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Thursday, January 27, 2011

Stop Spending on Stupid Stuff, DIY Plans, the New Whittled Class

Bruce’s Poor Man Recession Bulletin
Your choice for urban survival resources

In This Issue:

1. DIY Plans-clay oven, solar oven, methane generator
2. More moonlighting business ideas
3. Recycle old tires for profit
4. Things which are disappearing from our lives
5. 5 Ways to stop buying stupid stuff
6. Get up to $6500 if you’re low-income for weatherization
7. Emergence of the new ‘Whittled’ Class-Parting Thoughts

"Laws, like sausages, cease to inspire respect in proportion as we know how they are made."
-- John Godfrey Saxe

Visions of Mad Max at the Thunderdome, State of Disunion

Back during my college days we experienced the Arab Oil embargo which left Americans scrambling to fill their fuel tanks, inflation was high, land contracts, assumptions of VA loans and unemployment was rampant. One could only purchase fuel on alternate days and when Pres. Carter took office, he promised our country would become energy independent. Of course, that never happened.

Since then we’ve experienced several recessions and ever higher fuel prices as many leaders suggest we’re running out of oil. That could be. Had our country taken the measures suggested by Carter and had initiated a national energy policy, we might all be enjoying cheaper fuel prices, alternative energy sources and less dependence on Arabs and others who do not like our country.

In 2011 we’re seeing a repeat of history. Food shortages and higher prices for fuel and food and rampant unemployment. Oil prices in Australia are rising the fastest ever during the past 10 years…

It’s rather apparent our government has not learned any lessons from the past, as we’re still overly dependent on foreign fuel sources, even more so today with imports reaching 70% of our use.

The mainstream media and our top politicians are running around proclaiming that the economy has turned around, and yet all of the important long-term economic numbers continue to get worse. Do they think that the American people are stupid?

Many homeowners have taken great strides in cutting their energy bill through the use of CFL bulbs, water miser shower heads, buying smaller vehicles, etc. For the most part, government has not. The government is the largest consumer of energy in the world. If, for example, we eliminated Saturday delivery (keep the post offices open for business) of mail, it would save an incredible amount of fuel. If cities timed their traffic signals to encourage a better flow of traffic as opposed to stop-and-go driving, it would save millions of gallons of fuel each month.

Other countries are much further ahead of the US in creating alternative energy resources especially from methane and gases created from giant agricultural fields.

Sometimes I have visions of America becoming like the old Mad Max movies where vehicles are jerry rigged to run on all sorts of fuel. Successful experiments over the past 100 years have had cars running on wood fire, steam and alternative fuels. Is this where we’re headed? Is this our ‘sputnik moment’ or day of reckoning?

Under the new health care bill - did you know that all real estate transactions will be subject to a 3.8% Sales Tax? The bulk of these new taxes don't kick in until 2013.

The Round up

How to build a clay oven
An outdoor clay oven is the ideal place to make wood-fired pizza or to roast meat. Outdoor are capable of reaching much higher temperatures than standard ovens, and this high heat creates incomparably crisp crusts for breads and a smoked-wood flavor in meat dishes. This sand-cast style of oven is a flexible model to try because you can build the oven to your exact specifications. While the actual labor time is not that long, you will need to wait for the oven to thoroughly dry out before using.
Read more: How to Build Outdoor Clay Ovens |

Build your own inexpensive solar oven-even from a pizza box!

DIY Methane Generator
You can make biogas energy with a DIY methane generator.
Producing methane from manure using your own small scale waste to energy biogas digester is feasible for many small farms.

Build your own wood stove
I’ve often thought of constructing one of these as a furnace type heater, but it’s getting tough to find metal 55-gal drums around as so many use plastic.
DIY Video from kit…also offers DIY greenhouse construction plan

Free Seedling Starts-flower pots & trays can be had free
by visiting the dumpsters at local cemeteries.

Free Credit Repair…don’t fall for scams.
The FTC ( many publications devoted to helping you regain good credit and you can also get free counseling from your local County Cooperative Extension Office. Also, the National Foundation for Credit Counseling can help.

Green your home & gain up to $6500
Families with incomes under $44,000 who applied got an average of $6500 to help lower their heating and cooling bills via insulation, weather stripping and more. Obviously, you’ll save on your utility bills as a result.
Contact Westernization Assistance Program at: 877-377-3463 or visit their site at:

Insulate. Then Insulate Some More
Plug your zip code into the Department of Energy's insulation tool, to find out how much insulation your home needs. Then, beef up your existing insulation as needed.
· Video: How to Insulate Electric Outlets and Switches

You can now search for government forms on
You'll find a list of commonly requested forms, including tax forms, small business forms, and citizenship and immigration forms; but you can also enter a keyword or form number into the Search box to locate a specific form.
If you prefer to search by agency, use our listing of government forms by agency.

