Fly me to Corten Country!

17 Jun

People have asked me how to approach Planning and Zoning authorities to test the waters when considering building an ISBU (Shipping Container) home.

Remember that to most of these “official” guys and gals, your ISBU home will simply be an “abstract”. Many of them will simply have no idea what you’re talking about. What they’ll visualize is those depictions of graffiti covered “Corten Shanties” so prominently displayed in apocalyptic Sci-Fi slasher films!  You know the ones that I’m referring to, those dilapidated steel shells surrounded by zombies and burning 55 gallon drums filed with trash… LOL!

You need an ice breaker!

Consider doing a series of renders of your proposed ISBU project and include a “fly-by” if you can. With the tools available to us now (even free programs like SketchUp, etc…) it’s pretty simple to do.

Here’s one that someone recently sent to us that was pretty slick;

Additionally, I never use words like “Shipping Container”, or “ISBU” when talking to Planning and Zoning guys. I prefer to use words like “prefabricated steel framing” or “modular steel frames”. Shipping Containers are simply steel building blocks.

Enjoy!

Memorial Day – 3pm – Set your clocks

25 May

You! Yeah you!

Put down the burger and beer for a minute. I wanna talk to you.

While you spend the weekend frolicking under that flag with the kids and combating mosquitoes and loud music from the next campsite over…

Memorial Day
I want you to think about a different kind of “combat”.

It’s the one that made your weekend possible in the first place.

Lt Colonel Allen West (US Army) said it best, so I’m just gonna use his words. I could do my usual and butcher my intent and force you to suffer through it, but he nailed it;

“The United States of America possesses the greatest military force the world has ever known. Our Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen, Marines and Coast Guardsman volunteer to protect and defend this country and all its citizens, and do so with honor, integrity and excellence. Our nation continually asks them to do more and more, with less and less.

We must never forget why we have, and why we need our military. Our armed forces exist solely to ensure our nation is safe, so that each and every one of us can sleep soundly at night, knowing we have “guardians at the gate.”

Those who serve today deserve our gratitude, those who are returning from the battlefield deserve our open arms, and those who will never return deserve our thoughts, tributes and remembrance.

Memorial Day Tribute4
In 2000, President Bill Clinton passed a resolution asking all Americans to observe a “National Moment of Remembrance” at 3:00 p.m. on each Memorial Day “to remember and reflect on the sacrifices made by so many to provide freedom for all.”

Like many others, I know what I will be doing at 3:00 p.m. this Memorial Day.

I know that I will not be alone.

For as General Logan once proclaimed, “Let no vandalism of avarice or neglect, no ravages of time testify to the present or to the coming generations that we have forgotten as a people the cost of a free and undivided republic.”

So at 3:00pm today, put down the brew and beef and shut the hell up for a moment.

Memorial Day Marker

This day is about those who have always known that there is no sale price for freedom. It is about those who were more than willing to discount their own lives for the ultimate benefit to others.

Those who fell gave you this weekend. Just so you don’t forget it…

AK

Your “Normal” might be NUTS!

16 May CampCo1

It’s been said that “normal” is;

Getting dressed in clothes that you buy for work…

Eating a store-bought breakfast for as long as you can afford to…

Turning off all the lights and cranking the thermostat down to reduce your energy bill…

Driving through traffic in a car that you are still paying for, in order to get to a job that you need…

in order for you to be able to afford to pay for the clothes, food, electricity, car and the big mortgage on the house that you leave empty all day…

And, you do this in order to afford to live in it in the first place.

That’s just crazy. Maybe that’s YOUR normal.

It certainly isn’t MINE. And it’s not the life that my friends, families and crew live either!

  • Water comes from a well.
  • Hot water comes from the sun.
  • Energy comes from the roof.
  • Breakfast comes from chickens and the garden.
  • The big mortgage? Non-existent.

We build our homes using paychecks, barter, ingenuity and sweat equity.

Most of us even work from home so that the commute is to the office on the opposite side of the house.

And we do it in our jammies…

(Don’t wanna see it? Don’t SKYPE us…) LOL!

Not everyone can live this way admittedly. It’s a blessing to be able to do this.

But many of us can adapt some of these “ways” into our lives, regardless of where we call home.

Stick around and we’ll teach you how to do it. You’ll be amazed at the freedom that self-sufficiency, self-reliance and self-accountability yields.

