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top money tips

How do people survive on that?

This is a question I asked three months after I arrived in the UK. And you know what? At the time most people in the UK thought of me as ‘this poor person from Eastern Europe’.

My grant in 1990 was £400 ($675) net; the year after, it was even less. This £400 ($675) had to cover everything: accommodation, bills, food, clothes and small expenses I don’t want to mention here.

Adjusted for inflation, my monthly grant of £400 today will be £867 ($1,459); which actually was, and would have been, more than an unemployed person in the UK would get.

About a third as much to be precise, based on an assumption of £300 for expenses and about £300 housing benefit.

For several months now, I’ve been asking whether a single adult over 25 – or worse, a single parent over 25 – can survive on £72.40 ($120) per week which is the Job Seeker’s Allowance at the moment. This has to cover food, bills, clothes and everything else (except rent).

I was planning to try; if nothing else, I thought, I may be able to talk to my middle son from a position of experience.

Never got around to trying.

A good thing, probably, given that I agree With Makin’ Sense Babe that ‘rich people trying to act as poor people never works’. This is the story of a former Democratic governor of Ohio who decided to try and survive on food stamps for a week. He lasted till Thursday. I may have lasted longer but the fact is I’ve never had to survive on un-employment benefits or minimum wage rates: whenever I found myself with little money I did something to earn some more.

Starting a Business is what KC Beavers from Generation X Finance tells about. Go and read the site and what this guy writes: he is not your average personal finance blogger and writes from experience. He is in his thirties and is a self-made millionaire.

Should I Invest in Pot? I never thought that anyone will ask me this question. ‘Would you like a drag?’, ‘Where can one get good quality stuff?’ and ‘Where do you stand on legalising pot?’ – these are questions I’d expect. ‘Should I invest in pot?’ is a completely unexpected question. As it happens, Barbara Friedberg is not too keen on this kind of investment. Me? I don’t know. May be worth another look given that today a company had an advert for marijuana in the New York Times.

Buying a Repossession: Mike from Get Rich with Me has been shopping. Most of us come back with some groceries and a new handbag. Mike has bought a repossessed house in a fairly fire state from his description (and some photography). His idea is to do it up and flip it. If successful all his debt will be paid off and he’ll be in a position to start building serious wealth. Join me in wishing him the best!

I Never Thought I’d be an Entrepreneur: one of the bloggers I respect – Johnny Moneyseed – has had a change of heart. He is part of the ‘early retirement’ movement. Commendable as this is, I’ve always thought that people should be clear whether they want to retire or they want to have choices – one of these is to be employed or not, to work or not. I belong to the ‘choices’ camp and Johnny, it seems, has started moving over. And he’s had an idea for starting a business which I can’t wait to hear about.

These are the five top money tips articles for this week selected by The Money Principle. Hope you’d enjoy them as much as I did.

On a different matter, The Money Principle was included in the following personal finance carnivals:

Carnival of MoneyPros hosted by His Finance
Carnival of Retirement hosted by Home Money Easy
Carnival of Financial Camaraderie hosted by Disease Called Debt
Carnival of Money hosted by Carnival of Money
I also wrote a post on camping for Enemy of Debt. Love it or hate it, this is what I honestly think about camping (if you go and have a peep, you may be able to tell me why someone called me ‘moron’ for writing it).

This is all for today, friends. Speak soon.