Friday, April 22, 2011

Book Review: How to Survive Without a Salary

I recently read "How to Survive Without a Salary" by Charles Long.

Here is a man who successfully raised a family without a full-time job. He would work odd-jobs, and by paying attention to where his money was going he made the most of his resources.

The chapter on auctions is a fascinating introduction to the varied world of auctions, and his advice seems (to my uninitiated self) quite reasonable.

But here's my takeaway, and an example of its application: Six Steps to Examining Needs

1. What is the problem? I need transportation to get to work.
2. Who needs the solution? I need the solution; not my co-workers or neighbors or the "Joneses"
3. What would change the need? Quitting my job.
4. How long will the need last? Until I retire.
5. What are the alternatives? Buy a car, take the bus, ZipCar, use a bicycle.
6. What are the costs? Remember maintenance, permits, taxes, and other "forgotten" costs.

And then, here's a hilariously golden idea--PROCRASTINATE! Decide, and then wait to act on it. This can sometimes minimize or eliminate costs.

For example, I wanted some baskets and bins. I waited several months, working with free cardboard boxes and paper bags, until last week my neighbor generously thought of me in her preparations to move. Now I have two baskets, a small tote, a three-drawer cart, and two recycling bins!

No money left my pocket, and I saved her a trip to the thrift store.


  1. yay! I am glad to see you again Small House woman! Maybe I'll meet you someday - if not, the need to communicate with someone with her head on straight will suffice!

  2. I love the idea to procrastinate acting on the decision. I do that all the time, and if I do end up making the purchase, I am confident it is because it is actually something we need, rather than something I just want to have.

    Sounds like an interesting book.