And, sometimes the homes look like this one;

CampCo1

CampCo Steel Farmhouse

At least the cool ones do! This is one of my favorites, coming out of a fab barn staffed by a crazy bunch of Texans…

Stay tuned.

 

I’d like a “short stack” and Ice Water please!

7 May

First, sorry for the absence of new posts lately. We’re just getting swamped here at Corten Central.

As you can probably imagine, we are busier than bees right now, getting ISBU Home builds tracked out and running smoothly. It’s the time of year when building  projects pile up faster than Corten boxes next to a Container ship being unloaded!

Beyond that, there’s some very interesting news in store for you guys as we explore new opportunities that will allow us to spread the Corten Gospel across the planet!

I want you to stay tuned for that because it’s gonna blow your minds!

And since we’re talking about mind-blowing. what if you dropped a short stack of 20 foot boxes onto a CMU (concrete block) root cellar by a  creek? Just take (4) 20′ High Cube ISBUs and add water…

ISBU Micro-Condo - 1stISBU Micro-CondoNow add photovoltaic panels. solar hot water and a dish (for TV) and you have a remote retreat ready to sooth the aches and pains of city life!

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Texan Rocks the Corten!

5 Apr

Happy Easter, Campers!

Readers know that in the ISBU (Shipping Container) Home realm, we not only build a lot of ISBU Projects…

…we SEE a lot of ISBU Projects.

It should be noted that some of those “other” projects are a disappointment, honestly. We often find ourselves saying; “Why didn’t they do THIS or THAT? I mean, they were RIGHT THERE!”

But every once in a while we see a project that is so good… we just look at each other and smile.

Recently, we came across an ISBU Build in Texas that just begged for a second look;

This ISBU Guesthouse really is one of those ISBU Projects you have to take a hard look at. So, we thought that we’d share it with you.

We’re sharing it not only because it’s very well executed, but because we thought that you’d find this ISBU home quite inspiring. For a ton of small families hoping to build their own shipping container home. this just screams; “BUILD ME! Build me NOW!”

Builder: CampCo Texas
Single Story Family Residence \ Guest House
Approx. 1000sq.ft.
1 BDRM with a full bath that includes a composting toilet.
(The upper area of middle section has a “hammock floor” for lounging.)
Foundation; Pilings (sonotube) CampCo Render

Inspired by Containers of Hope, this Builder family is building an ISBU guesthouse in a similar style, to “learn even more about ISBU building”. You see, in Texas, they don’t just talk about it. they actually pick up their tools and DO it.

The builder is a Custom Homebuilder with 30 years experience. It SHOWS.

Still under construction, this wonderful ISBU project is already turning heads. Architects, Builders and interested families are already flocking to it to take in the Corten Goodness!

CampCo1After experimenting previously with ISBU based outbuildings, the light bulb literally went on and this Builder family decided to build an ISBU Guesthome as “proof of concept”. What they’ve managed to prove is that they not only know what they’re doing…

… they build a High Quality product that anyone would be proud to call home.

CampCo2If you want more information on this incredible ISBU guesthouse, please contact us and we’ll follow up with more details on an incredible ISBU home that will soon become a benchmark for family ISBU builds both nationally and internationally.

Folks, it’s just THAT good.

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EV – come home!

10 Jan Broon F8 Electric Car for kids

Here at RR…

Many of us strive for “lives lived sustainably” while deep in the bowels of our garages, we harbor lusty thoughts about Harley’s, Hot Rods and other acts of “motorized mayhem”.

If you’ve read my books on sustainability and alternative housing, you know that I’m on record as saying that “if you have a Tesla Roadster in your garage… I’m probably not the guy you want to talk to about building your sustainable home…”

I mean, a Tesla Roadster never saved anybody any money and it’s not exactly spewing carbon credits out of it’s “mock exhausts”. It’s anything but “sustainable” right?

TeslaRoadster-frontWell, after Tesla announced that they were migrating their new battery technology as upgrades to the Roadster (an EV – electric vehicle – that they no longer even produce) the Tesla Roadster became capable of trips from Los Angeles to San Francisco, nonstop. That’s 400 miles, folks.

Now… I have to eat my words. Elan Musk has officially bitten me on my big Corten butt…

After five years of poking fun at Tesla, I’m eating a little EV crow. I’ve found that if you put enough ketchup on it, you can gag down almost anything…

(I said “almost”… some things remain unpalatable… like McMansions and McDonalds Jalapeno Cheeseburgers… for instance!) LOL!

