One Paratroopers Opinion

My daughter has a Blog and told me I should get one. In fact, she said I already had one. Well, I don't like the name Blog so I changed it to Blob which rhymes with slob and as I am somewhat of a slob that sounded just right!

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Someone asked, through the comments page, for my Testimony so HERE it is!

Turn a Nickel
into a Dollar!

Jesus said in the book of Matthew, verses 7:13-14

Enter ye in at the strait gate: for wide is the gate, and broad is the way,
that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in thereat:
Because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life,
and few there be that find it.

A month or so ago one of my friends was over and idly commented that I was always good at turning a Nickel into a Dollar. I didn't realize that my actions were so obvious, but as I think on it I came to realize he was right. I do turn a Nickel into a Dollar on a regular basis. So how do I do that?

OK, off we go to squeeze a Dollar out of a Nickel! Now, first things first. I am not writing to reach a million people. I am writing to teach and help you. Who is you? Well, your are a thoughtful person who is starting to notice that the recovery summer was anything but. You are starting to see we are NOT moving forward. You are not doing better. We are, well let's just say it. We are tanking. We are not making more money. We are making less and the price of everything is going up. The powers that be are changing and jiggling the numbers so it looks like everything is fine and dandy. Are YOU doing fine and dandy? Maybe not so much.

If you think we are just about to come out of it and if we just do more of what we are doing now things will be fine... friend, you have Drunk the Kool-Aid and there is nothing I can do for you. Things will in time overwhelm you and that will be the end of it. You will be wasting your time. But if you are willing to learn there is still hope.

To un-drink the Kool-Aid we need to, well, barf up and get rid of a large amount of the so called "Knowledge" that the current and past "Powers That Be" have force fed us in collages and News programs for years. We need to learn how to think correctly. Notice I did not say WHAT to think but HOW to think. If you are a scum sucking Liberal/Conservative/Libertarian/whoever/whatever (pick one), you can still use this information to pick the correct path to succeed and achieve whatever goal you have set for yourself.

First, let us get back to basics. I mean really way back. Let us now cover how trade works in it's most basic forms because this will help us make that Nickel into a Dollar.

40 years ago I had a carburetor off a CT-90. I had put on a bigger carb, a hot cam and a big bore kit too but that is another story. What we are interested here, is that I had a carburetor and I had no use for it. My friend, who was also named Dan, had a nice, big 21 inch, Black & White TV. His parents had bought a color TV and now had no use for a B&W TV so he got an early inheritance. Only thing was, he had no use for it... but he did have a use for a CT-90 carburetor. To me the carburetor was worth nothing, Ah but the TV? Now that was worth a lot. To my buddy Dan the TV was just an irritation but a carburetor? That was something he had a real use for. So we made the trade... and then we both avoided each other for a while. We each felt we had taken the other to the cleaners. At any moment he/me would come to his senses and demand his carb/TV back!

This was the perfect economic trade. We each traded something of value that we did not want for something of value that we did want. This is what all economics is built on. But we are not going far enough. When I drove over to get the TV, that is the equivalent of shipping. I did not think of that when I got the TV but it is most definitely a cost. Cost of the car, car insurance, gas, oil, and my time all are a part of the cost of that TV.

Remember also, I did not pay sales tax on this TV. I did not know I had to. This was forty years ago but I bet the state wanted sales tax even then.

The point is this. Even operating at the most basic level. Every economic deal has a lot of extra economic issues or costs that we don't think about. At the most basic level we do not think about these costs BUT they are still there AND they MUST be paid for one way or another. Consider, if I did not have a car I could not have delivered the carburetor and picked up the TV. Deal off. Because I had already paid for the car, insurance, and gas, the deal was on.

So why all this talk on a basic barter/trade deal? I want you to start thinking about and to realize that lots of things go into even a basic barter deal. However, the biggest truth I want you to understand is this. Everything in the deal MUST be paid by someone if the deal is to go through. If any part is not paid for, the deal fails. This is true at any level of economic transaction from a simple carb/TV trade to a multi-million dollar contract. It is a law, like gravity. Even if we all got together and voted against gravity, gravity would still work. President Obama seems to believe that he won the election so he can spend all he wants. No budget, no plan, Nada. It simply does not work that way. No matter what you think or how you vote, gravity is still gravity and things still have to be paid for.

