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Sunday, May 1, 2011

Feeling Financially Plundered-Here's Help

Bruce’s Poor Man Survival Bulletin
A Digest of urban survival resources

In This Issue:
1. Silver coin converter site
2. Sites for sharing
3. Unusual uses for bleach
4. Cheap tool rental resource – your neighbor
5. Consider leasing solar panels
6. Urban Garden page added to the PM site

What’s Vice today may be virtue tomorrow.
--Henry Fielding - Possibly in response to the fact that indoor marijuana
Cultivation consumes one percent of the nation’s electricity!

Feelings of being financially plundered – a struggle to just keep in place
Everyone is being nickeled and dimed!

Reader Anna from PA wrote to tell me of her struggle to keep up with the cost of living. “Every time I turn around, my monthly overhead goes up. You know gas prices are killing us and affecting food prices. I can barely feed my family, pay the car insurance and utilities. Your newsletter has given me lots of ideas for cutting costs but I’m at my wits end.”

Yes, most Americans, especially those on fixed incomes or with young children, are feeling the squeeze. More people than ever are seeking help from food banks and government food stamp programs. Where I live, the electric company just raised rates by 6%, the city run water company raised them by 10% (effectively negating the water-saving program we have in place…maybe it’s time to shower once a week) and we already pay the highest auto insurance rates in the nation.

It’s nearly impossible to stop rate hikes from government and quasi-governmental agencies. State Insurance and Utility regulators do virtually nothing to help citizens. College costs continue to rise as do medical costs. The only thing not rising (other than blood pressure) are the wages of most Americans.

There are no easy answers. Since our government has not initiated a reasonable energy policy during the past 30 years, we all suffer from their incompetence.

On the other hand, there are plenty of Americans with fat wallets. We see it all the time at auctions where folks overbid like crazy (this no longer holds true for eBay), take expensive cruises and vacations, buy new cars, etc.

As we’ve discussed in past postings, finding or creating secondary sources of income is helpful, but becoming increasingly difficult to do. My best advice is from Benjamin Franklin. “A penny saved is a penny earned.” Most of us, especially those with children, fritter away money on a daily basis. Instant gratification of a toy every time we shop, frequent meals at fast food places, a daily latte from Starbucks, all the extras kids want such as sports camps, high end electronics and the like will destroy a budget in no time.

I suggest for the next 30-days, keep a spending diary. Record every nickel you spend whether if for a fast food meal, a pack of gum, a newspaper. You might be shocked at the end of the month total. Use this diary to begin a program of fiscal restraint. Eliminate non-essential spending, look for ways to cut current overhead such as cable TV, cell phone expenses, planning car trips to eliminate needless driving. Learn to buy in bulk, if you smoke, either quit or learn to roll your own, stop buying bottled water, etc.

You can even save money by giving your kids and family members a haircut. Here’s a DIY video to get you started:

You can eliminate most expensive, store-bought cleaners by using a few simple common ingredients such as vinegar, lemon-scented ammonia, water and bleach. I clean virtually all surfaces, glass and mirrors with a solution of either ammonia and water or vinegar and water…saves a ton of money annually.

You can live without many of these conveniences…just think at how little overhead your grandparents had because they did not own or pay for many of today’s “necessities.”

Growing a garden is an excellent way to save money on food. Even apartment dwellers can grow some things as we’ve reported previously. View our urban garden page at our site for some resources.

Finally, think about eliminating cleaning altogether. In the words of Domestic Goddess, Roseanne Barr – “The day I begin vacuuming is the day Sears invents the riding vacuum cleaner.”


To eliminate static electricity from mini blinds wipe with used Bounce dryer sheets to keep dust from resettling.

Good uses for household bleach

Over the years, some have put out a call to ban bleach. Thankfully, no one has done this.
There are dozens of uses for this product, some you may not know of. Here are several:

>>Help purify and maintain water. We refill used food grade containers with water for storage and we add a couple of drops per gallon to help keep that supply free of algae and mold.

>>Use a disinfectant spray. Good as an all-purpose, around the house…Simply mix 1 tablespoon of bleach into a 1-gallon container of hot water. Use it to fill a spray bottle and use it on a paper towel for countertops, lawn furniture, etc. Don’t use it where you might be applying ammonia as it will cause toxic fumes (I found out the hard way).

>>Use undiluted bleach to kill weeds in the cracks of sidewalks and driveways. Just pour directly onto the weeds (avoiding your grassy area). After a day or so, pull the weeds and this will prevent weeds from returning.

>>Clean plastic lawn furniture. Wash with some mild detergent mixed with a ½ cup of bleach and a gallon of water. After scrubbing, rinse clean with your hose.

>>Get rid of mold and mildew from your trash cans, shower and bath, shower curtains and toilets. Use the above formula and spray.

>>Bleach is very useful for cleaning wood cutting boards and butcher block surfaces. Use a diluted mix of bleach and water (1 tablespoon to 2 quarts water). Avoid saturating the surface.
Remove grass stains from clothing by sprinkling a little meat tenderizer on the spot before tossing them into your washer.

