Monthly Archives: October 2008

Savings time!

No, I’m not talking about the impending change to our clocks that’s about to hit. I mean moolah; dough; coin of the realm. I’m talking saving big bucks, to help ease you and yours through this economic downturn. Just remember; when you see how much you’re saving, be sure to spend a little of it at TwoMorrows, okay?

First of all, with the economy in the crisis it’s in these days, everyone’s undoubtedly going to have to make some sacrifices of their own. We have in our family (both our publishing family, and our nuclear one). But the steps I’m going to suggest here aren’t those dire, severe changes; only you can examine your own personal situations and decide if it’s time for steps that’ll cause major upheaval. Instead, my goal here is to suggest some common sense, easy things you can do, right away, to immediately save you money on your monthly budget (and yield long-term savings), WITHOUT causing any real sacrifice, other than your time to implement them. These may be no-brainers to the more economically-minded of you out there, but even so, with all our busy schedules, I’ll bet few of us have taken the time to do this.

I saw the writing on the wall about the economy over a year ago, and in Summer 2007, implemented a lot of steps that have continued to pay off for us since then. But the first step: AUDIT! (Not anyone’s favorite word, for sure.) Trust me; this is an audit that’s a lot easier to take (and implement) than one from the Internal Revenue Service.

Simply put, you audit your expenses by making a list with two columns:

Column 1: “Expense” (list the name of EVERY ITEM OR SERVICE you spend money on that you can track, using your checkbook entries, credit card statements, and bank statements for the last three months)

Column 2: “Amount” (list how much you spend each month, on average, on that item)

The time-consuming part of this is going over your last three months’ statements and figuring out what you spend money on. If you’re like me, it’ll be a very enlightening process, when you see how it all adds up.

Then, it’s “tough decision time.” You’ve got to decide which of those items you really don’t need. There may be a few or many. There may be none. But be brutal, and if you’ve got a gym membership you never use, of if you’re paying for premium cable channels and you never have time to watch more than the news and a couple of sitcoms, circle them with a big red pen, and tomorrow, call and cancel them. Huge, immediate savings can be found right there.

Next, decide which of those items you simply must keep, and you can’t do anything to reduce how much you’re spending on them. Stuff like mortgages and car loans likely fall into this category, since without the hassle (and financial implications) of refinancing, you’re pretty much stuck with what you have. Hit those with a green or yellow highlighter pen, and leave them alone.

The rest of the items are all fair game, and with a little digging, I’ll bet you can find ways to substantially reduce how much you’re paying for them, and still keep them in your life. Here’s a few quick suggestions of things you can save on if you shop around:

1) Gym memberships (the local YMCA may be nicer, and cheaper, than many local gyms, and there’s no penalties for cancelling your membership)
2) Hair salons (unless you’re sold on your current stylist, there’s likely someone equally good that might be a little cheaper; ask a friend who has great hair who they see)
3) Health Insurance
4) Phone service (more on this later)
5) Car and homeowners insurance
6) Cable TV vs. satellite
7) Life Insurance
8 ) Pest control and lawn services (shop around if you can’t do-it-yourself)
9) Groceries
10) Eating out
11) Gasoline
12) Annual termite inspection for your home
13) Internet service
14) Shipping costs if you mail a lot of stuff

Over my next few posts, I’m going to start offering details on how we saved considerably on some of the larger expenses that we couldn’t get rid of. In all cases, we’re getting the same level of service or product, but just paying less each month for them.

I Voted…

…did you? We have the luxury of three weeks of “early voting” in North Carolina, to cut down on the long lines on Election Day, so I headed to my early voting place today about 1pm. It was packed, but it ended up only taking me about 10 minutes from start to finish. Based on the ticker on the machine that scanned my ballot, that one location has seen nearly 7000 people early-vote since they started 5 days ago, so it looks like it’s going to be a huge turnout this year.

I’m politically active; have been since college, and have done a lot of design work for political campaigns over the years. I’ve also gotten many a paper cut volunteering for candidates who I support. It’s tougher to find the time now that we have kids, but Pam and I still keep our hands in however we can. So I was really annoyed to find that some little weasel snuck in our yard during the night and swiped the political yard sign we’d put up a couple of weeks ago. I’m not sure how this person thinks that’s going to affect the election (I never knew my little sign had so much power!), but hey, Pam was driving near our guy’s local campaign office this morning anyway, so a replacement sign is already back up.

I’m not going to try here to tell anyone how to vote; just vote. If you’ve got early voting, avoid the long lines on E-Day (although my wife won’t vote early, because of an irrational fear that hers won’t count if she does; me, I figure it’s better to get it done, save some time, and make sure my vote counts in case I get hit by a bus before Nov. 4). Once you get it done, it’s amazing how good it makes you feel. And then you can ignore all the last-minute, annoying, negative political ads, and concentrate on more important stuff, like reading comics.

And regardless of who wins in two weeks, let’s all suck it up, get over all the bickering, and see if we can’t do something together for a change, to get our economy moving again. Over the next few weeks, I’m going to offer some suggestions of things we’ve done at Casa Dos Morrows to economize lately; maybe a few will work for you. And just think of all the TwoMorrows stuff you can buy with the money you save! :-)

TwoMorrows Tune-In #13: Doug Zawisza – Hawkman Companion editor

On the show this month, host Chris Marshall talks with Hawkman Companion editor Doug Zawisza. This October Doug will present us with a much needed book and look into one of the oldest and most iconic characters in all of the DC Universe – Hawkman!
Chris also goes over all of the October releases.

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e-mail Chris with questions and/or comments.

He may even read it on the next Tune-In!

TwoMorrows Tune-In #13: Doug Zawisza – Hawkman Companion editor (MP3)

Gary Owens speaks!

Richard A. Scott’s interview with Gary Owens, the voice of “Space Ghost” (and announcer on LAUGH-IN among others), which appears in print in BACK ISSUE #30, may also be heard on the new TwoMorrows Tune-In podcast at:

http://twomorrows.com/blog/tune-in/twomorrows-tune-in-gary-owens-special/

Thanks to Chris Marshall and Richard for posting this podcast — since Mr. Owens is so well-known for his voice, we couldn’t resist letting our readers hear it! And look for BI #30, which is in stores now.

TwoMorrows Tune-In Gary Owens Special

Welcome to a Special Interview TwoMorrows Tune-In Podcast. Today on the show, host Chris Marshall presents an in-depth conversation between Back Issue writer Richard A. Scott and voice talent extraordinaire Gary Owens (Space Ghost, Laugh-In). Most of the interviews that are conducted for our various magazine and publications are done over the phone. This is a real treat because not only does Owens talk about his long career and also has some funny and interesting stories involving many of his famous Hollywood and Animation friends but he also a does a few of his voices along the way. You can read the full interview in Back Issue #30 – our Saturday Morning Heroes Special – it is on sale now. Thanks goes out to Richard A. Scott and Gary Owens for allowing the airing of the interview and special thanks to John Morrow and Editor Michael Eury.

Direct Podcast Feed

Or

Subscribe with iTunes

e-mail Chris with questions and/or comments.

He may even read it on the next Tune-In!

TwoMorrows Tune-In Gary Owens Special