Got that? Things have to be paid for in some way, shape or form. If you can understand that, you are way ahead all of our politicians, who can't seem to figure that out at all.

Just like with motorcycle repair. If you understand how something works you can make it work for you. You can also understand why it is not working for you.

Jesus continues in Matthew 7:15-20

Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep's clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves. Ye shall know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes of thorns, or figs of thistles? Even so every good tree bringeth forth good fruit; but a corrupt tree bringeth forth evil fruit. A good tree cannot bring forth evil fruit, neither can a corrupt tree bring forth good fruit. Every tree that bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down, and cast into the fire. Wherefore by their fruits ye shall know them.

I guess I just don't get it.

The President has men and women with guns that will die to protect him. Let's call those men and women "Good Guys".

Pelosi, Reid, Hollywood movie stars, lots and lots of other Liberals, and even conservatives have Good Guys, with guns, to protect themselves. Why can't our children have Good Guys, with guns, to protect themselves too?

It is not Brain Surgery or Nuclear Physics.

The only way to stop Bad Guys with guns is Good Guys with guns.

If the Good Guy does not have a gun he dies and the Bad Guy wins. This has been proven many times. Just follow the news. Good guy with a gun? Well, that mother in Georgia had a gun and successfully defended herself and her children. She is the very definition of a Good Guy. OK, Gal. Does that happen every time? No, but seat belts, fire extinguishers and motorcycle helmets don't work 100 % of the time either. Should we not use them?

Outlawing guns does not work. If making things illegal would stop those things, we would not have a drug problem in our schools. Obviously, we do have a drug problem even after decades of drugs being banned and illegal.

It all seems like a no brainer to me. Lots of Good Guys with guns stop bad guys with guns. The more Good Guys you have, the faster the bad guys get stopped.

OK, we have made the trade and we liked it. It is fun! We want more. We want to start making things and selling them. Now we must start thinking in new ways but the same old rule applies. Things have to be paid for in some way, shape or form.

A few years before I made my TV/Carb trade I was talking with my father's Boss. He told me his wife bought a huge bag of silk ribbon, of various colors, at a garage sale. She used that ribbon to make some very beautiful silk flowers for herself. Her friends saw the flowers and bought some. Something like three dollars each, as I recall. That was back in the 1960s so that was a lot of money. Especially when you consider she only paid a buck for all the ribbon.

She then thought "Hey, I got lots of ribbon. I'll make lots of flowers and sell them." She figured she could sell them for three dollars each to local floral shops. Her husband told her not so fast. She got the original silk ribbon cheap. That will not happen again. So she must find out how much a new lot of silk ribbon costs. She also needed to figure out how long it takes her to make each silk flower.

Now, once you get all that figured out in comes the marketing. You have to drive around and show your product, Silk Flowers, and talk the floral shops into selling them instead of real flowers. Now the costs are starting to pile up. Ribbon, gas, time, other supplies. In the end it cost a lot more then three dollars per flower and she decided it just was not worth it.

Again we see that things have to be paid for, and I mean everything. If you can't pay for every single, little, thing. The business fails. That is the way it has been for thousands of years.

OK, we now have a deal that went through and a business that failed. What common idea is present in both? Give up? I would not have made the TV deal if I had thought the Carb was worth more then the TV. The boss's wife would have continued with her flower business if she could have made a good profit from it. The common thing is that nasty, dirty, word... profit.

If there is no profit in something no one will do it. No one will make it. No one will stock it. I get E-mails all the time from people who are just amazed that there is no dirt cheap aftermarket exhaust pipe available for their 30 year old 100cc dirt bike. Or a luggage rack or a piston. Wow, why not? Simple, there is no profit in it.

