Bruce’s Poor Man Survival Bulletin
Your choice for urban survival resources
In This Issue:
1. Start your own barter fair
2. Worst-Case-PC-Survival kit
3. Pros & cons of shopper loyalty cards
4. Uncommon tips for storing/revitalizing food
5. Free tech help 24/7
6. Raised bed gardening plans
7. States consider replacing the dollar-so does France
Sometimes you get the peanut and sometimes you get the shell…
The story of my life! --the Poor Man
My new best friend…could be yours too!
A new study shows more and more Americans are growing vegetable gardens
A recent survey by the Garden Writers of America also shows an increase in young people (under 40) starting to garden.
The survey of 1,000 people nationwide found that 38 percent of Americans had a vegetable garden in 2009. Of those planning to a garden in 2010, 37 percent plan to expand.
Now is the time to start thinking about your spring garden…soil prep, organic additives to enhance your soil, crop rotation, or just letting a section lie fallow for the year.
These dreary winter days when you can't go outside is an excellent time to layout your garden and decide what you're going to plant for the coming year.
The Poor Man already ordered a variety of seed and is laying out plans for a productive garden which will start with a soil test. We have some fruit trees which will need tending but we are interested in what we can raise that might also prove to be a viable cash crop. With only a few acres we’re not looking to plant a lot of corn or soy beans, which seems to be the main cash crops locally.
My new best friend is the guy who runs our local County Extension office. He specializes in small acreage farming (he owns two small plots of his own) and has invited the Poor Man to visit his small farm next month…can’t wait.
As much as I dislike most aspects of government, county extension offices are the exception to the rule. They truly provide valuable services and their staff practices what they preach. You can find a lot of free information at this service including sample farm business plans, crop productivity history, common pests and diseases and plenty more.
The Poor Man’s wife is investigating what house plants she can grow to resell at the local flea market. She and a buddy are making plans to become financial foliage tycoons this summer!
Here is a site you can use to easily locate an extension office near you. There’s even a section which walks you through applying for a grant. You’ll also find many universities offer boatloads of free and useful information - yours for the asking!
Spray mower blades with some non-stick cooking spray - less grass will adhere, making for smoother mowing. Protect orchard trees from pests by wrapping the trunks with old-fashioned fly paper strips.
This Weeks Useful Resources
Your Worst-Case-Scenario PC Survival Kit Whether you’re in a safe house, on the lam, or weathering the End of the World as We Know It, you’ll want to check out this collection of worst-case-scenario tips, apps, and downloads for your PC and smartphone.
Uncommon Tips to Revive and Store Produce, Groceries
Save money and trips to the market with these tips and tricks from Rebecca DiLiberto’s Penny Saving Household Helper. You’ll be surprised how simple it is to keep food at its best.
More Free Online Calendars
Calendar.Google.com and Yahoo both provide useful calendars which tie into your email accounts…here’s a new one that will tie into your Google email account too.
Neighborhood Disaster Tabletop Exercises for CERTs, Neighborhood Watch Programs and Neighborhood Associations and others
A team of national, regional and state organizations invites Community Emergency Response Teams (CERT) and Neighborhood Watch programs along with Neighborhood Associations to participate in one of the scheduled disaster tabletop exercises being facilitated via the internet.
These exercises have been designed specifically for organizations that work to support the disaster caused needs of community and neighborhood residents during and following a disaster.
By participating in one or several of these exercises you will be able to assess your organizations existing disaster response capabilities.
There is NO CHARGE for participation in any of the exercises.
Six distinctive exercise scenarios are available.
For additional information and registration please access the following web site:
Barter 101-Why not start your own barter club or barter fair?
Busted-flat? As Janet Joplin sang, “it ain’t nothin’ honey, if it ain’t free.” You can get what you want without paying a nickel if you know how to barter. We should know: the website you’re looking at is partly the result of bartering. Barter isn’t about making some kind of shady deal: it’s a legitimate form of commerce that has been going on since the beginning of time, and is making a strong comeback in the downturn. Do you need a new backyard fence? Tech support? Babysitting? Chances are, there is someone who can provide these services in exchange for something you can offer.
Find out how much your old electronics are worth before selling them
The site provides pricing also for sports equipment, boats & apparel.
Free sample preparedness foods
Wide selection of free samples-mainly grocery items>requires sign up
Get Free Repairs-you might deserve them
Use this site to learn if your auto had a problem due to a recall & qualify for a free repair.
Free Tech Help-24/7
You’ve experienced a tech problem…yeah right! Costco or Sam’s Club could prove a real money saver. Costco offers a “concierge service on its products. Contact: 866-861-0450. Sam’s Club Tech Experts provide free assistance-even if you didn’t buy the electronics there…available 24/7 at: 877-758-4346
Zipper stuck? Use lip balm as a quick lubricant.
