist win or what?

Sunday, September 9, 2012

Avoiding Poverty

I met somebody once that hit the lottery and won over two million dollars! In less than ten years they were completely broke. I’ve also met a number of other people who came into a large amount of money through either an inheritance or an insurance settlement. Within a few years they burned through their money and were just as poverty stricken as before. I’m sure you’ve heard about such people. Why is this?

Why is it that some people in this world are able to fall into a big steamy pile of dung and come out smelling like roses while others can fall into a rose bush and come out smelling like crap? This is of course a hard question to answer but today I am going to take a shot at it. The short answer is that poverty is a state of mind!

I know that statement will raise the blood pressure of some people who read it. They just can’t fathom the possibility that money alone can’t always solve the problems we face in our world today. Let’s confiscate a few hundred billion dollars from people in the form of taxes and redistribute it to the more “needy” they proclaim and we can eliminate poverty in this country.

Since the so called “war on poverty” began in the 1960’s we’ve thrown trillions upon trillions of dollars at the problem with little to show for it. You’ve heard the parable “give a man a fish and feed him for a day, but teach a man to fish and you feed him for life. With more people than ever before relying on some form of government welfare to survive, this has proven to be remarkably true. Do yourself and your family a favor and teach yourself how to fish.

If you learn to maximize your available resources right now and fix the problems of your most basic needs then you will be in a much better position to weather any economic storms in the future, be they recession, depression, or total collapse. Cut down on the waste in your life and you will probably see the equivalent of a 15 to 20 percent increase (if not more) in your purchasing power with the same amount of money you are spending right now!

Yes, there are poor starving children in third world rat holes who scavenge the local landfill every day collecting paper and cardboard just so they can afford a bowl of rice. This however is due to “mental poverty” on a national scale. Nearly all of the countries where you hear of this kind of behavior have an abundance of available resources. Look at Japan, a country with almost no natural resources at all. You never hear about people in that country resorting to such extremes to survive.

For me to say that “poverty is a state of mind” and leave it at that does not tell the whole story. I know this. But it certainly is one of the main factors in the overall equation. The United States has traditionally been a nation suffering little poverty, relatively speaking. We were a country of self-reliant individuals who knew not only how to survive, but how to survive well.

This is rapidly changing however due to incompetent individuals like Obama, Romney, and the other miscreants who are running this country into the damn ground.

But I believe we still have a little more time before we get to the point of a full blown depression. How much time is anyone’s guess but if you make a conscious effort to prepare for the inevitable right now then you will be ahead of the game.

Eliminate any debt as fast as you reasonably can. Find a place that you can call your own even if it’s just a small piece of land in the country with an old travel trailer on it. Stockpile essentials such as food, warm clothing, and a means to acquire safe drinking water.

Transportation is an area you should put serious thought into. How will you get from here to there? Will you walk, ride a bicycle, small scooter or motorcycle?  If you plan to use a car or truck for your transportation needs do you feel like you will be able to maintain it and put fuel in the tank when times are tuff. What about when fuel prices double? These are all important points to consider.

Don’t forget your heating and lighting needs either. How will you deal with these issues? How about communication? Do you have a cell phone you can afford to keep turned on when you have very little money? Do you have a radio with enough rechargeable batteries (and a way to recharge them) to keep you informed about the latest news and weather and to supply a little entertainment from time to time? And last but not least, do you have a means of defense to protect what’s yours?

Plan now for what’s coming and you’ll be quite well off in when multitudes of people are getting evicted from tent cities and herded into FEMA camps for their “own good”. Take advantage of the relatively good times now and in the future you may not ever have to scavenge all day at the local dump for paper and other crap just to buy a single bowl of rice!

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Cheap-Ass Chinese motorcycles and scooters (Part 2)

When considering whether or not you should purchase a cheap “generic” scooter or motorcycle from China be sure you know full well what you are getting into. I’ve been looking into these things for several months and will probably continue to do so for a few more before I decide whether or not to purchase one.

I can tell you this however. The more I read up on these things the more convinced I become that a Chinese motorcycle or scooter is a really good deal. I know some of you will want to throw the ole “you get what you pay for” line at me so I’ll address that right now.

You can spend a thousand bucks (give or take a couple hundred) and buy a 25 to 30 year old Japanese machine or you can spend the same amount of money and have a brand new bike from our good friends over in communist China. There will be certain issues you need to deal with regarding the new Chinese bikes of course but there are also issues you will be dealing with if you buy a Jap bike that’s two or three decades old!

