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How to Survive Without a Salary: Learning How to Live the Conserver Lifestyle Paperback – September, 1996

4.2 out of 5 stars 47 customer reviews

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Paperback, September, 1996
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Editorial Reviews


How to Survive Without a Salary is more than a guide to financial management: it promotes a lifestyle management program which advocates avoiding consumer traps, using budgets, analyzing needs, and finding alternatives to buying. From saving on taxes to using a casual, non-salaried income to meet needs, How to Survive Without a Salary goes beyond most money management guides to tell how to live well on unpredictable resources. -- Midwest Book Review

About the Author

Charles Long --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 208 pages
  • Publisher: Warwick Publishing; Revised edition (September 1996)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1895629683
  • ISBN-13: 978-1895629682
  • Product Dimensions: 10 x 7 x 0.7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 10.4 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (47 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #412,462 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
I thought that this book was so funny in places that I haven't laughed so hard, so much, for a long time. Charles is a skilled writer; the book is very readable, intelligent, thoughtful,and well organized. It contains a copious (even prodigious) amount of tips, for a 200-page book. Very practical, and at the same time touches on abtruse philosophical areas, especially at the end of the book.
Hey, I used to think I was cheap. This guy is CHEAP. His anecdotes include waiting for it to rain to take a shower instead of installing indoor plumbing. He had a big hole in the floor of his entryway, or somewhere in his house, into which the kids and a few guests fell. He refused to spend one cent covering the hole, until a neighbor told him about a steel grate they threw away years ago, so he went to the dump and found it.
The point is that you can learn from a top-notch "conserver"; an applied example I would give is to buy two gallons of milk when it's on sale and freeze one for later use (works well!). This guy probably drinks powdered milk though.
I disagree with his economic analysis; prudence CAN be a vice, as any virtue most certainly is in its extreme, or even overdone. But Adam Smith's Wealth of Nations is not just about "McPimple Burger" or keeping up with the Joneses. Any system on a mass scale is going to have gaping faults, and the weaker of us might succumb to our basest impulses. But perhaps Long goes a bit too far the other way...
At any rate, he sounds like an economic anarchist. Very well thought out book, great advice. I borrowed the book from the library and laughed about how this guy would have to recommend doing so...and later on in the book he actually does recommend it! econ
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Format: Paperback

This humorous but practical and easy to comprehend book or guide, by Canadian journalist and writer, Charles Long, is about being a conserver. A conserver is a person who learns how to get by with less and make do with what he/she has. A person who lives as a conserver lives "the conserver lifestyle."

Despite the book's title, it is actually a book for everyone: for those employed, for those without a salary, city dwellers, and country dwellers. Or to put it another way this is a book for everyone "concerned with the diminishing purchase power of their dollar."

Long practices what he preaches! All the philosophy and economic theory behind the conserver lifestyle came from him (and his family) living and surviving without a salary.

This eleven chapter book, as the author states, revolves around three key premises:

(I) Control expenditures and save money. The author shows you how in his four chapters entitled:

1. The Secondhand Market

2. Auction Buying

3. Alternatives to Buying

4. Cheap Tips

(II) Income of some sort is still required (for those who decide to survive without a salary). This income does not have to be made through employment. The author has a full chapter entitled:

5. Casual Income

(III) Preparing yourself for the conserver lifestyle takes time (especially for those deciding to survive without a salary). The chapters covering this are entitled:

6. Assessing Yourself

7. Needs

8. Getting Ready

There is even a chapter on how to answer questions if you decide to live the conserver lifestyle without a salary. It's entitled:

9. What Do You Do For a Living? (and other difficult questions).
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Format: Paperback
How to Survive without a Salary isn't written with the idea that you will never work again. The author admits early on that you always need a source of income, whether it's periodic freelancing, selling some things at flea markets, taking a temporary job, or whatever. His goal is to show the reader how to avoid being enslaved to a business.
I have read just about every book on frugal living that I can find, and this one has some info that the others don't. Mostly the new stuff is along the lines of how auctions work, how to bargain, where to find deals (such as flea markets vs. consignment shops vs. estate sales). Included is the typical information on subjects such as budgets and ways to pare down spending without feeling deprived. Unfortunately, like many other frugal living books, this one needs a better editor.
One of the things I like most about this book is that it isn't just written for people who want to move out to the country, make goat cheese from their goats and build straw bale houses: it's for the majority of people who range from city dwellers to country dwellers and want to find ways they can either survive without a salary, or at least become less dependent on one. A worthwhile read.
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Format: Paperback
This book is an introduction to living well while living cheaply. Long uses the term "conserver" to denote a person whose philosophy of life is to live better by spending less money. The book outlines how one can become a conserver and ideas for ways to manage well with less money. A conserver who achieves some measure of success at cutting expenses will soon find that needs for income are also reduced, hence a salary is no longer necessary. At that point, the conserver can quit working for a living since "casual income" will suffice. Long also provides some ideas of how to gain a casual income. Thus, the way to live without a salary is first to cut expenses, then eliminate debt, and with the new low expense lifestyle, many people will find that they no longer need a full-time job to get by.

The structure of the book is as follows: introduction to the conserver lifestyle, budgeting, needs, identifying the time when a salary is no longer necessary, casual income, buying secondhand goods, buying at auctions, alternatives to buying, taxes, insurance and retirement, and the macro-economics of the conserver lifestyle. The book does not include a list of references or an index. There are no illustrations.

Long makes some points that are well worth writing on the family bulletin board. "There is more to be gained more easily by reducing costs than increasing income," he argues in the first chapter. When sorting out needs from wants, Long notes that we must consider the maintenance and storage costs as well as additional effort required to use the item when adding up the true cost of an item that we purchase. "Given all the aggravation, do I really want it?" he has us consider before we make a purchase.
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