I really hate to break it to you but I did not start my motorcycle business to benefit my customers. I started it to benefit ME. If in the process of ME making a profit I help others, that is great. But if I do not make enough of a profit to pay the bills, I go out of business. This is true of all businesses. Now we get into some interesting economic facts. Businesses have all kinds of tricks they use to stay in business.

Now if you have sunk all your life savings into a business buying supplies, rent, advertising, pay for employees ETC. you do not want to loose it all. So you look for other sources of money to keep you going till you do make a profit. At least you hope you make a profit. If you still don't make a profit the people who gave you the money will loose their money too. So when a business is in trouble it tries very hard to be efficient and not loose money. When the business is doing good there is not the pressure to be efficient. Once we understand that we can understand why businesses do some strange things.

One of these strange things a business does when it is in trouble is to stay open for business even when they are loosing money. If a business will loose more money by closing then it will by staying open, it will stay open. That is if the rent is paid, product already received and sitting on the store shelves, electric bill not due till end of month and it is the first of the month, the business will stay open. Even though they are not making enough profit to continue. They do this with the idea that maybe thing will go better and if they close as soon as they are unprofitable they will loose MORE money then if they just waited till they are forced to close. Suppliers won't take your checks, credit cards are rejected and your backers say no more money for you.

Another strange concept, seemingly taught in all the business collages is the idea that every square inch of space must be used to store only the highest profit items. The Idea is that each item must turn over a certain number of times a year or month. That is the item must be sold and replaced a certain number of times a year. If this item does not sell that many times a year you are loosing money even if the part is paid for and just sitting there. You should throw that part out and replace it with one that does have a good turn over. Now this is a cute idea and may even have a small bit of truth to it BUT if you have a part that does not sell it simply does not cost you to keep it on the shelf if you have room and really, who does not have room? Most businesses do. Perhaps a Super Market does not have room or a clothing store but a Motorcycle Shop or a manufacturer usually does.

But that does not stop these brilliant geniuses from telling you to dump stuff that might not be moving as well as it should. Now I am not saying to order more of a slow moving parts but really, you don't have to get rid of a part you already have and have already paid for.

So what does all have to do with squeezing a dollar out of a nickel? Simply this. We can use this knowledge about business to grab the best deals. How do we do that? We have to slow down and do our home work. Now what do I mean by that? There is an old saying.

"Speed costs money. How fast can you afford to go?"

What that means is that if you want it all and you want it now be prepared to pay a lot of money. Now I want it all. The only problem is I don't have much money... but I still want it all! Fortunately, we can have it all. We just can't have it all at once and we might not have it all today. I once heard a guy say he was an easy man to satisfy, he only wanted the best. He was talking about buying the most expensive car he could get. That is cute and all but the most expensive is not always the best. Here is our first nickel.

OK, so we want the best but how do we pay for it? Simple, start shopping around. Read the different ads in the newspapers of your city. Call different businesses and see what they are charging for the item you want. Now here is where the patience comes in. When something new comes out a business will want top dollar for it. You need to know what the going price of things is so you can follow it. I like to come up with a price in my mind that I will pay for something. Then I follow that something until it drops to the price I had in mind. I also like to see if there are several types or versions of what I want. That is, several different manufacturers making the same or similar versions of the item I want. Odds are one of the versions will be cheaper.

You will find that there will be sales or coupons or mail in rebates or some such thing. If you can find something on sale with a coupon you can save quite a bit. You will find something else too. When you see the neatest thing that you just have to have, if you wait a day or a week an amazing thing happens. You will find out that you don't want to pay that much for your beloved item. If speed costs money, then slow saves money. Think about that. If you do not buy the expensive toy that you really don't want you get to save that money to get something you really do want. Sweet!

I'll give you an example. When I got out of the army I got an apartment. For some reason I don't recall, I got it in my head that some black light posters would be cool to have. It took me forever to find a cheap black light and some posters and they cost way too much. A flying elephant attacking a dragon in a swamp, as I remember. Very cool for about a week. After that week was up I sure wished I had my money back. Don't you make the same mistake.