While it’s really hard to predict what sort of troubles you may encounter with something 25 to 30 years old, with a new Chinese piece of crap you can look at all the information available on the internet, study it till your blue in the face, and pretty soon a pattern will begin to emerge. You can see the big picture for what it really is.

90 percent of the bad reviews I’ve read deal mostly with little stuff like cheap plastic panels that don’t exactly fit as they should, Speedometer cables having to be replaced, lights and blinkers that quit working because of a poor quality bulb or a wire that came loose. Most reviewers of these infernal machines suggest that you tighten every single nut and bolt when first purchased. It also seems that the poorest quality batteries and spark plugs are installed before they’re shipped from the factory. All miner stuff that can be easily dealt with.

As far as the other 10 percent of negative crap I’ve read about these bikes; most of it was by people who never owned one but were only parroting all the bad crap they had heard. I haven’t read one thing yet about some cheap-ass P.O.S. Chinese scooter that had the motor blow up a few months after it was purchased. I haven’t read anything about the frame on one of these things snapping in half on some collage punk coming home from a frat party!

Everything I’ve read about these machines suggest that you can have a fairly decent and reliable means of transportation (after the initial break in period) for about 20 percent of what you would pay for a brand new Japanese bike. There is a certain amount of maintenance that is required every so often such as cleaning the carburetor and adjusting the valves but so what? Every motorcycle or scooter will require some maintenance to keep it in good running order. If you aren’t willing to do that then you shouldn’t even consider buying a motorcycle or scooter, be it Chinese, Japanese, or whatever.

Now let’s look at some of the different types of bikes you can buy. You’ll see numerous “name brands” such as Tank, Jonway, TaoTao, Roketa, Lafan and a host of others but generally speaking this doesn’t mean much. These are generic bikes and you should keep that in mind. The individual bike you purchase is more important than the name on it. So if at all possible avoid buying one of these online. Make your purchase from a local dealer so you can inspect it beforehand. Also make sure the dealer carries spare parts or can easily order parts for the model you purchase.

50cc Scooters-Some of these are manufactured for kids and are generally too small for adult riders but you’ll have no trouble finding plenty of scooters in this class that a full grown person can comfortably ride. These things start around $500 and can get upwards of 100 miles to the gallon! Unfortunately you won’t be able to do much more than about 35 miles per hour. You might get one up to 40 if you’re going down a steep hill and you have a strong wind at your back. This might suit your transportation needs, depending on your individual circumstances, but for the most part these are just big toys.

150cc Scooters-Now we’re getting into the “big boy” bikes. These scooters start at around $700 and go up. They get around 80 miles to the gallon and can reach speeds of 55 to 60 miles per hour. Not something you want to take out on the freeway but certainly adequate for most day to day use. The engines in these and the 50cc scooters are often referred to as “Honda clones” but are in fact a Chinese design known as the GY-6. From what I can tell these things are pretty reliable so long as they are properly maintained! There’s a really good article you can read about these engines HERE!

250cc scooters-These are much more expensive than the 150cc scooters starting at about $1500. Many of these come with water cooled engines which adds to the cost and complexity of the bike. These things can go up to 80 miles per hour and get about 70 miles to the gallon. This class of scooter should probably be avoided unless you can find a used one in decent shape for a good price.

200cc to 250cc duel sport bikes-In my opinion these bikes will give you the most bang for the buck. For not much more than $1000 you can have an on/off road bike that will give you 70+ miles to the gallon. These “enduros” to use the old school term will reach Highway speeds and can be ridden on public roadways or on back wood trails. Because of the duel nature of these bikes they are constructed much tougher than a scooter and (from everything I’ve read so far) have much fewer problems than the cheap-ass Chinese scooters. This is the kind of bike I am currently leaning towards.

Having said all of that let state once again that if you can find a good running, used Japanese bike at a reasonable price then you should go that route. In my location however you can’t find anything 10 years old or less for much under $2000. Believe me, I’ve been looking and they are hard to find.

