How a Can Opener Explains the State of the Economy

Carol RoachStarred Page By Carol Roach, 27th Feb 2015 | Follow this author | RSS Feed | Short URL
Posted in Wikinut>Money>Money Saving Tips

This particular article was written when I was at the lowest point I had ever been in terms of income.


So many articles and stories are written on how to save money. Of course they are good articles, explaining the state of the economy and the need to save money. These articles also go even beyond that to give tips on how to cut down and save money. The problem is they are mostly geared towards the middle class and have very little effect upon the people such as myself who live well below the poverty line.

Let's start with some of these helpful tips and how they apply or not, to my life as a disabled person on a fixed income.

Motrgages and rents

Let start with tips for the homeowner who still has a mortgage. In this economy it might be necessary to take out a second mortgage, refinance, change your mortgage plan from a variable interest rate to a fixed interest rate, give a bigger down payment or pay a higher minimum monthly payment to keep the interest down. These tips are all great depending on the situation the homeowner finds him/herself in. However, I don't own a home and I have no money to purchase a home either.

In my situation I rent and I am at the mercy of the landlords. I am currently looking for a new apartment at a lower rent. I have been looking for a new place to live now for six months and I do not find anything cheaper than what I have now. A lower rent would improve my financial situation a whole lot, but I still have to find one.

I have applied to all the low rentals in Montreal and I am on a waiting list with at least 20 thousand other people in the same position as myself, or maybe even worse off than I am right now.

No credit cards

Tip number two - Don't use credit cards unless you absolutely have to.

I don't have a credit card and because of financial situation no lending institution would ever extend credit to me either. When I buy anything I have to pay cash.

Tip number three - Pay cash or go without.

These are wise words. I have no cash so I go without. When something in my house breaks, I cannot replace it so I just lose it. Right now I am terrified that my computer is going to give out. It has shown signs of trouble. It is over 10 years old. If it goes out for good I will no longer be connected to my friends, and the Internet.

Tip number four - Cut out the extras

Cut out the extras like that cup of coffee and muffin you purchase in the morning on your way to work. Eat breakfast at home, it is not only cheaper but healthier for you in the long run.

I wish that I was well and I had a job to go to. I am disabled and I cannot work outside the home. Furthermore, when I do go out, I never spend a cent. I can't pay my monthly bills, so how can I afford that luxury of a coffee and a muffin outside?
Tip number five - Cut down on groceries and the buying of extras foods your family really can do without.

Tip number six - Buy on sale

Well if I do grocery shopping I buy the cheapest of foods because I have relatively very little money to put towards groceries. That also means that these foods are not necessarily the healthiest of foods. We also eat from food banks, and when they don't give me fruits or vegetables, I just don't get them. I have several medical conditions related to not having the proper food to eat.

Save your gas

Tip number seven - Eat leftovers

I don't waste any food, even if I burn the stuff I make I still eat it. I cannot afford to waste it. I eat leftovers. I even feed my cats the ends of meals rather than throw anything away. Sometimes their bag of food (cheapest brand) runs out before the month is up and they eat scraps from the table.

Tip number eight - Save money buy lowering the Thermostat

I wish I could. This house is freezing and make me very ill. I this is another reason why I need to find a better place to live.

Tip number nine - Insulate to keep the drafts out.

I do that. I just have one drafty window. Last year the man next door bought insulation for it for me, and we were much warmer. I cannot afford it this year so we have a sleeping bag up on the window to keep the draft out. It is not pretty but it is working so far; except on the coldest of days.

Tip number ten - Save on gas, only take your car when you have to.

Again, I never had a car in my life. I could never afford one. I use public transportation when I can afford it and I walk everywhere I go to save on bus fare. If I need to go somewhere too far to walk and I can't afford bus fare I stay home.

In fact I stay home all winter because I am in so much pain that I am housebound. I have fibromyalgia, osteoarthritis, and many other ailments.


I am only listing these two for the purpose of this article. I have written many articles in the past on the diabetes and other medical conditions that I have.As you can see these are all great tips but geared to a middle class person.

I want to end this article by revisiting tip number three which was pay cash or go without.
As I mentioned I go without, but there are times when I just can't go without. There are necessities I need and I must have.

My electric can opener was old. I bought it at a time when I was working over 20 years ago. Since I didn't have any money I couldn't afford to buy a new one so we were using just a manual one from the dollar store. That was fine and dandy until just before Christmas and that one broke too. I said to my son " this is it I have to have another electric can opener. I just can't live without it especially since I can hardly use a manual one anymore because of my arthritis."

My son went out and bought the can opener. He tested it and all was fine. So he threw away the receipt. I mean how many people do you know keep receipts for can openers if they work? They are not usually things that break down, at least not in my experience.
You guessed it, the very next time I tried to use the can opener and it stopped working. My son hunted high and low for that receipt hoping he never threw it out and was very upset about it as well. I told him not to beat himself up over throwing out the receipt. Anyone would have done the same.

Again we were left with no can opener manual or electric. As I already mentioned it is getting too hard for me to use a manual can opener. We went two weeks without one. Then I couldn't stand it any longer. I let a bill go to get another electric can opener. I had no choice. Sometimes you just have to make a sacrifice and buy something. I am hoping this can opener will last me another 20 years or so.

All photos are taken from the public domain

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American Economy, Canadian Economy, Economy, Saving Money, State Of The Economy, Tips On Saving Money

Meet the author

author avatar Carol Roach
Retired therapist and author of two books, freelance writer, newsletter editor, and blogger. I write, health, mental health, women's issues, animal , celebrity, history, and SEO articles.

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author avatar Retired
28th Feb 2015 (#)

This is the reality for low income families. Excellent, and Congratulations on the Star Page!

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author avatar ORourkeDesigns
28th Feb 2015 (#)

Sadly yes so often we are the forgotten ones. This I understand only too well. Apt bond all winter between my Chron's and MS forget going out. We just got a rent increase of 49.00 they went to court and won... TO is just too expensive and moving is even a big one I can not long use my right hand side and packing would be out of this world. But I believe in magic and one day if I make it... it will get better. Sending you healing energy

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author avatar Carol Roach
28th Feb 2015 (#)

yes TO is much more expensive than Montreal, but you don't have to deal with the french which only really hard if you need to work. I have no problems speaking english in my city when I need medical health or even socializing.

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