Earn Money by recycling old tires
You can even build a house using old tires…

>>>Other BootStrap Business-Moonlighting ideas…
*In an effort to cut costs, the USPS in many areas, is hiring more independent contractors. Ask your local postmaster for applications and openings.
*Be a night auditor at a hotel. The overnight shift is the most difficult to fill, so if you’re a night owl, this might be for you.
*Newspaper delivery. Most papers now hire only adult drivers. The hours often range from about 2am through 5am, leaving you much of the daytime to pursue other interests.
*UPS often hires temps, especially during the holidays, mainly for loading boxes. If you have a strong back, check it out. Often leads to full time work.
*Many, legitimate, work at home listings at this site. Subscribe to get these each week.

A few tablespoons of Epsom salt sprinkled around
Your trash cans will keep raccoons away-reapply after a rain

5 Ways to stop buying stupid stuff
Shop with a list; compare the per-unit cost; scour the sales circulars. Been there, tried that. I still waltz out of Target with bags full of stuff that I didn't intend to buy.
It's no wonder: Two-fers, upgrades, bulk buys, bonus points, door-buster deals -- they're like magnets for our money.
Costco has the formula down pat. In a Motley Fool interview, CEO Jim Sinegal copped to purposely merchandising to the impulse-purchase mind-set. Costco highlights an ever-changing array of items at the entrance -- from Coach handbags to Fila track suits -- that are probably on no one's shopping list. Yet they end up in a lot of customers' shopping carts. Sinegal explained, "The attitude is that if you see it, you have got to buy it, because it may not be there next time. More at:

Peanut Butter Candy-Something kids can help to make!
½ cup peanut butter (I like the crunchy style)
1 cup non-fat dried milk powder
½ cup of honey

Combine ingredients & turn mixture onto a buttered surface
Pat or roll to about ½” thickness
Cut into squares and chill…then serve!

Lotka’s Principle: Societies compete for economic survival using systems that win & dominate, that maximize their useful total power from all sources & flexibly distribute this power toward need affecting survival.

Things ceasing to exist…the parting thought(s)

With sub-zero temps this week, our house got mighty cold. Although we had done a lot of insulating and caulking before the season, this is an old house, circa 1915 and it’s settled over the years, leaving it slightly off-balance and it has a cold basement. I spent the better part of the week insulating the basement ceiling (aka: our kitchen floor) and could feel the improvement almost immediately. Now, we’ll see how the energy bill does this month!

Formerly middle class is how many Americans now feel. I believe we’re seeing the emergence of a new social class in America, something I’m calling the Whittled Class.
The gap between the ‘haves’ and the ‘have nots’ has grown to numbers not seen since the Great Depression. This reversal is bound to have repercussions leading to social unrest.

Even our War College (El Paso, TX) has suggested the economic crisis could easily lead to social chaos and use of the military to restore social order may become necessary!
View Elizabeth Warren’s video on the growing inequality in America-important…

For some of us ‘old timers,’ the following might come as a shock

V No Post Office~ Get ready to imagine a world without the post office. They are so deeply in financial trouble that there is probably no way to sustain it long term. Email, Fed Ex, and UPS have just about wiped out the minimum revenue needed to keep the post office alive. Most of your mail every day is junk mail and bills.

v The Check ~ Britain is already laying the groundwork to do away with checks by 2018. It costs the financial system billions of dollars a year to process checks. Plastic cards and online transactions will lead to the eventual demise of the check. This plays right into the death of the post office. If you never paid your bills by mail and never received them by mail, the post office would absolutely go out of business.

v The Newspaper ~ The younger generation simply doesn't read the newspaper. They certainly don't subscribe to a daily delivered print edition. That may go the way of the milkman and the laundry man. As for reading the paper online, get ready to pay for it. The rise in mobile Internet devices and e-readers has caused all the newspaper and magazine publishers to form an alliance. They have met with Apple, Amazon, and the major cell phone companies to develop a model for paid subscription services.

v The Land Line Telephone ~ Unless you have a large family and make a lot of local calls, you don't need it anymore. Most people keep it simply because they've always had it. But you are paying double charges for that extra service. All the cell phone companies will let you call customers using the same cell provider for no charge against your minutes.

v Television ~ Revenues to the networks are down dramatically. Not just because of the economy. People are watching TV and movies streamed from their computers. And they're playing games and doing lots of other things that take up the time that used to be spent watching TV. Prime time shows have degenerated down to lower than the lowest common denominator. Cable rates are skyrocketing and commercials run about every 4 minutes and 30 seconds. I say good riddance to most of it. It's time for the cable companies to be put out of our misery. Let the people choose what they want to watch online and through Netflix.

v Privacy ~ If there ever was a concept that we can look back on nostalgically, it would be privacy. That's gone. It's been gone for a long time anyway. There are cameras on the street, in most of the buildings, and even built into your computer and cell phone. But you can be sure that 24/7, "They" know who you are and where you are, right down to the GPS coordinates, and the Google Street View.
…Thanks Jim for sending this to us!

More on ‘You Should be watching for suspicious people‘-from our DHS

Morality and Capitalism

That’s it from the “Sore” Man-Stay warm out there & share this with friends!

Don't Get Caught With Your Pantry Down-New 11th Ed.

Free Money assistance for women, businesses, more.

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