The big advantage most conservatives have had over most progressives throughout recent American history is way more disposable income. Lots of that translates into buttloads of material crap we don't need or want, of course, but also into something far more significant:

The time, energy and resources to push their conservative agenda.

This year's economic crisis, however, levels the playing field as newly-strapped reguzzlicans face looming poverty with little, if any, of our poverty management skills.

Their SUV payments, McMansion mortgages, gold card statements and other trappings of extra-excessive excess are excessfully drowning the excessful in stinking excesspools of debt.

Aaahh, that felt good.  

But this is no time for po'boy gloating. Instead, we progressives must press the advantage by doing even better at what we do best - making do.  Now, while the rich and their surrogates are preoccupied with bankruptcy, is the time to strike back by maximizing our own purchasing power and, by extension, growing our political power as well. 

More money left over at the end of the month through expert economizing can translate into donations for progressive causes and candidates - or less hours necessary to work so there are more hours for social activism.

Many of us already recycle and bicycle and thrift shop when we gift shop. 

We work the supermarket like they work the stock market. 

We bundle trips, car pool, cut our own hair and party hearty at home or at parks instead of at $8-a-drink clubs. 

And we're NOT going to Disneyworld. Ten large for vacation's just Goofy.

Here are some more tips to bring change by saving change:

1. Give a hoot, and scoot. A $1200 scooter will pay for itself in less than a year for typical drivers who trade half their car trips for scooter rides. My 150cc street-legal scoot goes 60mph and gets 80mpg. The smaller no-license-required 50cc scooters go 40mph, get over 100mpg, and cost $800 or less.  Every mile on a scooter saves an average of 15 cents in gas and 20 cents in wear and tear on your typical late-model used car.  That's a dollar saved every three miles!

Typical annual savings: $1,000.

2. Disable the cable.  Most cable companies are required to offer a sub-basic analog cable service that providers seldom advertise. You get your local channels, C-span, government channels, and a few others for about $8 per month.  This allows you access to high-speed internet service like Roadrunner lite for $15 to $25 per month more.  A cheap DVD-VCR, a library card, free TV and exchanging DVDs among friends are all great ways to maximize viewing choices without paying through the nose, like republicans do, for 500 digital channels. 

Typical annual savings: $800.

3. Rice and beans, beans and rice, rice and beans.  These third-world staples bring the cost of a meal down to less than a dollar, even with a little meat thrown in. Ultra-low-cost meal preparation (and not conservative cries of  'government handouts') is a real reason many immigrants' living standards quickly rise above American-born workers getting the same pay. The trick is to buy grain and legume staples by 20lb. or larger sacks, and hit the library or the internet for recipes to keep it interesting. And don't forget flour power! Cook entrees in bulk, like four chickens instead of one, and freeze future meals to save energy.

It's worth noting the average American eats 1,000 meals per year so if your median meal cost - dining out and at home averaged together - is $12, then $12,000 of your annual income is on food.  But that's rich republican levels. Let's say you spend $7 a meal on food and drop it down to $2.  

Typical annual savings: $5,000 per year..

4. Learn about health fair health care.  While progressives continue to lead the noble struggle for affordable health care for everyone, it is crucial to take advantage of every free or reduced-cost service that's out there now, like clinics, health fairs and well-care programs, especially if you have no insurance.  An ounce of researching the government channels and websites, social agencies, charities and the like is worth a pound of cure.  Learn in advance what health care and health emergency options are available and what the procedures and requirements for accessing them are.  Free cancer screenings and teeth cleanings and eyeglasses and diabetes testings and other items are available. It's not Canada by any means, but take what you can get. The longer you live, the more you get to vote!

Typical annual savings: Your life.

5. Remember the library!  Free internet access, books (remember them?), networking with helpful organizations, all the latest government information and so much more is at your disposal there.  What you save by regularly frequenting the library depends on what you get out of it.  You might learn how to fix your lawn mower instead of buying a new one, or how to weather-proof your home to cut your heating bill by a third.  So...

Typical annual savings: Priceless..

6. Stop smoking, you idiot! Cigarettes just enrich the most evil corporations on the planet while knocking the poor man down. I quit butt-sucking five packs a week in 1990 when they were still under $2 a pack, so I've kept more than $30,000 of my money from the coffers of killer incs.  If you must smoke - and I'm loathe to offer this tip - buy bagged smoking tobacco, pack it in dugouts and smoke as little as possible through one-hitter metal cigarette pipes - and quit as soon as possible!

Typical annual savings: $2,000-plus.

These money-saving tips are just the tip of the price-berg. It's important for progressives to share and compare ideas so that our purchasing power as a population block is increased.  Forward this article to all your progressive friends, and for more tips - or to share yours with me - write

Power to the Cheaple! The Thrift will set you free!