Monthly Project and Purchase Roundup: July

The simplest project I completed this month was to mount my .22 caliber pellet rifle above the door from the kitchen to the back porch. This was in order to make it handy for shooting rabbits that have been decimating my tomato plants. I went to Ace Hardware and bought 2 brass coat/hat hooks for a total of $10, and mounted them above the door. This has made it much easier to grab the pellet rifle when there is a rabbit in the garden.

Another project had to do with the chickens. We were steadily losing chickens–always during the day–with no sign of what was taking them. I bought some light plastic netting at True Value for a total of $55 and covered the entire pen. A few days later, I saw a black cat outside the pen, apparently foiled by the netting. I shot it with the pellet gun, and we haven’t lost a chicken since.

When I originally fenced the chicken pen, I used free welded wire fencing given to me by a friend that had moved. But at the chickens have grown, the space became insufficient, and too-heavy traffic meant that the grass was being destroyed. So when

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Advice on buying your first deer rifle

This is a blog designed to help men–particularly young men–live a life of Godly masculinity. It is not a “survivalist” blog. It is not a “gun” blog. In the past, I’ve tread lightly around these topics to avoid derailing the conversation. So, while comments are welcome per usual on this post, before commenting please ensure … Read more…

Frugal Friday: How to start

Brandon asks:

For those of us who were born and raised in the soft, squishy suburban cesspool of careerism and consumerism, this ‘return to the land’ idea can be very overwhelming. We have been since birth in a state of perpetual infancy, mentally conditioned to see the state, corporation, and grocery store as our manager and provider. Many of us graduated college and are barely scraping buy, with poor job prospects. Buying rural land seems as far away as becoming a millionaire. So, a change of mindset is needed. Advice to those of us on how to reorient our mind out of the dependent, learned helpless mentality toward a more pioneering spirit would be helpful. Strategies toward this end would also be good. Some of us would just like to know where to start.

First, stop eating out.

If you don’t have a crock-pot, buy one. Throw meat, beans (dry), vegetables, and some seasonings in it in the morning with some water, and have a hot meal waiting for you when you get home. If you eat boxed cereal for breakfast,

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Read: Everything That Remains by Joshua Fields Milburn

I purchased this book with the hope that it would be a good “sharing book” to introduce people to minimalism. Because this book never takes the tenets of minimalism to their obvious conclusions outside of personal life–conclusions about government spending, for example–it is a good introductory book for the person who is currently trying to buy his happiness both with his own dollars and with the dollars of the taxpayer at large.

The conversational device employed seems more than a little contrived in places, but other than that the book is a quick and enjoyable read. The author uses a semi-autobiography to show how minimalism gave both himself and his best friend freedom from debt, freedom from jobs that controlled them, and freedom to pursue the things they are truly passionate about.

This book is not a “how-to” guide, although it does mention enough ideas and techniques for the reader to implement minimalism in his own life. Rather, it is a “why-to” manual that focuses more on benefits and advantages than on specific implementation protocols. Probably the most valuable aspect of the book from a sharing perspective it that it stresses how the author and his friend found increasing happiness tied to decreasing possessions. The most common question I get when explaining that I practice minimalism is “are you ever happy?” Those who are seeking to purchase happiness are keenly aware that it doesn’t work, and will key in on the author’s experience finding happiness.

All in all, it’s not the most practical book on minimalism I’ve read, but it is what I was hoping it would be: A good introductory book to give to the person who is far from minimalism.

Read: Bachelor Pad Economics, by Aaron Clarey

I first discovered Aaron Clarey when Amazon recommend his book Enjoy the Decline based on my purchase of Jack Donovan’s The Way of Men (also an excellent book). Despite the typos, I was impressed with the content of Enjoy the Decline, and started following Clarey’s blog. When I noticed he had also written a book billed as “the young person’s indispensable guide to choosing the right major,” I downloaded the free Kindle sample. Within 10 minutes, I had purchased the book for my sister, a high school senior. She found it helpful enough that she loaned it out to a number of her classmates after finishing it.

So when Aaron announced that Bachelor Pad Economics was available for Kindle, I immediately bought it.

The first thing I noticed was that the quality of the copy-editing was much better than Enjoy the Decline. However, the down-to-earth style and vernacular were not sacrificed–the book still reads like a friend speaking to you, it just has far less misspellings and missing words. This improvement in editing, coupled with more professional-looking cover, make the book feel more like a book and less like blog selections with a cover slapped on.

As a mid 20’s male who already practices minimalism, read Enjoy the Decline, and fairly regularly reads Clarey’s blog, some of the material was familiar to me. I expected as much. However, even I found plenty of new and valuable information. I had never even thought about most of what is covered in Chapter 13: Legal prior to reading this book. The passage about owning a home in many urban areas having become a liability rather than an asset due to exponential and unconstrained increases in property taxes was another thing that particularly stuck out to me

I would definitely recommend this book to any man who is looking to improve his financial situation, or plan his financial future. Clarey doesn’t lie to you, and when the future isn’t pretty he doesn’t try to paint it rosy. This book will help you avoid dangers that no one else is talking about. (For example, possible 401k confiscation.) While the book was worth the money for me now, it will be most valuable to those aged 12-15, who have not yet learned any of its lessons in the school of hard knocks. I have brothers in that age range I plan to gift with Bachelor Pad Economics in the very near future. If you care about a kid in the same age range, I suggest you do the same.