Whether you choose either cheap Chinese crap or old Japanese crap a small scooter or motorcycle makes too much sense. With gasoline prices headed back up towards the four dollar a gallon mark it will take the average SUV owner close to a hundred dollars to fill up. What will you do when it reaches eight dollars a gallon? Don’t think it can’t happen anytime soon. With the Government soon to be more than twenty trillion dollars in debt and no way to pay it other than inflating the money supply and with the possibility of peak oil just on the horizon-well who knows?

If you don’t choose a scooter or small motorcycle as your primary means of transportation then you should still consider one as your “plan B” strategy. And if you’ve done your homework well you can get a lot of bike for a little bit of money. Google Chinese motorcycles and scooters to start you search. Good luck

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Cheap-Ass Chinese motorcycles and scooters (Part 1)

My goal over the last year or so has been to work toward leaving the rat race and all the crap that goes along with it. The hardest part in doing this is of course finding a place to live. I bought a small patch of dirt for $400 and found an old junk travel trailer for another $200 and pulled it out to my land. It’s a crappy little shack but it solves the question of where to lay my head for the night. With a little work it should be quite comfortable.

The next “major” problem to be solved is of course transportation. A bicycle would certainly be the best option as far as cheap transportation is concerned. No gas to buy, no insurance needed, and it would provide daily exercise to help maintain good health. If I were going to be living in town (or even a few miles from town) this would definitely be the way to go-no pun intended.

My “zombie hideout” is 18 miles from the nearest population center however and almost 9 miles to the nearest convenience store! It would take two hours to get into town on a bicycle and another two hours to get back. For once a month trips this might work but for day to day needs this is impractical. I need a cheap-ass means of transportation that’ll get me where I need to go in minutes not hours. A small fuel efficient scooter or motorcycle should do the trick and over the last several months I have be looking into this option.

Relying on a motorcycle or scooter as your primary means of transportation does have  its downsides of course. You can’t ride in inclement weather. It’s pretty dangerous in heavy traffic and even in areas where traffic is light you still need to practice defensive driving techniques much more so than you would in a car or truck. But I think the benefits outweigh those negatives. At least they do for me as I will not be living in a major population center and if I’m no longer whoring myself out to “the man” for slave wages then I’ll just stay put when it rains.

Now let’s look at some of the benefits of using a small scooter or motorcycle to get your ass from point A to point B. They’re cheap on gas, getting between 50 and 100 miles to the gallon (or more) depending on several factors like size of the bike, how you ride it, the weight of the rider, etc. Basic liability insurance is much cheaper than an automobile, costing just a few dollars per month depending on your driving record and who you are insured with. Finding a place to park is usually pretty easy and you can go places on a bike that you wouldn’t even dream of with a car or truck.

Clearly a small scooter or motorcycle is one of the best options you can choose for transportation if you are living on a small amount of money. A good used Japanese bike is certainly your best bet but finding one at a reasonable price now days is next to impossible. Time to look at the dreaded cheap-ass generic China bikes. 

These things are produced by the millions every single year at numerous factories in China under a multitude of different brand names. Some factories produce these generic bikes with no "brand" on it at all allowing the importer to put their own stamp on the bike.When I first started looking into the option of buying a motorcycle or motor scooter for transportation it was for the simple reason that I'm a broke bastard who rarely has much money so naturally I began looking at the cheapest crap I could find.

Again let me state that if you are lucky enough to find a good used Japanese bike at a reasonable price then you shouldn't even consider anything else. Especially if a motorcycle or scooter fits into your personal zombie survival strategy. For those who aren't lucky enough to find a good deal on a Jap bike however a china bike could be a good choice if you are willing to do the homework before you purchase one.

Keep in mind that even the best Chinese motorcycle or scooter is going to require more maintenance and repairs than the worst Japanese machines. But at 20 to 25 percent of the cost what do you expect. If you have very little money to live on and you don't mind doing a little work on your bike from time to time then you might be able to make this strategy work for you.

 In part two I will go over some of the different sized bikes that are available and discuss some of the problems you can expect to encounter when you purchase one of these Cheap-Ass machines. I'll discuss in more detail why you should consider buying one even if you don't plan to use it as your primary means of transportation. And as always I'll try to provide you with plenty of food for thought about the subject.

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Batch cooking

I ran across this idea a few years ago in a book I found at the public library. I can’t really remember the title of the book or its author but it was a book about foraging for wild eatables. The one section that caught my attention the most didn’t have anything to do with collecting wild food but I thought it was good enough that I took notes.

