This is long but has all the info you could want on how to live on next to nothing, though a few of the items may not be advisable under current laws. Info on everything from making your own booze to herbal remedies to ...well lots of things. Here is a link to the article and I will post it here as well. Link removed by Tacmotusn as it was no longer valid. If Monkeyman has a good one please edit and post it here. I have the book Possum Living as it is now published. Seems to me more info is available here in this entire post's threads than is available in the book. jmo POSSUM LIVING HOW TO LIVE WELL WITHOUT A JOB AND WITH (almost) NO MONEY DOLLY FREED Universe Books New York Published in the United States of America in 1978 Library of Congress Catalog Card Number: 78-52190 ISBN 0-87663-987-2 Printed in the United States of America [From The Back Cover] Possum Living DOLLY FREED Do you want to get out of the rat race but not drop out? Do you want to live a life of leisure without worry or guilt? If your answer is yes, Dolly Freed will show you how to live well without a job and without working very hard. After discussing reasons why you should or shouldn't give up your job, POSSUM LIVING gives you details about the cheapest ways with the best results to buy and maintain your own home, dress well, cope with the law, stay healthy, and keep up a middle-class facade--whether you live in the city, in the suburbs, or in a small town. In a delightful, straightforward style, Dolly Freed explains how to be lazy, proud, miserly, and honest, live well, and enjoy leisure. She shares her knowledge of what you do need--your own home, for example--and what you don't need--such as doctors, lawyers, and insurance. And she has a lot of realistic advice about saving money, as well as practical information about * buying a house cheaply through a foreclosure or back-tax sale * raising and slaughtering rabbits * catching and cooking fish and turtles * distilling your own moonshine Mainly, however, through her own example, she hopes to inspire you to do some independent thinking about how economics affects the course of your life now and may do so in the coming "age of shortages." If you ever wondered what it would be like to be in greater control of your own life, POSSUM LIVING will show you--and help you do it for yourself. DOLLY FREED and her father have lived outside of Philadelphia in their own house on a half-acre lot for almost five years. They produce their own food and drink and spend about $700 each per year. Dolly is 19 years old and lists her occupation as "chief possum." UNIVERSE BOOKS 381 Park Avenue South New York, N.Y. 10016 ISBN 0-87663-987-2 Contents Introduction 1. We Quit the Rat Race 2. The Cost of Living 3. Income 4. We Rassle with Our Consciences 5. Meat: About Killing Meat--Presenting a Case; Rabbits; Slaughtering Rabbits; Chickens; Pigs ; Goats; Game Meat 6. Fish: Catching Fish; Cooking Fish; Turtles 7. Gardening: Herbs; Garden Cultivation; Foraging; Yellow Rocket; Mushrooms 8. Grain 9. Groceries 10. Preserving Food: Canning; Smoke-Curing 11. Nutrition 12. The "Necessities of Life": Glossary; Yeast; Sugars; Equipment; Freeze-Concentrating; Winemaking; Recipes 13. Housing: Low-Cost Housing; How Foreclosure Sales Work; Back-Tax Sales; Home Repairs; Your Property Tax Assessment 14. Heating 15. Electricity 16. Clothing 17. Transportation 18. Law: Rules; Procedure 19. Health and Medicine: Dolly's Depression Dispersing Directions; Home Remedies; Dental Care; Various Therapies 20. Daily Living: Autumn; Winter; Spring; Summer; What's Gonna Happen Next? Introduction Many people, perhaps you among them, are not temperamentally suited for the 9-to-5 rat race but assume there is no other way to live. Too proud to accept charity (welfare, food stamps) and not at all interested in joining a hippie commune, or pioneering in the boondocks, or wheeling and dealing in business, or crime--what else is there? Others are unemployed and worried sick over that. Are these thoughts and fears grounded in fact? Why is that people assume one must be a hippie, or live in some dreary wilderness, or be a folksy, hard-working, back-to-nature soybean-and-yogurt freak in order to largely by-pass the money economy? My father and I have a house on a half-acre lot 5 miles north of Philadelphia, Pa. (hardly a Pioneer homestead), maintain a middle-class facade, and live well without a job or a regular income--and without working hard, either. (Of course, the term "live well" is open to various interpretations. We think we do--others may disagree.) One main ingredient in our well-being is being able to hear the financial news without supposing the end of the world is at hand. The leading economic indicators, the balance of payments, the energy crisis, inflation, unemployment, the GNP--what are they to us? Each evening on the six o'clock news the economists, the natural heirs of the medieval scholastic theologians, trot out all their nonsense and solemnly present it as being of cosmic significance. Now, why is this? After all, mankind was living on Earth-and often living well--for thousands of years before the dogma of "growth" and the rest of our present economic catechism were invented. My father and I produce most of our food and all of our drink (and fine food and drink they are, too, if I do say so myself) and spend only about $700 each per year. And as I said, we imagine we live well. While not overly religious, we do heed the Biblical admonition that "every man should eat and drink, and enjoy the good of all his labour, it is the gift of God" (Ecclesiastes 3:13). Notice it says "God," not "GNP." We aren't magic. Neither of us does anything any other reasonably able person can't do--you, for instance. In this book you will find much practical information for saving money, but telling you how to do so isn't my only goal. Frankly, I hope to inspire you to do some independent thinking about economics as it affects the course of your individual life now and in the coming "age of shortages." 