It’s a sad day, folks…

It’s time I started getting my young son ready for a world where vehicles carry him to and from at high speed – without that throaty exhaust that gave us goosebumps and made us giggle with delight…

Behold, the Broon F8 EV (electric vehicle)!

Broon F8 Electric Car for kidsThe Broon F8 is a “child -sized” masterpiece of sports car engineering and features all the things that you’d expect from a modern day sports car.

The Broon F8 sports slick design, a top-of-the-line power-train complete with an optional dual-motor all-wheel drive, Bluetooth compatibility and a touchscreen tablet control panel. According to CES rumblings, I hear that there are plans to allow you to get it with SIRIUS Satellite Radio. I bet that you can plug your flash drive or iPod into it, too!

I’m also told that the Broon F8 has a governor that limits speed to just under 10mph.

(I’m guessing that a little bit of tinkering will change that to a more suitable speed, as you chase your kid down from behind on your bicycle, or heaven forbid, your Nike’s…) :)

Now, I have a little bit of experience with an earlier evolution of child-sized EVs. Back in the day, when my daughter was little, We cannibalized a pair of those kid’s (mostly plastic) electric trucks you can buy at Walmart and turned a “Barbie Hauler” (custom painted bright pink metallic, mind you) into a 4wd electric hot rod capable of chasing me around the block as I went on morning runs. The local thrift store has gotten a pair of them and we scooped them up, thinking that we’d play “Mad Mr Tesla”… many years before Elan’s time…

It took us about two days to figure it out.

Living next door to an Air Force base had it’s advantages, Our rural neighborhood was filled with AF geeks who, when they weren’t manning underground bunkers defending our freedom… were some diabolical SOBs intent on watching little kids teach their dear ole’ Jarhead dads a lesson or six about playing with voltage.

The AF had spent millions of dollars teaching those geeks to “twist” tech into stuff that would make MacGiver look like a simpleton…

Jarheads are always taught to realize the potential of their assets and then “go where no fool has brazenly gone  before…” so we just figured out what kind of beer those geeks drank and the rest was history, as they say…

In fact, we convinced our kid’s moms that we were doing ti to honor automotive history.

I mean, the US Automotive industry was started by electric cars. I’m not even kidding. Until Henry Ford perfected the assembly line, EVs were “the norm” and not “infernal combustion engines” powered by gas or kerosene… The first US auto race ever conducted was won by an EV.

Yes, it was. Look it up.

But I digress…

Rewrapped electric motors to provide a little extra “uumph!”, bumped batteries to feed the beast, a new wiring harness, some paint, leather and custom vinyl decals proclaiming the pink terror to be the fastest “Armed Barbie Truck” on the planet…

Yes, we’d “hood mounted” a paintball gun to it so she could fend off a pair of obnoxious farm dogs down the road (plus a roll cage in case she actually tried to flip the beast) and she was all set to terrorize the neighborhood.

We even let those geeks put their own special squadron insignia on the truck, just to give them a little bit of “street cred”…

By the time we were finished, the lil’ battery powered terror had cost us about $300 in recycled junk and scrap parts (and a case or five of “girly” imported beer consumed by those geeks as we tinkered with my daughter’s new ride). No, we didn’t share our Guinness with them. It would have been wasted on them. They didn’t drink “real” beer at “Aluminum University”.  I know it’s  true. I’ve been there…

Seeing as how the truck (storebought from the local Walmart) would have cost us about $300 new, we were pretty proud of ourselves – as idiot fathers often are.

My little one would rise at 0500 and don her firesuit (yep, we had her a padded driving suit custom made to match the truck complete with “Barbie” name tag as a concession to her angry mother, who knew where we slept and threatened to kill us in our sleep if her little baby got so much as a stone bruise) before she’d climb in, put on her helmet and safety belts and then throw dirt roostertails into my face for several blocks of mostly dirt roads as we ventured out into the countryside in the name of early morning PT sessions the neighbors quickly began referring to as “the silent death”…

We simply called it “chasing health”. :)

It was so efficient and so quick that I found I was often the one chasing HER down, all the while eating her dust as she giggled  with glee. I quickly figured out that the damned thing would do 20mph, flat out. I quickly abandoned trying to run her down on foot and switched to my mountain bike.

Luckily, it was so inefficient that it’d run out of power within a few miles and I’d limp into the garage behind her, spitting out mouthfuls of dust as she giggled wickedly at having avoided getting lapped by dear ole’ dad…

When she finally outgrew it, we sold it to a rich neighbor down the road (who should have known better) for a considerable profit.

