Very challenging times are ahead. How can you best protect your family? 1) Get Your Finances In Order This means doing the difficult st...
The owner/editor of this blog, Tim Gamble, respects your privacy and does not collect any personally identifiable information on the readers and visitors of this blog.
As of 5/19/2014, this website is affiliated with Amazon.com as an Amazon.com Associate. Any purchases made through links to Amazon.com on this website or my Twitter feed help fund this website. Thank You.
This website may contain advertising, including interest-based advertising.
The owner/editor of this blog, Tim Gamble, is not a financial, legal, or medical professional. Nothing presented here should be taken as professional advice, but rather is meant as "food for thought" and a starting point for your further investigation.
All opinions, analysis, and recommendations presented in this blog are based on the information available to me at the time of posting, and are subject to change as new information becomes available.
Preppers and survivalists are often unfairly portrayed as backwards, paranoid, right-wing nut-jobs, gun-nuts, conspiracy-nuts, or just plain-nuts. This makes "regular" folks reluctant to hear the prepper message of self-reliance and commonsense preparations for any future difficulties. So, how do we get around that unflattering image, so that we can reach our family, friends, and neighbors?
The following is advice that I give specifically to my non-prepper friends and acquaintances. There is no prepper jargon (no BOB, SHTF, TEOTWAWKI, etc.), no extreme head-for-the-hills advice, no conspiracy theories, no end-of-the-world doom-and-gloom, or any of the other stuff that might turn off "regular" folks to the idea of prepping.
1) Get you finances in order.
This means reducing your expenses, and living within your means (a budget or spending plan is an excellent tool for achieving this goal). Setting aside an ample emergency fund is also very important. Also: Pay off your credit cards and consumer loan debt. Avoid new debt. Refinance your home into a fixed mortgage. Pay it off if you can. Keep some extra cash in a safe place at home in case the ATMs are down. Spend a lot less money than you make, even if it means cutting back on your lifestyle. Make sure you have adequate insurance. There is a lot of good information on how to get your finances in order throughout the archives of this blog. Especially check out my three-part essay Get Back To Basics.
2) Make health a top priority.
Being sick doesn't just feel bad, it is expensive! A top priority for you and your family should be improving and maintaining your good health. Stop smoking and abusing drugs or alcohol. Get adequate sleep on a consistent basis. Eat healthy (check out the Mayo Clinic article on the heart-healthy Mediterranean diet). Eat less sugar (a lot less). Be physically active every day (walking, hiking, gardening, yard-work, biking, swimming, tennis, yoga, and exercise videos are just a few ideas). Visit your doctor and dentist for regular check-ups.
3) Take care of your mental health and attitude.
Surviving difficult times requires having "your head screwed on straight" and being able to think clearly. You can't do that if your frozen from fear, having a panic attack, or going through some sort of addiction withdrawal. Take care of your mental issues now, before a crisis occurs. Read my article on developing good mental health/attitudefor more tips and information.
I also think getting right with God is a very important part of this step. I encourage everyone to pray, read the Bible, and attend the church or synagogue of your choice. Not sure about God? Talk to a local minister or priest. Or read check out The Roman Road. Or check out Journey to Orthodoxy. Or check out Peace with God.
4) Take basic precautions.
There are a lot of basic, commonsense precautions everybody should make: Have a good first aid kit at home (and one in the car). Take a first aid & CPR course. Have smoke & CO2 detectors in your home (check the batteries). Have (and learn to use) a fire extinguisher. Do a home safety inspection (if you know a boy or girl scout, they have to learn to do these for various merit badges).
Make sure you have at least a week's worth of groceries, water, and other supplies on hand. Two weeks' worth is even better. You never know when a snow storm, hurricane or other event may make it impossible to go shopping for a few days.
Have a good flashlight and battery-powered radio at home, along with extra batteries.
Keep your cell phone fully charged at all times.
In your car, have a first aid kit, flashlight, and jumper cables. Make sure your spare is in good condition, and that all drivers in your family know how to change a tire. Keep your gas tank full. Keep up with basic maintenance, such as oil changes, brake jobs, tires in good shapes, headlights and taillights working. In winter, keep a blanket or extra jacket and gloves in your vehicle, just in case.
5) Consider your security.
The first and most important tool for personal security is awareness. Awareness of your surroundings and the potential risks of your situation is essential. An excellent discussion of situational awareness can be found in the Stratfor report, Threats, Situational Awareness and Perspective, which can be read online for free by clicking the link. Also read their report Personal Contingency Plans.
Also consider the physical security of your home. How easy would it be for someone to break in? Harden your home by replacing weak external doors with heavy-duty security doors. Consider a home security system. Consider a gun (and if you do, PLEASE take the time and effort to learn gun safety, how to shoot your guns, and how to maintain your guns).
Guard against identity theft (an extremely fast-growing crime). Read my article on passwords for some ideas. Protect your personal and financial records. Don't give away too much information on Facebook and social media. Burn or shred important papers instead of just throwing them out.
Talk over with your family ideas about staying safe when away from home, including shopping in groups, parking in well-light, highly-visible locations, avoiding dangerous areas of town, letting people know where you are going and when to expect you back, and paying attention to your surroundings.
6) Build Self-Reliance.
This means learning how to do things for yourself - car and home repairs, sewing, gardening, home canning, and so-forth... Develop your DIY skills. Accumulate a good tool kit. But, mostly, it means to develop an attitude of taking care of yourself and your family, instead of waiting around for others or the government to take care of you.
Remember New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina? Remember all those people standing around in knee-deep water waiting for the government or someone else to help them? That is called "learned helplessness." Don't be like them.
Senator Hatfield, Mr. Chief Justice, Mr. President, Vice President Bush, Vice President Mondale, Senator Baker, Speaker O'Neill, Reverend Moomaw, and my fellow citizens: To a few of us here today, this is a solemn and most momentous occasion; and yet, in the history of our Nation, it is a commonplace occurrence. The orderly transfer of authority as called for in the Constitution routinely takes place as it has for almost two centuries and few of us stop to think how unique we really are. In the eyes of many in the world, this every-four-year ceremony we accept as normal is nothing less than a miracle.