1 We Quit the Rat Race Do you remember the story of Diogenes, the ancient Athenian crackpot? He was the one who gave away all his possessions because "People don't own possessions, their possessions own them." He had a drinking cup, but when he saw a child scoop up water by hand, he threw the cup away. To beat the housing crunch he set up an abandoned wine barrel in a public park and lived in that. The central theme of Diogenes' philosophy was that "The gods gave man an easy life, but man has complicated it by itching for luxuries." Apparently he lived up to his principles. But despite that handicap he seems to have had the most interesting social life imaginable. He not only lived in the center of the "Big Apple" of his day (5th century B.C. Athens), he also had the esteem and company of many of the most respected, rich and influential citizens, including that of the most expensive prostitute in town. When Alexander of Macedon, the future conqueror of the known world, was traveling through Greece, he honored Diogenes with a visit. Alexander admired Diogenes' ideas to the point of offering him any gift within his means. Diogenes, who was working on his tan at the time, asked as his gift that Alexander move aside a bit so as to stop shading him from the sun. This to the richest and most powerful man in the Western world. Parting, Alexander remarked, "If I were not Alexander, I would be Diogenes." Diogenes went back to nodding in the sunshine. Diogenes was fair and just to all but refused to recognize the validity of man-made laws. He was a good old boy, one of the first back-to-basics freaks in recorded history. He lived to be over 90. Alexander, The Mighty Conqueror, drank himself to death at age 33. Well, this "Saint Diogenes" has been my father's idol for many years. I remember when I was a little girl Daddy painted a picture of Diogenes sitting in his barrel tossing away his drinking cup. He wrote "Are You a Diogian?" as a caption and hung it on the living room wall to inspire us. Mom wasn't inspired. At the time, Daddy was a working stiff of the ordinary garden variety. Sometimes he made good money and felt like a big shot. Other times he was out of work and scared. Our well-being was at the mercy of fluctuations of the economy in those days, same as it is for millions of other people. Why should this be? What did Diogenes do, besides live in a barrel, that anyone can't do today? The economy of his society wasn't as prosperous as ours, yet he didn't work and he didn't starve. It happens that something of a Diogian life is still possible, because Daddy and I are now living it. Here's what happened: After Daddy painted the picture of Diogenes, we initiated austerity measures. Daddy hoped we could get some money in the bank and become more secure and independent. Mom's hobby, candlemaking, came in for some scrutiny. We had candles from one end of the house to the other, and the equipment and supplies were beginning to be a financial drain. Rather than give up candlemaking, Mom decided to sell her candles to recoup the money she had spent. To our complete surprise, she started making really good money at it. In less than three months she was netting more than Daddy was bringing home from the factory. We couldn't believe it! Unsuspected by all of us, including Mom herself, she turned out to have a flair for craftspersonship and an absolute genius for salespersonship. It was a women's lib fantasy come true--a mother and housewife suddenly discovering she had the ability to make money on her own. In short order Mom rented a store and opened a regular business. Daddy quit his job at the factory to help run it. Being good with numbers and miserly, he took over the bookkeeping and financial chores. Having no previous experience or knowledge of the principles of business or economics, the two of them just bumbled along, not knowing what they were doing, and evolved their methods using ordinary common sense. They made a bundle. Moreover, they cooked the living bejeezus out of the books and so managed to keep most of it. But we weren't happy, so after three years we sold the business and our home and moved out to this more rural area. The plan was to have a small shop in our home--just enough to pay the bills--and to relax and enjoy life for a change. Alas, it wasn't to be. Mom and Daddy started arguing all the time. About money, of course. When they didn't have any, they didn't argue about it when they did, they did. Mom, having gotten a taste for money and wheeling-and-dealing, found she didn't want to give it up. No Diogian she. So she took little Carl, my brother, and left. Soon thereafter, she obtained a divorce. Well, that was four years ago. When the dust had all settled from the divorce, Daddy and I found we had no car, no TV, no appliances, no job, no job prospects, and no income. Without Mom we couldn't run the candle business, and Daddy is flat not going back to factory work. What we did have left was this house, free and clear, and a little money in the bank. For us emotional types, a divorce can be a very trying experience. Making decisions about one's future is difficult for some time following. So we haven't made any. The Old Fool likes to go around saying he can't decide what he wants to be when he grows up. But truthfully, not having to make decisions is one of the great luxuries of life--right up there with not having to go to work. We just drift along from day to day. We have a roof over our heads, clothes to wear, and we eat and drink well. We have and get the good things of life so easily it seems silly to go to some boring, meaningless, frustrating job to get the money to buy them, yet almost everyone does. "Earning their way in life," they call it. "Slavery," I call it. Sometimes Daddy frets and says we are little better than possums living this way. Possums can live most anywhere, even in big cities. They're the stupidest of animals, but there were possums on Earth millions of years before men appeared, and here they are--still going strong. Who can say if we or they will outlast the others in our good green world? They're all fat and sassy and love life (or so I like to believe), and nothing you can do will persuade one to work in a factory or office. Possum living is what we call our life here now. So we live like possums? Good! Let us do so even more.