Now I'm NOT saying don't buy it, whatever it is. (Yeah, I know. Double negative. I got a D in High School English. So live with it.) I'm just saying slow down and think about it. If you wait a while, maybe even a week or two and still want it, get it. Remember, I am trying to teach you how to think, not what to think.

There is something else here to consider. I don't want to preach at you but the fact of the matter is this. When we slow down we give time for God to work in our lives and to our benefit. You can believe this or not as is your want but it is still a fact. Matthew 6:33 says
"But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you."

Jesus delights in helping his creation (You) succeed. So give him a chance. Be patient and use your brain. As all con artists know, get the mark (victim) to do things quick and fast. That way they do not think about what they are doing. That is why our current crop of politicians don't want you to read the bills they present and think about it. Perish the thought of actually spending the time to debate it.

Businesses do the same thing. They want you to buy it quick, without thinking. They play to your lusts and desires. It is a good business ploy. No big deal if it is just a candy bar from the rack of quick sale stuff by the cash register. A candy bar will only make you fat. Buying bigger items on the spur of the moment will make you broke. Be patient and let Jesus work on it for you instead.

All right! We, after much work, have finally slowed down. It was not easy, was it? We now can start looking at all the price information we have been filling our heads with. As we look at the prices on the same item from different stores we see that there can be a big difference in price and sometimes there is hardly any difference.

I have been watching the prices of the Kindle Fire HD color tablet. I want one in the worst way but I just don't want to pay that much for one. There just never seem to be any sales on them because they are real popular and sells out of all the make. I have been watching them from the time they first came out. This last Christmas I noticed some stores have started having twenty to twenty five dollar gift cards with the purchase of a Kindle Fire but I want more. So I wait. I only want one to test my web pages in and I can do the on the computer but I still want one so I can wait.

Coupons are one way to save money on stuff you regularly use. Just don't get carried away. Five dollars off a ten dollar item you don't use, is still a waste of five dollars. Some people join coupon clubs, start web sites and generally go crazy with coupons. I suppose this is OK but only if you actually use the items you buy. The whole idea is to save money on things you use. Manufacturers use these coupons to get you to buy new items so watch out. Buy only what you need and will use.

Don't forget to run an online search for coupons for the products you plan to buy. There are many coupon sites that allow you to print out coupons.

Rebates are good too. Just remember manufacturers also count on you forgetting to send in rebates. So don't forget. Another interesting thing about rebates is that sometimes you can get more then one. A few years ago a large office supply company had cordless Phones on rebate. The Phone had an answering machine as part of the Phone and the rebate was for the ENTIRE purchase price. Pay a buck or so in taxes, wait a bit and get the price of the Phone back. The thing was, in the small print it said there was a limit of ten Phones! I bought ten Phones and got everything back but the tax.

Now check this out. The small print outlining the ten Phone limit was on the receipt I got when I purchased the first free Phone and no where else. Keep your wits about you.

That was ten years ago. I still have several left. When a battery dies or the handset goes bad, I just grab another brand new one. I have not bought a new Phone in years. Friend, that is a nickel into a dollar. What is not to like?

Remember, when I told you that manufacturers dump slow sell items because they think it costs them money to keep them on the shelf? This is an example. Why didn't they sell them for just a few bucks instead of free? Why have the rebate good for up to ten Phones? That is just plain stupid. But it is stupid that you can cash in on.

A lot of times a business will accept a coupon from another business or they will price match, sometimes with an additional five percent off. If a business will do this, it can be a money saver if the business is close to you and the coupon is from a business far away. This brings us to another way to save money. Combine your trips into one big trip. Gasoline costs a lot of money these days. Making three or four trips for three or four different things wastes gas and time. Just starting an engine takes extra gas. If you need to eat while you are shopping see if the businesses you eat at have a special going on the day you shop. Maybe even change your shopping day to take advantage of that special.

Do you like to drink coffee from a coffee shop? At three to five dollars a pop... how much are you spending? I'm not saying don't drink your favorite coffee. I am asking "Do you know how much you are spending on this every month?" Is it worth it to you? If so, great. Just know how much and where your money is going. This takes time but that is OK because you have slowed down and are not buying on impulse anymore.

