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Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Spend More-Get Less, Cyber Begging, Scam Alert

Earn Extra Cash, Save Money on Holiday Shopping, Scam Alert,
Cyber Begging and more in this issue.

Spend more…Get less – Shrinking Consumer Goods One thing I miss from Arizona (aside from the warmth) is the 99 Cent store.
Unfortunately, they do not operate outside the southwest and the few ‘dollar’ stores in this area do not offer fresh or frozen foods or the variety of toiletries we were accustomed to finding.

Something everyone seems to have noticed is the shrinking package size of consumer goods; everything from toothpaste & deoderant to toilet paper packages have shrunk. For instance, I used to pay $1 for a name brand mouthwash that retails for nearly $4 at WalMart.
Many major ice cream makers, hit by higher dairy costs, have shrunk their standard containers to 1.5 quarts from 1.75 quarts, about 1 cup less. The industry downsized from the traditional half-gallon (2 quarts) five years ago. In both cases, only the package shrank, not the price.
"Downsizing is nothing but a sneaky price increase," says Edgar Dworsky, former Massachusetts assistant attorney general in the Consumer Protection Division, now editor of, a consumer website. "I'm waiting to open a carton of eggs and see only 11.”
Our house uses Skippy Peanut Butter, but i just found out they changed their jars from 18 ounces to 16.2 ounces for the same price. I know 2 ounces is not a huge amount of peanut better, but still.
As our deficit balloons, your spending power will continue to erode.


National Health Care Questions

George Bush’s prescription plan for seniors was sold to the public at a cost of $400 billion when it reality, it cost nearly $800 billion & it ‘forgot’ to include an allowance for government to negotiate better rates with pharmaceutical firms (what a surprise); so I have strong doubts about the veracity of any statements coming from the government.

Since we’re the only country that treats the health insurance industry as a business as opposed to a service and high costs have proven destructive to the middle class and small business AND we’re the only country, which doesn’t have universal coverage… I know moral sensitivity is lacking among politicians in this country but I posed several questions to two Democratic Congressional reps – Carl Levin and Debbie Stabenow:

1. Will the new plan address tort reform? We are the only country which hasn’t introduced such reforms against ridiculous lawsuits.
2. Will the new plan eliminate the need for Workers Comp programs for small business owners.
3. Has Congress considered what the Commonwealth of PA offers – tacking on premiums for health insurance to auto premiums in order to streamline the billing and to create a larger subscriber pool?

Needless to say, neither Congress person responded to my query…another surprise.

“The reason it’s so easy for the US to declare wars…is because so
few Americans feel the actual pain. We’ve been fighting in the far east
longer than we fought in WWI & WWII combined. If voters had to
choose right now between instituting a draft or exiting Iraq-Afghanistan,
the troops would be out of those countries in a heartbeat.”

--Bob Herbert in the NY Times

Beyond Redemption
The latest multi-million dollar scam in the world of antigovernment zealots is taking off across the nation.

Scam artists and right-wing extremists are hawking a pseudo-legal strategy that promises both financial gain and the opportunity to take revenge against what is seen as a sham government. Called "redemption," the technique has earned its promoters untold profits, buried courts and other agencies under tons of worthless paper, and led to scores of arrests and convictions throughout the United States.

Thanks Larry for bringing this to my attention. For more information:


Private Currency Network
Thanks to TraderJoe for bringing this program to our attention via our Twitter network; worth checking out this barter program.

Find a Perfect Gift in Seconds
My holiday shopping is easy, I just send cash or gift cards. If you’re stuck for a nice last minute gift, try looking at this site where you can send an electronic gift certificate good at more than 300 locations.

***NOTE: Make a donation to a non-profit group and tuck the receipt into a card…makes a good ‘gift’ for someone who has everything.