This Week’s Useful Resources…

Find merchandising jobs at the:
National Association for Retail Marketing Services (NARMS) site, at

Need a tool for the day? This site helps neighbors rent equipment. Cheaper than a rental center!

World Net Daily unveils new, free job bank

Find, enter and win contests
fast with these websites

Are you new to the neighborhood, or just want to find area garage sales quickly?

Stop getting unwanted credit card offers by filling out a form at this site-Free:

Sites for sharing
Sure, you've heard of Craigslist and eBay. But new entrants are taking collaborative consumption into new territories, providing fresh opportunities for consumers to be frugal. As with anything, it's smart to use reputable operators whether you're borrowing or lending.

Here are four leaders in the emerging collaborative consumption field.
Lending Club: Debuting in 2007 as a Facebook application, Lending Club owes its life to social media. Lending Club is a pioneer of peer-to-peer lending. Members looking for a loan post what they're seeking. Members looking to invest money finance the loans. Lending Club, based in Redwood City, Calif., says both sides win, with above-average returns for investors and lower-than-average rates for borrowers. However, it only accepts lower credit risks; roughly 90 percent of prospective borrowers are rejected.
Read more: Borrow, barter or share to save

Silver coin converter site
It converts silver coins to current silver price. Pretty neat just put in what you have like 10 Roosevelt dimes click link it tells you 36.75.based on siler price at that time.Also gives current ebay prices for that coin. That site is

Adobe Photoshop is an expensive program and most of us don’t need all of its features. Here’s a FREE, nifty and powerful photo editor…

Want solar but find the cost prohibitive? Consider a lease

Best software to help you win when you play most
lotteries Worldwide, win 98%. Sports Arb software
program that wins 100% of the time. Plus!!! Money
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Remove stains from your skin when soap and water won’t cut it by washing the area with vinegar and warm water, then rinse.
The Nanny State updates…

"A society that robs an individual of the product of his effort, or enslaves him, or attempts to limit the freedom of his mind, or compels him to act against his own rational judgment ... is not, strictly speaking, a society, but a mob held together by institutionalized gang-rule."
-- Ayn Rand

A date has been set for the end of the "Age of America," — i.e., when China's economy will overtake the United States. The news comes by way of an International Monetary Fund (IMF) forecast that shows China's economy surpassing America's by 2016

A federal judge has ordered the city of Ecorse, Michigan, to pay Michael and Tammy Phelps $215,000. The two sued the city after police officers burst into their home, threw them to the floor and put a gun to Michael's face. The police had a valid search warrant, but it was for the house next door.

Shane Rhooms spent three weeks in jail after New York City police offices identified him as the man who shot at them when they spotted him smoking marijuana in Brooklyn. Fortunately for Rhooms, security video and cell phone records showed he was attending a concert in Manhattan at the time of the shooting. Police officials say they stand by the officers and still think Rhooms is guilty. But the New York Daily News reports that one of those officers, Lt. Robert Henderson, has been named in eight federal lawsuits over the past decade that have cost the city more than $500,000.

City officials in Thornton, CO outlawed spinning barbershop poles, a tradition dating back to medieval times saying it poses a threat to public safety…’we don’t want the signs to be a distraction.’ We’d like to give those officials a close shave - on the house!
Technology vs. privacy protections

The High Court | The Obama administration wants overturn a federal appeals court decision last year that said police must get a warrant before they begin a long-term surveillance using a global positioning device attached to the suspect’s car. More at:

Deter online trackers in IE9-click on the settings icon (the cog in the right corner of your browser) and select ‘Safety Tracking Protection.’ Another window pops up where you can activate the feature which will automatically start blocking sites from monitoring you.

The Parting Shot…America isn’t too big to fail

As I wrote after the recent elections, nothing will really change in Washington. It’ll be politics, posturing and bickering as usual, especially when it comes to our massive deficit. Regardless of which party BS you swallow, our country is on the edge of a default, turning world markets against the dollar.

We’re the only debt-saddled country in the world without a plan to rein in out-of-control spending, eliminate wasteful government agencies and programs or real leadership from either party. The US is not too big to fail and the ego-challenged folks in Washington don’t give a damn.

Spending is still out of control and many Americans will not make it…

Dependence on Government Hits All-Time High
“Americans depended more on government assistance in 2010 than at any other time in the nation’s history, a USA TODAY analysis of federal data finds. The trend shows few signs of easing, even though the economic recovery is nearly 2 years old. A record 18.3% of the nation’s total personal income was a payment from the government for Social Security, Medicare, food stamps, unemployment benefits and other programs in 2010. Wages accounted for the lowest share of income — 51.0% — since the government began keeping track in 1929.” (USA Today)

All of this makes me wonder about Donald Trump - is he really going to run for office…does he stand a chance of winning? Obama has been caught flat-footed on just about every issue ranging from the middle east to fostering a climate of job growth in the United States.
Yours for enjoying a bit of paradise, the Poor Man

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