June 5, 2022 AsktheBuilder Newsletter
You might be my newest subscriber. Thanks for your trust. During the summer, my newsletter is similar to lite beer. It's thin on content calories because you might be outdoors enjoying the warm and balmy weather as I do in central NH.
You, though, might have been on my subscriber list long enough to remember the video I shot about why it pays to use high-quality paint brushes to carefully apply exterior stain or paint of any type. Click on the image below to watch the video.
Are You an Electrician?
Are you an electrician that installs steel conduit through wood studs in wood-frame buildings? If so, PLEASE CONTACT ME.
Inflation - You Better
I try to keep my fingers on the pulse of all things home improvement. New products are fun to discover and test. But as you and I know we both need money to buy products and hire workers in case you're not a DIYr.
This is why one of the things I focus on is the economics swirling around the home building and remodeling industry.
In addition to spending an hour or two a day scouring and consuming as much trustworthy financial news as I can gather, I also read each of the new comments on my 800+ YouTube videos.
Peruse the comments under my videos and you'll discover more and more folks like you are talking about how much the prices of things have gone up. Lumber, shingles (oil is used to make them!), tile, paint, cabinets, faucets, countertops, etc. are just a few of the things people are complaining about.
Many things contribute to price increases. A price increase might be temporary if the law of supply and demand comes into play. You often see price-gouging segments on the news whenever a national disaster strikes that creates a huge increase in demand for builders, remodelers, and roofers.
For example, before a major hurricane pummels parts of the East Coast, that region may have only had a demand for 100 new roofs per day. The day after the storm, the demand rises to 1,000 or 2,000 new roofs per day until such time as all the damaged roofs are repaired or replaced.
The roofers and shingle suppliers are able to raise their prices because quite a few people are screaming, "TAKE MY MONEY WHATEVER THE COST IS!!!!!"
They don't want water streaming into what's left of their homes. The roofers and supply houses rarely refuse that extra money.
The prices stabilize and come down once the demand for new roofs vaporizes.
But the adage what goes up must come down does not come into play with what's happening in your world and mine at this time. The price increases you're seeing now in just about everything you purchase is inflation.
Inflation is not a temporary price increase. It's a guaranteed reaction to reckless monetary policy created by people higher up the food chain than you and I. While it's possible for prices to drop with deflation, it's quite rare. Don't hold your breath waiting for deflation to kick in.
Take something as simple and basic as energy. It's a basic building block of the economy because energy is required to get things done.
I'm sure you realize that diesel fuel is baked into the price of every building material and product you need in your home. This aromatic liquid hydrocarbon is perhaps the sole energy source that moves the things you need from mines, forests, and factories to your doorstep.
The entire USA trucking industry uses diesel fuel. Railroad locomotives consume vast quantities of diesel to move gypsum from mines to drywall plants. These same unit trains move copper and aluminum ore to smelting plants so you have electricity in your home. Lumber is transported from giant mills by train. The list of raw materials transported by train is endless.
I can't think of one building material that's not transported to you in some way using diesel fuel.
The retail price of diesel fuel is up 136 percent in the past twenty months.
A trucker buying diesel fuel in late October of 2020 paid just $2.35 per gallon. This past week that same trucker filling the giant tanks slung on either side of his truck cab might have paid $5.54, or more, per gallon.
The vertical line and box in the chart below is the late October, 2020 price point.
Several days ago, I had a rare breakfast treat. I stopped and got two smallish double chocolate doughnuts and a small bottle of chocolate milk. I know, too much sugar!
The cost was $5.07 at the New Hampton, NH Dunkin' Doughnuts. The price seemed high to me and I asked the employee about it. "Oh, we had a big price increase last week. You're the first customer to ask about it."
When I inquired about what the two doughnuts and milk cost before the increase, the nice young woman told me $4.04.
Do you remember your grade school math? My guess is Dunkin' is hoping you feel that 25% increase is innocuous because it's just another buck and a few pennies out of your pocket or debit/credit account. What's a buck after all?
Well, those extra bucks of yours ADD UP!
Are you aware of what causes inflation? I'm talking about the root cause. My guess is you might not.
That said, it's probably a wise decision to follow in Charlie's footsteps.
Charlie is one of my subscribers who has a deep interest in all things financial. He's been paying attention to my economic tips in past issues of this newsletter. Charlie's aware of what's going on and has his ear to the undulating ground.