Mr. President, I want our fellow citizens to know how much you did to carry on this tradition. By your gracious cooperation in the transition process, you have shown a watching world that we are a united people pledged to maintaining a political system which guarantees individual liberty to a greater degree than any other, and I thank you and your people for all your help in maintaining the continuity which is the bulwark of our Republic.
The business of our nation goes forward. These United States are confronted with an economic affliction of great proportions. We suffer from the longest and one of the worst sustained inflations in our national history. It distorts our economic decisions, penalizes thrift, and crushes the struggling young and the fixed- income elderly alike. It threatens to shatter the lives of millions of our people.
Idle industries have cast workers into unemployment, causing human misery and personal indignity. Those who do work are denied a fair return for their labor by a tax system which penalizes successful achievement and keeps us from maintaining full productivity.
But great as our tax burden is, it has not kept pace with public spending. For decades, we have piled deficit upon deficit, mortgaging our future and our children's future for the temporary convenience of the present. To continue this long trend is to guarantee tremendous social, cultural, political, and economic upheavals.
You and I, as individuals, can, by borrowing, live beyond our means, but for only a limited period of time. Why, then, should we think that collectively, as a nation, we are not bound by that same limitation?
We must act today in order to preserve tomorrow. And let there be no misunderstanding--we are going to begin to act, beginning today.
The economic ills we suffer have come upon us over several decades. They will not go away in days, weeks, or months, but they will go away. They will go away because we, as Americans, have the capacity now, as we have had in the past, to do whatever needs to be done to preserve this last and greatest bastion of freedom.
In this present crisis, government is not the solution to our problem; government is the problem.
From time to time, we have been tempted to believe that society has become too complex to be managed by self-rule, that government by an elite group is superior to government for, by, and of the people. But if no one among us is capable of governing himself, then who among us has the capacity to govern someone else? All of us together, in and out of government, must bear the burden. The solutions we seek must be equitable, with no one group singled out to pay a higher price.
We hear much of special interest groups. Our concern must be for a special interest group that has been too long neglected. It knows no sectional boundaries or ethnic and racial divisions, and it crosses political party lines. It is made up of men and women who raise our food, patrol our streets, man our mines and our factories, teach our children, keep our homes, and heal us when we are sick--professionals, industrialists, shopkeepers, clerks, cabbies, and truckdrivers. They are, in short, "We the people," this breed called Americans.
Well, this administration's objective will be a healthy, vigorous, growing economy that provides equal opportunity for all Americans, with no barriers born of bigotry or discrimination. Putting America back to work means putting all Americans back to work. Ending inflation means freeing all Americans from the terror of runaway living costs. All must share in the productive work of this "new beginning" and all must share in the bounty of a revived economy. With the idealism and fair play which are the core of our system and our strength, we can have a strong and prosperous America at peace with itself and the world.
So, as we begin, let us take inventory. We are a nation that has a government--not the other way around. And this makes us special among the nations of the Earth. Our Government has no power except that granted it by the people. It is time to check and reverse the growth of government which shows signs of having grown beyond the consent of the governed.
It is my intention to curb the size and influence of the Federal establishment and to demand recognition of the distinction between the powers granted to the Federal Government and those reserved to the States or to the people. All of us need to be reminded that the Federal Government did not create the States; the States created the Federal Government.
Now, so there will be no misunderstanding, it is not my intention to do away with government. It is, rather, to make it work-work with us, not over us; to stand by our side, not ride on our back. Government can and must provide opportunity, not smother it; foster productivity, not stifle it.
If we look to the answer as to why, for so many years, we achieved so much, prospered as no other people on Earth, it was because here, in this land, we unleashed the energy and individual genius of man to a greater extent than has ever been done before. Freedom and the dignity of the individual have been more available and assured here than in any other place on Earth. The price for this freedom at times has been high, but we have never been unwilling to pay that price.
It is no coincidence that our present troubles parallel and are proportionate to the intervention and intrusion in our lives that result from unnecessary and excessive growth of government. It is time for us to realize that we are too great a nation to limit ourselves to small dreams. We are not, as some would have us believe, loomed to an inevitable decline. I do not believe in a fate that will all on us no matter what we do. I do believe in a fate that will fall on us if we do nothing. So, with all the creative energy at our command, let us begin an era of national renewal. Let us renew our determination, our courage, and our strength. And let us renew; our faith and our hope.
We have every right to dream heroic dreams. Those who say that we are in a time when there are no heroes just don't know where to look. You can see heroes every day going in and out of factory gates. Others, a handful in number, produce enough food to feed all of us and then the world beyond. You meet heroes across a counter--and they are on both sides of that counter. There are entrepreneurs with faith in themselves and faith in an idea who create new jobs, new wealth and opportunity. They are individuals and families whose taxes support the Government and whose voluntary gifts support church, charity, culture, art, and education. Their patriotism is quiet but deep. Their values sustain our national life.
I have used the words "they" and "their" in speaking of these heroes. I could say "you" and "your" because I am addressing the heroes of whom I speak--you, the citizens of this blessed land. Your dreams, your hopes, your goals are going to be the dreams, the hopes, and the goals of this administration, so help me God.
We shall reflect the compassion that is so much a part of your makeup. How can we love our country and not love our countrymen, and loving them, reach out a hand when they fall, heal them when they are sick, and provide opportunities to make them self- sufficient so they will be equal in fact and not just in theory?
Can we solve the problems confronting us? Well, the answer is an unequivocal and emphatic "yes." To paraphrase Winston Churchill, I did not take the oath I have just taken with the intention of presiding over the dissolution of the world's strongest economy.
In the days ahead I will propose removing the roadblocks that have slowed our economy and reduced productivity. Steps will be taken aimed at restoring the balance between the various levels of government. Progress may be slow--measured in inches and feet, not miles--but we will progress. Is it time to reawaken this industrial giant, to get government back within its means, and to lighten our punitive tax burden. And these will be our first priorities, and on these principles, there will be no compromise.
