It seems like everyone other than the federal government is tightening their belts. Figuring out ways to make our dollars go a bit further - or to add a few more dollars to the till - is becoming more and more important.
The latest issue of Backwoods Home Magazine had a featured article on propagating plants. I checked out their website, and they've included it in the free online content. As I snooped around the site, I found a number of other links -
Propagating Plants - veggies, trees, even flowers. Great info.
Home Canned Bacon - This was from the previous issue. I have purchased a number of cases of canned bacon, and it's absolutely fantastic. I haven't done this myself, but will definitely give it a try. From the description, it sounds just like the purchased stuff.
Traditional Trail Foods - this was a timely find for me. I'm looking to reorganize my Get Home Bag, as well as build some buckets that have full meals in them (as opposed to a single item, like rice or wheat). Kind of in the spirit of the "One Bucket Per Month Challenge" (read the comments section for the great ideas) we did last August. I want to try the Hard Tack and Pemmican recipes in particular.
Hardcore Foraging - along the lines of the post on Mustard Greens, locating, identifying and preparing wild foods takes time and skills most of us don't have.
Wilderness Wines - some good information on making your own wines. I've made a bunch of wines from fruits and honey (meads and melomels) and intend on making more this spring and summer. My particular city is chock full of fruit orchards - apples, peaches, plums, nectarines, apricots and the like. I've only used them in the past for jams, but this year, fruit wines are on the agenda!
Go to their site and snoop around. I saw one article on how to make money by buying storage lockers. This past week, a couple came into our PM store with dental gold. A lot of it. I asked them how they came upon this, and they said that they had bought a locker for $150.
They left our store with just under $1,100! Unreal.
In the same vein, I had a guy come in who works for a local city water department. His job is to clean out traps that catch the stuff we accidentally flush down the toilets or drop down the drain.
He told me that he and his partner find between 50 and 60 grams of gold each and every week. Do some math: There are 31.1 grams in a troy ounce. Pure gold is north of $1400 an ounce. The lowest quality gold - 10 karat - is almost 41% pure...
He's been taking it to one of our competitors, and wanted to see what we'd pay him. I made him an offer that is based on a minimum of 50 grams a week. He like it, and will (supposedly) start bringing his stuff to our store this week.
We've also got a handful of folks that go to garage sales each weekend. They buy gold jewelry and sterling silver pieces (jewelry, flatware and serving pieces). We buy the stuff based upon the purity and weight.
One word of warning, though: Be careful! The word from these folks is, if a homeowner sees you using a magnet or jeweler's loup to authenticate the jewelry, the price goes up. Way up. So, much of what they purchase ends up being some metal other than gold or silver.
These pieces don't end up being a total loss, though. We have a number of consignment shops in town, and if the piece has some beauty, they can usually at least get their money back.
Also, be very wary of paying for precious stones. Even if you can verify that the stone is a diamond, don't get your hopes up. We don't pay for any stone smaller than a quarter of a carat. For the smaller stuff, we only get paid $35 per carat!
Rubies, sapphires, emeralds - they all have virtually no value. Commercial jewelry is a massive scam. A large stone (3/4 carats or larger) with exquisite qualities will have value, but nowhere near what you paid for it in the mall store or specialty jewelry store.
Buy your jewelry because you think it's beautiful, not as an investment. I know that I will never again buy any jewelry from a mall store or specialty shop. I'll find something that is close to what I want at a store such as ours, a pawn shop or some sort of second-hand dealer. I'll then take the piece to a jeweler and have it appropriately sized.
I'll end up with a piece that is customized and less than half the price of retail. Probably closer to 1/3 the price.
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Copyright 2011 Bison Risk Management Associates. All rights reserved. Please note that in addition to owning Bison Risk Management, Chief Instructor is also a partner in a precious metals business. You are encouraged to repost this information so long as it is credited to Bison Risk Management Associates. www.BisonRMA.com