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

19 Dec

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:


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:

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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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Santa’s packing up his “shipping containers” and heading out! :)

24 Dec

Okay, so Santa calls it a SLEIGH… Tomato, tomatoe! 🙂

We saw this and thought it so cute that we’re reposting it…


Happy Holidays, you guys!

May the Season bring your families JOY, PEACE and LOVE…

Around here, we’re expecting “relatives, food shortages and beer theft”… wanna trade? 🙂

from: The RR Staff 😉

Terrorists Blow up Montana.

4 Jul

I mean… it’s all about the love of  the “big bang” (and I’m not talking about the “Big Bang Theory” on TV).

He’s meaner than those guys who hung on Bin Laden’s Robes.

He’s sneakier than those guys trying to break out of Alcatraz.

And… he’s spending his first (of MANY) 4th of July’s in Montana.

Today, much of the Midwest seems to be on fire. Many states have banned fireworks altogether.

As many American Families tend the home fires of BBQ grills and gatherings…

I want to take a minute to remind you that today is about “Independence”. It’s the day that we celebrate taking responsibility for ourselves and standing up to tyranny.  We did this by sending oppressors packing, kicking their butts back out into the Atlantic, for “parts somewhere other than here”.

Not a lot has changed in 236 years.

We still feel the bite of oppression. We still have tyrants perched on the Atlantic. Those who think us sheep still tax us and try to wring every penny of profit they possibly can out of our pockets, to line their own.

The difference is that they didn’t come from England. They came from all across America. WE actually elected and appointed them.

We did this to ourselves.

As you sit there tonight, watching fireworks and “ohhh’ing and Ahhh’ing”, I want you to remember that we MUST take steps every single day to free our families from  oppressive conditions like unemployment, inflation, and CONGRESS.

It’s time that we took back America. We have to regain our self-responsibility and self-accountability.

Building your own sustainable, affordable home…  planting your own garden, providing your own electricity using sustainable practices (like PVs and Wind Turbines) will TRULY free your family and grant you INDEPENDENCE.

Better still, it’s a level of INDEPENDENCE that no one can take from you.

So, sit back, enjoy the show and then ponder what you can do, to FREE your family.

And while you’re doing it, remember to thank a member of our Armed Forces or a VET…

…for giving you the opportunity to live in the best country in the world.

Their scars, blood and sacrifices paid for your right to sit on your front lawn with your neighbors and watch that light show tonight.

For that matter, thank a Family Farmer or Rancher, too! Without them, you’d all starve to death. 🙂

Happy Independence Day!

May your 4th be filled with love, laughter and “Ohh’s and Ahhh’s!”

God Bless America.

Top Ten Halloween Tips for Parents

31 Oct

Okay, my son isn’t going trick or treating this year. He’s far too ill…

Sucks… but maybe next year…

Many of our kids are going to be out looking for goodies under cover of darkness… and that means that “Parental Radar” needs to be set on HIGH.

(It’s not like when we were kids and we took off at dusk, to pillage the neighborhoods until the wee hours, only coming home to change costumes so we could revisit the same neighbors, AGAIN…right?) 🙂

Here’s a quick checklist to help your kids get ready for what MY Mother called… “Midnight Mischief“…

1. Go With Your Kids

2. Create Check-in Times For Older Children

3. Make sure costumes allow for movement and good vision

4. Go to the Mall or other large gathering place

5. Set a Curfew

6. Educate children on the difference between tricks and vandalism

7. Protect your pets

8. Fill your kids up on good food

9. Teach your kids about Stranger rules

10. Check Local Sex Offender Lists

For more information, you can read this VERY COMPREHENSIVE POST about Halloween safety from our friends over at The Ready Store.

I’ll be home… after Christmas…

26 Dec

WARNING: “Off Topic” Post.

May your travels home after the holidays be safe, trouble-free… and relatively sane.

Talk about mixed messages…

How do I teach my kids that it’s not acceptable for them to be touched by strangers, while some j@ck@ss gropes their mother in the airport for having the audacity of wanting to simply board a flight? WHILE I’m standing there, incapable (by law) of acting on my feelings and punching them in the face repeatedly, no less?

This is getting out of control.

PS. Did you know that  in 2008, 465 TSA “officers” were fired for theft according to  the New York Times?

That’s over 1% of the total number of people who work for them – and that’s just the ones who got caught. Most of them were caught during and after the holidays.