I’d later heard that he had a heart attack while out jogging behind his grandkid a few years later… but luckily, I’d already moved out of the area, redeployed to “meaner pastures”.

I never liked the guy anyway He was a mean-spirited “smart-assed know-it-all AF corporate cowboy/desk jockey” who annoyed us on a regular basis – usually about the loud noises coming out of our garages as we started our Harleys to ride to work at 0630 each morning…

What? So I’m speaking ill of the dead. Big deal! It’s not like he’s gonna come back from Hell to try and whoop me in my front yard… and I never said I was “nice”… ;)

Fast forward a little more than a decade…

Enter the “new millennia” of pint-sized electric motors…

I give you the Broon F8.

Broon F8 Electric Car interiorOf course, as stated before though, it’s not a real car — it’s a toy for kids. And you better save your pennies as it’s for rich kids. It is quite expensive for a toy — with the laundry list of options putting the estimated price tag between $900 and $1,200 or more. It’s been pointed out that you could actually find a decent used, gas-powered car for that kind of cash.

Okay, so it’s not a $300 “father killer”, but it’s still pretty cool. In my part of Montana we’d have to at least throw some “camo paint” on it and add a brushguard in case the kiddo hits a deer in the driveway…

Now all I need to do is figure out how many more photovoltaic panels I have to add to my array to keep the damned thing running! :)

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Corten Cats. Who knew?

5 Jan

Sometimes life lived in Corten brings the need for problem solving.

For instance;

Got cat?

A pal of mine has cats in his Corten Cabin. In fact, when we talk about him being “p***y whipped”… we’re really talking about CATS!

(Oh stop it. We’re all adults here… Well, most of us, anyway…)

It’s easy to tell he has them too. When you walk into the house, the smell hits you right in the face.

And worse, a trip to his “powder room” comes with a “POW!” as the litter-box smell beats your senses like Mike Tyson on a bad day…

Now, several of us have suggested that he teach his cats to live in the barn, but…

… he just called us bad words and pouted like a kid peering into the bottom of an empty “Happy Meal” box…

So for “after-Christmas” we’re giving him THIS:
cat cave
We got the idea from Claire Armstrong, over at Flickr.

It’s as easy as; “1, 2, 4…”

  • Assemble a cheap Ikea storage cabinet.
  • Cut a hole in the cabinet door for said cat to enter.
  • Frame hole with molding.
  • Insert litter box inside cabinet.

Wanna get “geeky?”

Put a fan in the back of the cabinet venting to someplace outdoors.

(A small CPU fan connected to a Radio Shack power supply will work.)

No muss, no fuss. And, you don’t see the cat doing his/her business anymore, either.

That’s goodness.

Oh Magic 8-Ball – What will cities look like in the future?

2 Jan

Here on RR, we talk about “sustainability” a lot.

“Sustainability” is the act of  meeting the needs of the present generation without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs. It’s a simple principle: Everything that we need for our survival and well-being depends, either directly or indirectly, on our natural environment. Sustainability creates and maintains the conditions under which humans and nature can exist in productive harmony.

A blog contest asks what will occur due to changes in energy, transportation and water technologies, and how will they transform how you live?

What makes up a “sustainable” city exactly? How can a city provide for itself and its citizens in a sustainable matter? That is to say, in a way that doesn’t rapidly invalidate itself, through the exhaustion of the resources that it’s dependent upon.

sustainable city

That’s the question that was posed recently by the Masdar 2015 Engage Blogging Contest — and it’s one worth considering. Despite the outward language used by many in the renewable energy and “green” industries, the question of true “sustainability” is not one that’s often truly broached in any meaningful way (to my mind) by representatives and proponents of said industries.

As an example, while photovoltaics are certainly of great utility and no doubt have a place in the energy infrastructure of many regions/cities throughout the world, there’s no doubt that their manufacture and use depends heavily upon complex supply/trade chains, cheap international shipping, and relatively rare/expensive resources, amongst other things.

Wouldn’t true sustainability be based around simpler, easier-to-implement approaches/technologies — good passive solar building design for example — with more complex technologies perhaps as more of a complement than a foundation?

Read the rest of this great post, HERE.

Say goodbye to cheap Solar Panels…

22 Dec seia_logo

If you live in the USA, your Solar Panels just got more expensive.