Cooking from scratch with basic ingredients bought in bulk can save you a ton of money. It is somewhat time consuming and most people usually opt for quick meal ideas over cheap meal ideas for this reason. The idea here however is to make large quantities of a “mix” from scratch and use it as needed. Store it in the freezer in two cup quantities.

Mix 8 cups of flour, 3 cups of skim milk, 5 tbsp. sugar, 5 tbsp. baking powder, 1 tbsp. salt, and 1 lb. (about 2 cups) shortening or 1 ¾ cups vegetable oil. Blend everything together until it is the consistency of cornmeal. Store it in 2 cup quantities in the freezer. Here are just a few things you can do with it.

Biscuits- 2 cups mix, 1/3 cup of water or just enough to hold it together. Knead only a little then pat into ½ inch layer and cut into biscuits. Bake at 400 degrees for ten minutes.

Corn bread-2cups mix, 1 cup corn meal, 2 eggs, and 1 cup of water. Mix thoroughly and bake in a greased skillet or baking pan for about 45 minutes at 375 degrees.

Pancakes-2 cups mix, 1 egg, and ¾ cup of water. Mix well and pour into a preheated and greased skillet, turn over when bottom is brown.

Muffins-2 cups mix, 1 egg, ½ cup of water, a little bit of sugar if you like em sweet. Mix lightly until just blended and bake in greased muffin tins at 400 degrees for about 20 minutes. You can add blueberries or other fruit if you like

Coffee cake-2 cups mix, 1/3 cup of sugar, 1 egg, and ½ cup of water. Beat egg and water together then stir in mix and sugar. Don’t over stir. Pour into buttered square baking pan, and add a topping of your choice before baking.

Sugar cookies-2 cups mix, 1 cup sugar, 2 small eggs, 1/3 cup of water, and 1 tsp. of vanilla extract. Mix well and drop onto greased cookie sheet. Bake for about 10 minutes at 375 degrees. Sprinkle with sugar immediately after you remove from oven.

Brownies-1 cup mix, 1 cup of brown sugar, ½ cup of cocoa, ¼ cup of vegetable oil, 1 tsp. vanilla extract, and 2 eggs. Mix everything together well and bake at 350 degrees for 25 minutes.

Bad banana bread-2 cups mix, 1/3 cup of sugar, 1 egg, 1 or 2 bananas past their prime mashed up, 1 or 2 tsp. vanilla extract and enough water to make a smooth batter. Mix thoroughly and bake in bread pan for about 1 hour at 375 degrees.

Fruit pudding-2 cups mix, 1 cup of sugar, 2 eggs, ¼ cup of water, and two cups of fruit. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Grease a baking pan or casserole dish. Pour fruit onto bottom of pan, mix other ingredients well and pour on top of fruit. Bake for about 35 to 40 minutes at 350 degrees or until done.

Beer and apple bread- 2 cups mix, 2 tbsp. Sugar, 1 cup of apple sauce or finely chopped apples, and enough beer to make a medium batter. Bake in a bread pan for about an hour at 375 degrees.

Cooking from scratch doesn’t have to be time consuming but it does usually require a little planning ahead of time. Collect recipes that use mostly basic ingredients and plan your menu for the week in advance. Use the batch mix cooking technique described here to create your own recipes and you will save a lot of money.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Free campers and travel trailers

When I was finished with the last post I began to wonder if maybe I could find any travel trailers or campers for free. I started looking around and found ads for more than two dozen old campers that people just wanted hauled away. Unfortunately most of the ads were deleted by the person who posted it. I presume it was because it only took a few hours or a couple of days at most before someone responded to the ad.

This is understandable because a mobile home requires professional movers to do the job but anyone with a pick up truck can hitch up a camper or RV and do it themselves. I was however able to find a few ads that were still listed. Here are the ones I found.


$225 FREE Travel Trailer -Needs to be cleaned up! (4318 Big Bend Rd. #35 Yankee Hill, CA)

Date: 2012-08-14, 12:48PM PDT
Reply to: [Errors when replying to ads?]

I have a travel trailer for rent in the Big Bend Mobile Home Park. I own the mobile home park. The last tenant left it dirty so if you clean it up it will be yours, You would just pay the monthy space rent with a 12 month lease. I will even discount the space rent for the 1st 6 months!! It's vacant, just qualify, clean it up, paint it or whatever you like and move in. Regular monthly space rent is $325 and that would be reduced to $225 for the first 6 months. I also require a $500 deposit but willing to work with a qualified tenant and split that in payments if needed. call Simplistic Solutions Real Estate (530) 899-xxxx for an application via email and more info. undefined


FREE Travel Trailer (Old Forge, NY)

Date: 2012-08-13, 7:17PM EDT
Reply to: [Errors when replying to ads?]