On the eve of our struggle for independence a man who might have been one of the greatest among the Founding Fathers, Dr. Joseph Warren, President of the Massachusetts Congress, said to his fellow Americans, "Our country is in danger, but not to be despaired of.... On you depend the fortunes of America. You are to decide the important questions upon which rests the happiness and the liberty of millions yet unborn. Act worthy of yourselves."
Well, I believe we, the Americans of today, are ready to act worthy of ourselves, ready to do what must be done to ensure happiness and liberty for ourselves, our children and our children's children.
And as we renew ourselves here in our own land, we will be seen as having greater strength throughout the world. We will again be the exemplar of freedom and a beacon of hope for those who do not now have freedom.
To those neighbors and allies who share our freedom, we will strengthen our historic ties and assure them of our support and firm commitment. We will match loyalty with loyalty. We will strive for mutually beneficial relations. We will not use our friendship to impose on their sovereignty, for or own sovereignty is not for sale.
As for the enemies of freedom, those who are potential adversaries, they will be reminded that peace is the highest aspiration of the American people. We will negotiate for it, sacrifice for it; we will not surrender for it--now or ever.
Our forbearance should never be misunderstood. Our reluctance for conflict should not be misjudged as a failure of will. When action is required to preserve our national security, we will act. We will maintain sufficient strength to prevail if need be, knowing that if we do so we have the best chance of never having to use that strength.
Above all, we must realize that no arsenal, or no weapon in the arsenals of the world, is so formidable as the will and moral courage of free men and women. It is a weapon our adversaries in today's world do not have. It is a weapon that we as Americans do have. Let that be understood by those who practice terrorism and prey upon their neighbors.
I am told that tens of thousands of prayer meetings are being held on this day, and for that I am deeply grateful. We are a nation under God, and I believe God intended for us to be free. It would be fitting and good, I think, if on each Inauguration Day in future years it should be declared a day of prayer.
This is the first time in history that this ceremony has been held, as you have been told, on this West Front of the Capitol. Standing here, one faces a magnificent vista, opening up on this city's special beauty and history. At the end of this open mall are those shrines to the giants on whose shoulders we stand.
Directly in front of me, the monument to a monumental man: George Washington, Father of our country. A man of humility who came to greatness reluctantly. He led America out of revolutionary victory into infant nationhood. Off to one side, the stately memorial to Thomas Jefferson. The Declaration of Independence flames with his eloquence.
And then beyond the Reflecting Pool the dignified columns of the Lincoln Memorial. Whoever would understand in his heart the meaning of America will find it in the life of Abraham Lincoln.
Beyond those monuments to heroism is the Potomac River, and on the far shore the sloping hills of Arlington National Cemetery with its row on row of simple white markers bearing crosses or Stars of David. They add up to only a tiny fraction of the price that has been paid for our freedom.
Each one of those markers is a monument to the kinds of hero I spoke of earlier. Their lives ended in places called Belleau Wood, The Argonne, Omaha Beach, Salerno and halfway around the world on Guadalcanal, Tarawa, Pork Chop Hill, the Chosin Reservoir, and in a hundred rice paddies and jungles of a place called Vietnam.
Under one such marker lies a young man--Martin Treptow--who left his job in a small town barber shop in 1917 to go to France with the famed Rainbow Division. There, on the western front, he was killed trying to carry a message between battalions under heavy artillery fire.
We are told that on his body was found a diary. On the flyleaf under the heading, "My Pledge," he had written these words: "America must win this war. Therefore, I will work, I will save, I will sacrifice, I will endure, I will fight cheerfully and do my utmost, as if the issue of the whole struggle depended on me alone."
The crisis we are facing today does not require of us the kind of sacrifice that Martin Treptow and so many thousands of others were called upon to make. It does require, however, our best effort, and our willingness to believe in ourselves and to believe in our capacity to perform great deeds; to believe that together, with God's help, we can and will resolve the problems which now confront us.
And, after all, why shouldn't we believe that? We are Americans. God bless you, and thank you.
Ten General "Common Sense" Tips 1 - Turn off lights when not in a room 2 - Turn off radios, TVs and/or DVD players when not being used 3 - Unplug battery chargers when not being used 4 - Unplug unnecessary clocks, kitchen gadgets and so forth 5 - Set thermostats lower in the winter (wear sweaters, throw an extra blanket on the bed) 6 - Set thermostats higher in summer (electric fans can make you feel five degrees cooler) 7 - Take quick showers (less hot water used = less energy used) 8 - Buy less stuff - avoid impulse purchases 9 - Buy less stuff - go for quality over quantity 10 - Buy less stuff - shop with lists and pay cash only Twenty-Eight Tips to Save Gasoline These tips are from my essay Three Changes to Save Big on Gasoline. 11 - Make sure your tires are properly inflated (check weekly). 12 - Check tire rotation & balance (every six months). 13 - Change oil & oil filter (typically every 3000 - 5000 miles). 14 - Change the air filter (yearly or as needed). 15 - Service the fuel injection system (yearly or according to owner's manual). 16 - Change the fuel filter (yearly or as needed). 17 - Get a tune-up (yearly or according to owner's manual). 18 - Service the transmission (yearly or according to owner's manual). 19 - Replace faulty emissions components and oxygen sensor (as needed). 20 - Have front end aligned (as needed). 21 - Leave early enough so that you don't have to rush to get where you are going. 22 - Don't speed. Drive at least five mph under the speed limit & never exceed 55 mph. 23 - Use cruise control whenever possible. 24 - Drive evenly. Avoid jack-rabbit starts & sudden stops. Don't weave in & out of traffic. 25 - Whenever possible, don't accelerate uphill and coast downhill. 26 - Avoid rush-hour traffic whenever possible to avoid time idling. 27 - Cut off the engine whenever you will be stopped for at least a minute. 28 - Clean out the trunk. Less weight means better gas mileage. 29 - Remove rooftop carriers. Less wind resistance means better gas mileage. 30 - Generally speaking, use the air conditioner only for highway driving (over 45 mph with few stops) and roll your windows down when driving around town (under 45 mph with lots of stops). 31 - Avoid driving whenever possible. Instead walk, bike, or take a bus or train. 32 - Join or start a car pool to work, or consider telecommuting if it is possible for your job. 33 - Share a ride with a neighbor to the market, church or school. 34 - Don't fall for society's obsession with being constantly "on the go." There is nothing wrong with staying at home, and your kids don't have to be enrolled in organized activities every day of the week. 35 - Learn to get much of your entertainment at home. Start a family game night. Get together with the neighbors for a weekend cookout or a video night. 36 - Plan ahead and combine errands so that you make fewer trips. 37 - Use lists & stock up on items you frequently use so that you don't have to make a special trip just to pick up something you forgot or unexpectedly ran out of. 38 - Long commute? Consider getting a job closer to home or moving closer to work.