Jennifer Runyon is chief editor of RenewableEnergyWorld.com and Renewable Energy World magazine, coordinating, writing and/or editing columns, features, news stories and blogs for the publications. She also serves as conference chair of Renewable Energy World Conference and Expo, North America. She holds a Master’s Degree in English Education from Boston University and a BA in English from the University of Virginia.

This article content was originally published on RenewableEnergyWorld.com

This is too important NOT to pass on:

Yesterday the U.S. Department of Commerce announced its final findings in the 3-year long trade war between the U.S. and China. Additional tariffs will be imposed on modules from China and Taiwan. Although this is good news for SolarWorld and other American solar PV manufacturers, many in the U.S. solar industry are not celebrating and the decision is expected to further divide an already shaken solar industry.

solarworld-solar-panels-lgSpecifically, Commerce determined that imports of certain crystalline silicon PV products from China have been sold in the U.S. at dumping margins ranging from 26.71 percent to 165.04 percent and that imports of certain crystalline silicon PV products from Taiwan have been sold in the U.S. at dumping margins ranging from 11.45 percent to 27.55 percent.  Finally, Commerce determined that imports of certain crystalline silicon PV products from China have received countervailable subsidies ranging from 27.64 percent to 49.79 percent.  Named in the suit, Trina Solar (TSL) and Renesola (SOL)/Jinko (JKS) received final dumping margins of 26.71 percent and 78.42 percent, respectively. Commerce also found that 43 other exporters qualified for a separate rate of 52.13 percent (PDF of fact sheet here lists all 43 exporters beginning on page 7.)

The China-wide entity received a whopping final dumping margin of 165.04 percent — this is for companies that did not cooperate with the investigation.

Image Credit: Gintech.com

Image Credit: Gintech.com

In the Taiwan AD (anti-dumping) investigation, mandatory respondents Gintech and Motech received final dumping margins of 27.55 percent and 11.45 percent, respectively. All other producers/exporters in Taiwan received a final dumping margin of 19.50 percent.

In the CVD (countervailing duty) investigation, Commerce calculated a final subsidy rate of 49.79 percent for mandatory respondent Trina Solar. Mandatory respondent Suntech and five of its affiliates (see final subsidy rates chart at the bottom of this article) received a final subsidy rate of 27.64 percent. All other producers/exporters in China have been assigned a final subsidy rate of 38.72 percent.

Next, U.S. Department of Commerce will investigate if the dumping injured U.S. manufacturing. If injury is found to have occurred, the tariffs will stay.  If no injury is determined, the investigation will be terminated. That decision will be made on or about January 29, 2015. However, U.S. Customs and Border Protection will immediately begin to collect cash deposits equal to the applicable weighted-average dumping margins. If injury is not found, the money collected will be refunded.

The solar petitioner in the case, SolarWorld (SRWRF), applauded the decision. The company said that by comprehensively addressing the unfair trade practices of China and Taiwan, Commerce has paved the way for expansion of solar manufacturing in U.S. market.  Makesh Dulani, U.S. President of SolarWorld Americas believes the tariffs set the stage for companies to create new jobs and build or expand factories in the U.S. Last month, SolarWorld announced that it was expanding its Oregon factory and adding about 200 jobs.

seia_logoRhone Resch, president and CEO of the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA), said the ruling is “ill-advised” and feels that it will harm many and benefit few. “We remain steadfast in our opposition because of the adverse impact punitive tariffs will have on the future progress of America’s solar energy industry.  It’s time to end this costly dispute, and we’ll continue to do our part to help find a win-win solution,” he said.

The Coalition for Affordable Solar Energy (CASE) thinks the decision will raise prices and kill jobs and believes the decision is in direct opposition to the pledges recently made by the U.S. and China to work together to curb global warming. “Hundreds of megawatts of solar projects remain unrealized due to deleterious solar trade barriers in the U.S., China, Europe and globally. Eliminating taxes in cleantech trade represents the lowest-hanging fruit in the global fight against climate change,” said Jigar Shah, President of CASM.

All of this contention comes at the heels of a recent announcement that the U.S. solar industry is on track to install 41 percent more solar in Q4 2014 than it did in 2013.  In total, the U.S. is expected to install 6.5 gigawatts of solar in 2014, a 36 percent increase over last year.

If you’re planning Solar Panel Power Options… you need to keep an eye on this.

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It’s the Holidays. Would you like some free money?

