Sunday, August 24, 2008

How to Live on One Income - Introduction

This is the beginning of a series of posts on how to live on one income.

I am writing these posts to help families figure out how to have one of the parents stay at home and raise the children and run the home.  I realize that this viewpoint has become unpopular in recent times, but in fact, many of the problems of our society (increased drug use, lowered literacy rates, increased crime, lowering moral standards, and yes, even increased debt) could and can be improved by having someone who is "at home."

"But Bobbi, how can this be so?  How can it be true that you can lower your debt by having one person stop working? That's impossible!"

Sorry to inform you of this fact, but the awful truth is that if you have a business that has a top executive post vacant and unmanaged, that company will not do well.  Families and households are not exactly like a business, but they follow some very similar rules.

In the past, the person that was running a home was given a budget and told, "This is the amount you have to run the household. Make it work."  And, if you were a good housewife, you made it work.  If you were a good housewife, your family ate well, looked good, had good times, and felt the home was a safe harbor and a place to love and grow.  If you were a bad housewife, the food was terrible, the clothes looked bad, the house was dirty and people were in general pretty miserable.  Yes, I know I am being very black and white here, and there are lots and lots of gray areas, but I'm trying to make a point.

If you were a "good" housewife, you spent time figuring out how to do the things that you needed to do with the money you had.  This might mean growing your own food, or making your own clothes or living another year (or two or twelve) with your current car or television.  It meant continued study in the art and science of homemaking.  My girlfriend's mother got her master's degree in HOME ECONOMICS.  Remember that subject?

(A note here, I will be writing about houseWIVES, but of course, it can be houseHUSBANDS.  Doesn't matter.  SOMEONE needs to be home and in-charge and responsible for the products of running a home and raising a family.)

Now, we are in a "hurry, hurry, use it up, toss it out and get another one" society.  There is always a new and better whatever and we must run, run, run to get it.  Credit cards have made it possible to "get" whatever it is that the media tells us we can't live without.  Getting "stuff" is easy.  Paying minimum payments seems easy.  Even in today's economy, the credit card companies are offering up cheap introductory interest rates to anyone who will sign up. (To find out more about this subject, watch or read, "Maxed Out.")

Once you get on the "living on credit" merry-go-round, it is pretty hard to get off.  There are lots of books, websites, videos, groups and gurus who are ready to tell you how to "get out of debt."   This is not the subject I am going to talk about.

I am interested in helping you learn how to either never get into debt or to stay out of debt. 

Here's the problem.  Most people under the age of 30 years of age have never had the experience of living in a household where there actually was someone at home running the home, budget and family.  Even if there was someone at home doing this, it was most likely not observed.  Children are not in the house.  They are off at daycare, or school or afterschool activities most of their young lives - some from as early as six-weeks old.  They have learned how to live in groups, eat processed food, and do what someone else says to do.  How life actually works is behind some screen - like at Disneyland.  It just "happens." They simply have not observed or been a party to the actual process of running a successful home and life.

How did we arrive at this state?  How did we arrive at the situation where both parents feel that they HAVE to work in order to survive?  That is NOT the subject of these postings, but you can certainty find the answer to that question, if you so desire.  A subject worth studying, but, as I said, not the subject of these posts.

Here, I am going to share the wisdom of the ages.  Wisdom that every homemaker has known for ages past, but information that has recently become lost knowledge.  Information about cooking, cleaning, budgets, gift giving, entertainment, education, etc.

The first in this series has already been written and is entitled, "How to Save Money at the Mall."  Certainly the shortest of my posts and not very detailed, it does, however, make my point.

So, that's my introduction.  More posts will come.  They will be listed under "How to Live on One Income" in my index. 

Now, I must go and feed my children gruel.

Friday, August 22, 2008

Keywords Hiring Managers Look For

From comes the results of a survey on over 3,000 hiring managers and human resource professionals regarding keywords they look for in resumes.

Hiring managers often use electronic scanners to rank candidates based on a keyword search of applications, so make sure to pepper keywords into your resume as they apply to your experience.

The terms employers search for most often are:
  • problem-solving and decision-making skills (50 percent)
  • oral and written communications (44 percent)
  • customer service or retention (34 percent)
  • performance and productivity improvement (32 percent)
  • leadership (30 percent)
  • technology (27 percent)
  • team-building (26 percent)
  • project management (20 percent)
  • bilingual (14 percent)
Seems to me like using these words will give you an edge, not only in your resume, but when having a face-to-face interview.  Use these keywords in your conversation when talking about your views and experience to your potential employer.  Way better than talking about the day that your grandmother's goat ate the wash off the line.

Microsoft Office Ultimate 2007 for 91% off retail price

As you know, a true bargain is at least 90% off the retail price AND is something that you actually need and want.  This sale item fits my definition.

Microsoft is making Office Ultimate 2007 available at 91% off the $680 retail price to students with proof of enrollment in a United States educational institution and a valid .edu email address.

You will also be able to obtain Microsoft Visio Professional design package and Vista Ultimate upgrade at similar discounts.

These offers are supposedly good throughout the academic school year, but you might want to check them out as soon as possible.

For more information and/or to order, click here.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Hotel Surplus Outlet - Los Angeles

When you go to a hotel, do you look at the furniture and wish it was in your bedroom?  Personally, I love the armoires that you can close and cover up the TV.