Consumer Reports: Twenty Free Ways to Save Energy These twenty ideas come from Consumers Report's 20 free ways to save energy. 39 - Wash clothes in cold water. You might guess that most of the energy used by a washing machine goes into vigorously swishing the clothes around. In fact, about 90 percent of it is spent elsewhere, heating the water for the load. You can save substantially by washing and rinsing at cooler temperatures. Warm water helps the suds to get at the dirt, but cold-water detergents will work effectively for just about everything in the hamper. 40 - Hang it up. Clotheslines aren't just a bit of backyard nostalgia. They really work, given a stretch of decent weather. You spare the energy a dryer would use, and your clothes will smell as fresh as all outdoors without the perfumes in fabric softeners and dryer sheets. You'll also get more useful life out of clothes dried on indoor or outdoor clotheslines--after all, dryer lint is nothing but your wardrobe in the process of wearing out. 41 - Don't overdry your laundry. Clothes will need less ironing and hold up better if you remove them from the dryer while they're still just a bit damp. If you are in the market for a dryer, look for one with a moisture sensor; it will be less likely than thermostat-equipped models to run too long. 42 - Let the dishwasher do the work. Don't bother pre-rinsing dishes with the idea that your dishwasher will work less hard. Consumer Reports has found that this added step can waste 20 gallons of heated water a day. All you need to do is scrape off leftover food. Enzyme-based detergents will help make sure the dishes emerge spotless. 43 - Put your PC to sleep. Keep your computer and its monitor in sleep mode rather than leaving them on around the clock. You stand to use 80 percent less electricity, which over the course of a year could have the effect of cutting CO2 emissions by up to 1,250 pounds, according to EPA estimates. 44 - Turn down the heat in the winter, and turn down the cool in the summer. Lower the thermostat 5° to 10° F when you're sleeping or are out of the house. "A 10° decrease can cut your heating bill by as much as 20 percent," says Jim Nanni, manager of the appliance and home-improvement testing department of Consumer Reports. And before you put on a cotton sweater to ward off a slight chill from the AC in summer, consider that for every degree you raise the thermostat setting, you can expect to cut your cooling costs by at least 3 percent. 45 - A cold hearth for a warmer house. A conventional fireplace draws a small gale out of the room and sends it up the chimney. Assuming the indoor air has been warmed by your central heating system, that means your energy dollars are going up the chimney, too. Instead, consider a direct-vent, sealed-combustion gas fireplace. Consumer Reports has found that those units have an energy efficiency of about 70 percent--and the sight of the flames is a lot more warming than staring at a radiator. 46 - Lower the shades and raise the windows. Not at the same time, of course, but your windows and shades are great tools to help moderate temperatures in the home. Because of central air conditioning, we tend to forget these time-tested, traditional ways of making the house comfortable. Shades are particularly helpful in blocking the sun from west-facing rooms in the afternoon. At night, if the forecast calls for cooler temperatures and low humidity, give the AC a rest. Open windows upstairs and down, and use window fans or a whole-house fan. 47 - Put a spin on home cooling. You can operate a couple of fans with a fraction of the electricity needed for air conditioning, and their cooling effect may make it possible to cut back on AC use. 48 - Take care of your air conditioner, and it will take care of you. Your air conditioner will run more efficiently if you clean or replace its filter every other week during heaviest use. Keep leaves and other debris away from the central air's exterior condenser, and keep the condenser coils clean. 49 - Spend less for hot water. Set the hot water heater at 120° F (or the "low" setting), which is hot enough for most needs. If the tank feels warm to the touch, consider wrapping it with conventional insulation or a blanket made for that purpose. To help conserve the water's heat on its way to the faucets, insulate the plumbing with pipe sleeves; with these, you can raise the end-use temperature by 2° to 4° F. 50 - Think twice before turning on the oven. Heating food in the microwave uses only 20 percent of the energy required by a full-sized oven. And while the second-hand heat from the oven may be welcome in winter, it can put an added load on your air conditioner in warmer months. 51 - Use the right pan. When cooking on the stovetop, pick your pan, then put it on an element or burner that's roughly the same size. You'll use much less energy than you would with a mismatched burner and pan. Steam foods instead of boiling. If you do boil, be sure to put a lid on the pot to make the water come to a boil faster. 52 - Read the label. The Energy Guide label, that is. When you shop for a new appliance, look for the label that gives an estimate of annual energy consumption. To help you make sense of that statistic, the label also states the highest and lowest figures for similar models. 53 - Dust off the Crock-Pot. Slow cooking in a Crock-Pot uses a lot less energy than simmering on the stove. 54 - Clean the coils on your refrigerator using a tapered appliance brush. Your fridge's motor won't have to run as long or as often. In addition to saving energy dollars, you'll prolong the life of the appliance. 55 - Drive steadily--and a bit slower. Hard acceleration and abrupt braking will use more fuel than if you start and slow more moderately. Keeping down your overall speed matters, too, because aerodynamic drag increases dramatically as you drive faster. If you travel at 65 mph instead of 55, you are penalized by lowering your mileage 12.5 percent. If you get your vehicle up to 75 mph, you're losing 25 percent compared with mileage at 55 mph. 56 - Roof racks are a drag. Most cars are reasonably streamlined, but you work against their slipperiness if you carry things on the roof. A loaded roof rack can decrease an SUV's fuel efficiency by 5 percent, and that of a more aerodynamic car by 15 percent or more. Even driving with empty ski racks wastes gas. 57 - Stick with regular. If your car's manufacturer specifies regular gas, don't buy premium with the thought of going faster or operating more efficiently. You'd be spending more with no benefit. Most cars have built-in sensors that adjust the engine timing to the gas in the tank. Even if the owner's manual recommends high-octane gas, ask the dealership about switching to regular. 58 - No loitering. Don't let the engine run at idle any longer than necessary. After starting the car in the morning, begin driving right away; don't let it sit and "warm up" for several minutes. An engine actually warms up faster while driving. With most gasoline engines, it's more efficient to turn off the engine than to idle longer than 30 seconds.