He was kind enough to share a video series with me a few days ago. I BEG you to watch this video series to get up to speed about how you're going backwards.
I want to warn you ahead of time. Watching the video series is going to frighten you - that's a good thing - and it's probably going to infuriate you.
That's good too. You might wake up and start to make better decisions.
You've been played about lots of things in the recent past but you're about to discover you and I have been played like a fiddle about all things financial for hundreds of years. You simply can't believe how bad it is and what's about to happen.
I know the man who produced the videos has a dog in the fight and why he produced them. That said, the information he provides is rock solid.
If you think he's wrong about anything, share with me what it is and offer up credible sources supporting your statements. Trust me, I'm all about open discussion and you may teach me something new.
Do you know the difference between currency and money? My guess is you don't. Did you know that money is mentioned in the US Constitution?
Do you have one of these $20 bills in your wallet or purse? I doubt it. Do you know why the US Mint no longer prints these?
The tiny printing at the top and bottom of the piece of currency (IOU) tells you why. Here's what it says:
This certifies there has been deposited in the Treasury of the United States of America Twenty Dollars in gold coin payable to the bearer on demand.
Go look at what it says on the currency you have in your wallet or purse. Do you know what a note is?
Home Depot Dryer FAIL
Look at this photo:
Do you see what's wrong? Do you know EXACTLY why it's wrong?
Tim's Digital Mail Sack
Two weeks ago, I mentioned in the opens in a new windowP.S. section of my newsletter that the electricity you depend on in your home could be an issue in the coming months.
Bob reached out to me saying,
"What am I going to do? The sun is blocked too much over my home to use it as a power source; an expensive battery system is really just for short-term emergencies; there's not enough wind or space to use a noisy, bird-killing windmill; and natural gas is in danger under Biden's leadership; nor could I peddle fast enough to run my AC. I woke up long ago, but what should I be doing to figure this out? I'm feeling very un-self-sufficient."
Well, as the past two weeks unfolded, what I predicted is more and more in the news that I follow.
If you're not seeing these stories in your news sources, you should ponder why that is.
I'd love to share one story with you, but it's a premium article on the Epoch Times website. You need to be a paid subscriber to see it. opens in a new windowHere's another article from a different source you should be able to read.
If the civil unrest develops as the author mentions, aside from not having electricity, what are your plans to defend yourself and your property on a pitch-black night when you hear one of your windows shatter or your door being broken down?
My answer to Bob is pretty simple. opens in a new windowA standby generator would help you limp through an extended blackout. I have one that runs on propane and generates 17,000 watts. opens in a new windowYou can watch a video of it here.
A smaller gasoline-powered generator can power your refrigerator and a few lights. But keep in mind that the gasoline pumps at your local gas station use electricity to operate.
Do you know if the gas stations you visit have standby generators so they can pump gas during an area-wide electric outage?
Do you know how much gas a small generator consumes in 24, 36, 48 or 72 hours? Do you know how dangerous it is to store 20, 30, or 50 gallons of gasoline in your garage? Ask the shift commander at your local firehouse.
You could stock up on LED flashlights like I have. Look at these:
The Coast HP8R is an interesting one because it sports both a rechargeable battery AND an optional magazine that takes normal alkaline batteries.
You might want to have opens in a new windowsolar-powered storage batteries to recharge your cell phone. I have three of these.
You can stay somewhat cool taking cold baths if your AC doesn't work and you're getting overheated.
Sleep on a cool concrete floor imagining you're a POW like my dad was.
Stock up on food that doesn't require refrigeration.
If you're on a well like I am, think about stockpiling fresh water. I can go down to the lake next to my house to get water and then boil it.
Where's the closest natural spring or non-polluted water source near you? Have you scouted that out yet? Do you even have enough containers to store water? How many gallons of water do you use each day?
Get busy discovering how to be self-sufficient.
That's quite enough for an early June Sunday.
Go out and enjoy the WX as we call it in Morse.
Do It Right, Not Over!
P.S. You may have been one that scolded me in the past few days saying I must have been wearing a tin-foil hat when I mentioned psychotropic drugs in my opens in a new windowMemorial Day message.
How many times have I shared with you that it pays to know the whole truth about all things?
Before you scold someone, perhaps you should have a respectful conversation with that person probing exactly what they know or don't know about the topic.