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Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Find Missing Money, Homesteading for Busy Folks, Extreme Discounts

Bruce’s Poor Man Survival Bulletin

A Digest of Urban Survival Resources

ISSN 2161-5543

In This Issue:

1.       Extreme discounts, get rebates, food saving

2.      Homesteading for busy folks

3.      Find missing money

4.      If a garage sale isn’t worth it, use ItsDeductible

Someone stole all my credit cards, but I won’t be reporting it. The thief spends less than my wife did. — Henny Youngman

The Realities of Recession – Not everyone is hurting

During the Great Recession about 25% of the population was out of work.  Today, it’s roughly the same when you factor in those who have stopped looking or those who are working part time jobs.  One area of the economy that thrived during the depression was the entertainment industry.  Escapism, even if for a short while, was a best-selling commodity.

Attendance at movie theatres and theme parks set records in those years (of course the price of admission was a fraction of what it is today).

Entertainment and escapism are doing well today for the same reason.  Illicit drug sales in this country are staggering.  People always find extra cash for pleasure.  Despite an estimated 10% reduction of today’s middle class numbers and record numbers of people on government assistance, there are still a large percentage of people with money in this country as witnessed by sales of high end vehicles, corporate airplanes and auction sales of celebrity and historical items.

Even our nation’s “poor” live well by most international standards.  Few of the poor live without a cell phone, cable TV and other ‘necessities.’  If you’re genuinely poor you get free health and dental care, free cell phones, help with utilities, housing and more.

For many middle class families, that lifestyle has been significantly watered down, with many finding it difficult to keep up with such costs as skyrocketing health care, college tuition and ever increasing auto insurance rates (ours jumped by $400 despite having a clean driving record) along with deteriorating workplace benefits. Record numbers of young people, for instance, are moving back in with mom and dad. Despite this, most corporate profits are breaking records.  For a large percentage of Americans, the sky is falling, but many still haven’t gotten the memo.

 As always, I invite your thoughts…how can we all work together to restore the American Dream?

Use left- over zip loc baggies for shipping cushions…just blow them up like a balloon, seal and place into packages to protect them during transit.


PM’s ‘Betty Shocker’ Compendium of Useful Resources

Sometimes a garage sale just isn’t worth the trouble…

You have an item marked a dollar.  It originally retailed for $25.  Someone comes along and asks “will you take a quarter for it?”  You might be better off donating the item and taking a tax deduction.  The has an online calculator to determine IRS allowances for donated goods (you’ll be pleasantly surprised).  You can also register at this site to get an estimate.  Enter your filing status, items you’re donating along with their condition and the site will calculate their value and how much you might save on taxes.

Don’t Miss Out on Rebates…

Millions of product rebates go unclaimed primarily due to being sent in late or many folks simply forget about them.  Use this free site to avoid that problem.

Save 90% on Food

I reported on this topic several months ago…Extreme discount grocery stores.  Stores such as Save-a-Lot, Bottom Dollar and Aldi, take dented or slightly damaged cans and sell them for up to 90% off (they’re safe to use).  Now there’s a site you can use to locate these stores:

If you’re like most Americans, you throw away up to 30% of your food

The newest trend in couponing helps resolve this problem by giving you recipes and a link to the best available coupons for each ingredient, free of charge. Go to:

Another good food saving resource: is a national database established by the National Association of Unclaimed Property Administrators (NAUPA). enables owners to perform comprehensive searches for lost assets required by law to be turned over to the states. Just go to the site, type in your name and state, and see if there is any unclaimed property waiting to be returned to its rightful owner.

Damp, moldy basement or other area?  Use PDZ, the same product used in horse stalls to absorb urine can be used to absorb basement moisture. Find it at Tractor Supply and other retailers.

Homesteading for the Busy People

Develop a new preparedness skill through small-scale urban farming…

Learn About Permaculture: One of the goals of permaculture is a garden that is efficient and self-reliant; needing little input from you, while producing maximum output. It takes its lead from natural ecology. For example, when was the last time you had to prune or water the trees in a forest? Healthy forests take care of themselves. Permaculture enthusiasts attempt to create edible gardens that are self-sufficient and "grow on their own."