Saving Water Outdoors The American Water and Energy Saverswebsite has a list of 49 ways to save water. Here are the 16 ways they list for saving water outdoors: 59- Don't over water your lawn. As a general rule, lawns only need watering every 5 to 7 days in the summer and every 10 to 14 days in the winter. A hearty rain eliminates the need for watering for as long as two weeks. Plant it smart, Xeriscape. Xeriscape landscaping is a great way to design, install and maintain both your plantings and irrigation system that will save you time, money and water. For your free copy of "Plant it Smart," an easy-to-use guide to Xeriscape landscaping, contact your Water Management District. 60 - Water lawns during the early morning hours when temperatures and wind speed are the lowest. This reduces losses from evaporation. 61 - Don't water your street, driveway or sidewalk. Position your sprinklers so that your water lands on the lawn and shrubs ... not the paved areas. 62 - Install sprinklers that are the most water-efficient for each use. Micro and drip irrigation and soaker hoses are examples of water-efficient methods of irrigation. 63 - Regularly check sprinkler systems and timing devices to be sure they are operating properly. It is now the law that "anyone who purchases and installs an automatic lawn sprinkler system MUST install a rain sensor device or switch which will override the irrigation cycle of the sprinkler system when adequate rainfall has occurred." To retrofit your existing system, contact an irrigation professional for more information. 64 - Raise the lawn mower blade to at least three inches. A lawn cut higher encourages grass roots to grow deeper, shades the root system and holds soil moisture better than a closely-clipped lawn. 65 - Avoid over fertilizing your lawn. The application of fertilizers increases the need for water. Apply fertilizers which contain slow-release, water-insoluble forms of nitrogen. 66 - Mulch to retain moisture in the soil. Mulching also helps to control weeds that compete with plants for water. 67 - Plant native and/or drought-tolerant grasses, ground covers, shrubs and trees. Once established, they do not need to be watered as frequently and they usually will survive a dry period without any watering. Group plans together based on similar water needs. 68 - Do not hose down your driveway or sidewalk. Use a broom to clean leaves and other debris from these areas. Using a hose to clean a driveway can waste hundreds of gallons of water. 69 - Outfit your hose with a shut-off nozzle which can be adjusted down to fine spray so that water flows only as needed. When finished, "Turn it Off" at the faucet instead of at the nozzle to avoid leaks. 70 - Use hose washers between spigots and water hoses to eliminate leaks. 71 - Do not leave sprinklers or hoses unattended. Your garden hoses can pour out 600 gallons or more in only a few hours, so don't leave the sprinkler running all day. Use a kitchen timer to remind yourself to turn it off. 72 - Check all hoses, connectors and spigots regularly. 73 - Consider using a commercial car wash that recycles water. If you wash your own car, park on the grass to do so. 74 - Avoid the installation of ornamental water features (such as fountains) unless the water is recycled. Locate where there are mineral losses due to evaporation and wind drift. 75 - If you have a swimming pool, consider a new water-saving pool filter. A single back flushing with a traditional filter uses from 180 to 250 gallons or more of water.
Use Your Dryer Efficiently Drying your clothes outside on a clothes line is the most efficient way to do so, of course. But it is not always possible to dry your clothes outside due to rain, cold weather, or just not having room to do so if you live in an apartment or condo. If you must use a clothes dryer, here are some tips from the Rocky Mountain Institute: 76 - Run only full loads, as small loads are less economical. However, don’t overfill the machine—air needs to be able to circulate around the clothes to properly dry them. 77 - Dry heavy clothes such as cotton towels, jeans, or jackets separately from light clothing, such as underwear and summer clothing. Lightweight fabrics take less time to dry than heavy fabrics, so preventing them from being overheated or dried too long can extend the life of lightweight shirts, pants, and other items. 78 - Dry two or more loads in a row and make use of the hot air already in the dryer from the first load. 79 - Locate your dryer in a heated space. A dryer in a cold or damp basement will have to work harder to get your clothes dry. 80 - Don’t over-dry clothes. If your machine has a moisture sensor, use it. If it has a timer, consider shortening the drying time. 81 - Clean the fluff out of the filter before every load to allow air to circulate better. And regularly clean the lint from vent hoods and lint kits. 82 - Check the outside dryer vent. If it doesn’t close tightly, replace it with one that does. You’ll keep outside air from leaking in, reducing heating and/or cooling bills. 83 - If you have an electric dryer, install a lint kit ($5–10) to vent the exhaust heat and humidity into the house in winter—an easy project. (Exhaust fumes rule out this option for gas dryers.)
