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Saturday, July 23, 2011

Lost Art of Cooking, Extra Income, Furnish a Home Cheap

Bruce’s Poor Man Survival Bulletin

A Digest of Urban Survival Resources

ISSN 2161-5543

In This Issue:

1.       The Lost art of cooking

2.      Ways to make extra income – without a lot of work

3.      Two simple ways to keep your online searches private

4.      Kids bowl for free this summer

5.      Decorating and furnishing your home on the cheap

Life Expectancy would grow by leaps and bounds if green vegetables smelled as good as bacon.

--Doug Larson

Cooking at home…stretching your food budget

   Thank goodness some of our garden produce is harvestable as the cost of food and everything else continues to rise.  For those on fixed incomes or without a steady paycheck, inflation is hammering lifestyles.

Using coupons and shopping for sale items only helps contain some food budget costs.  As we’ve reported on in the past, extreme couponing and shopping at extreme discount grocery stores helps to reduce the dollar squeeze.

More people are rediscovering the somewhat lost art of cooking at home.  One of the keys to saving money from cooking at home is to buy larger portions of roasts, chickens, and other food stocks when on sale.  If you have children, you already know food vanishes quickly.  However, even households with only one or two people can save money through preparing a larger meal and then freezing the leftovers for future meals.

For instance, if you cook a large roast, leftovers can be turned into pot pies, soups, stews, add-ons to rice, pasta and vegetable stir fry’s and more.

Leftovers can also be used for lunch at the office instead of a daily trip to a fast food eatery.  No doubt many restaurants are hurting due to lower patronage and their own rising costs.  I don’t know how many of the fast food restaurants still offer dollar items on their menu.  The tight economy must also be hurting the incomes for servers at sit-down restaurants.  A 15% tip used to be the norm but experts now say you should tip 20%.

Cooking at home used to be the domain of women in our society but no longer.  More men have taken over that task in many households.  Indeed, I’ve run into many women whose idea of cooking focuses on the four main food groups…take-out, frozen, microwave and canned! (I once had a gal invite me to dinner and was surprised at why her mashed potatoes didn’t turn out, after all, she had boiled the pot of spuds four times and they didn’t mash)!

Cooking skills were traditionally handed down from mother to daughter, in my case, it was mother to son.  In pursuit of the American Dream of more stuff we seemed to have skipped a generation of handing down these skills.  Too, the lack of skills might also be attributed to the feminist movement’s backlash against stereotypes and/or the push toward fast food consumption.  It’s apparent that lifestyle has had a negative effect on our children, especially with our obesity problem.

There are 100s of DIY cookbooks, TV shows and online videos showing folks how to cook cheaply at home so there is no real excuse for not trying to learn.  Aside from being a money saver, it ‘serves’ as excellent family time.

My favorite all-purpose cookbook is the pre-1974 Joy of Cooking as it provides many variations and background information on food.  Remember, a recipe is merely a guide, feel free to experiment and adapt.

  How many of you cook at home?  The Frugal Gourmet offers dozens of related videos, free and online:

Like humans, many of our pets are now obese.  Trim pets down by replacing high calories biscuits with plain rice cakes.  Dogs like these fat-free treats.

PM’s Betty Shocker Roundup of useful stuff…

Ways to Make Extra Income - Without Much Work

In this economy, with escalating food and gas prices and stagnant wages, who wouldn't want to make extra money on the side? The trick, of course, is creating an additional revenue stream that requires little time or energy, as our lives are already jam-packed with work and responsibilities. For Seth, the solution is renting out his extra room. So popular is his listing, he has travelers asking to book his extra room in 2013. It's easy money, Seth says, considering the task requires no heavy lifting or much time out of his day. It's also a lot of fun, Seth says. He often hangs out with his guests, showing them around New York City and inviting them to outings with his friends.

But renting out a room in your home to a stranger isn't for everyone. What about renting out your car? Car-sharing companies, such as RelayRides, JustShareIt and GetAround, help car owners rent their vehicles to neighbors and visitors by the hour, day or week. (Don't worry: Insurance is included). Car owners can set their own rates, and the potential to make money is strong. Car owners at GetAround, for example, can earn about $2,000 per year, according to the company. At RelayRides, the company says average car owners earn between $200 and $300 a month.

Related Note:

The mystery shopping industry has its fair share of dishonest companies, according to career expert Tory Johnson, author of the New York Times best-seller "Will Work From Home". She recommends only working with certified marketing firms and avoiding job postings that require you to pay any upfront fees. The Federal Trade Commission also suggests visiting the Mystery Shopping Providers Association (MSPA) website for a database of mystery shopper assignments.

Two Simple Methods to Keep Your Online Searches
More Private and Confidential

'Encrypted' Google search: The non-default, but more secure way to use Google

What's good:

It's simple to start. Once you're on the Google website, add an "S" in the browser url just after, "http." In other words, change "http" into "https": This encrypts the connection from your computer to Google's servers, by using a Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) connection. (By convention, urls that require an SSL connection, or have it as an option, start with https instead of http.)