Container Gardening: You don't need much space to start weaning yourself off the Big Ag distribution chain. There are a number of ready-made herb growing kits for your kitchen counter you can buy at garden centers or online. If you have access to a patio, sunny window, rooftop, or yard, your options open up even further.

Anything you grow and consume yourself adds to your self-reliance. Plus, you can use your excess production (or your knowledge) to trade with others. However, be cautious about selling your self-grown produce, because many city bureaucracies have ordinances that regulate, or even forbid, this kind of entrepreneurship! Make sure to check your town's regulations.

Community Gardening: In many communities, urban and otherwise, municipalities and community service organizations offer small garden plots for nominal rent. This is a great way to meet like-minded individuals and pick up many insider tips on food security.

Edible Landscaping and Guerilla Landscaping:

 In their book, The Urban Homestead: Your Guide to Self-Sufficient Living in the Heart of the City, authors Kelly Coyne and Erik Knutzen describe these two methods:

>Every inch of land is a potential location for growing food: Vacant lots, the center meridian on a road, or even a dirt path between apartment buildings.

If you don't have land, work out a creative deal with a neighbor with a yard.

Get a good return on your landscaping dollar. Many edible plants, trees, and shrubs are very attractive and should be used in landscaping.

A directory of legal aid offices serving low-income individuals can be obtained through the National Legal Aid & Defender Association (202-452-0620;

Potatoes and onions last longer in your cabinet than in your fridge.  Bananas and tomatoes last longer on your counter.

The Nanny State Updates…

A woman living in Oak Creek, Michigan in jail for 93 days for growing a garden in her front yard?

Rewarding failure is a fundamental precept of The Bureaucratic Code, which helps to explain why government’s regulatory powers grow in spite of its incompetence. Examples are legion, of course, including the recent case of the State Department and passport fraud. The General Accounting Office (GAO) has on several occasions investigated the department’s procedures for processing passport applications and found them dangerously wanting. In 2009, for example, the GAO “easily” obtained passports using counterfeit documents. A 2010 investigation also yielded passports despite numerous discrepancies and suspicious indicators within each application.

Every business must comply with a mind-boggling range of regulations, but the latest regulatory “guidance” on the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) may be the last straw—literally. Hotels, restaurants, airlines and the like must now modify “policies, practices, or procedures” to accommodate miniature horses as service animals. The new guidelines, effective March 15, elevate the regulatory standing of the pygmy ponies over chimps, pigs, goats, iguanas, birds, and rats—all of which have been claimed as service animals by their owners but are not now formally recognized as such.

Reader Comment on our national debt…

Let’s see..cut military spending by 10%, eliminate secret service details for former presidents, no pension healthcare for politicians serving less than 16 years in office. 8% luxury tax on salaries and bonuses over $5 mil, 1% import tax, 1% fed excise tax on security trades, eliminate earn income credit, cut child tax credits, cap welfare so people quit having more kids to have more income. Cut agriculture and energy subsidies. And quit leading the fight in every battle around world...Yeah I think after all that we would again have a surplus to start fixing our @#$% problems here in the U.S.A

High humidity can ruin electronic products - save silica packets that come in shoeboxes and other containers and tuck one inside a zip baggie with your gadget.

The Parting (short) shot…

Americans are tired of a government that overburdens us…

Once again the White House and Democrat rhetoric engages in class warfare, deploring the idea of not raising taxes on "the wealthiest" of Americans. However, what we've seen from Democrats and this White House is that anyone with a heartbeat and a paycheck is considered wealthy (and the paycheck is not a mandatory criterion). The American people already pay out the nose in taxes, and for this government to refuse to cut its spending and instead saddle more of a burden on the backs of middle-class Americans is unconscionable.

Obama's Quiet Gun Crackdown
While the debt-ceiling debate grips Washington, the president is discreetly beefing up gun regulations in the wake of the Gabrielle Giffords shooting, going over the heads of powerful NRA lobbyists -

Yours from the ‘fortress of solitude,’ the Poor Man

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