Tips For Refrigerators and FreezersAlso from the Rocky Mountain Institute: 84 - Check location: You can boost energy efficiency by making sure your refrigerator is not located in direct sunlight or next to a heat source such as the oven or the dishwasher. Also, be sure that air can circulate freely around condenser coils by leaving a space between the back of the refrigerator and the wall or cabinets. 85 - Keep the fridge top uncluttered: A cluttered fridge top can block the circulation needed to keep the compressor working efficiently. 86 - Check temperature: The refrigerator’s main compartment should be set between 36°F and 40°F and its freezer should be set between 0°F and 5°F. Use a thermometer to check the actual temperature, and adjust the thermostat if necessary. Your refrigerator can use 25 percent more energy if it is set 10°F colder than recommended levels. 87 - Clean condenser coils at least once a year: Unplug the unit and brush off or vacuum the condenser coils (located on the back of the refrigerator or behind the front grill). 88 - Check door seals: Keep door seals or gaskets clean and in good condition. If the seals can’t hold a dollar bill firmly in place, they may need replacement. Your appliance dealer can get them for you. New seals are not cheap, however, and this may be a good time to decide whether to buy a new, more efficient refrigerator. (This test may not work if your fridge has magnetic seals; in this case, put a bright flashlight inside the refrigerator, dim the lights in the kitchen, and check for light leakage.) 89 - Check “power-saver” switch: Many refrigerators have small heaters in their walls to prevent condensation build-up on the outside. Likewise, many refrigerators have a “power saver” switch that when turned on, will turn this heater off. Ensure that this switch is on if you have the option to do so and you don’t see any condensation on the outside of the fridge. 90 - Defrost as needed: If you have a manual defrost or partial automatic defrost, be sure to defrost the unit regularly. Buildup of ice on the coils makes the compressor run longer, wasting energy. 91 - Cover liquids and foods: If your freezer is almost empty, put in a few water-filled plastic containers. The water will retain the cold much better than empty space, especially when the door is open, and it reduces the need to run the compressor. 92 - Buy a manual defrost freezer: This type of fridge consumes 35–40 percent less electricity than comparable automatic defrost models. They also cost less to run, and they do a better job of storing food, since auto-defrosters remove moisture and can dehydrate food (freezer burn). 93 - Consider chest (top-loading) freezers: They are 10–25 percent more efficient than upright (frontloading) models because they are better insulated and less warm air enters the freezer compartment when the door is open. 94 - The costliest refrigerator is the one you don’t really need but run anyway—you know that old one keeping a six-pack cold in the garage or basement. Retire it from service.
Saving Water Indoors Here are the 21 ways that the American Water and Energy Savers website lists for saving water indoors: 95 - Never put water down the drain when there may be another use for it such as watering a plant or garden, or cleaning. 96 - Verify that your home is leak-free, because many homes have hidden water leaks. Read your water meter before and after a two-hour period when no water is being used. If the meter does not read exactly the same, there is a leak. 97 - Repair dripping faucets by replacing washers. If your faucet is dripping at the rate of one drop per second, you can expect to waste 2,700 gallons per year which will add to the cost of water and sewer utilities, or strain your septic system. 98 - Check for toilet tank leaks by adding food coloring to the tank. If the toilet is leaking, color will appear within 30 minutes. Check the toilet for worn out, corroded or bent parts. Most replacement parts are inexpensive, readily available and easily installed. (Flush as soon as test is done, since food coloring may stain tank.) 99 - Avoid flushing the toilet unnecessarily. Dispose of tissues, insects and other such waste in the trash rather than the toilet. 100 - Take shorter showers. Replace you showerhead with an ultra-low-flow version. Some units are available that allow you to cut off the flow without adjusting the water temperature knobs. 101 - Use the minimum amount of water needed for a bath by closing the drain first and filling the tub only 1/3 full. Stopper tub before turning water. The initial burst of cold water can be warmed by adding hot water later. 102 - Don't let water run while shaving or washing your face. Brush your teeth first while waiting for water to get hot, then wash or shave after filling the basin. 103 - Retrofit all wasteful household faucets by installing aerators with flow restrictors. 104 - Operate automatic dishwashers and clothes washers only when they are fully loaded or properly set the water level for the size of load you are using. 105 - When washing dishes by hand, fill one sink or basin with soapy water. Quickly rinse under a slow-moving stream from the faucet. 106 - Store drinking water in the refrigerator rather than letting the tap run every time you want a cool glass of water. 107 - Do not use running water to thaw meat or other frozen foods. Defrost food overnight in the refrigerator or by using the defrost setting on your microwave. 108 - Kitchen sink disposals require lots of water to operate properly. Start a compost pile as an alternate method of disposing food waste instead of using a garbage disposal. Garbage disposals also can add 50% to the volume of solids in a septic tank which can lead to malfunctions and maintenance problems. 109 - Consider installing an instant water heater on your kitchen sink so you don't have to let the water run while it heats up. This will reduce heating costs for your household. 110 - Insulate your water pipes. You'll get hot water faster plus avoid wasting water while it heats up. 111 - Never install a water-to-air heat pump or air-conditioning system. Air-to-air models are just as efficient and do not waste water. 112 - Install water softening systems only when necessary. Save water and salt by running the minimum amount of regenerations necessary to maintain water softness. Turn softeners off while on vacation. 113 - Check your pump. If you have a well at your home, listen to see if the pump kicks on and off while the water is not in use. If it does, you have a leak. 114 - When adjusting water temperatures, instead of turning water flow up, try turning it down. If the water is too hot or cold, turn the offender down rather than increasing water flow to balance the temperatures. 115 - If the toilet flush handle frequently sticks in the flush position, letting water run constantly, replace or adjust it.
