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Saturday, May 21, 2011

Save Big at Outlets, Thrift Store, DIY Beer Cannon, More

Bruce’s Poor Man Survival Bulletin

A Digest of urban survival resources

In This Issue:

1.      DIY ‘suds slugger’ beer cannon w/ free launcher app

2.      Save money while traveling with adult hostels

3.      New – Portable fuel cells you can use now

4.      Frugal living with thrift store, bakery outlets, etc.

In politics stupidity is not a handicap

--Napoleon Bonarparte

Prosperity in the 1920s vs 2011  - Politicians should do no harm

   The stock market crash in 1929 brought an end to nearly a decade of prosperity in the United States.  The crash, despite what some historians suggest, was brought about by the Federal Reserve.  Historians have also suggested that President Hoover stood by and did nothing.  Hoover should have learned a lesson from Warren Harding, the previous president.  Harding tightened federal purse (1920-21) strings by cutting spending – the economy was hopping within a year.

Hoover actually did more than any other peacetime president; in fact virtually all of the New Deal program Roosevelt launched, were initiated by Hoover.  In 1931, after three years of federal intervention, the economic situation deteriorated even more.  Wage controls and meddling with the agriculture business helped ruin the economy even more.  Indeed, during a time of mass hunger, Roosevelt ordered the slaughter of six million pigs and the destruction of 10 million acres of cotton to ‘help’ boost prices.

The passing of the Smoot-Hawley Tariff was supposed to protect American farmers and despite demands to rescind this bill, Hoover went ahead with it.  It raised tariffs by an average of 59% on 25,000 items which American industry right between the eyes.  Other countries retaliated with like minded taxes and the economy was further destroyed by the Revenue Act of 1932 which massively increased taxes and wiped out investment dollars which were sorely needed at the time.

When FDR took office, he directed the government to ‘increase prosperity’ through more central planning and control.  Of course, that didn’t work.  America did not truly see an end to the Great Depression until after WWII when we returned to free market standards again.

There’s more as to how Roosevelt did not help the economy, such as the creation of the Wagner Act in 1935.  Great for unions, not so great for businesses and the economy in the long run.  It actually made us poorer and as we’ve seen in WI and other states, we cannot afford higher than private sector wages and benefits for government union workers.

Politicians need to take the same oath as medical providers learn – First, do no harm!  Second, they need to learn to stop blaming the public for their out-of-control spending for the past 35 years.  As population, we need to stop their foolish policies or they’ll do even more harm to this country – if that is possible.  Third, we should get rid of the fed and retake the minting of our own money.

What it boils down to – whenever the government comes to our ‘rescue’ with some hairbrained scheme, it almost always does more harm than good but no politician ever seems to learn from history (think Prohibition and the subsequent rise of organized crime and today’s war on drugs).


Get rid of gnats while gardening by tucking a few fabric softener sheets under your collar. The sheets contain linalool, a colorless alcohol which is toxic to insets.

PM’s ‘Betty Shocker’ compendium of useful stuff

Is your PC sluggish?  Try this free program that scrubs away items associated with software you no longer use or have uninstalled.

Build your own ‘suds slugger’ beer can cannon

Over the past two years the Poor Man has brought you DIY plans for spud guns, electric bikes, wind turbine systems, composting toilets and more.  Here’s a project to please the guys.  Takes about two days to build and offers a free Iphone controller too!  Brought to you from the good guys at Popular Science magazine. Search for the free App in the iTunes store - free download. cannon.  Watch this cute video of a beer cannon in action.

Beer Can Cannon Videos…

New - Portable fuel cells to charge your gadgets

Hydrogen fuel cells are finally starting to make it into the marketplace - these charges can be stashed in a back pack and they’re environmentally friendly.  Check out:

MyFC PowerTrekk at:

Horizon MiniPak at:

Cheap Travel Resources…

Save a bundle in your travels using hostels.

When the PM was a younger man, he used hostels for my international travel stays.  They’re not just for youth anymore.  Here are some resources to locate hostels in America

Top of your fuel tank on Wednesday.  Stations raise their prices on weekends  - thanks to!

If you’re a AAA member, you can save time and money on trips

>TripTik: Online tool and iPhone app that helps map your routes and gas prices.  Before you head out, visit their Fuel Price Finder at:

>Traffic & Construction mapping tool: Offers a real-time online traffic update.  View live traffic cameras (not available in all areas) and find traffic delays.

A dirty air filter will ruin your gas mileage.  To save as much as 14% on fuel, replace it every 12 months or 12,000 miles.  This small service can save about 50 cents a gallon!