Check out your receipts. I know of at least one fast food place that will give you a free Whopper of a burger just for taking an online survey. You can do that once a month. Free is good! Also make sure the prices on the shelf reflect in the price on the receipt that they charge you. I see many mistakes at the cash register. So don't go to sleep out there. READ your receipts.

Many businesses will tell you that they always have the cheapest prices. Take that with a grain of salt. Maybe they do and then again maybe they don't. That is why we read the local ads. Sometimes a business will have a item priced very low, a so called "loss leader", to lure you into their store. Theory being you will buy other, over priced, stuff while you are there. No law says you can't go to three or four stores and only buy the loss leader at each store. If you do this, be careful not to pick stores too far apart. The price of gasoline adds to the cost and may make that loss leader a looser.

Often a store has a discount card you can sign up for. They usually use your phone number to identify you to the store. I really hate this because I don't like to be tracked. I don't like everything I buy to be known to whoever. They do sell that information you know. But that is just me, Even trying to stay out of all these programs and clubs I'm still in a few. Just too much money to be saved. You decide for yourself.

OK, let us review.

  1. Slow down so you can be aware of your surroundings.
  2. Everything must be paid for. A hard concept to deal with if you live in Washington DC.
  3. Check local ads to find who has the best deal.
  4. Consolidate your trips to save gas and time.
  5. Look for coupons, rebates and sales.
  6. Read your receipt. Double check the prices and everything.
  7. Think about what you are buying. Is it worth, to you, the amount of money you are spending on it?

Now let us take a look at what we are buying or rather the quality of what we are buying. High price does not always quality make. However, it is true that you get what you pay for. That sounds contradictory doesn't it? What I mean is this. Buy the quality that you need, not the quality they want to sell you. Be open to trying new versions of the things you like.

I have found that most products are made in three different versions.

  1. A cheap version that just barely does what it is supposed to do.
  2. A bread and butter version that has all the features you need to do the job but not many extras.
  3. A premium version that has all the bells and whistles.

The bread and butter version usually costs a reasonable amount more then the cheap version and the premium version usually costs a lot more. The big question is are all the bells and whistles worth it?

Cheap versions are usually lacking in the things you want and the premium versions have all kinds of stuff you do not need. So the trick is to buy the bread and butter version of whatever you want. This way you get the features you need but avoid paying for the features you don't need. You can use this trick on appliances (washers, driers, toasters, whatever), tools, electronics (computers, TVs, stuff like that), lots of stuff.

If you are buying canned foods, read the label and see who actually makes the product. My mother often bought off brands because she found that a lot of the soups were made and canned by the Campbell Soup Company. She found they tasted the same as the company's regular soups. Do you really think they stop the production line and substitute inferior tomatoes, potatoes or whatever? Maybe they do. Buy one and taste test. I have found several off brands that I actually like BETTER then the name brand.

My father worked all his life for a large Chemical and Fertilizer company. He told me his company had the bags of all the other big Fertilizer companies. When another Fertilizer company got a big order, and they did not have a plant in the area they would have my father's company bag the fertilizer in their bags and deliver it. They would do the same for my father's company. That saved a lot of money in shipping costs. This was common practice in the industry because most of the different types of Fertilizer are really the same stuff no matter who makes them.

So check out those labels and only buy the quality you need.

Now we come to what I think is my "Secret Weapon" in the quest to turn a nickel into a dollar. Garage sales. I absolutely love garage sales. More specifically, I love buying something that is new in the box for a penny on the dollar. If you do not think we are a rich country, garage sales will teach you otherwise. But that is OK. It will work to our advantage.

Garage sales help us in a number of ways.

  1. Allows you to purchase new or almost new items for pennies on the dollar.
  2. Allows you to purchase items you are not sure will work for you but that you would still like to try out.
  3. Lets you get the urge to buy stuff out of your system without spending a lot of money.
  4. Lets you purchase common household items, that you need, cheaply.