Bad economy forced him to swallow his pride…cyber begging?!
Each year, more and more people are going online for their holiday shopping, but in these hard times, the Internet is also becoming a place where people in need can ask for a handout.
There are thousands of appeals on craigslist and on other Web sites devoted to begging, such as Begslist, CyberBeg and
And the appeals are heart-wrenching. A single mom with no money to pay her bills; an unemployed construction worker about to lose his house. And, of course, lots of families who can't afford gifts for Christmas…Go to the NPR site:

Decoding price tag secrets
Many stores have a system for markdowns & this information will help you snag the best price. For instance, at Costco, look for prices ending in 97 cents or with an asterisk; at Sam’s Club prices ending in 1 cent mean it’s the final markdown price. At TJ Max or Marshalls; a yellow tag is the best deal indicator. At Target stores, look for prices ending in 4.
Also, a recent study found chain stores located in less affluent or inner cities offer markdowns before suburban stores.
Spice up a holiday meal like they do in France with a hidden treasure…French families bake a ‘Three Kings Cake,’ commemorating the three wise men. A single uncooked bean is hidden inside; whoever gets the slice with the bean is made king or queen for the day. During the Great Depression fundraising parties were held whereby folks would pay a fee to eat cake and coffee. Surprises, such as diamond rings, were hidden in the cake and some lucky person could win the ring. Other prizes were offered too…be careful today as someone might just swallow the darn ring!

Of course, another nice gift which won’t cost you a cent is to refer someone to our website and weekly Bulletin!


Niche Sites Going After eBay
A host of Web start-ups are gaining traction based on the premise that they make it easier for people to buy and sell online than the company that invented the idea: eBay Inc.
Second Rotation Inc.'s site, which offers people a set price to take used gadgets like iPods and laptops off their hands, last month more than doubled the number of products, to 18,000, that it took in compared with a year earlier.
Glyde Corp. last month launched its own online marketplace that allows consumers to sell used books, DVDs and videogames in a system that automates posting a listing, figuring out how much to charge and even mailing it out.
Gaphics designer Ben Whitesell says he has bought and sold more than 200 items on eBay since 1999, but selling there has lately become too cumbersome. So last week, the Louisville, Ken., resident tried Glyde to sell a used videogame. "It was just insanely easy," he says. He who ended up selling a used "Call of Duty 4" game for $22.
For more, go to:


- Money is like a sixth sense - and you can't make use of the other five without it. - William Somerset Maugham

Ways to generate extra cash

1. Skip those gold buying firms which suggest mailing in your scrap gold; they seldom pay top dollar. Get more cash by attending (or hosting) a gold party. Sites such as and have proven track records of paying top dollar.
2. join a focus group or take online surveys. Find them on Craigslst or via Also, check out American Consumer Opinion at or Harris Poll online at:
3. Host a winter garage sale – offer hot cider or hot chocolate- you’d be surprised at the money you can still generate during even the holiday season. We just did one and generated nearly $400 for my elderly mother.
4. Get paid to respond to people’s questions via phone or text – decide your own schedule…frequently, questions are basic & you can find the answers on Google. Register at:
5. Sell your unwanted books by going to: or


Sort of the grand daddy of online business how-to…make your site sell. Normally sold, here’s a free download of this ebook.


The People are Speaking…

Populism is a political discourse that juxtaposes "the people" with "the elites." Populism may comprise an ideology, a political philosophy or a mere type of discourse urging social and political system changes and/or a rhetorical style deployed by members of political or social movements.

Over time, there have been several versions of a Populist Party in the United States, inspired by the People's Party of the 1890s. This was the party of the early U.S. populist movement in which millions of farmers and other working people successfully enacted their anti-trust agenda

If you’re tired of paying the price for government ineptness and bailouts of bankers, review and/or join these two organizations. Watch the PBS/Bill Moyers video interview of their presentation…finally, a national group which is on our side. The middle class is tired of taking constant hits so Wall Street robber-barons can get rich.

While you’re at, read this article about Howard Zinn, author of the People’s History of the United States.

In Howard Zinn’s new documentary, “The People Speak,” the actress Marisa Tomei is shown reading aloud an essay by a worker at a 19th-century textile mill in Lowell, Mass., who led other women to protest wage reductions and demand better working conditions.


Yours for better living,
Bruce “The PoorMan”

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