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Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Cash cow couple milks frugality

Bruce’s Poor Man Survival Bulletin

A Digest of Urban Survival Resources

For Independent Minded People!

ISSN 2161-5543


"Success is not final, failure is not fatal: it is the courage to continue that counts."  Winston Churchill

From The Smiling Dog Saloon Files



In This Issue:

1.        Developing valuable ersatz skills during a crisis

2.       10 Tips for a zero waste home

3.       Cash Cow Couple-Milking Frugality

4.       Monetizing/Protecting private data


Developing ersatz skills during a crisis…


ERSATZ: being a usually artificial and inferior substitute or imitation; especially common during wartime shortages (EX:  Chicory coffee).


Even if you have limited resources right now, you can look at what items or skills were most highly valued during a crisis. Focusing your efforts on the most lucrative items will make it possible for you to improve your situation.


So, how to find out what are the most highly sought after items during a crisis? The book we are reviewing today “Ersatz In The Confederacy” gives a very detailed look at both the shortages and the substitutions made during the American Civil War.  (If you don't have a copy of this book you can order it here from  This book is a fascinating glimpse into the day-to-day lives of those ‘left behind’ in the American Civil war. While most other writings focus on the generals and the battles, this book looks at the shortages and substitutions on the home front. All of human nature, and the opportunities for you, are on display.


The lack of self-reliance is arguably the reason for the South’s ultimate loss; it wasn’t on the battlefield, but the shortages on the home front, which ultimately defeated them.


Not surprisingly, food and medicines were the first and most challenging shortages to become apparent. Food is always the first thing to become scarce or expensive during a crisis.  By the end of the war, the only thing you could find at the butcher shop were dressed rats.


Inflation began quite quickly and within the first six months of war being declared prices for food had increased at least 100%. Inflation continued to skyrocket until prices were 1,000% to 10,000% times higher, and then finally, completely unaffordable to everyone.


Food Substitutions

Before secession, a typical Southern family's grocery bill was $6.65 per month. By 1864, it was $400 per month. In fact, Confederate dollars were so devalued that many families could not afford to buy food staples. As produce became more and more scarce or expensive, people had to find substitutes for common foods. Many residents were quite creative, and although most of the substitutes did not survive until modern times, satisfied southern appetites to some degree. Here are some examples:

Meat (at least $20 for one meal):
Domestic animals, crows, frogs, locusts, snails, snakes and worms

Okra seeds that were browned, dried sweet potatoes or carrots, roasted acorns, wheat berries

Herbs, sumac berries, sassafras roots, raspberry, blackberry, huckleberry and holly leaves

Water and corn and molasses, fermented in an old barrel

Milk or cream:
Beat an egg white to a froth and add a small lump of butter, mix well.

Molasses, sorghum, dried, ground figs, honey, watermelon syrup
Vinegar (apple): molasses, honey, beets, figs, persimmon, may-apples and sorghum

Rice, rice flour, cornmeal, and rye flour.

Boiled sea water, or taking dirt from the smokehouse, adding water and boiling it. Skim off the scum on the top and drop in cold water, and the salt sinks to the bottom. The impurities could be boiled off. Wood ashes or gunpowder could substitute for salt as a seasoning.


Short video about the book


Interesting site about Civil War shortages, cooking, battlefield rations, etc.



PM’s Roundup of Useful Resources…


10 Tips for a Zero-Waste Household

A year’s worth of solid waste from Bea Johnson’s home fits in a quart-sized jar. Here's how you can reduce yours.



Special Report: Sustainable Development and the Control of Energy (The growing battle over Smart Meters)

As the battle against the Smart Meters grows across the nation, Americans need to understand the issue, the dangers, the real reasons behind the government’s drive to force them on angry and protesting homeowners, violating their property rights and endangering their health in the process.

Smart Meters are designed to provide government with detailed information of your energy use, your movements in your home, the way you use your personal private time, and even how many people are in your home at any given time. It is an unconstitutional invasion of your home by government, as set down in the Fourth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.

The American Policy Center (APC), has produced a comprehensive special report entitled “Sustainable Development and the Control of Energy (The growing battle over Smart Meters).” This report details the real reasons behind the government’s enforcement of the Smart Meters, the health and privacy violations, and the political agenda behind it all. This special report is available free at



Cash Cow Couple: 'Milking Frugality Since 2013'

Jacob from Cash Cow is a Craigslist veteran
and shares some invaluable tips on how to get started

Now you have that perfect excuse to head to that
neighbor's garage sale who happens to be serving
sangria on their front lawn...