Some Miscellaneous Tips 116 - Computers: Most homes have one, and sometimes more than one. They can be real energy hogs, particularly if their power management options have not been enabled and they are left on most of the time. The U.S. EPA’s Energy Star website offers instructions on how to enable power management systems for most PCs, and includes links for Mac users. Click here to go to their start page for computer power management. 117 - Paper: Manufacturing a piece of paper requires 10–70 times as much energy as the electricity it takes to print on it. Reduce the amount of paper you use when printing by using narrower margins and a smaller font. The default MS Word settings are 1 inch top & bottom margins and 1.25 inch side margins, with a 12-point font. I've changed my settings to .8 inch margins all around and an 11-point font. It is just as usable and readable as the default settings and does save paper when printing long reports. I also print on both sides of the paper and avoid printing drafts, instead doing any editing on the computer. 118 - Battery Chargers: Battery chargers for cell phones, I-Pods, PDAs and other small electronics are true electricity vampires, sucking electricity from your outlets even when not in use. Always unplug battery chargers when not in use. Or put them on power strips, being sure to turn the power strip off when not in use. 119 - Insulation: When is the last time you've peaked under your house to make sure the insulation is okay? I've seen lots of homes, including my own, where the insulation has fallen down in places. Take a few moments to check yours, and to tack it back up if needed. 120 - Air Leaks: Most homes have multiple places where air leaks occur. Check in your kitchen, bathrooms and utility rooms for places where pipes or wires come into your home. Chances are there are some fairly larges holes under your sinks. Get a can of spray foam insulation and plug those holes. The energy savings will be much greater than the five bucks you spend on the can of spray foam. 121 - Dish-washers vs. Hand-washing: Believe it or not, studies indicate that modern, energy-efficient dishwashers actually use less energy than typical hand-washing does. 122 - Switch to CFLs for Lighting: They use considerable less energy than traditional bulbs. And don't fall for the mercury scare tactics - the CFLs you buy in the stores today contain less than 25% the mercury of the old CFLs on which those concerns were based. 123 - LED Lighting: LEDs use even less electricity than CFLs, and are becoming less expensive and more available everyday. They are still more expensive than CFLs, but if you can afford it you might want to consider LED lighting. 124 - Care For Your Belongings: Taking the time to care for your belongings by keeping them cleaned and properly maintained, as well as safely put away when not in use. This will help them last longer, and will save you money in the long run. Take pride not in how much you have, but rather in how long it lasts.
Avoid Impulse Purchases Manufacturers spend huge sums of money to get people to buy their products, no matter if they actually need them or not. Retailers spend big bucks to influence people to make impulse purchases. There are several ideas on how to avoid buying stuff you don't need: 125 - Try not to pay attention to TV, radio or print ads. Hit the mute button, turn down the volume or simply don't watch or read the ads. 126 - Leave junk mail unopened. Recycle flyers and leaflets unread. 127 - Don't use shopping as a form of entertainment or a means to relax. 128 - Shop only with lists, and stick to them. 129 - Shop with cash only. Spending cash feels more real than using checks or credit cards, so you are apt to spend less. 130 - If you do find an item you can't do without, wait at least 24 hours before buying it. Chances are the impulse will pass.
General Water Savings Tips Here are 11 more tips from the American Water and Energy Savers website: 131 - Create an awareness of the need for water conservation among your children. Avoid the purchase of recreational water toys which require a constant stream of water. 132 - Be aware of and follow all water conservation and water shortage rules and restrictions which may be in effect in your area. 133 - Encourage your employer to promote water conservation at the workplace. Suggest that water conservation be put in the employee orientation manual and training program. 134 - Patronize businesses which practice and promote water conservation. 135 - Report all significant water losses (broken pipes, open hydrants, errant sprinklers, abandoned free-flowing wells, etc.) to the property owner, local authorities or your Water Management District. 136 - Encourage your school system and local government to help develop and promote a water conservation ethic among children and adults. 137 - Support projects that will lead to an increased use of reclaimed waste water for irrigation and other uses. 138 - Support efforts and programs to create a concern for water conservation among tourists and visitors to our state. Make sure your visitors understand the need for, and benefits of, water conservation. 139 - Encourage your friends and neighbors to be part of a water conscious community. Promote water conservation in community newsletters, on bulletin boards and by example. 140 - Conserve water because it is the right thing to do. Don't waste water just because someone else is footing the bill such as when you are staying at a hotel. 141 - Try to do one thing each day that will result in a savings of water. Don't worry if the savings is minimal. Every drop counts. And every person can make a difference. So tell your friends, neighbors and co-workers to "Turn it Off" and "Keep it Off".
Nine Final Tips 142 - Eat Locally. Support your local farmers by buying locally grown food. food shipped in from half way around the world consumes huge amounts of fuel and other resources. 143 - Eat Low on the Food Chain. You don't have to become a vegetarian, but eating less meat is not only healthier, but is less wasteful of resources. 144 - Avoid Convenience Items. Most disposable items are extremely wasteful. Such convenience items are often cheaper in the short run, but constantly replacing them actually makes most disposable items much more expensive over the long run. Don't be suckered into using disposable items because they seem cheaper at first glance. 145 - Cancel Magazines, Newspapers and Junk Mail. Cancel magazines and newspapers that you don't read, or that you can read at the library, office or borrow from a friend. Not only will this save paper and energy, but most will send you a refund for the unused portion of your subscription. Reputable catalog companies will remove your name from their mailing lists if you send them a letter asking them to do so. Privacy Rights Clearinghouse has extensive information for how to get off most mailing lists. 146 - Install Energy-Efficient Windows. Not only will they help you save money each month, but you may qualify for a tax credit. Between the monthly savings and the tax credit, payback on the energy-efficient windows I had installed was about 2-1/2 years. Since then the monthly savings is like cash in my pocket. 147 - Switch to new, energy efficient appliances. If your appliances are more than five years old, new models will offer significant energy savings. 148 - If your vehicle gets less than 25 mpg, you may want to consider switching to a more fuel efficient model. The fuel savings will be significant, and if gas jumps back up to over $4/gallon you will be glad for the much better mileage. 149 - Many power companies offer their customers free or low-cost energy audits. If your's does, take advantage of it. 150 - Check the insulation under your house. If it is falling down in spots, replace it or at least tack it back up.
Bonus Tip 151: Check out my three-part series Back to Basicsfor ideas and tips for spending less money. Bonus Tip 152: Check out my seven-part series Preparing for Disaster on a Budget. Lots of ideas, details, and tips on prepping without having to spend too much money: Part 1: What Are We Preparing For?