1969 Concord travel trailer located in Bald Mountain Colony in Old Forge, NY. Good condition. 24 feet in length. It has been there since about 1977. Weight is 3,850 pounds. You are responsible to pull it off the site and it is FREE. Call Dave at 315-725-xxxx. undefined


FREE Travel Trailer - $1 (Carson City)

Date: 2012-08-01, 5:04PM PDT
Reply to: [Errors when replying to ads?]

Free 1973 30 foot self-contained Terry travel trailer. It was used for construction sites and has been sitting for about 4 years on our property. We had put new holding tanks, water heater, plumbing, propane tanks on the unit. Air conditioned. All glass intact. The walls and ceiling are paneled in knotty pine making the trailer very heavy. The ceiling over the shower has come down due to a leak. The step below the door needs repair. It has a five foot refrigerator which runs on electricy. And, it is really dirty inside from having set in a field for years. If cleaned it would be a servicable unit. Person taking the trailer has to haul it away as we have no capacity to do so. It will probably take a F250 or equal truck to move it. The title has been lost and it has no license plates. Tires are still good. Call 775-721-xxxx 


*FREE* "SIESTA" Camper. You Haul. (Logsden, OR)

Date: 2012-07-24, 10:22AM PDT
Reply to: [Errors when replying to ads?]

(i had posted this same Ad before. due to medical issues at That time, i was unable to reach the majority of you who Had called and Were interested about the camper. im back now Though!)

Used and Sitting "Siesta" Camping Camper. Was used for Storage for about a year - Used for camping Before. In picture # '3' you will see a slight Separation. the separation was due from misc. things that were stored up in the bed area. Ripped due to it being to heavy? who knows.

this camper can be sold for scrap metal, used for personal use, etc. - You haul. So bring your straps, rope, whatever it is you'll be using to haul this Bad Boy out of here Once and for all! :)

no paperwork with the camper. didn't come with to Begin with.

my name is JEFF and can be contacted about the camper At; 541-992--xxxx, call on the week days 9-5pm Only, Leave a message and i will get Right back to you ASAP! Thanks! 



Date: 2012-07-17, 2:25PM PDT
Reply to: [Errors when replying to ads?]

Free Camper trailer .. u move ... some water damage .. not bad ... Please contact Kaitlyn @ 541-654-xxxx with any questions 


Monday, August 13, 2012

More free mobile homes

By far the most viewed post on this blog has been "Free mobile homes" so I thought it would be fun to do a follow up. These are just a few of the free mobile homes I found on Craigslist that are up for grabs right now. Check em out and then go to the Craigslist for your area to see what's available.

$320 FREE fixer-upper mobile home WITH 6 months PAID rent!!!! (Rockford)

Date: 2012-08-13, 12:11AM CDT
Reply to: [Errors when replying to ads?]

We currently have a few FIXER-UPPER mobile homes available for no charge with 6 months lot rent paid up front. Non-neg so please don't expect a free trailer unless you can pay the 6 months up front. These are not in great condition, but if you're handy, and willing to fix up yourself, this is a great deal for the right person. Rent is based on # of occupants and pets. Base rent (one person, no pets) is $320/month. $10 additional per person and/or pet. Call 815-988-0925 for more info or to schedule a showing. 


free mobile home (sophia)

Date: 2012-07-16, 8:52PM EDT
Reply to: [Errors when replying to ads?]

12x65 mobile home free includes 16 bulb tanning bed. mobile home has axles and tires in rough condition. must be moved asap. for more information you can call Kenneth @ 336-460-xxxx



Date: 2012-08-09, 10:56AM EDT
Reply to: [Errors when replying to ads?]

I have a 16' 70' trailer home I would like to give away. It has to be moved. It is liveable or can be torn down for scrap. I do have paint for the outside, and the inside I have put sub flooring down in the bathroom, kitchen, and livingroom. I do need it gone very soon so I may allow someone to tear it down where it sits if it will be quick. 


