With all the discussion about the economy and possibly higher taxes, I have been thinking lately about how to save money, so when Glenn ordered the books, Living Well on Practically Nothing: Revised and Updated Edition
and Art & Science of Dumpster Diving,
I dove right in to see if I could learn some money saving techniques.
What I learned was that the first book was worth the money just for the laughs and nonconventional wisdom alone. I knew I was in for a treat when I saw that the book was published by Paladin Press --the publishing company that put out such books as Hit Man: A Technical Manual for Independent Contractors
and Claire Wolfe's 101 Things to Do 'Til the Revolution: Ideas and Resources for Self-Liberation, Monkey Wrenching and Preparedness.
"Living Well," written by author Edward Romney, is a practical take on how to live on $12,000 a year (the updated version was published in 2001). In order to do this, he advises you to become a "country person." This way, you can live cheap, no longer have to dress to impress and can find a cheap house (even if it means building your own shelter such as a tree house or log cabin) for $300.00 a month in rent. Uh, okay, I already live in Tennessee, maybe this is possible, but I doubt it.
In Chapter 2, he describes a day of cheap living. For breakfast, he sticks to frozen orange juice and oatmeal cooked with cheap oats with dry skim milk, which is also used for his one cup of coffee. He then walks to the post office where he looks in the trash for a free magazine or newspaper that someone threw away, then goes home for lunch of a can of tuna from Sam's Wholesale Club with free tomatoes from his garden. He only drinks water and has a two-day-old banana for dessert with the soft parts cut away. Hmm, I have a tomato garden
and overripe bananas are okay but not great. So far, so good. Until this....
In a chapter on how to save on health and medical care, I have to say that I realized that this plan was not going to work for me. In order to get free medical care, the author suggests that one volunteer for medical experiments. "The doctor tests a new drug and its placebo and also gives you physical exams and a variety of other medical services." He also suggests if you have ever served that you use the Veterans Administration hospitals: "Patients who are senile, brain-damaged, or chronically ill seem to run the greatest risk of mistreatment. Some VA surgeons have poor records. You take your chances...."
He tells readers to simply try and stay healthy but if you do get sick, one can find free prescription medicine in a dumpster (if you are brave). "It is surprising how much is thrown away. Antibiotics and certain volatile drugs such as insulin and nitroglycerin are perishable, but most drugs are highly stable for several years at least. You have to read drug manuals and know what you are doing. The risk is high and you are on your own if you try this."
Maybe you shouldn't. At this point, wouldn't it be safer and less trouble really just to get a job to pay for extra healthcare or other needs? You can't really live well for less if you are sick, disabled, or dead from giving your body over to medical experiments, questionable surgeons or digging through dumpsters for drugs that may or may not be safe. Call me crazy, but that's my take.
Anyway, the book is hilarious and I must admit to laughing so hard that I nearly fell over, but I doubt most of us could live this way for long. Could you?
Labels: interesting books, money saving techniques