New Job Resources…

HOME-BASED CUSTOMER SERVICE AGENT LEADS AT CONTRACTXCHANGE.COM, which posts home-based customer service jobs, contacted us recently to let us know they’ve been uploading quite a few leads.

A sampling of jobs from them includes:

*Reliance Home Comfort, Accounts Receivable: Now Hiring 12 Home Office Contract Agents

*Pizza Pizza, Bilingual Order Entry: Now Hiring 25 Bilingual Contract Home Agents

*Direct Energy Inbound Sales: Now Hiring 36 Bilingual Contract Home Agents

For more, see
Thanks to

It’s getting to be BBQ time again - tenderize a cheap cut of meat by generously salting and let it sit for an hour prior to grilling.  The salt will draw out water and dissolve; then it will be reabsorbed and break down the meat.  Wipe away excess salt water just before cooking.,>JobVirture a professional network created especially for job seekers to keep in touch with each other and to search for jobs, and for employers to post those jobs.

Our recent garage sale found a lot of leftover goods including many music Cds and movie DVDs. to the rescue - gather six or more games, Cds or DVDs and earn cash and they pay for postage too!

Thrift stores offer path to frugal living  

The economy has kicked a lot of budgets square in the teeth.  A long time proven method of saving money is to shop at thrift stores.  Despite rising prices at most non-profit stores such as the Salvation Army and Goodwill, judicious shopping will continue to reward you with good bargains.

Shop often as merchandise changes daily…best day in our opinion is Monday and Tues, right after garage sales end and folks donate their left over goods.

1. Goodwill Outlet Stores Now The Goodwill typically has some good deals if you are willing to do some digging.

2. Freecycle Why pay when you can get it for free? Freecycle is a network of individuals who are literally giving away things. You can sign up for your local listing. Anything from pets to children’s clothing can be found. There are over 7.5 million users to date.

3. ReStore thrift shops are an offshoot from Habitat for Humanity.  You can find furniture, hardware, doors and more.  Find a location at: 

4. The Salvation Army, which has been around for a long time.  Find locations anywhere at:

5.  The St. Vincent de Paul Society.  Although many consider them to be high priced, it never hurts to visit them.  Find  locations at:

National Directory of Thrift Store Locations

Shop often as merchandise changes daily…best day in our opinion is Monday and Tues, right after garage sales end and folks donate their left over goods.

Bakery Outlets

Most bakery thrift stores are owned by a specific well-known commercial bakery, such as Pepperidge Farm. They generally don't advertise their existence. You can find these thrift stores in the telephone book or by word of mouth. We found ours simply by driving around the area. Here are some tips to use before you go:

1. Find out when fresh goods are delivered. This could be every day or two or three times a week.  Shopping on these days ensures that you get the very freshest selection.

2. Shop on sale days. You can get amazing deals on sale days, such as 12 cent loaves of bread, pies for a dollar or less, boxes of cookies and pastries for less than a dollar.

3. Stock up. Purchase as much as you can afford and carry. Baked goods freeze well, so it pays to stock up when you find the good deals. It’s helpful to a good home freezer.  For bread, you need not take it out of the original wrapper. To defrost, just place on the counter for a few hours or wrap a couple of slices in a paper towel and microwave for a few seconds.

Look for discount days - many offer to seniors, students and military.

Find Aunt Millie’s Outlets

This site will get you started in searching but your local Yellow Pages are a good resource.

Easy herb growing method - take a canvas over-the-door shoe organizer and poke a few holes in the bottom of each pocket for drainage.  Fill the pouches with potting soil, leaving one inch of headspace, then plant a variety of herbs in each one.

The Nanny State Update:

Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner threw a bomb at America’s financial future last night, saying he is “certain” another financial catastrophe is on the way and that there is no way of reaching agreement on the debt ceiling without increasing taxes on the wealthy.

And he blamed a combination of timid politicians and credit card-debt-ridden Americans, rather than Wall Street and the big banks, for the financial woes that have beset the country over the past three years.

Geithner was speaking at a New York screening of the HBO adaptation of Andrew Ross Sorkin’s book “Too Big to Fail.” It came on the day that Sen. Tom Coburn, R-Okla., pulled out of the “Gang of Six” trying to find a bi-partisan solution to the debt ceiling crisis.

Geithner said, “I’m certain we will” experience another crisis but not when or what kind.

Billionaires Dumping Stocks, Fleeing Market

Geithner: Another Meltdown is 'Certain' — Raising Taxes on the Wealthy Will Come
That’s it from the Poor Man for this issue (I’m recovering from dental work).

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