2br - FREE MOBILE HOME 14 X 48 (Logan NM)

Date: 2012-07-04, 12:17PM MDT
Reply to: [Errors when replying to ads?]

I have a 14 x 48 2br mobile home to be hauled away.. It has a corrugated steel roof . Free to any one that will haul it.. 


Free mobile home (Salida)

Date: 2012-07-31, 1:32PM MDT
Reply to: [Errors when replying to ads?]

Free 1972 60x12 mobile home!!! 2 bed two bath. Has to be moved of shangrila mobile home park in salida. Might have to stay in the county as well. Please email me for further details
970481xxxx. It needs to be moved on a flatbed trailer, and can't be moved out of the county.



Date: 2012-08-06, 4:56PM MDT
Reply to: [Errors when replying to ads?]

Free, mobile home, 12'x44', in good shape, everything works, most furniture will remain in home. Free, but you must move, Must have out of the park by Oct 1, 2012
Please call Scott @ 970-210-XXXX


FREE mobile home. Must be removed from park. (Genesee, Ontario, Livingston County)

Date: 2012-08-12, 9:23AM EDT
Reply to: [Errors when replying to ads?]

Free mobile homes available in various mobile home parks in Genesee, Livingston, Seneca and Ontario County areas.

Must be properly removed and transported from the mobile home site/park at your expense.

Could possibly be rehabbed for hunting cabin, storage unit etc.

For more information please call Jeff at 585-226-xxxx



Date: 2012-07-26, 8:25PM CDT
Reply to: [Errors when replying to ads?]

FREE TO BE MOVED mobile home located 13 miles northeast of Aitkin. 1974 Detroiter, 2 bedroom, 1 bath. Needs some TLC has been sitting vacant for 3 years Would be a good cabin or hunting shack. Wheels and axles are under trailer not sure if tires will hold air for moving. I will be at the property Saturday, July 28th for anyone who is interested in seeing it THIS WOULD BE THE DAY. I WANT IT GONE!!! S E R I O U S I N Q U I R I E S O N L Y P L E A S E !!!!!! 


2br - free single wide mobile home (fall branch,tn)

Date: 2012-08-11, 7:08PM EDT
Reply to: [Errors when replying to ads?]

Free. 1970 single wide mobile home 12ft by 50ft. Must move. Kinda rough. But fix able. New vinyl Windows, new front door. Floors 80%. Master bedroom floor is the worse. Need work but it's free. Would make a good hunting lodge. 


Free Mobile Home (Lake Stevens)

Date: 2012-08-07, 3:10PM PDT
Reply to: [Errors when replying to ads?]

I have for free a 10x55ft rex park model mobile home single wide trailer. Brand is REX Park model possible 1960??.Trailer needs some work and some TLC but its more than we want to take on.You will have to come haul it off the lot yourself.It does have tires and wheels 3axle trailer but these have been on there since it was place in the spot.Its a good little trailer someone could put a bit of work into and you could have a nice little rental.I will be posting a few pics later.Like i said you would need to haul it off the lot.Not sure of the year or model but it was there on the lot while i was growing up so its at least 50 years old or older.This is a situation where you should come see what i have and see if its possible to get it removed.The trailer is nose in to a waterfront lot on Lake Stevens with another rental home close.Trailer would need to be spun around so its facing the other way without causing damage to drivewayA concrete patio under the awning i think would need to be removed first before the trailer can be removed...This is a as is deal no warrentee involved .Unknown where title is but we do have a serial number we can write up a bill of sale.this should be ok.a trip permit would be needed for haul off by new owner ..If interested call john at 425-750-xxxx...PLEASE READ THE ADD THIS TRAILER IS TO BE REMOVED FROM THE PROPERTY AND HAULED TO WHEREVER YOU WANT IT.PEOPLE CALLING WANTING TO USE IT FOR FREE ON THE PROPERTY DONT BOTHER CALLING.aGAIN IT MUST BE REMOVED FROM THE PROPERTY YOU WILL BE RESPONSIBLE FOR ANY PERMITS NEEDED FROM THE CITY OF LAKE STEVENS AND THE COUNTY. FOR HAUL AWAY..ALL UTILITIES HAVE ALREADY BEEN REMOVED AND TRAILER MUST BE REMOVED WITHOUT DAMAGE TO DRIVEWAY OR PROPERTY. 

The picture at the beginning of this post is of the free mobile home listed directly above.