Poor Man Survival
Self Reliance tools for independent minded people…
A Digest of Urban Survival Resources
I’ve been stretching dollars so thin lately, I’m pretty sure I can see George Washington’s underwear!
How to Stretch Your Paycheck
Despite the rosy picture the Obama White House paints, the average household in America is not doing well…otherwise we wouldn’t have 47 million people receiving food stamps and Bernie Sanders wouldn’t have to make the lack of COLA raises for seniors a part of his campaign platform [Clinton could care less as she’s a part of the Top One Percent]…
The average income in the United States has fallen and now averages $30,000 [hell, I made more than that on a part time basis in the 1980s] and fewer US corporations pay any kind of benefits or even pay US taxes for that matter.
Of course, fewer people today know anything about budgeting and it seems apparent the new math being taught in schools today does not offer basic skills such as household budgeting otherwise they wouldn’t be saddling themselves with huge cell phone bill plans.
Start by lowering you bills by taking advantage of programs that offer rebates and assistance. Low income families, especially those with children, qualify for many programs at the state and federal level including housing and utility assistance, food stamps, heating assistance from the state.
Folks who 55 and older can go to NeedHelpPayingBills.com to learn about everything from how to secure mortgage assistance from the government to how to get property tax help to how to apply for grants and financial aid. Another good resource is OperationHope.org for help creating a budget, referrals to local resources and other assistance. Their phone number is: 888-388-4673.
Most states and counties have some form of Areas on Aging or Senior Centers which offer resources which you should investigate as well.
Making Extra Cash
Take a look at RealWaysToEarnMoneyOnline.com to find advice on ways to supplement your income but a note of caution, if you’re on welfare or SSI you could lose your benefits – even earning $1 over their income limit could jeopardize your status and the government offers ZERO grey area as they do not want you to earn any extra cash.
Cut Your Expenses, Your Taxes
Taxes are our biggest expense. In MI we pay the 9th highest property taxes in the country for instance and the only way to cut them is to homestead your property. Out tax system is set up to discourage savings and investments and with its ever changing rules it always wise to hook up with a qualified advisor or get free assistance through AARP or even an IRS volunteer [VITA program] at: tinyurl.com/4jhbuh
Another area to look at: your insurance policy premiums. We pay a lot of different insurances….auto, home, medical, life, etc. In MI we pay the highest auto insurance in the nation. Many folks have turned to having liability insurance only. In other areas it pays to conduct an annual review of your insurance carriers to compare rates.
The ADRC – Aging & Disability Resource Centers offer many benefits on such things as home health care assistance. Benefits vary by state and it is the job of these folks to help you find solutions. Go to their site: ADRC-tae.acl.gov
The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau helps when you need to check out if a deal is too good to be true-they’ll investigate. Call 855-411-2372 or email them: info@ConsumerFinance.gov
Women can find useful resources at: the Women’s Money Council:
WomensMoney.org or RealMoneyAnswers.com
Consumer Action Handbook
More Money Stretchers
>>POWER UP YOUR INTERNET CONNECTIONS WITH A SODA CAN
Is the Wi-Fi on your computer constantly dropping out? Too weak to get Netflix on your family room TV? You could buy a new router or signal extender…instead, grab an empty soda can and its aluminum to boost the signal.
USE a strong pair of scissors, carefully cut off the top & bottom of the can, then slice it down the side & unroll the aluminum sheet behind your router to create your signal amplifier [you can also use an aluminum pan or cookie sheet in a pinch].
>>EXTEND THE LIFE OF INK CARTRIDGES WITH SCOTCH TAPE
If you’re in the middle of printing an important document and suddenly the printer blinks its ‘no ink’ message, cover the sensors [the little metal squares] on the ink cartridges with a small piece of tape. That will override the message to get the job done…you can also run your hair dryer over the cartridge for a few minutes to loosen any ink stuck to the sides to give it a bit more life.
>>BOOST THE SPEED OF YOUR WI FI ROUTER
Too often routers are stuffed in a closet in some far corner of your house. If this sounds like your home, do yourself a favor, and try to get it out in the open, as high as possible, with as few walls between it and the rest of the house. Also try pointing one antenna vertically and one horizontally, if it has a couple of external antennas.
If you’re running 802.11n, you might want to try connecting via 802.11g instead. I’ve seen throughput speeds double. Upgrade to a newer router or buy a booster for your laptop; they’re available on eBay and Amazon.
Many veteran organizations [not just the VFW] like Team Rubicon and The Mission Continues continue to make themselves useful. These groups take former members of the military who have been well trained by the government to kill enemies overseas and put them to work doing disaster relief or starting service projects in their communities. While they’re not toting guns and taking out bad guys, these vets are able to deploy many of the skills and traits they acquired during combat like discipline, improvisation, teamwork, and planning, and use them to help their fellow man. The rigorous training in fitness and discipline members of Team Rubicon received in the military helps them handle the often physically and mentally demanding work that happens during disaster recovery. And the mission planning skills they learned from patrols and firefights allows them to carry out their work in an efficient and effective way.
When I got out of the military I volunteered for the Maricopa County Mounted Sheriff Posse. We helped with crowd control at special events and frequently searched the desert outside of Phoenix for lost people.
Readiness shouldn’t be thought of merely as a defensive stance, either, but as an offensive one as well. You don’t prepare yourself only for emergencies, but also for opportunities — which are just as hard to see coming as threats! If you’re not ready to seize an opportunity for growth the moment it materializes, it often never comes your way again.
Yours for better living,
Bruce, the Poor Man
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