Well, hotels remodel a lot.  What happens to their "stuff"? Does it go to the hotel junkyard?  No, it goes to Hotel Surplus Outlet in Los Angeles (Van Nuys, to be exact.)  Per their website, Hotel Surplus Outlet "acquires and liquidates fine furnishing from top rated hotel and lodging properties.  They also seek deals on new overstock items, canceled items, canceled orders and new furniture."  This means some great deals for you! 

OK, I've looked at their prices and they are much higher than the prices you would find at a yard sale.  Those of you who have been with me from the beginning know that I think that 10% of the original price is a true bargain.... but, this stuff is pretty nice and the price is way less than new, so it's worth checking out.

I've found the Hotel Surplus Outlet in Los Angeles, but their must be outlet in other areas.  Perhaps some of my readers would like to post the addresses of outlets in their areas

Here is the information for the Los Angeles store:

Hotel Surplus Outlet
6843 Valjean Avenue, Van Nuys, CA 91406

Open M-F 9:00 to 6:00 Sat and Sun 10-5

When you check them out, tell 'em Bobbi's Bargains sent you.

Monday, August 18, 2008

A new view for search engines -

Just found a new (still in beta) search site.

It filters and groups the data that is found during the search into several distinct interfaces. 

Way too high tech for me to explain... but lots of fun to try.

Check it out.

Rent your college text books

The cost of going to college has been skyrocketing for years.  Part of that cost includes the cost of the text books one has to buy for the classes.  Many of these books weigh a ton, are impossible to comprehend and you will never use again them after the class ... but you are REQUIRED to have them. 

For decades, college bookstores have had a policy of buying back your used text books (at a small fraction of the original cost) and then selling them back to other students (for a large fraction of the original cost.)  Those bookstore people knew what they are doing. 

Well, the bookstore people no longer have a monopoly on selling you your textbooks.  There are several ways that you can now save a bundle on your text books.

One can always check on the standard book buying sites:

You might also find a deal on  (make sure that you use my earlier tip on how to search all the craigslists at once.)

However, there is a new text book game in town.  You can now RENT your text books.

Why would you want to rent your textbooks?  For a bunch of reasons (say the sites):
Save paper = save trees = save planet
Cheaper price (yes, some of these books are dirt cheap)
You don't have to feel obligated to shelve, dust, pack and move the text book for the rest of your life because you spent more on it than you did for your first car.

Make SURE that you read all the fine print on these sites.  It is important that the books are guaranteed to have all the CDs and special codes you need for full access to the info that is part of this text book.  A lot of books now have websites that go with them and you need a code to unlock the site.  Also check out the information on due dates, extra fees, shipping costs, damages, etc.

Here are my favorite three text book rental sites:

As a special note, on some of these sites, you can even buy gift certificates.  What a great gift for a high school graduation present.

And, of course, if you already have text books, you aren't using and won't ever use again, cluttering up your shelves, you can sell these books on the same sites.

Friday, August 8, 2008

The ReUse People

Many years ago, I was walking down 86th Street in New York City. There was a crew demolishing a building. Just as I passed and looked into the shambles of what once had been a 1920s bar, I saw a workman bring down his sledge hammer on a gorgeous stained glass window. I am pretty certain that I screamed. I couldn't believe that he hadn't at least dragged the window to the sidewalk. It would have been gone in "a New York minute."

I've never forgotten that window. I've thought about "where have all the architectural embellishments gone?" Into landfills? Horrors!

Guess I wasn't the only person thinking about this, because there is a group called, "The Re Use People." Their Mission Statement says that they: "reduce the solid waste stream and change the way the built environment is renewed by salvaging building materials and distributing them for reuse."

What this means to you and me is that we can go down to one of their salvage warehouses and buy a salvaged door, window, cabinet, refrigerator or spiral staircase for a fraction of the original cost.

It also means that you have to be flexible and use what they have... which could be ANYTHING. Depends on what has been recently salvaged.

When my friend and I went to check out the store in Pacoima, CA, we saw some floor to ceiling built-in bookshelves, a bay window, a kitchen island, an air condition compressor, a chandelier, and doors and windows of every shape and size.

Check out their website here. There are warehouses nationally, but the majority appear to be in California.

If you are remodeling, this is a store you can't afford not to check out. You might find a stained glass window for a few dollars. Wouldn't THAT be nice?

Summer Olympics 2008 on You Tube

I love watching the Olympics. I have special memories of watching the Olympics on TV with my family. However, now that I have a family, I don't have TV. I pulled the plug on commercialized TV quite some time ago. I just couldn't stand being barraged with commercials designed to teach my kids to want things that they didn't need and couldn't afford.... so, cable had to go.

Turns out that I can pretty much find whatever I want on the internet or Blockbuster.... except the Olympics.

I did some searching on the net and find out that there are a couple sites that will help me. Thought I'd share them with you.

YouTube Summer Games - all the YouTube vids in one place. You know there are going to be tons of videos uploaded. This seems to be a good choice for me as they will be sorted into different kinds of videos.

Add a gadget to your Google home page - you can add a gadget to your google homepage. This will give you all kinds of info right on the home page. You can find out more info on this by clicking here.

TVtonic - seems to have awesome coverage, but you have to have Vista to use it. You can download and watch full length olympic events. Its NBC Olympics On the Go. Check it out.

Of course, if you DO happen to have a cable provider, you can sign up for the delayed feed at If you do... can you invite me over to watch the opening ceremonies?