Raised garden beds, also called garden planters, are great for small plots of veggies and flowers. They keep pathway weeds from your garden soil, prevent soil compaction, provide good drainage and serve as a barrier to pests such as slugs and snails.
By raising the soil level, raised beds also reduce back strain when bending over to tend the bed. Raised beds and garden planters are available in a variety of different materials, or they can be made with relative ease
Creating Your Own Plan
You can create your own plan for a raised bed garden. You'll need graph paper, a ruler, and colored pencils.
Draw existing elements on the graph paper, such as houses, sheds, garages, and walkways.
Color in the elements using colored pencils.
Mark off the raised beds and pathways.
More at these sites:
Loyalty Club or Frequent Shopper Cards-pros & cons…
There are many who dislike using loyalty cards issued by gas stations, supermarkets, etc. for fear of privacy intrusions. There is some merit to this thought. However, on the other hand, you can also reap substantial rewards. For example, I have a Kroger card and it saves me 10 cents a gallon on fuel and that, to me, is a big plus. Kroger also sends me personalized coupons in the mail (based on purchase history). Just recently, I received coupons for FREE butter, free juice, free snacks along with discounts for other products.
Supermarket chains say their loyalty cards reward faithful shoppers. Privacy advocates say they're no bargain at all…some reports indicate you’re paying anywhere from 24-74% more at these stores.
When you're stacking up grocery items at the checkout line, you're probably not worried about whether your supermarket chain is compiling a profile of you based on what you buy, and storing that information for its own use. After all, who cares if you buy one brand of tissues over another, or favor name-brand microwave pizzas over store brands?
Supermarket chains care. So does CVS. So much so that they use discount cards (referred to as "membership" or "loyalty" cards) to offer you what seem like great bargains. They use the cards to keep tabs on what you purchase, how often you shop, and what your buying preferences are.
And, just as data brokers like ChoicePoint collect personal data and use it to build an aggregate "profile" of individual consumers, supermarket chains use their stored data to target buyers with "special" offers and "preferred" advertisements from their marketing partners.
Studies show paying cash at the supermarket help to reduce impulse buys…
Save an average of $140 a month!
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Showing your AAA card can save an average of 15% on purchases at hotels and various retailers, florist services, restaurants and more-memberships begin at just $66 annually.
A South Carolina state politician wants the state to develop its own gold and silver-based currency in case the collapses and hyper-inflation ensues.
"If folks lose faith in the dollar, we need to have some kind of backup," State Sen. Lee Bright told the Spartanburg Herald Journal's Stephen Largen. His bill asks a committee to look into the development of a state currency, citing the Constitution and Supreme Court precedents to prove the bill's legality.
Slate's Annie Lowrey tracks down similar bills in Georgia and Virginia, and points out that the legislation reflects a larger trend of state politicians wading into monetary policy. A bill in Georgia would require all debts to the state be paid in pre-1965 gold and silver coins. The Virginia proposal would let the state print its own money. Meanwhile, one politician in Utah wants to cut out the middleman entirely and allow the state's residents to run their very own mints.
Sidebar: France Wants to Ditch Dollar as World Currency
France, as current head of the Group of 20 countries, will help the transition to a global financial system based on "several international currencies," French Economy Minister Christine Lagarde said on Monday. Hey, Germany now owns our stock exchange, so who knows?
A healthy distrust of government is the best sign of patriotism
How the Patriot Act is destroying freedoms in America
The Entitlement Bomb
Lots of talk among politicians for reducing the national budget, mostly fodder for the corporate press and the ill-informed. Our two biggest budget busters are the Medicare and Social Security programs. As the Economist magazine noted about the so-called standoff on the budget and taxes…”The Republicans and the Democrats merely agreed to each other’s giveaways.”
Rather than confront the deficit problem, the political agenda remains to artificially inflate the economy as opposed to hard choices involving raising taxes, drastically cutting government programs/departments and other entitlement programs.
Although the Poor Man will be long gone, it’s estimated that by 2080, about 86% of all tax revenues will be used to pay for just three programs: Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid.
If you listen to Washington, one comes away with the impression many politicians think there is a lot of time left to fix these problems. Politicians are rarely proactive, but almost always reactive…just look what happened in Ireland and Greece.
Unfunded liabilities among states, especially for pension funds, will further fuel financial angst in America. All of these probably means gold and silver prices (and thus other commodities) will see even higher prices in the decades to come.
To see more of our unfunded liabilities, check out www.usdebtclock.org
Finally, a bit more fun which leans on the educational side…
Your Life According To The Government
Cute overview of how we’re expected to live and its costs…the reality.
That's it for this issue...yours for preparedness, the Poor Man!
Don't Get Caught With Your Pantry Down-New 11th Ed.
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