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Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Turning Vets into Farmers, Lower Utility Bills, Property Taxes

Bruce’s Poor Man Survival Bulletin

A Digest of Urban Survival Resources

ISSN 2161-5543

A Free Press is the Guardian of a Free People

In This Issue:

1.       Lower those utility bills

2.      Lower your property tax bill

3.      More, useful self-sufficiency sites, Vets into Farmers

4.      Overlooking small money matters can cost you plenty

5.      Wall Street continues its bad practices

"Politicians never accuse you of ‘greed’ for wanting other people’s money—only for wanting to keep your own money."
-- Joseph Sobran
(1946-2010) Columnist

Here are simple ways by which you can significantly lower your exposure to rising utility bills:

Two weeks ago I shared with readers why your utility rates are going up.  Here are few useful tips on how to lower those painful rate hikes.

Turn your thermostat down 8 degrees before you go to bed. Use heated mattress pads or heated blankets to keep yourself toasty while you sleep. This could easily yield savings of 10%.

Turn your thermostat way down when no one is home. Yes, it will feel chilly for a few minutes when you come back home, but avoiding all the wasted heat during the hours or days while you are gone will translate into big savings.

Get an insulation jacket for your water heater (assuming it’s not recommended against by the manufacturer of your particular model). By wrapping up your water heater, you can cut heat losses by 25% or more. A simple wrap kit from a home improvement store will pay for itself in less than a year.

Use Your Shades

During the day, open your shades to let the sunlight help warm your house. Close your shades at night to help your house retain heat.

Explore installing a wood burning heat source.  Wood, in most parts of the country is still pretty cheap and if you have your own wood supply on your farmstead, so much the better.

Find more useful tips here:

PM’s Compendium of Useful Resources

More useful resources for living a frugal, self sufficient life...

Free ebooks on Self Sufficient Living - Handy

Interesting site and good article on working from home

Homesteading Information Directory - A directory of homesteading sites including topics such as animal husbandry, self-sufficiency, and more.

Well Kind Of – With Self Sufficiency & Frugal Living Tips Plus Musings from the Mountain.

Veterans to Farmers

Non-profit group that teaches vets the skills they need to begin a career in agriculture; includes paid training at one of their network farms in organic farming and growing techniques.  Can be completed in nine months or less.  Get more information at:

Property Taxes Got You Fuming?

Don’t take any “official” appraisal of your home as the final word. If you believe you have been over-assessed, you can appeal. The county assessor’s office will inform you of the process upon request. Substantiating your appeal may be as simple as printing out recent sale prices of similar properties in your area culled from a five-minute Internet search


Two of the leading property tax reduction services are:

EasyTaxFix 888-292-5050;

LowerMyAssessment  877-908-7191;

Overlooking old library fines or parking tickets can cost you…

Big complication: To raise revenue, many U.S. libraries and municipalities are turning unpaid debts over to collection agencies. Once an agency takes over your debt, even if it is only $20, you can count on a big dent in your credit score―100 points or more, according to Craig Watts, a spokesperson for Fair Isaac Corp., the financial-management company that developed the FICO credit score, a number that determines a borrower’s credit history.

Small mistake: You make an insignificant claim on your home owner’s insurance.

Big complication: It can increase your monthly premiums, and you could be dropped as a customer. If dropped, it could be hard to find other coverage, as most companies share claim information.

Cut your losses: Before filing a claim, talk to your agent to help you decide whether to make the claim, advises Lamont Robinson II, a Chicago-based insurance agent for Allstate. You should pay small repairs (those less than $1,000 or less than your deductible) out of pocket. Also, raising your deductible to around $2,500 may lower your premium and deter you from making small claims.

Maine, New York, and Hawaii exact the highest average levels of taxation. Alaska, New Hampshire, and Delaware offer the lowest tax rates overall. For a comprehensive and up-to-date
listing of the highest-tax and lowest-tax states for retirees, visit the web site of the Retirement Living Information Center (

The Nanny State Updates…

Can You Hear Me Now?  Everything’s free in America

The federal government is giving out free cell phones and free cell phone minutes to welfare recipients? It may be hard to believe, but it is true. Right now, there are companies that are running advertisements specifically targeted at low income Americans informing them of the fact that all they have to do is sign up and they can get a free cell phone and hundreds of free cell phone minutes every single month and it will all be paid for by the federal government. Some have referred to this as "The Obama Phone", but that is not exactly accurate. The outrageous federal programs that are paying for this were initiated before Barack Obama entered the White House.

But the fact that welfare recipients have been receiving free cell phones and free cell phone minutes under both the Bush and Obama administrations has been confirmed as being true by Snopes. All of this is paid for by "the federal Universal Service Fund". That is one of those annoying little taxes that you may have noticed on your phone bill. So what is essentially happening is the federal government is taking money from all of us so that they can provide free cell phone service for welfare recipients every single month.

For most people, drinks are a substantial expense that can add up at the end of the month to a lot more than you might think. Is it really worth spending $3.50 at Starbucks every morning

($105.00/month)? Or $30.00 on cocktails when you go out every Friday evening


The Parting Thought – No one does the time though

Wall Street Continues to Break the Rules

Many of you might recall that the straw which broke our financial back was the repeal of the 70-year old law which prevented Wall Street from becoming a casino, playing with your money.  That law was repealed by Bill Clinton on the advice (and avarice) of Wall Street insiders who effectively got what they wanted from the White House.

The repeal of provisions of the Glass–Steagall Act by the Gramm–Leach–Bliley Act in 1999 effectively removed the separation that previously existed between investment banking which issued securities and commercial banks which accepted deposits. The deregulation also removed conflict of interest prohibitions between investment bankers serving as officers of commercial banks. This repeal directly contributed to the severity of the Financial crisis of 2007–2011 by allowing Wall Street investment banking firms to use their depositors' money that was held in the commercial banks.

Bill Moyers of PBS aired a show recently in which the players behind this influence were interviewed, admitting this was a big element leading to our downfall.  Further, they admitted this repeal was a done deal while they filed papers announcing the merger of financial firms which allowed what was to become CitiBank, even though they knew it was against the current law.

Yet, to the best of my knowledge, none of these insiders were ever brought to justice.  Indeed, it has showcased the revolving door of Washington bigwigs and Wall Street CEOs, who have taken over the country.  This is why I call them the Washington-Wall Street Cartel  See more at:

The Journal: Achieving Financial Reform

How did Big Finance grow so powerful that its hijinks nearly brought down the global economy -- and what hope is there for real reform with Washington politicians on Wall Street's payroll? Authors Simon Johnson and James Kwak, two of the nation's most respected economic experts and authors of the new book 13 BANKERS: THE WALL STREET TAKEOVER AND THE NEXT FINANCIAL MELTDOWN.

“Until the next revolution”, the Poor Man

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1 comment:

MinimalistGroup said...

Those wolves in Washington have messed things up so bad, they no longer have any veracity; the same applies to those currently running in the primary...with the exception of Ron Paul. Thanks for the We need another Revolution shirt -it says it all!