How To Trick Your Brain Into Banishing Bad Money Habits

"...Believe it or not, researchers have identified a gene that could
determine whether you’re good or bad with money. Specifically, the
discovery has to do with self-control—or how some people are better able
to resist temptation to make sound financial decisions...



5 Alternatives To Public School

"Do you know what your children are learning? Some parents
make immersing themselves in their children’s education their personal
mission. which means some parents may find their local public school
lacking when it comes to the whole matter of their child's education.."


The Nanny State-We love our government

Revelations by former National Security Agency (NSA) contractor Edward J. Snowden challenge what was once a core precept of our democracy.

At a Senate hearing this past March, Sen. Ron Wyden (D-OR) asked Director of National Intelligence James R. Clapper, Jr., “Does the NSA collect any type of data at all on millions or hundreds of millions of Americans?” Director Clapper responded, “No, sir…Not wittingly.”

We now know Director Clapper lied. Let us all help to restore our country.

Legal, Non-violent Tools Citizens Can Use to Fight Bumbling Bureaucrats & Dysfunctional Politicians…see our Civil Disobedience section.

1.      Jury Nullification

2.      Boycott – stop financial support

3.      Shun – deny services to uncivil servants: no haircuts, oil changes, dry cleaning, etc.

Details throughout our site…or you can continue to lose your voice, your freedoms!  Why not start your own freedom restoration project?  I’ll lend you hand.



The Parting ThoughtNot to worry in the land of the free!


Monetizing - Protecting Your Personal Data

Other news stories have reported on spying on American over the years, but the recent leak by Edward Snowden shows how extensive the surveillance has become.

Then there are the private collectors of information, such as Facebook and Google. When reporting on Edward Snowden's leaking of classified information, you may heard the CBS news and others proclaiming that Google has more information on us than the government. They seemed to want to equate private collection of information for advertising purposes with government spying, perhaps to help defend an administration they like. They did not point out that Facebook and others who collect personal information do so (mostly) with permission, and cannot, by themselves, do too much to harm us with it. A government, on the other hand, can target people for what they say, and use personal information to coerce them.

For example, in the book, "The Terror Factory; Inside the FBI's Manufactured War on Terrorism," Trevor Aaronson details several cases where the FBI used personal information to coerce people into becoming informants. Google can use their information to show you an ad you didn't want to see.

Of course privately collected information is not innocuous. But the danger probably comes more from the government tapping into the databases of Google and Facebook and other companies than from anything those companies do themselves. So what can you do to maintain your privacy? To some extent you have to trade away privacy for the convenience and pleasure of using online resources. But even if you use social media and browse the web daily, there are some tools that can give you some protection.

Search Engines

Yes, Google is watching your every move when you search with them. But there are other search engines which do not collect your personal data. For example, I like DuckDuckGo, which by default does not use cookies (unless you want to change settings), and does not store IP addresses

It has become the Internet's defining business model: free online services make their money by feeding on all the personal data generated by their users. Think Facebook, Google and LinkedIn, and how they serve targeted ads based on your preferences and interests, or make deals to share collected data with other companies.

Before the end of this year, Web users should be able to take a more active role in monetizing their personal data. Michael Fertik, cofounder and CEO of startup, says his company will launch a feature that lets users share certain personal information with other companies in return for discounts or other perks. Allowing airlines access to information about your income, for example, might lead to offers of loyalty points or an upgrade on your next flight.

The idea that individuals might personally take charge of extracting value from their own data has been discussed for years, with Fertik a leading voice, but it hasn't yet been put to the test. Proponents say it makes sense to empower users this way because details of what information is collected, how it is used and what it is worth are unjustly murky, even if the general terms of the relationship with data-supported companies such as Facebook is clear.

"The basic business model of the Internet today is that we're going to take your data without your knowledge and permission and give it to people that you can't identify for purposes you'll never know," says Fertik.

Watch Bureau of Entrapment Report



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escapeartist said...

During the summer when many become even more brain dead and zombified, it's refreshing to read something useful!

YAD said...

Love it!