Class act, huh? So it just makes sense that we’d empower them to do things to us that not even cops can do, without “probable cause”. Oy.

BTW: In 2009 the theft firings at TSA nearly doubled.

It’s that time again… Watch your stuff, huh?

Thank you – Brasscheck.

Calling the Corten Cavalry!

16 Dec

Hi Boys and Girls…

No ISBU post today. Instead, I offer this;

A good friend of this blog, Steve Spence (the guy who wrote the Solar Electricity Primer that many of you have expressed thanks for) has suffered a family  disaster.

His homestead burned to the ground recently. It just happened. We all know what that means.

His son and daughter and their child ( an adorable little girl) were living there at “Spence Central” while Steve was out teaching the world to break free of the grid.

They are essentially camping out at relatives houses now.

They have … like.. nothing. No household goods, no computer to link back into the world, no stuff for their little wonder of a daughter to play with while Mom and Dad try to sort out this mess.

Setting up any kind of “safety net” takes time. Paypal wants doc’s  to accept donations, etc…

Santa won’t wait for doc files, folks. HE’S far too busy.

So, here’s what I’m suggesting:

If you’d like to help out the Spence Family,  go to and order stuff for them and have it shipped “site to store” to the Potsdam NY store. There’s only one Walmart in Potsdam NY.

Then list Steven Spence as the contact (to pick it up) and have the email alert – telling them that it arrived sent to this email address:

They’ll get notified that stuff arrived and they can pick it up to help Santa deliver it.

I just sent the first salvo via Walmart personally. The idea of a little girl in NY not getting Christmas Presents just breaks my heart.

Ronin no like Scrooge. Scrooge make Ronin Maaaaad! ;(

If you want to help the Spences in their time of need, please do likewise.

They need everything. The little girl is 13 months old. But don’t forget Mom and Dad. They’re starting from scratch. Pots, pans, towels, Dishes, flatware, you name it. They’re literally starting over with the clothes on their backs.

And if you’ve recently replaced a computer with a newer one, I know a couple that could sure use one…

G_d Bless you all… Happy Holidays!


aka: Ronin

It’s getting COLD and Santa is Coming, so check this out! NOW!

2 Dec

I don’t usually do this, but…

I’ve been buying clothing from this company on-line for a long time.

Not “Fashion clothing” or anything like that… mostly pajamas and slippers. Their childrens stuff makes Joshua scream with joy every time a package shows up. All he can holler is;

“Presents! Presents! Preeeeeeesents!”

As it got colder, I needed warmth. I don’t have a a hearth, a hibachi, a wood stove, or even a firepit in the front yard. I needed a thick, luxurious robe. I didn’t want a cheap, thin, scratchy robe… I wanted a cool robe… “the mother of all robes”.

And naturally,  I wanted it to be like everything else I preach about;

  • really affordable,
  • durable & well made, and
  • energy efficient!

The BEST Robe I ever bought, for CHEAP!

I ordered it on a Thursday and it arrived on the following Tuesday.

It even came with slippers!  And while I expected it to be a nice robe…

Now I have to fight with my wife and kid to get it back so I can wear it because it is THICK, PLUSH, and WARM. It’s so comfortable that you don’t want to take it off.

Just ask my wife, who… say it with me… won’t take it off!

It’s really well made and by FAR exceeds my expectations.

So, if you’re looking for a really nice bathrobe (or you need one as a Christmas gift for somebody that you really want to impress) , you really need to check these guys out;

Crazy FOR Bargains

Seriously. You won’t regret it.

And if you order stuff now, you’ll get it in like a week. It’s amazing how fast they are.

NOTE: I don’t get a dime for posting this. It’s just such a great deal that I wanted to share it with you.

Call it an early Christmas Present. In fact, you could kick Santa’s butt if you get some of your family stuff from these guys.

Stalking Santa… for fun and profit!

20 Dec


No Container Home Post today! No wild rantings about insulation, or ISBU’s, or even interest rates!

I wanted to, but my wife said my blood pressure was already too high! 😦

So… Instead, let’s just all spend some time with our families and just enjoy the season, huh?

Here’s some “Christmas Cheer” to make you laugh…

Now  I warn you in advance that some of these are a little bit “cheeky”.

Watch ’em at your own risk.

Oy – Oy – Oy!

From my family to yours…

Merry Christmas…

You Gentiles, you!

Know that we think of each and every one of you! 😉