19 Dec cash-back shopping

ISBU (Shipping Container Homes) often begin their lives as ideas passed back and forth across dinner tables. The people discussing these big metal boxes as housing are often rubbing pennies together to makes quarters to make it happen. I know this is true because it’s the way MY first “real” ISBU home happened. I’ve lived in “Corten Cabins” and even little “Corten Chateaus” before that, but we were eager to go “all the way” and live in a full-blown “Corten Castle”. That house was the predecessor to THIS house and it’s now been built by a dozen families scattered across three continents:

CHB-1

While we were trying to connect the dots, we spent a LOT of time trying to determine where all  the required nickels and dimes would come from.

We saved money every place we could. We didn’t go out to eat as much. We took lunches to work. We didn’t go to movies, we rented them. We found cool ways to celebrate family holidays without bankrupting ourselves. We didn’t go on luxury trips, we went camping. We just chipped away at the edges.

The “Happy Holidays” period was the worst. Between Hanukkah and Christmas, it just killed us.  (When our children were little, they didn’t miss a holiday, regardless of it’s origin. We figured they could choose paths later in life, when they began to form their own answers to hard questions.) I admit that quite often, everything we saved ended up in brightly packaged boxes clad with bows and candy canes, as we used them to build a pile under that tree that looked like a foundation.

If you’re like me, it’s that time of year when we give  Santa a jumpstart and order a ton of stuff on-line. While we watch our bank balance flow away like the current of the Bitterroot River, there IS a “silver lining”. You CAN earn some substantial cash back if you’re a member of the right “cash-back” sites;

cash-back shoppingWhat is cash back?

Cash back is money that you actually earn by making qualifying online purchases through participating retailers that participate in a rebate program through the use of an intermediary cash back website. What basically happens is that the retailers are actually paying you to stay home and shop online. The theory is simple; the more you spend, the more cash back you receive. With cash back being offered from 1000s of online retailers, you can get cash back on just about any kind of shopping imaginable.  We regularly see great rebates promoted from stores like Amazon, Home Depot, Lowes, WalMart, Kmart, Sears, Macy’s, and Target, just to name a few.

How do I earn cash back when shopping online?

There’s a method to “cash-back shopping”. Instead of going directly to the online retailer you usually shop at, you visit the cash back site they are affiliated with first and then click their link to your retailer’s website. This is important. By doing this first, your purchase will be tracked by the cash back site and they’ll keep track of what you spend. That means that you will end up receiving cash back after your successful purchase. Usually, you hit a target number/amount and they either send you a check or pay your reward money into your bank or Paypal account.

So, in honor of the upcoming Holidays  and all the sales that go along with it, here’s a list of the top 5 cash-back sites we’ve used:

Click the links to go to the sites:

http://www.befrugal.com/

BeFrugal offers a $10 sign up bonus, and you can request payment by check, PayPal or gift card once you have reached $25 in your account.

http://www.ebates.com

Ebates offers a $10 sign-up bonus.  Payments are automatically sent out, via check or PayPal, quarterly if you have earned over $5. If your account has earned under $5 that money is rolled over to the next quarter.

http://www.fatwallet.com/

FatWallet  does not currently offer a sign up bonus, but it more than makes up for that in the generous percentages of cash back it offers. You can request a payment via check or PayPal once your account reaches $10.

http://www.mrrebates.com/

Mr.Rebates offers a $5 registration bonus just for signing up, and you can request a payment via check or PayPal once you reach $10.

https://www.discover.com/credit-cards/

ShopDiscover offers many people’s favorite cash back program.  There is a catch. The catch is that you have to have a Discover card to join. Discover Cardholders earn serious cash back by shopping through ShopDiscover. If you become a Discover cardmember you can get a $50 Cashback Bonus with your first purchase within three months, and earn rewards on every purchase after that.

http://www.topcashback.com/

Top Cashback offers a $10 sign-up bonus and payment can be requested, with no minimum via check or PayPal.

How do I maximize my cash back?

If you want to really maximize your cash back potential, I recommend signing up for ALL the above cash back sites because there is not one clear-cut winner.

Every store has a different relationship with each cash-back site. So I suggest that you sign up with them all and then bookmark all the sites.

When you are ready to shop at a particular online retailer, check the cash back percentages offered at each cash back site and then shop using the one that offers the most cash back.

If you do this right, you’ll get the most possible money back. Add it all up and it can be several hundred dollars a year!

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