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Thursday, May 12, 2016

Recession Busters and Resources to Improve Your Life

Poor Man Survival

Self Reliance tools for independent minded people…

ISSN 2161-5543

A Digest of Urban Survival Resources

I don't want the cheese, I just want out of the trap! >Spanish Proverb

Recession Busters: Save Money, Make Money

Everywhere you turn inflation and other money parasites are trying to break your budget. As promised, each week the Poor Man will bring you new ways to either make or save money. For instance if you're trying to save money, make sure you shop alone, or only hit the stores with very thrifty friends.

New studies in the Journal of Retailing and Consumer Services reveal that even the most tight fisted shoppers end up spending more than they intended when shopping with indulgent loved ones. The reason? Seeing people you trust drop loads of cash makes 'treating yourself' seem normal – and that ups your odds of overspending.

The average family spends $963 a month on groceries so in order to save money it is important to shop strategically. Experts agree that Wednesday is the best day to shop as that is when the new ads and coupons come out. Studies show that purchasing your meat in the first 90-minutes after a store opens is the best time as that is when stores put meat on clearance and you can get 50% off last night's meat. Personally, we've stopped purchasing ground beef as I refuse to pay its high price and instead substitute other cheaper cuts such as ground pork or chicken. Indeed, if it's not on sale, I don't buy it.

Purchasing a head of lettuce versus pre-cut bagged lettuce is far cheaper and that applies to all foods...anytime food is already prepared you pay more. It is cheaper to buy a whole chicken than one that is cut up. Yes, it is easier but you pay for that convenience!

Impulse shopping is what kills most budgets. Always have a list. I am always prepared to take advantage however of unadvertised store specials.

  • If at all possible, avoid shopping with young children-they want everything and can be tyrants of impulse shopping. Show them the list and remind them if it is not on the list, it doesn't go in the basket. Extras are allowed only if on close out or sale. Make a game of it.
  • More stores are making use of electronic coupons tied into your loyalty cards-use them. Kroger, where I shop sends our family a weekly email with coupons that we can load to our card. An additional perk is that we use their pharmacy [I use a lot of drugs for my heart condition] so also get additional fuel points and have saved as much as a dollar per gallon when filling our gas tank-a big savings!
  • Because beef has been so high I have stopped buying it – even ground beef. Instead, I buy whole pork loin which has averaged $1.50 per pound. I can grind my own to use in a variety of recipes or thin slice it for Mexican dishes or make my boneless pork chops.

Stop Money Dripping Away

If you read my column on a regular basis you know one of number one complaints about MI is its high cost of water. Despite being surrounded by the largest repository of fresh water on the planet, we pay some of the highest water bills in America. For two of us we pay nearly $3,000 annually and we don't own a pool or grazing animals [we can't afford to]. Instead, they base their fee partially on the value of the property, something I have never heard of anywhere else in the nation. It gives meaning to the “G” in government meaning GOUGE the citizen.

The price of residential water service is going up faster than the cost of nearly every other household staple in 30 major US cities, according to water conservation news site To reduce your bill, get smart about how your family uses water. The biggest source of use is the bathroom [so stop bathing-just kidding] where the average shower consumes 50-gallons per day. Beyond the obvious notion of taking shorter showers and replacing old shower heads and kitchen sinks with water-miser low flow devices, you consider using rain barrels and replacing old toilets with more water efficient ones.

We looked into getting a well at our home but apparently it is not a viable option but we're now considering a gray water system. Thankfully, at our mini-farm where we plan to eventually retire, we do have a well system.

...A Final Note: Some of us were having a discussion this week about the benefits of using TSP to boost the performance [when my Dad was alive he worked for DuPont & would bring home 55-gallon barrels of it] of washing machines, dishwashers, cleaning grease off driveways, etc. However, since phosphorus has been removed from most detergents, borax is often used as a booster.

Borax [sodium borate] can help soften water and improve the effectiveness of laundry detergent but it is not quite as effective as TSP [tri-sodium phosphate] in dislodging dirt and oil. We also used TSP and aluminum foil as a means of shining sterling silver by placing it in a plastic tub with hot water and sterling flatware for 15 minutes or so, then wipe them down with a clean cloth.

Additional Resources

Cheapest and Easiest Ways to do a Will (Clark Howard): "What are the odds you don't have a will? The best guess is that 50% of people don't have one. If you don't have children and have very little in the way of assets, that may be OK for you. But if you do have children, you need a will for the simple fact that if you don't have one, the state will decide who raises your kids."

The $15 Retirement Plan (The Simple Dollar): "All you need is $15 a day to retire very nicely if you start when you’re young. That’s just a bit of pocket money most days. Let’s run through the math."

The Money Boss Manual: A Brief Guide to Financial Independence (Money Boss): "I’m pleased to announce that, at long last, A Brief Guide to Financial Independence is available to download. This free 70-page PDF collects all of the material from my “financial independence crash course” into one convenient document."

 Radical Cost Cutting  Sometimes your income vs expenses just needs a little tweak to bring things back into line. But what happens if they're seriously out of balance? And what can you do to correct the situation? Read more.

Yours for better living,

Bruce ‘the Poor Man’

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Anderson said...

Nicely done mate-cannot imagine how your city rapes you on that water bill but then again I heat nothing but negative news about Michigan which sounds more like a 3rd world nation.

CinciKid said...

Incredible - great resources and tips