If you're on a public Wi-Fi, and someone is electronically eavesdropping ("sniffing"), that person or software program will only capture the encrypted message, not the search terms you're typing into Google.

The encrypted connection should keep your searches confidential even from your ISP

When you click to the third-party destination website, from the search engine results page, the destination website doesn't know that you came from Google – or what search term you used to reach the site. The privacy-centered search engine

What's good:

They are a search engine that advocates your privacy.

They don't record your IP address. Run the same "Pizza" test, and you'll see that no local pizza joints appear in the search results.

They don't use unique session cookies, which can be used to identify you and track you.

They don't log or record your activity on their search engine.

They have an encrypted option, just like Google. Add an "s" in the browser url just after, "http":

The encrypted option keeps your search confidential from electronic eavesdroppers and your ISP

Note: Ixquick has a relationship with Google called Apparently, it's for those who wish to use Ixquick privacy features while receiving only Google's search results. The original search engine works just fine and serves search results from multiple search engines. So you typically receive a broader base of search results.

Tech problems?  Sign up at, a free service that includes step-by-step instructions for creating and maintain your website, plus support services.

Chia Seed - Once valued so much that it was used as currency, this unique little seed has exceptional nutritive and structural benefits.

Chia, is familiar to most of us as a seed used for the novelty of the Chia Pet™, clay animals with sprouted Chia seeds covering their bodies. Little is known, however, of the seeds tremendous nutritional value and medicinal properties. For centuries this tiny little seed was used as a staple food by the Indians of the south west and Mexico. Known as the running food, its use as a high energy endurance food has been recorded as far back as the ancient Aztecs. It was said the Aztec warriors subsisted on the Chia seed during the conquests. The Indians of the south west would eat as little as a teaspoon full when going on a 24hr. forced march. Indians running form the Colorado River to the California coast to trade turquoise for seashells would only bring the Chia seed for their nourishment.

Spend less on outdoor electricity by replacing floodlights with solar-powered lighting.

Kids bowl for free

Lanes nationwide are offering two free games for kids all summer.  Signup to get a voucher at:

Avoid Pre-made and save…

We enjoy the convenience of cut up chicken, pre-made hamburger patties, salads, etc.  However, you can save money by making your own.  Buy hamburger in bulk and shape patties, then freeze.  Buy whole chickens, cut them yourself.  If you enjoy fresh fruit salads, you’ll really save by slicing them and you can use the rinds and other discarded parts in your compost pile.

Get Prescription eyeglasses for as little as $7 a pair…

Check out

Our favorite DIY pet, equine and farm animal supply house

Keep your home cooler by using white shingles or white roofing material and install an attic vent.

The Nanny State Update…

Safe Sex
California's Division of Occupational Safety and Health has fined Hustler Video $14,175 for not using condoms in pornographic videos it produced. Another production company, Forsaken Films, was fined $12,150 for not providing condoms to performers.

Meanwhile, the federal government continues to waste money on some of the most bizarre things imaginable. For example, the federal government actually gave money to the National Institutes of Health to study the effect that the size of "a certain part of the body" has on the sex lives of gay men. Can anyone think of a reason why the federal government would want to throw money away on such frivolous studies when millions of Americans can't even find jobs right now? Battle for Brooklyn--Eminent Domain Gone Wild
Battle for Brooklyn , a documentary about one man's fight to stop a private developer from using eminent domain to take his home, recently opened in select theaters in New York City after a successful film-festival run. sat down with co-directors Michael Galinsky and Suki Hawley to discuss eminent domain abuse and political perceptions of their film. Galinsky and Hawley insist their film is not a polemic, but rather an all-too-common story of a single person fighting an injustice against figures whose power and influence dwarf his own.

Many believe that a big reason for all of this chaos in America today is the decline of the American family. In 1960, married couples accounted for 75 percent of all households in America. Today, they account for just 48 percent of all households.

The Parting Shot…Decorating – Early Attic Style

   It’s a rarity that we ever buy new furniture.  Most items we own have been found at auctions, garage sales and thrift stores.  Much of it was in ‘like-new’ condition when we found it and represent a huge savings over a visit to the furniture store.  Besides, they add a unique flavor or character to our home.

You may not be comfortable with the use of pre-owned furnishings in your apartment or home, so I’ve listed a few online sites that will still save you money. helps you locate local consignment buyers.  The furnishings often come from manufacturers, interior designers and high end retailers. provides a directory of stores that sell architectural salvage; very useful for fixer-upper homes. One of our favorites…from Habitat for Humanity, these resale stores sell building materials and home goods for 50-90% off retail.  Many are new or gently used.

Another source to investigate:  model home builders and realtors; especially those who use ‘stagers’ to decorate the home.  Once a model home is sold, the furnishings they used to decorate the model home are often available at deep discounts.

That’s all for this issue from your frugal friend, the Poor Man!

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1 comment:

Anonymous said...

You sure can 'cook' - just love it!