Fellow-Citizens of the Senate and of the House of Representatives:
Among the vicissitudes incident to life no event could have filled me with greater anxieties than that of which the notification was transmitted by your order, and received on the 14th day of the present month. On the one hand, I was summoned by my Country, whose voice I can never hear but with veneration and love, from a retreat which I had chosen with the fondest predilection, and, in my flattering hopes, with an immutable decision, as the asylum of my declining years--a retreat which was rendered every day more necessary as well as more dear to me by the addition of habit to inclination, and of frequent interruptions in my health to the gradual waste committed on it by time. On the other hand, the magnitude and difficulty of the trust to which the voice of my country called me, being sufficient to awaken in the wisest and most experienced of her citizens a distrustful scrutiny into his qualifications, could not but overwhelm with despondence one who (inheriting inferior endowments from nature and unpracticed in the duties of civil administration) ought to be peculiarly conscious of his own deficiencies. In this conflict of emotions all I dare aver is that it has been my faithful study to collect my duty from a just appreciation of every circumstance by which it might be affected. All I dare hope is that if, in executing this task, I have been too much swayed by a grateful remembrance of former instances, or by an affectionate sensibility to this transcendent proof of the confidence of my fellow-citizens, and have thence too little consulted my incapacity as well as disinclination for the weighty and untried cares before me, my error will be palliated by the motives which mislead me, and its consequences be judged by my country with some share of the partiality in which they originated.
Such being the impressions under which I have, in obedience to the public summons, repaired to the present station, it would be peculiarly improper to omit in this first official act my fervent supplications to that Almighty Being who rules over the universe, who presides in the councils of nations, and whose providential aids can supply every human defect, that His benediction may consecrate to the liberties and happiness of the people of the United States a Government instituted by themselves for these essential purposes, and may enable every instrument employed in its administration to execute with success the functions allotted to his charge. In tendering this homage to the Great Author of every public and private good, I assure myself that it expresses your sentiments not less than my own, nor those of my fellow- citizens at large less than either. No people can be bound to acknowledge and adore the Invisible Hand which conducts the affairs of men more than those of the United States. Every step by which they have advanced to the character of an independent nation seems to have been distinguished by some token of providential agency; and in the important revolution just accomplished in the system of their united government the tranquil deliberations and voluntary consent of so many distinct communities from which the event has resulted can not be compared with the means by which most governments have been established without some return of pious gratitude, along with an humble anticipation of the future blessings which the past seem to presage. These reflections, arising out of the present crisis, have forced themselves too strongly on my mind to be suppressed. You will join with me, I trust, in thinking that there are none under the influence of which the proceedings of a new and free government can more auspiciously commence.
By the article establishing the executive department it is made the duty of the President "to recommend to your consideration such measures as he shall judge necessary and expedient." The circumstances under which I now meet you will acquit me from entering into that subject further than to refer to the great constitutional charter under which you are assembled, and which, in defining your powers, designates the objects to which your attention is to be given. It will be more consistent with those circumstances, and far more congenial with the feelings which actuate me, to substitute, in place of a recommendation of particular measures, the tribute that is due to the talents, the rectitude, and the patriotism which adorn the characters selected to devise and adopt them. In these honorable qualifications I behold the surest pledges that as on one side no local prejudices or attachments, no separate views nor party animosities, will misdirect the comprehensive and equal eye which ought to watch over this great assemblage of communities and interests, so, on another, that the foundation of our national policy will be laid in the pure and immutable principles of private morality, and the preeminence of free government be exemplified by all the attributes which can win the affections of its citizens and command the respect of the world. I dwell on this prospect with every satisfaction which an ardent love for my country can inspire, since there is no truth more thoroughly established than that there exists in the economy and course of nature an indissoluble union between virtue and happiness; between duty and advantage; between the genuine maxims of an honest and magnanimous policy and the solid rewards of public prosperity and felicity; since we ought to be no less persuaded that the propitious smiles of Heaven can never be expected on a nation that disregards the eternal rules of order and right which Heaven itself has ordained; and since the preservation of the sacred fire of liberty and the destiny of the republican model of government are justly considered, perhaps, as deeply, as finally, staked on the experiment entrusted to the hands of the American people.
Besides the ordinary objects submitted to your care, it will remain with your judgment to decide how far an exercise of the occasional power delegated by the fifth article of the Constitution is rendered expedient at the present juncture by the nature of objections which have been urged against the system, or by the degree of inquietude which has given birth to them. Instead of undertaking particular recommendations on this subject, in which I could be guided by no lights derived from official opportunities, I shall again give way to my entire confidence in your discernment and pursuit of the public good; for I assure myself that whilst you carefully avoid every alteration which might endanger the benefits of an united and effective government, or which ought to await the future lessons of experience, a reverence for the characteristic rights of freemen and a regard for the public harmony will sufficiently influence your deliberations on the question how far the former can be impregnably fortified or the latter be safely and advantageously promoted.
To the foregoing observations I have one to add, which will be most properly addressed to the House of Representatives. It concerns myself, and will therefore be as brief as possible. When I was first honored with a call into the service of my country, then on the eve of an arduous struggle for its liberties, the light in which I contemplated my duty required that I should renounce every pecuniary compensation. From this resolution I have in no instance departed; and being still under the impressions which produced it, I must decline as inapplicable to myself any share in the personal emoluments which may be indispensably included in a permanent provision for the executive department, and must accordingly pray that the pecuniary estimates for the station in which I am placed may during my continuance in it be limited to such actual expenditures as the public good may be thought to require.
Having thus imparted to you my sentiments as they have been awakened by the occasion which brings us together, I shall take my present leave; but not without resorting once more to the benign Parent of the Human Race in humble supplication that, since He has been pleased to favor the American people with opportunities for deliberating in perfect tranquillity, and dispositions for deciding with unparalleled unanimity on a form of government for the security of their union and the advancement of their happiness, so His divine blessing may be equally conspicuous in the enlarged views, the temperate consultations, and the wise measures on which the success of this Government must depend.