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Saturday, December 15 , 2018, 3:37 pm | Fair 64º


Paul Burri: Getting Nothing for Nothing

We all have to work harder and smarter for things we are used to getting on easy terms

I keep seeing splashy magazine covers touting an article inside about how to save money on all sorts of stuff — especially vacations. But when I read the articles, I am inevitably disappointed. Why?

Paul Burri
Paul Burri

One I read recently offered this suggestion: “Save money on your vacation by spending a week in Phoenix instead of two weeks in Hawaii.” Now why didn’t I think of that? Probably because I can’t afford to spend a weekend in Oxnard, much less a week in Phoenix, Ariz., or two weeks in Hawaii. What is so brilliantly creative about saving money by spending a week in one place instead of two weeks in another that’s more expensive anyway? Suggest this: “Want to save thousands of dollars on your next vacation? Just stay home.”

Who writes these articles? More importantly, what kind of editor OKs their inclusion in the magazine? Cynically, I think these kinds of articles sell magazines, and that’s why they are in them.

The sad truth, folks, is that you get nothing for nothing. “Yes Virginia, there is no such thing as a free lunch.” Once I realized that, I also understood that I would have to work hard for everything I wanted.

There’s no getting around the fact that we are in economic hard times, where we all have to work harder — and smarter — for all the things we have been getting on much easier terms — no money down and no payments for three years and then only $15 a month forever.

A recent article by columnist and author of Hot, Flat and Crowded Thomas Friedman noted a California bank that granted a mortgage on a $720,000 house in Bakersfield to a Mexican immigrant who doesn’t know English and who earns $14,000 a year picking strawberries. Those days are over, over, over.

Once we all learn the hard lesson, we will become a stronger, more determined country ready to compete again on the world economic stage, a stage that literally has billions of people in the emerging countries of the world — China and India for starters — eager to work 60 hours a week or more to be able to have a standard of living just at the bottom of what the average American enjoys.

These people will want lots of cars, which will require lots of gasoline. You think gasoline was expensive a few months ago when it was near $5 a gallon? You ain’t seen nothing yet. China is putting 14,000 new cars on their roads every day. It is estimated that in about 30 years, they will have more cars than the United States. What do you suppose gasoline will cost then?

I sincerely hope that I’m right about us being ready for the challenge.

— Paul Burri is an entrepreneur, inventor, columnist, engineer and iconoclast. He is not in the advertising business but he is a small business counselor with the Santa Barbara chapter of Counselors to America’s Small Business-SCORE. He can be reached at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).

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