Five ways to Occupy Your Street

by Rebecca A. Watson on October 18, 2011

in change, habits, life

I’ve never been the biggest fan of protests, even though I like the creativity of some people making signs. The protest at Comic-Con in San Diego a few years back when I was there did make me smile.


But most of the time, I’m not such a big fan of protests I’ve seen because the very idea seems too easy to me. Yeah, you’re pissed. So am I. Do you know how many things I could get righteously angry about right now?

For one thing, I’m allergic to milk. which means I can’t eat cheese. My first word was “cheese.” No, I’m not exaggerating. That’s how much I love cheese. And I can’t eat it. Gaaaaawd!!!

It’s easy to get mad and bitch about it. But what’s more difficult? Actually figuring out a solution and then following through. I found out I can eat goat cheese, which rules because now I can have pizza again, but when I go to a restaurant with friends I still have to decline dessert because it’s not made with goat’s milk. Jerks.

Desserts

Photo by VancityAllie

The reason I bring all this up is because of Occupy Wall Street.  It’s not that I disagree with the fact that corporations and banks have, in many cases, destroyed the middle class’ hopes and dreams. It’s more that I think there should be some suggestions or guidelines that should be outlined by this movement, aside from “reassert our sovereign control of our land.”

Even though I’m sure somewhere out there, there might be something written within their meeting minutes, I’ve decided that I’ll outline a few things that I think any everyday person could do to help fight for the power of the middle class and make our dreams reality.

Be the change.

  1. Take your money out of a large bank and put it into a local credit union. I know you’ve only got $43.72 in there, and it’s a big pain in the ass to actually go close your account and open a new one, but remember: Money is the language banks speak. Vote with your dollar. Credit unions are local, non-profit banks that guarantee your deposits. Find one now.
  2. Refinance any existing loans you have with a local credit union.  See No.1 above. Sante and I moved our money and the rep was telling me about the low interest the credit union offered and I was tuning her out based on years of being sold to by Wells Fargo. Turns out our rate was almost half and the only fee we paid was a $16 title transfer. Score!
  3. Participate in the 3/50 project.  I love the Internet as much as anyone. I adore that I can get ink cartridges for my printer for $3 and order a yoga video at the same time.  But you know what I love even more than that? Santa Cruz. This place is paradise. Seriously.And I know many people feel the same way about where they live. So support your local brick and mortar establishment: Spend $50 each month at three establishments you love in your community. Mine: grocery, liquor, yarn. Easy, peasy. Keep your money local.
  4. Don’t run a balance on your credit card. Ever. If you didn’t paid the full balance on your credit card last month, throw that card in a drawer. If you didn’t pay the full balance for the past year, cut that thing up. Credit card companies are making a fortune on our debt, even with the new credit laws. Quit paying credit card companies. If you can’t stop, get help.
  5. Drive less.  You know what group has a more disturbing reputation than the banks? Oil companies. And that’s only when you look at economic impact. I can’t un-see the oil covered dolphins from the past few years. If it’s under a mile, walk, bike or take transit. Better yet: commit to one day every week where your car doesn’t move.

I’m not pretending to know everything about economics, but I do know this. Small changes over long periods of time mean big changes. Commit to making your own changes and you commit to changing the world.  Cheers to everyone occupying their lives!

 

UPDATE: Just for funsies, here’s what I was for Halloween. 

{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

sean October 19, 2011 at 11:40 am

Totally on board with everything above. Major confused about the credit card topic however. You’re damned if you do and damned if you don’t. Having a small balance is supposed to look pretty good on your credit score. For me that means under $1500 *total*. But paying interest for the honor of having a decent credit score rubs me wrong. Having no balance can actually result in fees (YES MORE FLIPPIN FEES) from the creditor. And cutting it up, well I have a friend that cut up all of her cards, paid off all of her loans, had ZERO debt, then found she had zero credit rating… and couldn’t buy that car she wanted. AIIIGGGGHHHHHH. So Cheese. I support cheese. And I’m voting for Bill and Opus again in 2012. Your stuff is always inspiring, more more!

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Ms. Becca October 19, 2011 at 12:46 pm

I know, right?!? The credit thing is a big mess, but I don’t have a better idea (yet) for how to make better sense of it all.

I’m a big fan of what Suze Orman preaches, (Buy any of her books. She’s fabulous.) which is basically USE the credit card companies. Sante and I put everything we buy on one card and pay it off in full at the end of the month. Then we use our cash back rewards, which can amount to hundreds of dollars. We haven’t run into any problems with that, so it works for us and my credit is getting better…yay!

Thanks for your kind words Sean :) So glad you can support cheese. It’s just. So. Good.

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