I am always amazed at the number of items I find at garage sales that are virtually new. Admittedly, I am not the pickiest person around but think about it. A lot of people buy the newest thing out there and then, for whatever reason, don't use it. I'll give you an example. I go to an estate sale which is very similar to a garage sale but it is usually run by people hired by the family. There was a very nice Samsung SD video camera. The battery was dead so I could not test it but it was Five dollars, in the box and had everything with it. So I got it. I charged up the battery and it worked perfectly. It had several movie clips on it of the original owners. It was pretty obvious they just did not understand how the camera worked. I looked it up on Amazon... Two hundred dollars. That was a right fine nickel!

Of the last four cars I have bought, three of them I found at garage sales. It is sort of like fishing only better. You just never know what you will reel in. When you first start you will find yourself buying all kinds of stuff and a lot of it will be things you do not really need. That is OK. You are buying at pennies on the dollar. As you go to more and more garage sales you will get a feel for what is available in your area and a feel for what you really need. Make a list in your mind or write it down and then look for those items in the garage sales you are going to.

Be patient. As you get more experienced at garage sales you will find that something rather amazing will happen. Jesus will bring to you the things you need at a price you can afford. What is even more amazing is that Jesus will help you even if you are not a believer. Don't take my word for it. Try it for yourself. As you develop patience, you will also develop wisdom in your buying habits. Folks, I have spent my life at the bottom of the economic ladder, yet I have always had enough money when I needed it. I don't take any government aid even though I'll bet I could easily qualify for it. Let Jesus work in your life and you will not be sorry.

Remember this. The government is not here to help you, no matter what they say (You can keep your health care, if you like it???). They are here to control you. Jesus is here to set you free.

You will find garage sales are advertised in a lot of different places.

  1. look in your local newspaper.
  2. Look in the local free ad papers, usually found in front a lot of small businesses and stores.
  3. Craig's list and other places online.
  4. Most newspapers also list garage sales on their web sites.
  5. As the Pickers say, go "Free Styling". Just drive around and look for them.
  6. Most garage sales are on Friday and Saturday. Sometimes they start on Thursday and end on Sunday too.

The way we do it? I pick up a local free ad paper called the Nickels Worth and my wife cuts out the sales in the areas we usually hunt in and tapes them in a notebook in the order we usually go, which is South to North. We go on Friday (My day off, I work on Saturday), start at 9:00 in the morning and stop around noon. We usually have 15 to 25 sales to go to. Although we don't do it, I'll bet there might be a smart phone app that would let you enter all your sales and then guide you to each one.

One last thing. With garage sales you get to return to the most basic of economic principles. You get to barter. Probably half of the garage sales we go to have signs saying "If the price is too high, make an offer." At garage sales we find out what an item is really worth. I always ask "Are you firm on this price?" If they are not, I make an offer. Usually half what they are asking. Most times people say yes. Other times they come back with a little higher price and we make a deal. I love bartering. It is great fun and very profitable. Don't be afraid to make a lower offer.

Well, there you have it. If you understand how Economics work, develop patience and do your homework, it is just not all that hard to turn a nickel into a dollar.

More Is Coming Soon!


OK, How do I say this without being offensive. I am really interested in what you say but I don't give a flying passage of gas in a hot place about what you think!

WOW, what does that mean? Simply this. I am interested in what you say about the things I say and you can tell the truth to me because you can't offend me. That is because I don't care about what you think of me! You can FLAME me, Rant and Rave, say you love me or say you hate me, it's all the same to me!

I am interested in how you come to whatever opinion you have, why you say what you say. Lately, I keep hearing and reading about people who say they HATE, absolutely HATE Palin, Beck, O'Reilly, Fox, ETC. They are just liar, liar pants on fire. However, they never seem to be able to give proof or at least some kind of reason for what they say. I gave you reasons why I feel as I do so if you disagree with me can you give me some reason why?

So there you go. Tell me what you think. I promise to read what you say but I will not write back because I don't care what you think. I only care about what you say!

One last thing.
This is for comments on my Blobs only.
No motorcycle questions because I'm not writing back from this E-Mail address. OK?
If you have motorcycle questions click the motorcycle and follow my rules.

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